Monday, October 26, 2009

Google schmoogle

Did you know that THE top google search keyword that brings folks to my blog is....

drumroll please....


I guess I am owning it since I talked about Chutiyas and Chutiyagiri a very long time ago. Folks from Argentina to Norway and Patna have been searching for Chutiya and stumbling across my blog. I hope they enjoyed the rest of my humdrum posts too.

Okay here is another one : Haraami Kutta!

That should bring a lot more people to my blog.

Excuse me while I go wash my mouth out with carbolic soap.

Friday, October 23, 2009

In which she gives you a household hint and an excuse to get yourself a drink to start the weekend right!

So I can flip from fertility issues to household hints to political rants and then gossip! Yeah, I know sometimes you dont know what to make of me. Sometimes I dont know either.

So get yourself a glass of something good, a plate of something fatty and crunchy to eat and start your weekend off right... and read on.

I just saved myself a pile of money! Saving money is cause for celebration right? Go on, celebrate with me... go have have another drink! See, I just gave you another excuse to start your weekend already.. did'nt I?

Why am I so thrilled? Because I stopped myself... in the nick of time... from throwing away a couple of All Clad pots, that were the stars of my culinary world. I used them for everything. They were very expensive but just the best things that I had ever bought for my kitchen. I think I probably saved up for a few months for each pot, so you know how much I loved them.

Recently I have become a less than careful cook and they had become horribly charred. So bad that even steel wool and earnest scrubbing could not rescue them. Everything stuck to the bottom and everything cooked in them tasted burnt. I wrote to the manufacturer and used every possible thing to fix the problem... including this which can basically clean anything off anything. Sigh... I was ready to weep.

I had tossed them in the garbage, when an Aunt of mine came to visit from India. She pottered around my kitchen, switched all my spices and pots around until I could not find anything anymore, declared that we did'nt eat enough good ghee and she also lectured me endlessly on how wasteful we were. Worse, she threw away Husband's preserved pickled Herring! You can tell that she was generally begining to annoy me.

I was not really surprised when she started frothing at the mouth when she saw the pots in the trash. What she did next though surprised me.

She had me dive headfirst into the slimy garbage and pull them out and rinse them off. Then she told me put an inch of water in the pots and soak a cupfull of Sago .. Sabudana... which is different from Tapioca ... in the water overnight. The next day I was instructed to boil up the whole slimy mess and stir with a wooden spoon/non stick spatula while the mess boiled. Imagine my surprise when the charred bottom bits came unstuck... in huge flakes! No scratches, no elbow grease, no hard labor. It was like a miracle! It was wonderous! My pots were back to thier new pristine glory. It truly is a miracle I tell you. It was like pulling a few hundred dollars out of the garbage!

Since then I have used Sabudana to clean pretty much every mess in the kitchen. Counters with stuck on, dried on food like egg or aataa? Those burnt on patches on the oven shelves? Non stick pans which actually do stick if you forget to turn off the stove and are on the phone with a fun friend? Cleaning the outdoor grill? Scuff marks on highly polished dining table? Yeah, you guessed it. Sabudana in its various forms! Boiled up/powdered/gloppy paste. All of them work.

Now if I can only get the family to eat Sabudana Khichadi... sigh!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

For rent?

Amitabh Bachchan has been a larger than life figure in my childhood and adolescence and certainly epitomised my idea of a movie star! I have always admired his acting skills and recently have come to appreciate his writing skills on his blog... though perhaps not the content.

Recently his noisy rants have been colorful and mildly amusing being that they come from his august mind. In a post on his blog he writes about gestational surrogacy and his feelings about that phenonmenon. His thoughts are buried in this post.

As someone who has gone through the entire wretched and excruciating process of fertility treatment, I was disturbed by his remarks. But then he can be excused. He and several others with hardline opinions have perhaps not walked a single step in the painful shoes marked infertility.

For me and my husband, while the process was long and sometimes felt hopeless we were blessed to have two children.

Has the experience left us completely unscathed? Perhaps not. The psyche is scarred and the joyous presence of our kids is still an incomplete balm. The entire process of fertility treatment has left us slightly different people. Very happy and content, but different. That my friends, is how big the issue of fertility is for many couples. For those who have not walked in our shoes to color the issues as good/evil in broad brush strokes is not warranted. To say children are merely commodities in our eyes makes a mockery of our desire to nuture a biological future generation.

I have written a comment on his blogpost and reproduce it here. Every blogpost of his generates a few hundred comments and perhaps my comment will get buried somewhere. So here it is for your reading pleasure and comment.

I do reccomend that you read his blogpost too so that you get reference to context. Let me know what you think.

My comment follows.

At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly and shaking a virtual finger at you, I have something to say about your view of surrogacy for those faced with fertility issues.

It really and truly takes someone who has been through the extremely hellish process that is dealing with fertility issues to understand the anguish, hopelessness and feelings of personal loss that women and men seeking a child are subjected to. As a veteran of that process, let me assure you that even my own beloved mother did not understand my pain during those excruciating years. There is no way she can understand (though she tried hard to see things through my eyes and heart)… just as I do not expect you or Kutty, Madan or Puri to understand unless they are face to face with the issue of thier own infertility.

Ofcourse it follows that desperate people seeking a biological child will follow through any avenue allowed by modern science and where legal issues are not insurmountable. Surrogacy is just one such avenue. Does it make someone less of a mother because she did not carry her child in her own womb? Is seeking an affordable surrogate a crime for middle class person? Do middle class people have no right to pursue that course and pay less for the procedure if the “birth” mother (and i use this term loosely) is being also benefited? Is the child going to be less loved because it was not nourished by its nurturing mother’s placenta?

I think to color the entire issue in broad strokes with a black paint is wrong and is insensitive to those who struggle with fertility issues.

i hear so often… oh why dont they just adopt! yes, that is certainly an option but hearts and minds must come to terms with that eventuality when all other options are useless. Some decide to adopt and some cannot. Does it mean that the ones who decide not to adopt are incapable of loving a/thier child? ofcourse not! So why would I blacktar the issue of a possible surrogacy without considering that there are many shades of grey to that decision… just as there are so many in life.

Yes, i do agree with you that laws need to be carefully examined to allow for all circumstances to be covered before the child is even concieved. In that and in adoption laws, India needs a huge wake up call. However to denigrate the avenue of surrogacy as lacking in human values of parental love and affection is wrong. For some of us, it is the only way out.

Monday, October 19, 2009


So this is what I have been doing! On many fronts! More to follow.

Yeah, that is my strong arm!