My kitchen story – Pure veg omellete

Blessed are those who know how to cook and have interest in cooking. I dont have any inerest in cooking. I don’t even feel like cooking. I am happy if i get food served infront of me without going to the kitchen.

I am on my business trip. And this time i have decied to cook rather than hopping restaurants. I try to cook something which requires less preparation + cooking time. I have been trying to cook anything and everything in microwave because it takes less time and attention.

One fine sunday i decided to prepare omellete with veggies. I wanted to have lots of veggies so i added spinach, carrot, cauliflower, tomatoes and potato. I prefer to have only two eggs a day. While chopping the veggies i did not realise that i am going to add only two eggs. Very happily i put all the chopped vegetables in the bowl and added two eggs. The eggs were not enough for the vegetables. I mixed the veggies and eggs nicely in a bowl. It was very clear I screwed my omellete but i was just going with the flow.

I poured the mixture in a plate and put it in oven for 10 mins. After 10 mins when i took it out from the oven, it felt like a vegetable cake. I could cut it in slices. But it was a good learning. Now whenever i put veggies in omellete, i double check the proportion.

My first ever microwave cooked omellete will always be memorable.

What’s your kitchen story?

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Diwali

late-night-after-diwali-018It’s quarter to 4 in the morning, I’m still up, watching lights in my room which I decorated for Diwali, and sipping coffee. My love for coffee and lights will be eternal. I want to see my room decorated with fairy lights throughout the year. The fairy lights in the room keep channging its position with time. Sometime its simply hanging on the wall, at times it just hangs around my pic collage. Fairy light decoration makes me extremely happy. May be that’s why I like Diwali (the festival of lights) more than any other festivals. This was my third Diwali away from home, first time it was in the year 2011. I was in my final year of MSc in Rourkela, and Mom Dad were in Mumbai. Just a day off on Diwali stopped me from going home. Second time was in the year 2016. I had some urgent project deliveries hence couldn’t make it home. Third time was last year i.e. 2017. I was in Mountain View for some project!I miss Diwali at home. Mom would prepare the puja thali, Dad would wear dhoti and do evening puja. I used to be busy all day checking out for easiest rangoli design. I used to draw rangoli every year without a fail. Every year my design would be the same except for the colours. When we (bhaiya, darling sister and I) were in school, Diwali meant bursting crackers, playing with different kind of sparklers, anaar (flower pot), chakri, rocket, eating lots of sweets and helping mom in lighting diyas. Fairy lights were not common in those days. There used to be a secret competition among the kids on whose crackers would be noisiest. Mom and dad would stand in the balcony to see us bursting crackers and ensure we don’t hurt ourselves. Now that we are grown ups, we understand that bursting crackers is nonsense. It might be a way of expressing happiness or a symbol of celebration but with time it seems more like adding to the pollution and mere waste of money. People celebrate Diwali as a symbol of victory. Victory of good over evil. I think the major festivals in India (Holi, Durga Puja, Diwali) has the same significance “victory of good over evil” but with different stories.  With this I’ll end up this story hoping to write new stories soon.

Super Blue Blood Moon

January 31, 2018 was a lunar eclipse. It was an important day scientifically and historically. It was second full moon of the month, hence Blue Moon. Also because the moon was closer to the earth, it was brighter and bigger in size than usual, therefore, the Super Moon. The moon wqs red in colour due to the Earth’s shadow, hence it was also called Blood moon. All the three phenomena occurred at the same time hence the name “Super blue blood moon”. Thats what my understanding is. Please feel free to correct me by dropping your comment in the comment box below. It was important, historically, because it was seen after 1866 as per the reports .

I have always been fascinated by the moon. Looking up in the sky and gazing the moon without a blink  is my favourite thing to do. And I strongly believe “Moon is a loyal companion“.

My sister always asked me, “why don’t you click moon, my friends keep taking photos of moon”. I never had an answer to her. I used to believe that taking a photo of moon required a highend camera and lens, so i never tried with my camera.

But this time I decided to give it a try from my entry level dslr camera (canon 700D) with the kit lens 55-200 mm, without a tripod!!

Trying to capture a lunar eclipse without a tripod is very challenging because the moon is dark during eclipse and if you try to increase the ISO, it will add to the noise, shutter speed and aperture has to be carefully chosen so that the pic is not blurry or extra white like a bulb.

As it was my first attempt, it took time for me to get the settings correct but by that time I lost the photo of the blood moon. I could not capture the blood moon cleary because I was still trying to get my settings done. But I did capture the other phases of moon after blood moon and eventually full moon at the end. Here is my version of Super blue blood moon.

I have made a video of different phases of the moon. Do let me know how is it.

 

 

 

 

Kodaikanal

I had a chance to visit this beautiful place in Tamilnadu with my girlfriends. We were a group of five girls from Bangalore. Before going to Kodaikanal we planned our trip, as in how much budget do we have, where would we want to stay, how would we like to travel, etc. Since all five of us were busy in office we decided to split the planning so that everyone has an equal amount of job to be done and no one is overloaded with the planning.

Since I have been travelling a lot, I decided to travel cheap this time so that I can save some money for my upcoming trips. I have always travelled in an AC bus, never tried non-AC bus for such a long distance. This time we decided to travel in a non-AC bus for a different kind of experience. We booked a non-AC bus with KPN travels from redbus.in. My experience with KPN travels was not great so I would not suggest it to anyone. They had charging point but it was not working. They don’t provide blanket even for a long-distance journey. No water bottles as well.

On the way to Kodaikanal
On the way to Kodaikanal

We wanted to stay in a cottage in the mid of the hill station to get a feel of the place. After doing a lot of search online, we decided for Pink House. It is in Vattakanal, seven kms from Kodaikanal. We reached Pink House in the morning and I was so mesmerised with the view that I felt my two days’ stay would not be enough to absorb the beauty. It felt as if we were staying amidst the clouds. But one has to climb a few steps (actually a lot) to reach this cottage. There are other cottages also on the way to Pink House. It is located exactly opposite to Altaf’s Cafe. Dolphin’s Nose is quite close to the cottage. The cottages here provide breakfast and dinner on request. In case you want to enjoy bonfire, they will provide you woods for which they charge as well.

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Pink House (view from the entrance), Vattakanal

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Pink House, Vattakanal

The owner / care taker had a dog. The dog’s name is Luci and she had a cute baby too :-). Both the pets were very friendly. It was fun playing with them.

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Luci

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Luci’s baby

After getting fresh, we had our breakfast (which was prepared by the owner / care taker of the cottage), we headed towards Pine Tree forest. Our cab driver was also our tour guide.  After Pine Tree forest, we headed towards Pillar’s Rock. It was disappointing. When we went there the place was covered with fog and we were unable to see the Pillar’s Rock. They have entry fee also and we felt our money was wasted as we could not see anything. Maybe it was a bad day for us to visit the place. There is a small market outside Pillar’s Rock. One can explore the market. The shops had many handmade toys, chocolates, essential oils, coffee and tea powder and other decorative items. I bought homemade chocolates from there and it was yummy 🙂

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Pine Tree Forest

After exploring the market near Pillar’s rock, we went to Sheep farm. Well, even that was a disappointment. The place was stinking and i could only see rabbits in the cage. Sheeps were having fodders at a distant place where we were not allowed to go. From that farm, we could see one lake and my friends wanted to go there.

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View from Sheep’s farm

So from the farm we went to Mannavur lake (it’s exactly opposite to Sheep’s Farm). At first I was a little skeptical to go because I was tired and I could not see the lake at all. One has to walk a kilometer or two to reach the lake, the weather was sunny and above all we were hungry. My friends somehow convinced me to walk down to the lake.

After a good walk, we reached the lake. The location was beautiful, I forgot I was tired and hungry. I sat calmly on a bench and was absorbing the beauty of the place. It was serene, I just wanted to be there. I could see people boating, some people sitting quiet and enjoying the nature, some like my friends, who were busy taking selfies and photos. After a while I also joined them in taking photos and getting clicked.

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Boating in Mannavur Lake

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Mannavur Lake View

After spending an hour at Mannavur lake, we decided to take a break and grab some food. There was a small tea stall near Mannavur lake entrance but we wanted to have lunch so we didn’t stop there. Our cab driver took us to a small restaurant. By the time we reached there, the lunch was almost over. We had biryani (biryani is always a savior). All of us were tired and it was getting dark so we decided to go back to our cottage. The cab driver dropped us near Altaf’s Cafe and left for the day.

After taking rest for a while we decided to visit Altaf’s Cafe. This cafe is famous in Vattakanal. The cafe was full and we couldn’t find a seat for ourselves.

We went to a nearby cafe and had some snacks and coffee. The distant city lights from the cafe was looking like a sky full of stars. We asked the care taker / owner of the cottage to prepare dinner for us and asked them for woods for bonfire. We had dinner by the bonfire and after that we called it a day.

Next day we woke up with a beautiful sunrise. Trust me I have never seen such a beautiful sunrise in my life so far. We got ready for Dolphin’s Nose. I would suggest you to visit this place early in the morning when the sun is not that bright. Also, wear a pair of shoes as you would have to walk for some 20-30mins.

The view from Dolphin’s nose was beautiful, it was covered with trees full of greenery. There is a deep valley on the edge of the Dolphin’s Nose. It’s dangerous to go near the edge of the rock. Please avoid going near the edge if you are afraid of heights.

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That’s me trying to go near the edge of the rock while posing @Dolphin’s nose

On the way back to Dolphin’s Nose, there was one more view point – Mountain View. There were small stalls for breakfast, tea and coffee. We had lime juice there to buck up our energy.

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Mountain View

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Mountain View

Now was the time for Vattakanal waterfall. I had read tourist reviews about it and, therefore, kept it for the last place to be visited.

It was cold and knowing the water would also be chilled I was reluctant to go inside the water. But my friends dragged me in. The water was crystal clear and we went inside water till the rocks. The rocks are very slippery, I had a bad fall there. Fortunately, my friends held me back from falling in the water. Of all the waterfalls, we saw in Kodaikanal, Vattakanal waterfall was the best and it had more water than any other waterfalls. There is one more famous waterfall, known as “Liril waterfall”. Apparently, the liril ad was shot there but now this waterfall has very less water.

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Clear water of Vattakanal waterfall

After visiting some more waterfalls, we went to Coaker’s walk. As the name says, this place is more for a walk. This place would be ideal for morning walk or evening walk. They have an entry fee, and they charge for camera separately. Since we were running out of time as we had to catch our bus back to Bangalore, we took a quick walk. Nice scenic view could be seen. They have a small telescope room as well, in case one wants to have a telescopic view (it is NOT free). With coaker’s walk, we ended our trip to Kodaikanal.

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View from Coaker’s walk

Tips:

  1. Carry warm clothes even if you are travelling in summer season (we travelled in the month of May-June and the weather was cold)
  2. Do hotel/cottage and cab booking in advance in order to avoid last-minute rush and price hike.
  3. Make a list of places you would like to visit by doing some search on booking websites (the cab driver may say this place is not good or that place is good according to his convenience).
  4. Don’t forget to carry your camera if you want to capture the beauty of the place.
  5. Carry notebook and pen, in case you want to make a note of the places you visited. We have notepad in the mobile also in case one wants to use that. I would prefer notebook and pen though 🙂
  6. If you are travelling in a group, it’s better to maintain an expense report. Try Splitwise app to split the expenses.

Note: This was my experience. I would love to hear from you all about your experience. Do comment below your experience or leave a link of your story in the comment. 🙂

 

Mid year review!

This year I have decided to travel as much as I can, as far as I can and click as many photos as I can. My travel story started in march with a week-long trip to Delhi, though I don’t count Delhi in the story because Delhi is more like a second home to me and I prefer relaxing there than roaming around the places. But Delhi has got lots of places to cover, historical monuments, some old markets, places to eat.

That’s what I do in Delhi. #myclick

My second destination was Orissa, specifically Bhubaneswar, Nayagarh, Puri, Konark. Orissa holds a special place in my heart. I have lived in Orissa (Rourkela) for two years, during my masters, and that was the first time I was away from home, made new friends, learned how to live in a hostel with limited facilities, and learned the local language as well. Learning local language helps you in connecting with the local people. May be that’s the reason I have got more friends from Orissa than any other states. Trip to Orissa was pending for the last five years and I am glad I made it. It was possible only because of my friend Smita, the only friend about whom I have spoken on my blog till now. It was her wedding which took me back to Orissa that too in summer (April), when the temperature was 48° C. One more reason to travel was the desire to see Odiya wedding and a hope to capture some moments in my camera. Below are some glimpse from the wedding.

Apart from attending wedding in Nayagarh, I went to Jagannath Temple, Puri. People are not allowed to carry cell phones or camera inside the temple premise, also there are dedicated counter outside the temple for people to take off their footwear, and submit mobile phones and camera.  There were priests all around the temple, trying to allure the visitors by saying they will get a “special darshan / more close view” of the lord (it’s trap, don’t fall in the trap) and they don’t have to stand in the long queue. In return to all these services, the priests charge a hefty amount. Since I was with my friends who keep visiting the temple quite often, I was aware of all these “favours” offered by the priests and hence, my money was saved. Since Konark is just 35 kms away from Puri, one cannot give a miss to Konark Sun Temple. This temple has its own history. Konark Sun Temple is one of the seven wonders of India, also a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.

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Konark Sun Temple

My third destination this year was in June when I went to Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, with my girl friends. Same time last year I wnet to Ooty, Tamilnadu with some other friends (again an all girls trip). I liked Kodai more than Ooty. More details about the stay, places I visited and my experience will be covered in my next blog post can be found here.

My fourth destination is yet to happen and the destination has been decided. Well, I can’t disclose the destination now. All I can say is it’s again one of the world heritage sites in India and this place is on my wishlist for the last two years. Keep guessing till I write about it further. 🙂

Bench

Bench ~ clicked by me

One day, a bench like this will be residing in my garden. I’ll have my morning coffee on it. That would be a time when I would have grown old, I will have kids and they would be somewhere in the world earning for their living. I won’t have the tension of projects, deadline, meetings etc., because by that time I would have retired.

I would often lie on the bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches romancing with the nature, till the time I could see moon and stars.

But for now, I have to run office, I’m getting late for a meeting and I also have a project deadline to meet.

*Starts running*

P.S. This pic has been taken by me at Nandi Hills, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.