‘Wool’ly inspiration # 3LineTales

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photo by Philip Estrada

With this beautiful wool, should I sew a sweater for my boy  or  a frock for my girl?

Nah! I can do better.

Let me spin a yarn!


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P.S: The above post is written for ‘Three line tales: Week Thirty-Three’ challenge by Sonya, the author of ‘Only 100 Words’ blog. Thank you, Sonya, for hosting this challenge. To read more posts for this event, click here.

 

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Indianizing the American food #humor

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Do you have a love story?

Well, I have one.

I’m an ardent, an unwavering and a loyal lover of food. Sometimes I think the only thing worthwhile is cooking a nice tasty meal and to eating it to my heart’s content.

One year back, when I moved to the United States, my passion for food reached new heights. I am a vegetarian and not all the restaurants in the United States have exotic vegetarian entrees. My first opportunity to enjoy American food was at IHOP.I had heard they served a good pancake breakfast something I had not had before. Therefore, one fine morning, I went to IHOP for their “Strawberry Banana Pancakes”. Continue reading

I realized writing is dangerous, when..

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I realize writing is dangerous

When I missed my doctor appointment,

thinking over my new idea;

When I forgot about the dish cooking on the stove

pondering over a new twist in my story;

When I accidentally drove through a red signal

Mulling over my new blog post;

When I couldn’t sleep at night

chewing over a perfect ending to my tale.

Beware! Writing sure is dangerous.

Continue at your own risk.

Last dinner: A boon for the calorie conscious

One leisurely evening, while I was checking facebook, I came across a forwarded post which was going viral . It said “Latest News : World is ending tomorrow. Tonight is going to be the last one. You better make it the best”.

I was shocked. I had so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to be a bestselling author, I wanted to go on a world trip, I wanted to be so see my daughter graduate.. Oh. I had so many dreams. My imaginary world came to  a sudden halt. I worried for few minutes. I had to think fast. If I had to make these last hours on this earth memorable, I had to do something which was unique, satisfying and long lasting. As I was thinking, my stomach started rumbling. No matter what my situation was, my stomach reminded me to feed her. I wanted to eat a snack. Not snack. I needed a dinner. Wait.. Not just any dinner. It was going to be my last dinner. At that moment, an idea struck me like a lightning. I immediately grabbed my phone and started making calls. I felt proud of my idea and started reminding myself ‘Tonight is going to be special!!’

After the phone calls, I hurriedly went into the kitchen and put on my apron. I decided to host a feast at my home.  I had called my friends , neighbors and anyone who stayed couple of minutes away from home. As I was running short of time, my dinner menu was short and sweet. I started cooking my signature Indian dishes: Chicken Biryani , Masala gravy, raita. I baked my a cake and prepared tasty Indian desserts : Semiya payasam, gulab jamoon.   Earlier, I used to skimp on the oil and tried to cook fat free food because I was constantly worried calories. But, not today. I prepared all the dishes with extra ghee, butter, cashews and  exotic ingredients to make them taste heavenly.  In couple of hours, with the help of my family members, I cooked a sumptuous meal.

By the time my guests arrived, I had laid down the table and arranged all the food in my new dinner set, which I had earlier planned to unpack for my daughter’s birthday party. My guests who had arrived with tensed faces, started cheering up as they smelled the aroma of the spices and saw the mouthwatering food served in beautiful cutlery.  Soon, me and my calorie conscious friends, starting binging on our food, without worrying about putting on weight as there was no tommorrow. We recollected happy moments, played lot of games and the night went on and on. At the wake of the dawn,we all were so exhausted that we fell asleep , missing the most feared moment of apocalypse. 🙂

…………….

……………..

Don’t worry, it is not a ghost who wrote the above story. That was just a silly dream I had, when I took a rather long nap in the afternoon, after eating my favorite Indian food.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry….”

Fifty Shades of ‘Jahnavi’

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A few days back, when I had a problem with the internet at my home, I called customer service. The conversation went like this.

“Hi,

Good Morning

I’m Jahnavi. My internet connection is not working. Can you please check the issue?

My last name is Chintakunta.”

“You want me to spell it. Ok.

C as in California

H  as in Hawaii

I as in Indiana

N as in New york

T as in Texas”

So on and so forth.

By the time, I spelled out my last name, I had listed 10 states in America.And by the time I spelled my complete name over the phone, I forgot why I had called the customer service in the first place.

Did you face a similar issue? Is your name too complex to pronounce? Is it too long to spell?

Well, I have some funny incidents about my name and here they are.

While I was growing up, my name was  so unique that even native people found it difficult to pronounce. The exact pronunciation of my name is Jahnavi (3 syllables; ‘h’ and ‘n’ overlap making a sound ‘hn’) and obviously, a lot of people faltered while pronouncing. People started creating their own versions of my name and the result: Fifty shades of my name.

At school, my teachers called me ‘janaavi’ or ‘janhavi’. My friends, unable to put even that effort, shortened my name to ‘Janu’. That name was so cute and so sweet, it felt very personal. So, except for my close friends, I didn’t like anyone to call me by that name.

I did my schooling and college in my native place. When I got a job, I moved to a different state. In India, people speak different languages in different states. So, my name was completely new to my colleagues. They found it too hard to pronounce. Generally, before uttering my name, they paused for few seconds to gather all the syllables in my name. I loved their respect for me, but I also felt pity for them. I wanted to help them, at the same time, I wanted to save my name from further disgrace. So I started introducing myself as ‘Janvi’ (2 syllables instead of the 3 syllables).  At that time, I was working in a software company where I had to interact with European clients. The experience was even more hilarious. One day, someone called  me Geneva (like the city in Switzerland), some other called me Jawani (which means youth in Indian language). Slowly I got so adjusted to my name abuse that in the meetings if anyone was struggling to pronounce a name starting with ‘J’, I would volunteer and ask “ Are you looking for Jahnavi?  It’s me “

After I moved to the United States, the issue with my name got bigger. For any inquiry over the phone or for scheduling any appointment, I have to spell my full name and it became a tedious process.

In those few moments of despair, I feel “ Darn! Why do I have such a complicated name?”

One day, I asked my Mom,  “Mom, Why did you give me such a difficult name? No one ever calls my name correctly”.

She replied in a cool manner “ Oh! That’s a character in a novel I had read when I was a teenager. I loved that name and so ..”

“So.. So you gave me that name.Moommm ! ”

“Baby, it is also the name of an Indian goddess. Actually, it is the other name of River Ganges”

“Oh!”

I figured out that there was no point in arguing with her now. I decided to find a solution for my name trouble. I wanted to shorten my name. But how? Will it be   ‘Jaan’ as in ‘January’  or ‘John’ as in ‘Johnny’ or Just Miss ‘J’ ?

As  I was still searching for a perfect nickname for myself. one day I had to book a doctor’s appointment for my daughter. I called the hospital. The conversation went like this.

“Good Morning. I would like to book an appointment for my daughter. Her name is Yasaswini. I’ll spell it out for you.

Y as in Yellow

A  as in Africa

S as in Seattle.

..”

Wait, Isn’t it Deja vu? Didn’t I do this before? Oh! this was similar to my struggle to spell my full name. Then, I realized my mistake. I was so attracted to the meaning of my daughter’s name  that I forgot I was passing on my legacy: complex name. Yasaswini means a successful woman and I always want my daughter to be successful., Oops! I hadn’t given  much thought about pronunciation. As of now, my kid is just 5 years old. But I think, in few years, she will ask me ‘Mom, Why did you give me such a tough name’.

What should I do? How will I answer my kid’s question about her complicated name?

As I was thinking about this,  I came across words of wisdom from the famous play ‘Romeo and Juliet “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Wow. That’s it. I got a solution to my question. I need not shorten my name and neither my daughter.

Thanks to the legendary writer, Shakespeare who helped me settle my anxiety over my name. Now I can say “What’s in my name. ‘Jahnavi’ , ‘Jaanvi’ or ‘Janhavi’, It will always be me.”

In fact, I’m proud that I have “Fifty Shades of ‘Jahnavi’”.

Let’s get a fish, because..

‘Adopting a pet’ is one thing which I never thought ,until last week, when my five old daughter, came home from school and said she needs a fish as her pet. Here is our conversation

“Mom, I want to get a fish”

“Fish ? Ok. I’ll make you fish curry tonight”

“No Mom. I want a fish as a pet.”

“Why? Why do you need a fish as a pet?”

“My teacher told pets need lot of love and affection”

“Ok.”

“ I need a pet. I love dogs but I have to clean their poop. I hate cleaning poop”

“Oh. Correct”

“I love cats too but I hate cleaning them”

“Ok”

“So let’s get fish. We need not clean it’s poop. It will always be in water.”

I could not control my laughter!!. Awww..it was so sweet..!!!

However, I am already so busy taking care of many things in my life, that I cannot even imagine about being responsible for any other addition to our family, even if it’s a pet. For now, we make do with soft stuffed toys – a cute pooh bear and an adorable puppy 🙂

P.S: In response to daily prompt https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/menagerie/

Make it Extra Hot ..Please!!

“Make it Extra Hot ..Please”  That’s how I start when I order my food at a restaurant.

I’m an Indian and currently staying in the United States. We Indians generally prefer spicy food.Even in India, in the place I come from, we make food so hot that the people from other parts of the country would think twice before eating.

Obviously wherever I go in US, I find the food too bland for my taste.  No offense meant to anyone.

Now, here is what I generally order

Subway sandwich with chipotle sauce + hot sauce

Chipotle bowl with hot sauce

Pizza with crushed red pepper

Pasta (I can’t get a spicy pasta at restaurant) so I order it ‘to go’ and add red chilli powder, pepper powder, salt !!

This craving for spiciness is shown hilariously in one of the recent Bollywood Movies (Movie is ‘Queen’ ), where the leading lady in that movie, goes to an Italian restaurant and orders food. The owner of the restaurant brings her food and asks her opinion. She, in her innocent sweet voice, tells him that the dish will taste good if you add the spices : chilli,pepper,salt,lemon.  The restaurant owner feels offended and says ‘You Indians put chilli in everything.’ !! I can relate so much to that and often I am reminded of that movie whenever I’m eating outside.

At home, I keep a stock of  wide range of spices and I love cooking my own food rather than eating at restaurant .  If you are wondering how we can eat so spicy food, I think may be it’s the way our body was designed and the way I grew up. Back in those days, my great grandparents, my grand parents and even my parents used to have porridge with onion and chilli for breakfast !!! Not pancakes!! I guess that explains our craving for spiciness.

It’s time to go back to my kitchen and see if I have enough chilies to prepare my lunch 🙂

P.S: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/ring-of-fire/

United States through my eyes

Time flies so fast. It’s already one year since I moved to United States from India.

Whenever my friends in India ask me “How is the United States”, I hear myself replying “It’s Awesome”.

When I think what I really like about US and how I started adjusting here, some amusing experiences cross my mind. Here they are:

  1. Silence:
  2. Traffic
  3. Cold

 1.Silence

It was the first time I was alone at home, my husband had gone to work, and then I felt an awkward silence.  I strained my ears to hear anything but all I could hear was chirping of the birds in the distance. I stay in a building with 8 apartments. And still no noise heard.  It was strange.!!

Unable to bear the silence, I walked to the park in my community hoping to get some company. The park was located on a hilly area and from there I can get a complete view of the community. There were tall trees, beautiful houses and lot of cars in the parking lot but not a single person in sight. It was as if I was the only one surviving on this planet. The place was secluded and eerie. I couldn’t stay longer and went back home.

Later I realized it was so strange, because, back in my homeland, the streets were always bustling with people. Every when you are at home, you hear some or the other noise. Either a neighbor turns up the TV’s volume or a vendor is selling fruits on the street or kids are shouting and playing or an overfriendly neighbor pops  up to say “hello” . And of course, at that time, I was struggling hard to get some peaceful time for myself and here I was trying to hear some noise.

Slowly as I was getting accustomed to this place, I had a task at hand. I had to take the driving test.

2. Traffic

When I first saw the driver’s manual, I thought “Seriously, Do you need to follow all these rules while driving”?” After I read the penalties for each violation, I understood how serious the rules were.

Back at my place, driving was more about steering through the crowds than about following the rules. The traffic is heterogeneous: Cars, bikes, three wheelers, buses, pedestrians, kids and even cattle share the same road and the same lane. So , the challenging part there is to drive without hitting anyone. Honking here is considered offensive but there it’s  a necessity. Someone comes in your way, you honk. It’s more like a reflex action. So, when I started driving here, I had to memorize all the rules and follow them very carefully.

3. Cold

As I started settling down, I knew I had to face my worst nightmare. Winter.. brr!! Was I ready for the winter? No way.

Back in my hometown, we had 3 types of weather:

  1. Hot
  2. Hotter
  3. Hottest

The temperature ranges from a low of 50 to a high of 120..

So for me cold for me is 50F.

Obviously, for most of the days in winter, I stayed indoors. But one day, after a series of cold, cloudy days the sky was blue and clear. The sun was shining brightly and the hot sun rays were beaming though the glass window.  After staying in the house for several days, I was tempted to take a stroll outside. In few minutes I got ready and stepped outside the house and then Brrr….It was bitter cold and I was freezing. I was just wearing of Tshirt and Jeans with no jacket , shoes or mittens . I ran inside the house immediately and checked the temperature. It was 20 F that day.    From that day onwards, I decided that I will never ever ever step out of the house without checking the temperature. Anyhow, by the end of winter, I had seen some beautiful snow and also I learnt to cope up with the cold.

After all these months, even now, the creepy silence, overwhelming traffic rules , the cold weather amuse me whenever I compare them to my ever crowded, hot native place. But I started loving the peaceful atmosphere, the hassle free commute and the heavenly snow in the winter. Now, I am thoroughly enjoying every moment of my stay here.

May be,that’s why, whenever someone asks me “How is the United states”, I  say  “It’s awesome”.