Sunday, May 29, 2011

same old hAAthi times, brand new location

So, 5 long years, 802 posts and 2414 comments later, Iv finally decided to make a move. The life and times of hAAthi can now be found at

We are now rolling.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Its been a long dry spell. Iv forgotten how good it feels. I havent done it in so long, I really couldnt help it today. I just havent found the time, but today I just couldnt resist. Iv been awfully stressed and tired off late and today I just gave it. Let my body just unwind and let go. And boy do I feel good now. All stretched out and relaxed.

Its amazing what an afternoon nap can do to make you feel alive again.

Its Saturday...

After what feels like an eternity, its the weekend again. And Im overjoyed that Im home, I woke up at my own will, and I have nothing to do. Well nothing imperative anyway. Work can be done, when I please. But I shall leave it to just that -- when I please.

On the list for this weekend is some much-needed organising of my second bedroom, which for the last year has been a store room/dumping spot for all things that dont have a dedicated place. And then I plan to complete the canvas I started last weekend and couldnt complete because of a power cut. And then mmaybe just for fun, I shall start another canvas. Or do another watercolor. Or maybe, just for fun, BOTH! And also, a huge stash of books arrived from flipkart (thanks to Karishma's awesome gift voucher birthday gift! thank you!) so Im going to spend the weekend sinking into that. There will of course be some cooking, because frankly Iv been so uninspired this past week. What can you do when youre getting over your sisters leaving town, and youre swamped with work, and never seem to get home before the sun sets.

Also, there is this incredibly uncontrollable urge to bake today. Which of course will be controlled by the sheer fact that I have no oven here :S hah! But what I do plan to give myself this week is an Idli stand! So we can have rava idlis for breakfast tomorrow, straight out of the brand new 5.5 lt pressure cooker, that I waited a whole year to get!

In the meantime, here's shenanigans from Niyu's last weekend here:

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Work has officially drained me of all my writing capabilities this week, and the last. I feel like I just cant make the words come out and make sense any more. So Im going to leave it to pictures.

VC getting ready to settle under the umbrella, with a book

Niyu contemplating a swim, in stormy seas. The monsoons are approaching and the sea has gotten so weird.

VC and his new fav thing to do

Priya came to town!


Posers, sick of posing!

And then the board-games began! Uno, pictionary, whisky and wine.

And the next day, as cloudy skies gathered above us, we roamed around Panjim and Old Goa, shooting random examples of beautiful Goanness on a Sunday afternoon.

Monday, May 16, 2011


So how do you get over the worst week in a long long time? How do you come to terms with the fact that you just might be pushing yourself in the wrong direction, into doing something you know you dont have a passion for?

How do you undo what your life has turned into in just one week? A royal mess of efforts directed in futile activities?

How do you feel good about yourself again? About who you are, what youre good at, what youre meant to do? How do you believe in yourself again, in your abilities and your passion? How do you make life meaningful again, when all you've done for one long tiring week long is aimlessly force yourself to do something you hate, and fail at it, multiple times over?

I'll tell you how.

You get family together. You go out to the beach. You decompress. You watch the waves coming in and going out. You remind yourself why you are in Goa. You thank the stars for everything they've brought your way. You remind yourself that this is just a job. And then you tell yourself that you will give it your all, try with all your might and what will be, will be. And that the rest of your life isnt going to be ruined by the misplaced messes that happen at work. You remind yourself that life really is about happy times that happen in between the things you need to do to survive. Life is what happens when Im painting. When Im cooking. When Im sharing a laugh with VC. When we're sitting in the balcony, talking about the day gone by and sharing the most inane details with enthusiasm. Life is what happens when Im too busy enjoying the moment to really care whats going to happen next.

That's what I did to overcome and undo one of the worst weeks of my life here in Goa. A week that was altogether unsuccessful, depressing and so forgettable. I hate weeks that leave me with nothing meaningful to mark my life with. Last week was like that. It was like painfully trying my hand at doing something I know I cant. And failing. Like trying to ram through a steel wall, that wont come down. It cant be done. Much like me, writing copy. It just cant be done. And i feel the more I push myself into it, the harder it gets. The more frustrating it gets. And thats what brings unhappiness.

I feel like Iv solved the biggest mystery of the week. And I just needed to let go a little.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The kind of day that makes you want to tear your hair out. For real.
The kind of day that makes you wonder why youre doing the things you are.
The kind of day that makes you irritable and edgy.
The kind of day that makes you feel incapable and inadequate.
The kind of day that resonates negativity.
The kind of day that out to be spent on a beach. Cocktail in hand.
The kind of day that shouldnt be spent looking at a computer screen pointlessly.
The kind of day that leaves no hope.
The kind of day that feels like a wall.
The kind of day that never wants to end.
The kind of day that must end on a high. Because everyone needs a silver lining.
The kind of day that I hate.
The kind of day that really should be over. Thankyouverymuch.
That kind of day.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Im seriously allergic to..

Hypocrites. There's nothing worse than having to endure people with double standards, baseless generalisations and pretentious behaviour. Unfortunately, I meet more of them than Id like to on an everyday business.

Sometimes, I get fooled and caught in the trap too. Going out of my way to be nice, when really nobody cares. I found myself giving the husband a big lecture on being kind regardless of how people behave towards you, because if we were to stoop as low, how are we any different? But today, I find myself so pissed off for being nice. Because sometimes being nice bites you back.

What is it with insensitive people these days? How come its the "adults" that are sometimes the most childish?

Here's to keeping a safe and sensible distance and sieving the negativity out of my immediate atmosphere.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

What last weekend didnt have that this weekend has

1) Niyu's back!

2) And with her arrival came a real reason to go back to the beach again. VC and I have gotten so caught up in life, that I realise that merely driving my the sea everyday on our way to work is refreshing enough. Unlike 1 year ago, when we'd drive out 20kms every weekend and spend half a day or more at the beach, swimming, drinking, reading, photographing. Going to the beach these days is reserved for those special times when we have people visiting, and Im glad we finally had reason to go. I managed to catch a swim in the sea and it was divine.

3) A lack of painting. I didnt get the time to get down and paint, even though I went to the beach all prepared to do so. The sea green waters were far more tempting, and once I was in the water, the cool waves that lapped over me, swaying me around was just too relaxing for me to get out and go paint. So i traded painting for some water therapy. Happily, so!

4) The return of the board games! Something about summer nights, and Niyu being here brings out the board game competitors in us. So we played a few rounds of Pictionary and Uno last night, with some friends who came over. Needless to say of course, the combination of varied drawing skills and our trusted friend Mr Jim Beam, ensured that we had an entertaining evening.

5) Lots of cooking! I dont feel too bad about not painting at all, because this weekend seems to be filled with cooking. I made an entire lunch yesterday, and we cooked up some herbed sausages later at night. Today, we're embarking on yet another BBQ endeavour and Im all set to get with the flow of marinating all the chicken and fish Niyu and VC are out buying right now.

I think I need 5-day weekends, and a 2-day work week. My life would be so much more meaningful :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

simply breakfast

I stumbled on this blog sometime last year, around the time I was cultivating this unnatural obsession for all things related to food. Food blogs featured HIGH on that list. I was quick to "follow" it and have always wanted to try photographing my breakfast. Except nothing I ever eat for breakfast looks half as gorgeous as even the simplest things she eats.

Until today!

Yup, these are the first mangoes I have tasted this season. Fresh, bright and colourful, I hope this gorgeous start to the day has some effect on the rest of the maddening day thats about to pan out.

In other news the birthday was celebrated rather uniquely this past weekend. It amazes me how ever progressive year I end up torn between wanting to "do something" and "behave my age and not celebrate", and I always end up doing something that really surprises me. More on that soon.

The sister aka The Goof is scheduled to arrive sometime this weekend. And then begins another few weeks of complete magical mischief. I cant wait! It has been far too long. There will be cooking, there will be laughter till we pee, there will be photographs, there will be painting, there will be beer, there will be some BBQed prawns and there will be fun. Lots of it.

So while most of my life continues to be a landslide that I am constantly fighting against, I shall think about the yummy mangoes and the look forward to things to come. Because its good. Its ALL good :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

new love

Perhaps its a sign of things to come, that I spent my birthday doing this:
Im loving it so much I could very easily get used to it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

to be noted

In other news: the world is full of a lot of selfish people. The kind who need to talk to you only when they NEED to talk to you. The kind that only wants you some of the time.

Also, I hate feeling used.

The blues after a rainbow-y weekend

Today is the perfect example for a wet-blanket start to the week. After a gorgeous weekend, I came into work all guns blazing to get started on some long pending stuff. I thought today would FINALLY be the day I would get cracking on it and churn it out quickly and painlessly. But no. I don't quite know why, but the stress in the atmosphere/room is palpable. And my enthusiasm went from 100 down to 10 in just half an hour. Im uninspired, suddenly bleah and very bored. For no apparent reason. I don't know what triggered it off suddenly.

I have to learn not to let my surroundings get to me so much. I will probably never have the 100% most productive work environment. People will be noisy, there will be chit-chat, it cant be helped in an office. Why then, am I so easily distracted? Why is it so easy for me to lose the plot and drop all everything I have so painfully gathered and put together?

And its ONLY Monday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

For my darling Amma

My sweetest most amazing Amma turned 50 today. Except in my eyes she isnt a day older than 30. Like I told her today, 50 is the new 30, and I cant think of anyone who lives by that (quite unintentionally) more than Amma does.

I honestly believe Amma is as young as she was at 30. I cant believe shes 50 already. Mostly because not too much of her (except those gorgeous silver streaks in her hair!) has aged. And the bits that have, have aged so gracefully, I hope I have an iota of her charm and grace and finesse when I turn 50. Shes calm, collected, grounded and so all-there.

Shes resilient, strong, inspiring and shes my rock. I may not have told her many times before, but she is the 50% of the reason why I am who I am today. Why I am where I am today. And she will always be a part of everything I choose to do or be. She and Anna are my whole world and nothing will ever change that.

So while genetically I have a lot of her in me, in my flesh and bones and blood, I hope I have imbibed at least a tiny percentage of the person she is today. The brilliance with which she wears so many different hats: mother, wife, friend, confidant, teacher, student, musician, performer, academician, doctor, counsellor, my own personal home-google. She does it all. And with such ease :)

I wanted to be there. In a way to give thanks for everything she has done, for who she is, and to celebrate 50 awesome years. But I couldnt go :( So how does one give thanks long distance? Pouring my heart out on this blog, through words that might be jumbled right now because of the emotional overload, is the only way I know.

Someday, when I look back on this day, I will remember how I ached to be in Bangalore, but decided to celebrate the brilliance of my Amma all the way here in Panjim, with some chocolate fudge :)

I love you Amma. And here's to 50 wonderfully inspiring years ahead!

Much satisfaction and so much joy

Another weekend is almost over, and despite the fact that Iv been struggling to finish some long overdue work today (and its caused me considerable pain :S) Iv had a lovely weekend.

From painting on the beach
Reading, chilling, making fun of VC who forgot to carry his shades and was forced to wear my very chicita new shades
To all the various kinds of foods, starting with the massive and yummy Goan veg breakfast at Cafe Tato's
The sinful cheese omelette that we had to settle for given the painting overdrive I had yesterday that rendered me incapable of going into the kitchen to cook lunch
To the impromptu BBQ dinner invite, I wish I had pictures to show because some of those experiments were so spontaneous and so scrumptious!
Not to forget the dessert I made
To the extra sleep today followed by another painting (picture coming soon!)
And more blogging, followed by a nice long brainstorm with VC.
And then MORE indulgence and blogging with the chocolate fudge
And perhaps a swim to top it off all nice and well :)

This is the kind of weekend that makes everything worth it again. Its the kind of life I live for. Its the kind of weekend that enriches and rejuvenates me.

*all my culinary adventures from the weekend are on the food blog

2 days, 2 movies

Dum maaro dum:
When will hindi movie makers learn the concept of "proportion" (of drama to length of movie), when will they learn taste and style? What could have been an entertaining, high tension, even if BADLY written movie, turned out to be an extra elongated, stretched beyond belief, badly written movie. Felt a bit like a BAD hindi movie inspired by The Departed. The verdict: totally missable


Made me want to go to RIO! Nuff said. The verdict: Must watch

Saturday, April 23, 2011

and another

Today, sitting on the beach at 8 am, painting away, I had an emotional moment with myself. Suddenly, I felt overwhelmed about where I was. The reality of it hit me all over again. In Goa. Living 5 minutes from such beauty. Such peace. And the ability to take off and do things that I havent in years.

Thank you, universe.

finding lost things

Theres been a strong urge to go back to watercolor painting. Iv never "learnt" it, just always experimented my way around and discovered new things quite by accident. I dont have technique and I dont have style. I just know colour. And I know water. And off we go.

This has been a long time coming. So this morning Udaya, VC and I went to the Cidade beach. And though my perspective is totally off as is my sense of colour and texture, Im happy with the start to the weekend :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

another year gone by

Recently, the husband made an observation about me. That I tend to worry about the future, and reminisce about the past, to an extent where I lose out on the present. I think what is true in that statement is that Im all about memories and bits and pieces of my past, that I hang on to tight. Much the same way there are bit and pieces that I imagine for the future. Im not so sure that it keeps me from losing out on the present, but thats the husbands feeling.

Today, Im swept over by emotion and nostalgia again. As the day nears, I cant help but feel a sense of extreme nostalgia about the same time last year. And I cant help but recollect what a blast it was stepping into the 27th year on a beach.

It also didnt help that FB decided to throw up the Goa 2010 album when I logged in today. So here I am, letting my emotions overflow here:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When I rediscovered my love for cooking

Some serious badminton fever is doing the rounds at work. So every evening around 6 30, people creep out of their various rooms and hit the volleyball court. Except, we use it to play badminton. I didnt realise how rigorous and energetic badminton was, and now Iv really taken to it, seeing as how waking up early in the morning to go for a run or get some exercise seems like a distant faraway dream. Iv decided that something is better than nothing, and badminton seems to be the way to go as of now. Its pretty addictive and Im loving it!

The downside (isnt there always a downside?) is that invariably we finish at 9pm (sometimes 10!), which leaves me oh-soooo-pooped by the time I get home that fixing dinner is easily substituted with a quick meal at Soft Rock before we head home and crash. As a result last week featured four Soft Rock dinner. And almost all featured chicken fried rice and chicken in black bean sauce. Its like Iv found the perfect Rice Bowl equivalent of my life in Bangalore. I <3 Soft Rock. Its my Goan Rice Bowl and chicken in black bean sauce is the new schezuan chicken. So heart warming, so homely. So come weekend, and I realised how much I have missed my kitchen this week. My repeated efforts to cook regularly have failed miserably. The biggest challenge is that with just about 16-17 waking hours on hand, its a tad difficult to squeeze in everything I want to do on any given day. So I can either have a good round of exercise followed by a good nights sleep, or I can have home cooked dinner and a good nights sleep. I cant have both. Tragedy of my life. But I have decided to just accept it. Im no superman. Trying to be super efficient gives me sleepless nights. Anyhoo, to give myself some good kitchen time, I decided to skip going out for the various possibilities of dinner last night, and stay in and make my version of Meaty Pasta. Inspired by Sandhya and some pasta tricks Iv seen on Smitten Kitchen, I decided something needed to be done.

It also helped that we had a bottle of this to be opened:

And this is how excited VC was:

Neither of us is on-the-rocks-brave so he had his with water and ice, and I had mine with Pepsi.

And diner turned out to be this:
A creamy, cheesy tomato-ey, red-winey pasta with a simple Balsamic Vinegar dressed fresh salad.

Half way through dinner, I stopped to tell VC how much I love cooking. I really do. When I cook, I feel like myself. Its me time. Its my thinking time. It gives me joy to labour over chopping things, putting them together, not following a recipe pat, throwing things in as I go along, and seeing what happens. When the result is spectacular (as it was last night), its like affirmation for that love for cooking. And I had that epiphany yesterday, as I was chowing down my pasta. I paused for a moment, soaked in in and thought to myself: its wonderful what having your own home and your own kitchen can do for you. And I highly recommend it :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

summer is SO here

Despite last weeks surprise showers and thunder and lightning and crazy-assed winds, we're back to suffering the sweltering heat.

Today for the first time in a long time, I felt oppressively hot. Like I couldnt breathe and I wanted to roam around everywhere in my skivvies. I guess its a good thing Im safely ensconced within the air-conditioned room in the office from Monday to Friday, so I escape this maddening furnace thats billowing outside. Because frankly, roaming around everywhere in my skivvies? I dont think the world is ready for that sight yet.

I couldnt bear to hang outside. Doing my weekly grocery/vegetable shopping was making me breathless and uncomfortable. Now Im safely back home, under the fan, enjoying my natural mango icecream in peace. Thank god for small mercies.