DIY fake photo canvas for zero dollar | Frugal home decor idea

Staying in rental apartment means paying a high price for damaging walls due to several holes.  So I came up with a solution and decided to add our photos and personalize our living room and our apartment by putting up fake photo canvases.

Fake photo canvas?  Yes, and this is using Thermocol (aka Styrofoam).  Again.  (The previous wall decor idea gluing a paper over Styrofoam sheet).

SpushtChats | Wall decor idea: fake photo canvas


baked goods as gifts

Earlier, when we were invited for lunches or dinners, it used to take some time to think about what to gifts the hosts, whether they might already have it, whether they would like it or would get it exchanged, where to shop from, and so on.

Then I started baking cookies and brownies and gave the baked goods as gifts.  Not many people bake, not many bake without eggs, people's kids especially like cookies and brownies, it is easier to bake and gift something for everyone to eat and enjoy, and putting in a little effort in this kind of gift is more obvious.

give baked goods as gifts at lunch or dinner invites

While I used to take the baked goods placed in tissue paper inside a transparent box, last month I added a little personal touch to it by writing a decorative label/note on the box.  So now the host knows what the baked good is made of as well as when to consume it by.  It looks thoughtful and it looks good.

Go an extra mile - sometimes it is absolutely worth it.
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apartment search checklist

While cleaning up the drawers some days back I found this apartment search checklist.  Last year since I was on vacation in Asia and Alok had to hunt for apartments here, I left with him this long checklist of the kind of apartment I want and the kind of things he needs to look or ask for.

spusht | new apartment search checklist

recipe testing and comparing results

So many times I tried a new recipe first time when I were to have guests over for lunch or dinner at my place and the dishes flopped.  So many times Alok has told me to cook something I have before, instead of experimenting a new dish from a new recipe when I invite guests.  Because of the numerous times a recipe did not give me the results I wanted and because of the numerous variations in recipes for a particular dish - I started testing multiple recipes at home to discard the flop ones.

When Shumaila commented "so much research went in this" on my Blueberry Muffin post few days back, I thought of posting a few photos I had randomly clicked over a period of time.  This is how I test 2-3 recipes at once because if I cook different recipes over a gap of few days or weeks, I may forget what one tasted like in comparison to the other.  And the recipes that work - I upload them on my blog.

one cup of tea


This happened almost ten years ago. One day my dadaji (grandfather: father's father) came home for a bit in the afternoon.  My mom and the help were probably not at home, so I offered to make him a cup of tea (Indian Chai) although I rarely entered the kitchen those days.

As the tea started to brew, I felt I had put too many tea leaves (chai patti) since the tea looked dark.  So I added more milk.  But I knew my mom used 50-50 ratio of water and milk.  So I also put more water.  That meant adding a little more sugar.  I was trying to apply logic.  As I let the tea boil, it appeared a little lighter in color than what I used to see mom serve.  Without any sense of measurement, I put another spoon of tea leaves and let it brew longer.

The chai continued to get dark brown.  Then I had to add more milk, more water, more sugar.  I sieved some chai into a cup, whiffed to cool it and took a sip.  Oh lord, the chai tasted way too sweet!  I probably should not have added sugar each time.  So I put in more tea leaves, more milk, and equally more water.  And prayed for this to be the last trial.  Because the one cup of tea turned out to serve almost eight people.

Finally, I sieved the chai into a cup, put some biscuits on a plate, and took the tray to my grandfather who had been waiting past 40 minutes for one cup of tea.  He took the cup by its handle, looked at me and asked, "itni der kaise laga di? chai bana bana ke fek rahi thi kya?!" [translate: why did it take you so long? were you making tea each time and throwing away?]

Ten years later today, I laugh so hard remembering this incident that my stomach hurts.
That one cup of tea.
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blog content theft - stealing and plagiarizing

When I used to see bloggers furious over their photos stolen by magazines or other people, with watermark removed and no credit or compensation given - I could understand their anger but could not relate to it. Because no one stole my photos - which used to make me think perhaps my writing and photography sucks, that is why it was not worth stealing.  But I came across a blog that had pretty much copied my entire blog's text and photos from the homepage of Spusht without my knowledge.

All day I tried to search for the blogger's contact information, or search how to report content theft on Google (by reporting web spam or filling DMCA form for Blogger), or how to increase security settings on my own blog.  I read the information explained in excellent detailed form on this blog on how to deal with people stealing.  Then I learned about Copyscape where I can search for duplicate content, and after posting a few of my blog post links it happens that a LOT of people copy things from one blog to another.  A day that could have been spent more productively but was wasted because of some idiots who copy and steal.

I hate to see content from my blog being stolen without a back link, reference, or credits to me or my blog.  Now I understand how it feels when your ideas, your creativity, your hard work, and your intellectual property is not given its due credit.  But once you make your work public, people will always copy without crediting and steal without shame, and this is bound to happen.  Whether in the real world where people use other people's content for commercial purposes, or whether on internet where people steal content and make money from ads on their websites -  it is not fair for someone who puts in all the hard work.

Though I am now smiling to know that finally my work is worth copying, this is content theft and it is a bad thing and I want those particular blogs that copied my posts to be taken down and I am starting to relate to the furious bloggers and qpwm eocnru salfjdk svxizr mzytuplqf !@#$%^&*( ..........
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first try at canvas painting | fun weekend activity with husband

For the July 4 long weekend holiday Alok found out just a day before that he would get an off on Friday too.  Since we did not plan any trip or vacation for the four-day long weekend, and since booking this late would be unnecessarily expensive - we did random things on all four days.

Day 1 - relaxed at home and went to see fireworks in the evening at a park with a few friends.
Day 2 - went to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the morning and back home at night.
Day 3 - went shopping all day at the Gilroy Premium Outlet.
Day 4 - tried canvas painting for the first time!

the plot backfired

Since Alok does not help with anything around the apartment (heck, does not even pick things up that are lying around) until I specifically ask him to, I thought of trying a new method.  For some reason, I think of myself as a psychology expert trying to understand ways to influence the human brain, and ways to remodel human behavior.  The human in this context is my husband.

So my new method was to tell my husband I cannot do something and ask if he can do it.  Basically, I believe men like solving things, being the Mr. Fix-It, and especially helping more when a woman says she cannot do it.

this kheer incident.

This incident happened few months back.
This is sevai ki kheer.
This was supposed to be cooked for 30 people at a pot luck on some festival at someone's house.
This kheer though turned out to serve almost 60 people.

Vermicelli Pudding Sevai ki Kheer

interesting links for the day

What's up, What's up?
Here are some interesting links related to cake and baking that I have picked for the day.  Enjoy..

85. Three-Tier Oven Rack to bake or keep multiple things warm in the oven to use the oven space as well as save time and electricity.  I love using vertical spaces, but one thing to keep in mind for this would be the oven temperatures of the dishes baked and if the top and bottom dishes would cook evenly? And priced between $16-19, is it worth it?

three years

Earlier this month on 3rd June…

After searching for good toaster deals past few months when the toaster oven I ordered finally arrived, I suddenly remembered the date and instead of opening the box I thought of making this a gift.

Alok was going to be home in an hour, and with no gift wrapping paper with me I quickly wrapped the carton with the flyers of grocery stores we get in mail.  Scribbled on the white sheets of paper, tore them randomly around the edges, and glued them on top of the carton.  It says:
     For your bagels, breads, and pizzas..
     For my cookies, toasts, and snacks..
     For our 3 years of engagement...

Today's links

Hi!
The month is almost coming to an end, the year 2013 is half over, and time is flying too fast!
Here are today's links for you to check out when you take a break from your routine:

78. Bookmarks on a new level - now you can continue reading right where you left off.

frugal DIY wall decorating idea for apartment

In the last 2.5 years in the US we have lived in three different apartments and Alok did not let me drill holes in the walls or allow me to hang things on the wall to decorate our small apartment.  The plain, lifeless walls did not matter to him since he was worried he may have to pay for damages to the walls when we'd move out.  Because of that, I could not make my house a home.

Then one day an idea struck me and it looked good so I thought of sharing this easy and inexpensive DIY wall decor idea with those who have a small apartment, or those who move out often, or those looking for frugal ideas to decorate their apartment.

Links for today

Hi there!
Feel the midweek blues yet?  Here's something to take a break.

71. $850 for a built-in microwave oven drawer.  I feel this is absolutely ridiculous - but would you spend this amount of money to get a built-in oven drawer in your kitchen?

package from mom

Just received this package my mom sent from Thailand!


She lovingly packed so many things so carefully, not leaving an inch of space for air.  All this despite me getting angry at her, because...

weekend pastime links

Heylo, what's up this weekend?

Here are some weekend pastime links for you.

64. Ladder storage basket for $59.00 - although perfect for potatoes, onions, and garlic it is too expensive I think.  A three-tier rack with high edges, probably for $20 from Ross or Marshalls, etc would do the job.  But looks fancy - so would you buy something like this?

links today, monday

Heylo!  What's up?

Here are some links for you today.  Enjoy!

57.  Use inexpensive wrapping paper as table runner (bought from a dollar store?) - I love frugal ideas that are simple, pretty, and look more expensive than what they actually are.  Haha ;-)

not anymore

I am aware of Alok's habit that he will not pick things up that fall in his way, or will not keep things back in place - unless he is told.  Which also of course depends on his 'mood'.  So eventually I am the one clearing up stuff kept here and there.

But these days his habit of leaving things around is getting on my nerves.  So I have decided I am NOT going to go around picking things after him.  I am going to leave it wherever he leaves it.  If it does not affect him, I am not going to bother too.

sangeet song ideas for teasing bride and groom

In the last two years I have received the max queries from readers for sangeet song suggestions.

Some ask me to suggest songs for solo performances, or brother-sister songs, or songs to dance with their husband at their brother's or sister's sangeet sandhya - which is easy because Bollywood has produced plenty songs for solo dances, brother-sister relation, and lovey-dovey songs for couples to dance at sangeet program.

But some readers ask quite complicated yet interesting questions, such as
     a) sangeet songs for children as their age group has few options
     b) songs on nanand and bhabhi which are close to nil (here, this is an idea for Bollywood to pen a song for this relation)
     c) songs to dance on a sangeet for radha-krishna theme
     d) a song for a situation where both families have accepted the guy and girl
     e) teasing kind of songs for the bride's side to tease the groom


doing the dishes

That's my husband on the other side, playing game on his phone and watching TV.

This is me on this side, doing the dishes that have piled up in the sink.

And this is the story of my life every day.


sharing links, wednesday

Hello, Hello!  How's your day going on?

Sharing some links here with you.  Enjoy.

50.  I love collecting mugs but I only have one from Indonesia and Thailand, so far.  Some day when I have a vast collection like this one I will create a beautiful separate mug shelf too.

Money Soap Gift Idea

When I first saw this picture on the internet, I thought ...
- is this something photoshopped?
- but what is this?  looks like money inside jelly?
- uh....some kinda prank?
clicking on the picture takes to you the link where this product is sold
This is money soap.  Priced at $11.99 I think it makes a fun gift idea.  Some comments on the site say people have been buying this product since 2008, especially as Christmas stocking stuffer.

cake topper ideas | links for the day

When I looked back at my toothpick and paper toppers on cake, it actually made me realize - may be I should create cake toppers or cupcake toppers and keep them in stock anytime I have to bake and decorate a cake for someone.  It would be so much prettier and better than the paper-and-toothpick cake toppers I make not-so-neatly in a jiffy.

Here are 10 cake topper ideas I have collected for myself from around the internet.  Sharing with you in case they turn out helpful for you some day.  Of all these, I personally am not fond of those triangle banner kind of cake toppers because they have been done to death.  But they could inspire you and me someday for a more creative cake topper.

CAKE TOPPER IDEAS

[Clicking on the photo takes you to their original links]

1.  sweet, with the addition of hearts on both sides

links for today, thursday

For those in USA - got any plans for the long weekend?

Here are some links for today.  Enjoy!

43.  Shoe holder turned into cleaning supply storage

Blogger Confusions, Confessions, Ramblings, and Rants

I think I woke up at the wrong side of the bed today.  So here comes a rant post after a long, long time.


This is a result of volcano of irritations that has erupted after the two years of blogging.  While my grumpy-cranky self could severely upset some bloggers, continue reading at your own risk.  You have been warned.

interesting links, wednesday

Did anything fun over the weekend?

Here are some interesting links I discovered. Enjoy!

36.  Cute a noodle, tie it around a rubbermaid box, make a noodley beverage boat while you relax in the pool.  How smart!  Step-by-step instructions on this site.


toothpick and paper on cake


Last year one day a friend called me up to come along for a casual lunch to celebrate an Aunt's 60th birthday.  I had two hours on hand.  I wondered if I should cook something, but chose to bake an eggless vanilla cake real quick.  With no time for frosting, I just printed out a "Happy Birthday Aunty!" in a hurry, stuck the paper on a toothpick with tape, and inserted it into the cake when I reached there.
8 August 2012

links for your weekend pastime, friday

What are your plans for the weekend?

Here are some links for your weekend pastime.  Enjoy!

29.  Hubby does keep thinking why I keep collecting stuff that I should throw away.  But if brilliant people keep coming up with ideas such as this, it makes it tougher to throw things that could be upcycled into something great.  This one: wrap an aluminum foil box or cling wrap box to make a gift box and put mini muffins, cookies, etc in it.  (Step by step tutorial in link)

Voice Recognition Grocery List Organizer??

I saw this Voice Recognition Grocery List Organizer on internet and was shocked.  What shocked me more was the price: $99.95.
(clicking on picture takes you to the page where it is sold)
This is what ran through my mind:

Today's Links, Tuesday

Hello, how's it going!?

Today's Links:

22.  I have seen rainbow cakes before, but a checkered rainbow cake like this one has left my eyes wide and mouth open.  WAY TOO COOL.


note on dishwasher

Me sticking notes around the apartment for Alok is not a new thing for me and for him.

But last night I stuck the 'not washed' note on dishwasher in case this morning Alok wakes up before I do, and pulls out the cup and bowl from dishwasher for his milk-and-cereals-breakfast.

After a troubled sleep I did wake up late, just after he left for work.  And when I went into the kitchen, this is what I saw ... his response in blue: 'toh nachu kya?' [translate: so should I dance?]


I am married to a crazy yet funny man.
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Mother's Day


Hosted a surprise birthday party for Alok last evening after three days of cooking, planning, preparations, and keeping it a secret - along with three great friends that helped me with shopping, arrangements, serving, and cleaning up yesterday.  But today, each inch of my muscle and body is aching so much, that even paracetamol will feel a pain going down my throat.

Weekend Pastime Links, Friday

Hello!  What are your plans for the weekend?

Here are some weekend pastime links for you.

15. A tattoo of an oxytocin molecule, the hormone that makes one fall in love.  Though I would never get something like that tattooed on me even in my dreams.

pinterest panic

Addiction is not a good thing, they said.  And it is true.

One day suddenly the Pinterest website started acting strange on my computer.  I panicked and sent the Pinterest Support an email:

Spusht Nisha
May 01 11:42 (PDT)
- pins are not loading
- cannot even click on the pins
- cannot pin from any site either
- the gray links on left hand side are there the whole time
- clicking on any link does not open the new page
- so i have to type it out in address bar and press enter
- but still cannot see, click, like, or repin pins ... same cycle
- experiencing this since yesterday 30 April 2013
- happening on Firefox + Chrome
- very strange and frustrating, please help
- addicted to pinterest, need help asap
thank you,
nisha
pinterest.com/spusht
Attachment(s)
pinterest.jpg

Links for the day, Monday

How was your weekend??

Links for the day:

8.  These people have some really cool and funny t-shirts!  A little too pricey for me otherwise I would have bought one for my dad, but love most of the tees and the ideas on their page.

dadaji checked out my blog!

My Dadaji is too cute.  He checked out my blog and sent me the sweetest e-mail ever.


I MUST tell him how there are SO many talented and creative bloggers, better story-tellers, better writers, better photographers, and better designed blogs out there!

For now, I will be happy with how he feels about me :-)
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email from dadaji

Few days back, I woke up to a short and sweet surprise email from my Dadaji (grandfather):



You know what is better than having a family that loves you, a family that believes in you, and a family that takes pride in you? NOTHING!

There couldn't be a better start to my day!
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dreams at night

I dream a lot. EVERY NIGHT.  I have not slept peacefully in years.

Some dreams I remember in the morning, so I have decided to write my dreams to see if there is any interpretation or any pattern.  Or if the dreams makes any sense at all related to my real life.

April 30: This morning when I woke up, I realized I had a painful dream about camels and snakes. People on the field had to run away from the wild camels that came to attack, and then from the white snakes flying ahead. And no matter which door I opened to find an exit and save my life, the camels could break the walls and door and enter too.

Feb 13: I saw lizards, lizards that could fly. Four of them flew and landed on a tiny swing hanging from the ceiling.  They were swinging and they were wiggly.  And I trembled, in my dream and I believe in reality too.  What does this dream mean?!

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links for today, wednesday

How's it going, people?!

Links for today:

1. IKEA has been one of the most creative advertisers, and most of their products are the same.  This IKEA flat pack mail opens up to something really amazing in 3D.

India Trip, Day 54: shaadi

December 6 (Thu) - Day 54:  shaadi

Mahurat for phere was at 2 in the morning, and lasted until 6 am.  The parents of the bride sit together with the bride and groom.  The four of them follow all the procedures and customs the priest tells them to do.

It is after the phere that a couple is officially married in this traditional Hindu wedding.

India Trip, Day 53: marwadi wedding

December 5 (Wed) - Day 53:  marwadi wedding

Different customs take place during the day.  Then as per the mahurat, the baraat leaves from the groom's house to the bride's house.

India Trip, Day 52: manwaar

December 4 (Tue) - Day 52:  manwaar

Marwari weddings have a lot of food.  In fact, INDIAN weddings on the whole have a LOT of food.  Food for 100 people that could actually feed 300 people.

So we hire a cook at home, everyone addresses him as "maharaj", and he does all the cooking, for all the meals, for all the people, on all the days of the wedding.  THIS is maharaj's camp for four days:


India Trip, Day 51: sangeet function

December 3 (Mon) - Day 51:  sangeet function


PHEW.

The sangeet function that we had all been preparing for, the dances we all had been practicing, the steps we had been trying to remember - all of that finally ended today.  SO relaxed.  Feels like the wedding is half finished, half more to go.


India Trip, Day 50: wedding mehendi

December 2 (Sun) - Day 50:  wedding mehendi

Two professional mehendi artists were exclusively reserved for devar.  They are experts at 'wedding mehendi' - the kind of mehendi that is especially applied to bride and groom's hands.
professional mehendi artists applying henna on groom's hand and feet simultaneously

India Trip, Day 49: celebrations begin

December 1 (Sat) - Day 49:  celebrations begin

The long wooden sticks and metal poles are coming in.  Carpet, chairs, tables, are being carried.


India Trip, Day 48: parlor and boutique

November 30 (Fri) - Day 48: parlor and boutique

Nanand and I went for a haircut today.  The wedding functions begin tomorrow, close families will have started to come stay over, there is a lot of work at home, many preparations are left, but we went for a hair cut today.  Why?  I don't know.  Also, why risk (JUST IN CASE) into some disastrous haircut just days before the wedding?  I don't know.  Why are both of us crazy?  No idea.

My attire was ready at Ramneey Boutique, dropped by on the way home.  Last time I just chose the colors and left everything else on her.  Was SO nervous to see what it would turn out like, but I am pretty satisfied.  They tried out different styles of dupatta on me to give me ideas on how to wear this lehenga.  Now if I could also get ideas to reduce the number of zeros on the price tag...

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India Trip, Day 47: tailor trouble

November 29 (Thu) - Day 47: tailor trouble

Alok and I went for his kurta pyjama trial at a store today, where few days back he had selected a cloth material with his choice of color and pattern, and given his measurements to have them stitch it for him within a week.  He had selected some Indo-Western style that is in trend these days, but it kinda looked weird on him.  They also made it look so bland; not something glamorous one would wear on a sangeet function.  At least looked more bland to me when I compared it to how much it cost.  And the fitting was not that great either.

This is what happens when you leave things for the last minute.  My lecture to Alok made me feel superior.

India Trip, Day 46: sangeet practice

November 28 (Wed) - Day 46:  sangeet practice

Oh goodness gracious.  Organizing sangeet practice sessions, that too for the first time, is a pain in the ass.

To coordinate different groups, and different dances, of cousins and relatives at different places in the city, according to everyone's free time, and match to the choreographer's timings ... is NO JOKE.

Nanand and I are handling this and are going crazy.  She is doing most of the work - calling up everyone, scheduling the dances, carrying the laptops and speakers, arranging music system in the room upstairs, and bringing snacks from outside for everyone during the practice sessions.  Upstairs = climbing up and down three floors so many times must have reduced our weight by a kg, at least.

Really, what is the best way to organize a successful sangeet function?  To think of it, there is enough work for the directly related members in the family, so either we could have delegated some part of the work to another person (because there are like more than 60 people altogether in this and the extended family).  OR, we could have made an outline each week with the dance groups, choreographers, and suitable timings for each day, sent out copies to each one participating in the dances, and have them responsible to come for their respective dance practices.

OR, wait a minute, why didn't anyone take the initiative?
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India Trip, Day 45: shopping again

November 27 (Tue) - Day 45:  shopping again

Nanand and I were on a shopping spree today for my soon-to-be devrani.  Took my devrani's reception lehenga (attire) along with us to buy a matching bangle set.  The groom's side of the family gifts the wedding trousseau mainly for the reception to the new bahu.

India Trip, Day 44: tulsi vivah

November 26 (Mon) - Day 44:  tulsi vivah

"Tulsi", the holy basil is worshiped in India and a lot of homes keep a tulsi plant and pour water over the tulsi pot in the morning.  My mom did the same in Bangkok.  She even put a leaf or two of tulsi in the food she offered to God (prasad).  My saasuji keeps a stock of dried tulsi leaves and puts a couple of them in the first meal cooked for the day (lunch) EVERY DAY.

Some days back was Tulsi Vivaah, the Goddess Tulsi's wedding.  I don't remember mom performing this puja, but I guess I may have not paid attention.

puja preparation for Tulsiji ki shaadi

India Trip, Day 43: mangodi

November 25 (Sun) - Day 43:  mangodi

I was in Chennai for the first time in life and wanted to stay just a day or two longer to take a break and see around, but Alok just HAD to take this early morning flight to Hyderabad.  He said there was not much to do or visit in this part of Chennai, and he rather spend time with his family in Hyd.  Arrgghhh.  ONE more day's vacation is asking for too much, Alok????  Grrrr.

10 in the morning, we were already back at home in Hyd, afternoon we were practicing our dance routine for the sangeet function, and late at night nanand and I were piping out mangodi.

India Trip, Day 42: in chennai

November 24 (Sat) - Day 42: in chennai

Left from Hyderabad at 7 in the morning and arrived at Chennai by 8 to attend Alok's friend's younger brother's wedding.


After a good lunch at the venue, we sat down to enjoy the sangeet function.

India Trip, Day 41: house help

November 23 (Sat) - Day 41:  house help
That's me, doing the dishes.
This one's from Nanand's phone, again.

Not wanting to let saasuji wash the whole day's utensils, I have been doing the dishes every other day past three weeks, because our 'help' did not want to come...and gives a new excuse each time.  Nanand and I even went to the maid's house today to ask why she was not coming, when she will come again, and tell her how it gets difficult leaving the utensils all day only to realize she's not coming for the day.  At the end of the day - five people in the family, three meals per day, and two tea times do create a LOT of dishes piled up in the sink.

Until few years ago, I knew that if you made decent money in India, life was very luxurious.  You could hire part-time maid servants to come twice in the day to do the dishes, wipe and put them in place, wash and hang dry the clothes, as well as sweep and mop the house - all for under Rs. 2,000 ($37) a month.  Cheap labor, after all, that India is so popular for?

India Trip, Day 40: my devar

November 22 (Thu) - Day 40:  my devar

Devar keeps planning and trying to scare me in different ways - whether it was two years ago after my marriage, or since the last month that I have been here.  Once he sat in my room covering himself with a white bed sheet acting like a ghost; when I entered the room instead of getting scared I went "WHAT are you doing?!".  One time, he knocked my door and hid, I went out to see who it was, saw no one, and shut the door.  He knocked again and hid, this time I did not open and said, "I know it is you!  Give up already!" ... he still would not give up.  Once he hid behind a stack of mattresses in the study room, and nanand came along with me to search something there (they both were partners in crime).  As soon as I was supposed to enter he was going to scream loud, but I switched on the lights before that.  One time, nanand knocked my door and hid; when I opened the door, I saw legs hanging from the top - devar sat on the little slab above my door and tried to scare me; attempt failed again.

India Trip, Day 39: chai ka chaska

November 21 (Tue) - Day 39:  chai ka chaska


The "dophaari" (afternoon tea time) with tea and snacks around 3-4 PM with the family every day has got me drinking chai (Indian Tea) every day.  Despite drinking tea and coffee in the day time it affects my sleep very badly at night, but I am not able to avoid it.

"Chaska" as called in Hindi, if translated in English would mean a "liking" for something in a fond way.  You can use 'chaska' to express liking for a person or place...but it is mostly used for food.  And that is what I am developing: chai ka chaska - a fondness for tea.

The 'chocolate milk girl' in me since 27 years is transforming into a 'tea lady'.  But really, now I know why the whole of India drinks chai all the time.  It IS addictive.
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India Trip, Day 38: brats


November 20 (Tue) - Day 38:  brats

Some boys in India are too pampered by their mother.  And boys that turn into men are still pampered, by their mother AND their wife.  In some homes, a mother will still stay up until 11 in the night until her son comes back home from work.  Will heat up food and heat each dish again on the gas stove instead of microwave, especially for him.  And will not sleep until he is finished eating.  In some houses, a husband will call out the wife (no matter what she may be busy in the kitchen with) to serve him a glass of water, instead of getting up and taking it himself.  He will finish eating his food and leave the utensils there on the table for his wife to pick up and put in sink.

I am sure there may be many homes that are not like this, but I think most boys in India should be sent to America to learn to do things on their own.  Thank goodness Alok does not have such habits.  The day he does....

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India Trip, Day 37: my two sense

November 19 (Mon) - Day 37:  my two sense

Devar called up on nanand's mobile at 4 in the morning, scolding her and asking where she kept some keys to some door.  She went downstairs to show him where.

After 5 minutes I got worried, so got up to go downstairs too.  When I opened the door, devar, nanand, and saasuji were standing on the staircase.  And along with them was Alok, just outside the room, waiting to enter the door to surprise me.

I hugged him sooooo tight and screamed "SEEEEEE!  I KNEW ITTT!!!!!"

He came two days before.  He gave everyone a surprise.  My sixth sense works.

But later in the day I asked Alok how did he change the dates on the itinerary he mailed me?  I know my smartypants has zero idea how to use Photoshop.  He said he just tried whatever ways he could to modify the dates, but forgot to change the 'DAYS', and hoped I would not figure out and ruin his surprise.

I saw the itinerary again.  21 Nov was not on Monday.  My sixth sense may work, but my common sense sure does not.
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India Trip, Day 36: black magic

November 18 (Sun) - Day 36:  black magic

I am getting freaked out by all the black magic stories I have been hearing.  And it appears Hyderabad is very notorious for it.  I did not believe in all this before, but the examples and stories I heard make me feel like these things happen for real.  And it is scary.

India Trip, Day 35: village...restaurant

November 17 (Sat) - Day 35:  village...restaurant

Cousin sisters-in-law (nanads & bhabhis) and brothers-in-law (jijajis and bhaiyas) planned a post-Diwali get together at the Village restaurant in Inorbit Mall at Hitech City.

Village Restaurant, Inorbit Mall, Hitech City, Hyderabad

In the last decade, of all the restaurants I have visited anywhere, Village Restaurant fascinated me like no other (apart from Rainforest Cafe).  Right from the entrance, I started to feel like I was walking into a completely different city - oops, I mean a village. The ambiance of this "theme restaurant" left me flabbergasted.