Dreaming of Summer

There are days that seem to drag on and on and then there are more such days. And the cold weather along  with the gloom and the rain does not do much to uplift the spirits! What do you do on such days? Fall back on memories of the warm weather and the beauty of all that is possible on gorgeous days that make you happy deep down in your elements! I checked for some of my favorite summer memories from the past few years and it kicked up that yearning for summer a notch! Here are some of those for you.

 

 

The bright sun and the scorching heat that makes one squint and reach out for those dark shades, shorts and sandals.

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Giggling children filling up the neighborhood and parks, the twinkling of little bicycle bells, kids waiting, almost patiently, for their turn on the swing are sounds and sights that breathe life into this void of glee that the dreaded winter creates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gurgling brook or the endless ocean, the squishy sand between the toes, lazy evenings in the park or hikes along forgotten trails all are part of that tapestry that is etched in memories galore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about sipping on that drink that you look forward to at the end of a tiring day or enjoying a good book under the shade of a tree in the park in the evening as the sun plans to rest for the day. The sweet smell of summer flowers add colors of the rainbow all around and that occasional rain tantalizes the senses as you breathe in that heady earthen smell.

 

 

 

 

Revisiting one of your most cherished places through the pathways created in your mind and heart, feeling that sparkle of joy and bliss, reminiscing that magical trip can bring solace to an aching heart. For me, it was the trip we took visiting a dear friend in Florida back in 2013. The sun kissed beaches, the magical sunsets, the palm trees swaying and heart to heart chats with old friends can be hard to compete with.

 

 

Till that day comes when it no longer gets dark at 4.45pm and the chirping of birds break the eerie silence that surrounds us at all times, I will be thinking about these and look through some more! I may be all wrapped up in a blanket and sip on coffee while I do that, but I still will:)

Thanks for stopping by and my last post for the month on ‘Cook, Eat, Repeat’ will be up in two days!

 

Cook, Eat, Repeat Challenge: A Drink to Cherish – Mango Lassi

Hello!

I am a bit behind my intended schedule but here I am with the second and soon to follow third drinks of the month. Today’s post is about the famous Mango Lassi which will be followed by the less famous (only in the Western World though!) distant cousin of its- Aam Panna. (aam-Mango in Hindi language while “panna” could be called a concoction.)

But before I proceed to the ridiculously easy recipe (not sure if we can use the word recipe even!), I wanted to give you a slice of what’s been happening at this end, though I must warn you it is nothing exciting! Rather something so mundane that all of you have probably experienced it or are going through this in some form or the other:)

Our son turned five this weekend and boy was he excited for his big day! And so was his biggest cheerleader- yours truly;) We were going with a Superhero ‘theme’ this year and big bright balloons and banner and other celebratory decorative items had been slowly piling in the guest room that looks more like a storeroom, if I were to be honest. Everything was going according to plans till 9pm the night before. Our baby girl started crying and soon we figured out that it was not a normal cry but more of a severe distress that had totally thrown her off.  She would cry for 2-3hours at a stretch with intervals of 10-15 minutes, fall asleep for a bit and the cycle would repeat itself.  We figured that the grand day was going to have major setbacks. We contemplated of taking the baby girl to the ER around 2am but the awful weather outside and us finally figuring out what was really bothering her (premolars were on their way through those delicate gums) let us deal with the issue indoors for that night.

A good part of the birthday morning was spent at the doctor’s office and then on our way back, snow squall hit us and it snowed like crazy afterwards. Family, who was supposed to come over for birthday lunch, got delayed naturally and the little guy who was doing a great job of keeping it all together till then, broke down a little bit and asked if no one was going to celebrate his big day. It was heartbreaking to say the least and I looked around to see that a little birthday banner and two balloons brought from the store was all that was there. I hugged him as tightly as possible. Baby girl was still going through that cycle and we as parents were clearly not been able to step up to the game as fatigue was slowly catching up. We remembered at that point that a few months back when our baby girl had turned 1, the big brother was down with asthma and a fever of 103F.  A pattern of sorts?

Anyways, the good man cooked good food as I cradled a very distraught baby and a little upset birthday boy. Family arrived and there was a good amount of jumping up and down from all possible surfaces for the kid and his cousin, lots of car races and other things that a five year old’s heart desires. Which brings me to part two of the eventful day! By the time it came down to cake cutting, the birthday boy was so exhausted that he decided he did not want to cut the cake and started crying. After what seemed like forever, he stopped and we cut the cake and took pictures. And right after, he started complaining of ear ache (which apparently had been bothering him since afternoon but he did not want to stop having the fun he was having!). After another round of crying in which the baby girl joined in as well, family left and just like that, the day was over.

So much for a grand birthday!

The kids suffering so much took all the fun out of everything and made me actually forget that it was also our anniversary! But the red roses on the table jolted my memory back to that and while nothing went according to the plans, I was still grateful that we had each other to fall back on and as long as the four of us are together, nothing else mattered.The next morning was spent visiting the doctor’s office again, this time for the boy, picking up medicine from the pharmacy and getting stuff from the store that would help with the general crankiness of little humans.

 

You probably should not have to read this when you are looking for Mango Lassi. But I guess what I am trying to say is that things always don’t work according to plans and we all know that. It can be disappointing, saddening and many other unhappy emotions.  But we can in many cases, still steal moments from days that unfold in a less grand and ideal manner.

In this case, while we may not remember the day for all the grand celebrations that should have taken place, we will certainly remember it for the little ones’ discomfort and my big boy’s wise words. He was having a conversation with his father while having his lunch all by himself…sitting quietly. His dad mentioned that he was sorry for not being able to have a big celebration and that things did not go as planned,  and without thinking for a second, the little guy had said : “It’s okay Baba (dad)…bonu (his name for his sister) is so small and she needs Ma now and you have to make food as we have people coming over. We are all busy. That’s okay. Also, I was sick on Bonu’s birthday…do you remember?!” There is so much that we can learn from kids. As he is  “singing” at the moment…has picked up these lines from his dad –“Take it Easy….We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again”.

After the absolute madness dwindled down a bit, I was trying to think of my birthdays when I was growing up and could not really remember my 5th birthday. I guess my son will be okay too! But it was very nice to remember something that is uncannily related to the drink of this week…as my birthday falls in the hot summer month of May, mangoes (my favorite fruit in the whole wide world) were always a part of the day…be it as aam panna, or lassi or custard or just slices of that golden/yellow lip smacking fruit! There’s something  wonderfully satisfying about this drink specially in the sweltering heat of the summer and that tantalizing smell of fresh cut mangoes (typically Himsagar or the Alphonso variety) is a matter of million memories.

And so, here goes Mango Lassi…an absolute easy drink to make and cherish.

Serving size: 2, Time- 5-10 minutes

Ingredients-

Mango (Fresh, cut into pieces) 1 large or canned/frozen mango pulp : 2 cups—-Yogurt: 1 cup—-Milk: 1/4 cup—-Ice cubes: as needed—–Sugar: 1/2 tbsp (you may need less or more depending on the sweetness of the mangoes and your own preference)—-Ground Cardamom Seeds: 1/2 tsp

How to make

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and puree! Check for sweetness. You may add a little cold water or a couple of ice cubes to adjust the consistency and make it to your liking.

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Do you have a drink that reminds you of your childhood days?Or is there something that you associate with specific celebration/s in your culture? Whatever it is, I would love to hear from you! You can join in with a recipe or a story or even just a photo:)

Here’s how to participate!

  • Create your own post with your recipe, story, photos- anything that you might wish to share that represents the theme of the month.
  • Create a pingback (link to this post) or leave a link in the comment section.
  • Join whenever you can!
  • Visit some other posts shared.

 

Cheers and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

Winter Trees

There’s a lot on my mind and plate at the moment and so I find myself a bit less engaged in taking photos or writing something down here. But I will be back soon with my next post for the Cook, Eat, Repeat Challenge and am excited for that!

Meanwhile, I was going through my older photos, looking for a specific one when I came across these ‘winter trees’, as I have decided to call them and I fell in love once again with their beauty. They never cease to capture my eyes and are on top of my “when- I will be- capable -of- capturing- better -photos” list. Till then, these will have to do!

 

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Thanks for stopping by and wish you all a restful weekend!

Monday Motivation

“Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”: Swami Vivekananda

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Put your heart into whatever it is that you are doing, trying to achieve- even if you don’t succeed, chances are you will come out stronger and a tad bit wiser. The workings of life can be baffling at times but giving up cannot be an option.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a meaningful week.

Through the looking glass

It was a tad bit crazy weekend with birthday parties and play dates, meeting a dear friend who is moving away, weekly grocery and other mundane stuff. It was, on the other hand gorgeous, weather wise. While it was good to run around without feeling burdened by the puffer jackets and fuzzy hats it was also another example of the effects of climate change- you don’t just get a 66 degree Fahrenheit in January that followed a biting 12 degree.

Anyways, on our way back from a birthday party, I clicked these from a moving car. They are not of a great quality but as I was scrolling through my phone album to look for at least one good shot, I thought these looked more like paintings than photos and felt like sharing. It was a warm day and the cloud cover added to that feeling of painting probably. I somehow like clicking while being in the passenger seat…scenes that pass by from a moving vehicle have always fascinated me. Right from the days of traveling by train when undulating hills and green fields with little straw and mud huts strewn across would be a staple sight, I have loved looking at the life that passes by. Little children waving at the sight of a train, stopped bicycles and rickshaws at the railroad crossings, little hamlets with their tea stalls and shops, kids flying kites were all familiar sights as I looked out of the window, with the wind in my hair during our annual train rides from Kolkata (Calcutta) to our family home in Jamshedpur (a city about 150miles away). No camera in hand, those scenes are somehow etched in my mind, rumblings of childhood when all innocence was not lost.

Thanks for stopping by.