Home Decor – Revisited

Off late life is completely about her highness – my daughter. To be honest I never imagined that things would change so drastically with the advent of this little creature. Yes, surprises can come in very small packages and change the geography or history of your life completely.

What inspired this post was the recent visit to the wonderful IKEA store. I love the simplicity of their designs and more importantly the thought that goes into making those simple pieces of furniture Useful. Yes, there are many designs that we see in stores that are aesthetically very pleasing but are completely useless when it comes to utility/comfort. I like love IKEA primarily for their utility and aesthetics.

You must be wondering as to how did my angel (or is it the devil these days – terrible twos are on, you see) inspired me to reflect on home decor subject. The answer is simple, whatever I do these days, I somehow cannot get my house to have any semblance of order or propriety, thanks to her. When I mentioned this to many of my regular listeners they dismissed it saying this is ‘but obvious’ in a house with a child. As a person who loves to decorate her house and indulge in it, you can imagine my supposed misery/pain. But then I love my daughter more than all these earthly things too.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I have two options.

  1. Submit myself ( rather my house) to her highness and continue to clean as I go (CAIG)
  2. Try to figure out the most creative and magical way of keeping my house presentable while allowing my daughter to amuse herself
There is though a high probability of people recommending me to follow option 1, however, if there is any creative soul out there who can contrive of a way for me to follow option 2, I would not just be delighted, but ready to do anything for them  (don’t take that too seriously, I have a toddler 😉 ).
So, here goes my plea to all, at finding the improbable option 2.
PS: I love to hear what all those creative minds at IKEA would say if ever they read my plea.

 

Justice & Homeland

I just started reading the book called Hyderabad – A Biography by Narendra Luther and I must say that so far it is a very well told story about the origin of this city. From the time I have known Hyderabad, I have never really found a reason to love it, but it was a place that was infinitely better than many other places and suited a number of my needs. Over the years, I have made this city my home.

What does one associate with the place that they term as a home? For one, there should be a sense of belongingness and most importantly a higher sense of ownership and responsibility to the place; irrespective of the fact that you are in a position of power or an ordinary denizen. Mohammad Quli, the founder of Bhagnagar or Hyderabad was a man who loved his home. The need to construct a city came from the congestion caused within the ramparts of Golconda or Gollakonda. He commissioned the best of architects and wanted heaven to be reconstructed here on Earth, or more precisely on his land. One of the primary wishes of the Sultan was to have greenery wherever he saw. No wonder then that the best minds were put to efficient use and the best planned city of India was constructed at a remarkable pace. The chief person in command had ensured saplings to be planted even before the construction had begun. The sultan who was a poet and a man of extreme taste was a perpetual romantic at heart. He named the city Bhagnagar after his most favoured queen – Bhagmati. (I wonder now what happened to all that and in its place is an old city which is highly congested, dirty, treeless and forgotten in many ways.)

The Palace of Justice was also commissioned as a part of this project and after  its completion, the sultan used it to dispense justice to its citizens – most results were almost immediate. The builders of that era must have been great visionaries, for we still use the same building as our Andhra Pradesh High Court. The recent episode of the AP High Court catching fire was not something particularly out of the blue. If we, the current users of that lovely building, do not bother to upgrade and take care of the ancient premises and use it for our own selfish purpose, then a short circuit and incidents like fire are but natural. What I hear from sources who work at the high court is that the judges are too busy in trying to compete with themselves and ensure that their respective chambers look better than the rest. Whether such a selfish act damages the ancient building is obviously none of their concern. Moreover, the various associations that are formed in the court, all of them have their own agenda and none seem to be remotely concerned about the state of the premises and any safety norms. It is the typical “chalta hai” attitude about everything around us, except ourselves that so irks me.

If one asks about what can be done for the upkeep of the ancient high court premises, then the responsibility is comfortably thrown on the Government. Why do we fail to follow that Government in this democratic nation is nothing but the people ourselves? Moreover this statement being made by the institution that was created to ensure that the Government performs its duties correctly – the Judiciary, is nothing but a matter of great shame. The constant dilapidation of the high court building and the famous delays made by our lazy Judges or rather the snail’s pace with which the Judiciary system in India works is a clear testament to the utter selfishness, sloth and corruption that has sadly been entrenched in the system. I really find it appalling that a case should take 20 odd years to reach a verdict. Justice delayed is Justice denied and I am not sure if ever our Indian Judiciary will come out of this vicious circle. Fortunately, the financial crisis of the 90s forced India into liberalization, but what can possible force the Judiciary into such liberalization is a million dollar question that I would like someone to answer.

But, in the hope that there are many people like me, who love their homeland and would want to see a change in the future, I hope and would fervently want to believe that some drastic steps are taken to ensure that the justice system in India is much more efficient and get back the guts to decide and give out a verdict, immediately. Otherwise we will still be facing many other Shopian cases.

Bamboo Update

The bamboo plant that we acquired has proved to be quite a task to handle. There are a lot of things about this lovely plant. The nature of bamboo is to grow in undergrowths with hardly any light penetrating from the tall trees all around. We felt that keeping the bamboo under shade would be fine, but then it still seemed to be too much light for it. Finally found a very dark corner and this seems to be suiting it fine.

Another important aspect with bamboo is that one should water it – daily, but with soft water. No hard water or bore water for this dainty lady. This was one main reason for loosing many of the shoots.

It is a high maintanence, but we have managed to keep it going for now. Still sometimes some shoots just start to dry and then rot. One has no alternative but to remove those shoots and it really hurts. If any of you have any better handling tricks with bamboo, please let me know. 🙂

Bamboos are quirky plants and needs loads of love, talking and attention. We still love them 🙂

Installing The Split A/C – A Pain!

Sweltering summers do see the a/c section of the electronic stores brimming with people, but trust me, in order to instal a split air conditioner is a pain in itself. The primary reason being the inability of the builder of our apartment in providing the provision for the Split Air Con installation. 

I was apprised of the lack of logistics in our apartment, for a split a/c installation, just today. Now a split consists of:

  • an indoor unit
  • an outdoor unit
  • a stabilizer
  • and a not very well know support for the indoor unit (which our guys forgot to pack it for us)

The indoor unit’s supporting metal plate is fixed first and then goes the marking for the mess or the drilling area. If my apartment builder – who claims to be a building “Intelligent” homes – Aliens Elite – had ideally provided for a split then we wouldn’t have required to go in for this drilling. But, as things stand, apparently drilling is a norm. So our bedroom was in a state of utter mess. This drilling is primarily done in order to connect the indoor with the outdoor unit with a set of cables and gas lines for the a/c. 

Next the outdoor unit is heaved on to the wall using two metal supports and more drilling is on for that and also to hang the stabilizer. 

Finally the indoor unit is hung and after four hours of mess – the split a/c is finally installed. 

What makes me mad is the fact that the builder in most apartment claims to give “provision for split a/c” and when one really wants to utilise this provision it never seems to be done the right way or is placed in the most unimaginable location – right over the bed. The builder supposedly provided us with a plug point (which we never used, as the location was most in convenient) and an outlet pipe which once again is useless. 

A word of caution, when you are constructing your own house or are purchasing one from a reputed builder, ensure that the point for split a/c installation is given correctly. In out case, we assume that the builder expected us to install our outdoor unit over the window sill in the bedroom. This arrangement is feasible only in independent houses with single or double storey setups. For an apartment that has more than three floors, this arrangement is downright pig-headedness and the provision for split is as good as not given. It makes no economic sense for us to have heaved the outdoor unit on the window sill of our third floor apartment as installation and maintanence costs into the future would be exhorbitant. The other aspect I can’t seem to understand is why can’t we find better way sto avoid this drilling? It is such a messy job. I am sure, if thought properly one can come up with alternatives to avoid mess in the future. 

So, with some ingenuity from our electrician, loads of drilling and further permutation and combinations have now made us the brave the rest of the summer heat with our new Samsung Split Air conditioner.

Name plate

Setting up a new home involves a lot of things. Small to big, minor details and yes it involves a lot of time and sometimes a lot of money – and it never stops. But then, I love doing it up. I love adding something new and making something specifically for my little nest. 

I think everything that one selects for one’s home, reflects their character and taste. So is the case with a name plate. I want to go in for something that is different. I have certain ideas, but was wondering if you can pitch in and let me know as to where I can find some interesting designs/pieces. 

Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

5 Useful Tips For Beginners While Cooking

As an extension to the Kitchen Curries, I thought that adding these 5 bulleted points might help people – all and sundry in need of it. I assume this category could include:

  1. Newly weds (both men and women)
  2. Our dear on site folks – primarily first timers
  3. And any other set to whom these tips are applicable

Please note that I have compiled this short list from my own experiences/disasters/whatever you might call them. 

  1. Never cook curries on high flame,  always maintain a sim/medium flame. Trust me, if you leave your dish on high then you are bound to eat coal. I have had to call up my friend in times of distress to get me a decent morsel of food, as I had turned my curry (one and only) in a pure form of char coal. 
  2. Use microwave in your cooking. Always stuck with those veggies that could have turned out better if cooked for a little longer? In that case, cut the veggies, spread them in a microvawable dish and cover it up, before putting the veggies into the microwave. Based on the intensity of your microwave, cook accordingly. I have seen that in a matter of less than 10 minutes, any kind of vegetable is cooked. Do not add any water. This microwave cooking ensures the usage of less oil and faster cooking.
  3. Let your dishes simmer. Simmering on low flame brings out the aroma and taste. Try those yummy alu-gobi or chole or awesome pulusu and sambhars, they only taste good, when allowed to simmer for sometime.
  4. Take some interest in cutting the veggies evenly. You need not have Six Sigma idea of precision/error, but then some kind of commonality would also go a long way in making a dish a success
  5. When frying that yummy alu (or anything else), ensure not to let the alu stick to the pan. Use a thick bottomed pan and scrapper cum mixer to keep the alu from sticking to the bottom. Trust me, it is a useful trick and I learnt it from the God of fries – my hubs 😉

Follow these simple tips and keep the interest alive – you’ll see that cooking is not such a bad thing, well provided you decide on what to cook. 🙂