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    Monday, August 16, 2010

    The pigeon pooped on my freedom

    If you went to the kind of snobbish, self-righteous schools that I went to, you may just recall something similar.

    Remember every year when you were summoned to school for one hour on 15 August, to watch your wicked school principal unfurl the tri-colour and release that white pigeon from the cage? No pigeon in your school? Too bad. We seemed to have a new white pigeon every year. It was always a wonderful sight, even if we hated your principal as much as we did. She resembled like a Mother Teresa, straight out of our history text book, helping the poor pigeon out of the cage. For a brief second, you'd feel good about your principal. 'Maybe she's not that bad. Maybe I just think she is cruella'.

    Hang on. Hold that thought.

    Then one day, you realize, 'How come there is a new pigeon in the cage the next year? Why doesn't she release them all at once? Why does she keep a new pigeon to be released every year?'. Hah! There you go. Revelation. Now you know what actually happens.

    You see, catching a pigeon and caging it for voyeuristic pleasure of such events is a trade altogether. Some poor chap catches these white pigeons, gives them a scrubbing, locks them up in many a cage and puts them out on the road for principals and politicians so that they can buy the poor caged birdie, stand on the second floor of the school building or the dais and release it. And you feel nostalgic. Reminds you of pictures of Nehru uncle. They had you duped, no?

    Who do you blame? The poor chap for catching a free bird and caging it so that it is farcically freed again while the only thing he cares for is his quick buck, or the poor principal who wants to have her two minutes of bird releasing nationalistic sentiment thrown around like bird grains? Who knows.

    Why this thought suddenly?

    Well, one of those white bastards royally pooped on my lovely t-shirt as if to say, "Hah! So you think we don't forget? This is for all the times you fooled yourself even as you were aware of the drama. Happy Independence day. And oh! Happy cleaning!".

    I get your point birdie. Now, no more pooping on my clothing.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Bon Appetit!

    I was in Ahmedabad this New Year's eve (31st December 2009...duh-uh), watching '3 Idiots' with Snehal and his friends. I had a sheepish grin on my face when Kareena rambled on this dialogue in drunk stupor:

    "Tum Gujarati log kitne cute hote ho. Par tumhaare khaane ke naam itne daraawne kyun hote hain? Faafda, Thepla,Dhokla, Handva, Khandvi. Jaise ki koi missile ho."

    At that time, it seemed like an exaggeration. However, after living in Gujarat for 2 months, I think that statement holds least for someone not used to that kind of food. Or maybe it is just me and my eating habits.

    Among other changes that have taken place in my life, food habits turned out to be one of the bigger ones. Although I retain eating my perennial favourite "2 mins Maggi", there are plenty of things I don't do.

    For example, breakfast isn't what it used to be. Eating Roti ('Bhakri" as it is called here) and curry for breakfast isn't my thing. I miss eating Bread and Eggs (the latter is a strict no-no in this household...and I dare not speak about C-H-I-C-K-E-N..hussshhhh), cereal, upma, dalia as the morning meal. I love my bread and mayonnaise. Although I did get mayo from the supermarket, it isn't the same. I am a lazy bum and don't want to get my bread to go with the Mayo.

    One of the main reasons for getting the mayo was to make coleslaw sandwich at home. The thing is, no one here had seen or heard about coleslaw. I had made a few dishes my way, and apart from hubby dearest, they didn't seem to go down well with the rest of the family. Rather, they might still take time to develop the taste buds for my kind of food. Same goes for me. I don't really like Daal Dhokli or Faafda or Paatra. Maybe I'll develop the taste for it. Maybe not. Who knows? Only time will tell.

    I so want to prepare Paneer in Hot Garlic Sauce, but no one here wants to eat something exotic (read Paneer = Exotic). I so want to make Bagaara Baingan but it requires tamarind and no one here really likes tamarind.

    I have always loved experimenting with food and learning new dishes. Cooking is a pleasure and I enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing. But every once in a while, I'd like to stick to my favourites. Although I prepared a few dishes that I wanted to eat, the unsatisfaction or rather, no comments approach of the rest of the family doesn't want me making those again. I think it happens with all of us. Getting used to things is a big deal and it is only now that it strikes me.

    I'm not trying to bitch here about anything. I'm just putting forth what I feel. I love the family I married into. My mother in law is the sweetest. My father in law is the cutest, he brings me fruits and what not (all healthy, mind you!). My husband, well :) :) :) (Should explain it all!).

    I realise now that food is also a huge culture and I have found new respect for all those cookery shows on Discovery T&L where they go to different parts of the world to showcase new recipes. It is more than just cooking.

    Bon Appetit! :)

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    A new day

    I'm not in a mood to kill anyone today. It has been raining in Ahmedabad for the last three days and we haven't stepped out much.

    Oh. How did I forget about yesterday?

    We found this little shop called 'Mocktail Shots' on our way home. Since Gujarat is a so-called dry state, the name is definitely catchy. Little did we know that we'd end up liking the place so much. Coming to it in a bit.

    The day before, my hungry-at-odd-hours hubby suggested that we make cold coffee for ourselves. Me being the join-you-in-the-odd-hour-hunger wife agreed and we proceeded to make the coffee. No ice nor ice cream in the fridge. We decided to make do with just the milk. The result was a complete disaster. The wierdest cold coffee ever. And I made my poor hubby drink it.

    So, this place that we went to had coffee better than the Cafe Coffee Days and Mocha and Barista combined. And at half the price. Take it from me, who loves her coffee like she does. I would be the last person giving undue credit to a place (or a person). Hubby had this coffee called 'Vanilla Iced Coffee' and boy was it yummmmmm. Next time I go there, that's what I'm going to have.

    What did I have this time?

    Virgin Pina Colada.

    It was decent but I had my eye on hubby darling's coffee. Next time :)

    I might actually begin liking this city better, maybe once I learn to speak their language.  More on the language bit in the next blog.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Hello Mrs. Patel

    Well for starters, I'm still Smriti Srivastava. Just add "Mrs" to it.

    I refuse to change my family name which I've had for over 24 years of my life. My husband and I had decided that it would be my decision ultimately and he'd have no problem. As of now, I am not comfortable with being called "Mrs Smriti Snehalkumar Patel".

    Someone told me that it is a mark of respect and love for the man you marry. I say that is bull. Just because I don't want to change my last name, doesn't mean I love my husband any less. He agrees. So screw you, society norms.

    Yes, if someday, if I really want to change it, I will get it done. Not now. Not today.

    And why should only the girls have to make these adjustments and changes?

    Like leaving your parents' home and moving in with a new family wasn't enough, you have to give up on a part of your identity too? I might be illogical to many, but these are my set of beliefs. So just deal with it.

    Everyone wants to advocate about womens' empowerment, womens' rights and matriarchal society. So, why should a wife take after a husband's name? Why can't the husband take the wife's name?

    Snehalkumar Srivastava.

    No way would he ever call himself that. Even if he loves me as much as he does.

    So, here we are at it again.

    I'm Smriti Srivastava. Married to Gujjuboi Snehalkumar Patel.
    On a new journey in life and already seething with anger at the society.

    Venom. Spit. And here I am. Get out of my way now.