There’s no place like “home”!

The weather in Doha was at it’s ficklest.

Erratically cloudy and dusty.

Swelteringly hot and humid one minute and surprisingly un-hot (can’t call it “cool” yet!) the next.

The day Dr J left Doha, the city seemed to be in a glum mood.

Dark and threatening to pour.

Alas, no such thing transpired.

J left Doha without seeing the first rains of winter.

Without getting her knits and cardigans out of the closet.

Without unwrapping her boots from the “shoe cupboard”.

Without putting the water- heater on in the mornings again.

Without switching off the AC before going to bed.

She landed in Bangalore with storms and lashing rain chasing her.

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A week of rain preceded her arrival.

The smell of damp earth and the sight of wet grass welcomed her.

The air smelled of smoke and incense.

And filter coffee.

And slightly musty.

And very familiar.

It smelled like HOME!

Doha is where Dr J’s current home is situated. But Bangalore will always be “HOME”!

A place of comfort and solace.

Unfamiliar at times due to time spent away, yet oddly intimate and familiar.

So, what does J do on her first two days’ home?

Have authentic masala dosa  (Spiced rice and lentil, fermented crepe with potaotes) and filter coffee.

Do not judge the humble steel cup, the beverage within is divine. Better than some pretentious 7 dollar/ 25 QAR/ 400 INR lattes!
Do not judge the humble steel cup, the beverage within is divine. Better than some pretentious 7 dollar/ 25 QAR/ 400 INR lattes!
The Masala Dosa- needs no introduction. At least to any self- respecting South- Indian. To my friends who have never eaten this... well...
The Masala Dosa- needs no introduction. At least to any self- respecting South- Indian. To my friends who have never eaten this… well…

Visit a salon!

Having visited several “parlours” and “beauty centers” at Doha, and having to pay absurd amount of Rials for substandard and sometimes downright atrocious service- it was a welcome change.

Dr J visited an upscale salon, paid less than 100 QAR (1500 INR) for service that would have cost me at least 500 QAR at a not-so-fancy beauty center at Doha!

And yes… She can walk on the streets again!

On the downside though, she achingly misses the sea…….

Wakrah Beach! I miss thee, my love!
Wakrah Beach! I miss thee, my love!

And Corniche…

 

Sigh!
Sigh! See you soon enough …

And someone else…

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

What’s in my diaper/ changing bag?

Scene-

Mr H, J and Z are heading out for the evening

 J is still getting ready…. Okay…I am almost ready…. If only I could find my watch…

Oops, need to switch the living room AC off…

Aah! Better get the laundry going…It will be done by the time we’re back…

Now to fill some water…

Z might need extra- socks. She always manages to get them off… Now…where is the other of this pair…

Done.

Argh, where’s that darned lipstick. The one I got last week….

Eeks… The scarf does not match… Do I change the top?

She is running around in circles.

Normal.

Mr H hovers. He is carrying the little one. He conspicuously looks at his watch. Repeatedly. With an exaggerated motion.

J tells him she’s almost ready. Just another couple of minutes. Why don’t you buckle up Zoe in her seat hun? I’l be out in a moment….

He is more than happy to get going. He knows she WILL NOT be “out in a moment”…

He is almost at the door when J hollers…

Honey! Please take The Bag with you as well…

The Bag.

Aaah! The Bag….

The Bag that weighs almost as much as J does…

The mystery of which, Mr H shall never comprehend…

The so called “diaper bag”!

There have been several discussions, arguments, accusations and denials pertaining to The Bag. Mr H thinks J needlessly stuffs it with “junk” and lugs it around, inevitably ending up with shoulder and back ache at the end of the evening.

J begs to differ. She can cite a dozen or more instances (in the recent past) where The Bag and its constituents have come in handy. Have been their saviour. Have helped them kill time in waiting rooms and airports. Have been helpful in cleaning up spit ups and poop explosions. Served as a pillow…..

But Mr H always complains. Whenever they are out as a family, The Bag serves both as a diaper bag and J’s handbag- it’s bound to be heavy!

So, after ceaseless complaints, J finally decided to give it a thorough look in. She decided to clean it up and size it down.

She decided, she might as well do a “What’s in my diaper bag” post while she is at it. It’s Ma Wednesday after all- PERFECTO!

J has always found peeks into others’ lives fascinating. There are always lessons to be learnt. Information to be garnered. Do let me know if you find such posts entertaining….

So here goes…

The Bag itself is nothing fantastic. J hated all the cheesy looking diaper bags being sold at all the baby stores. She could have used a regular handbag, but she did not want to miss out on the experience of using a “diaper/changing/baby bag”.

She wanted a classy, simple looking bag. This fit the bill…

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But the bag’s bill wouldn’t have fit J! Shelling out 1300 QAR for something she would use for not more than a couple of years seemed absurd. After all, it is just a “changing bag”.

She kept hunting for a reasonably priced bag that she wouldn’t cringe being seen with. Finally she had to settle. Function over looks.

This one had a lot of pockets/ compartments, a changing mat, insulated bottle holder and compartment, extra- pouch, detachable pouches, Velcro straps to use on the pram/stroller handle and a decent price tag of a little over 200 QAR. J liked the faux leather trim on the handle and the sides. But hated the “flower explosion” pattern!

Aah! It will have to do….

All the items shown below, came out of that bag. Nothing was thrown away. Even the receipts and bills are shown in their original condition to maintain the authenticity of this “what’s in my diaper bag” post.

Go on, peek….

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Wish it were minus the “floral explosion”… Pierre Cardin Diaper Bag
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Stuffed with stuff, yet lots more room to spare.
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More than sufficient pockets, compartments and pouches
photo 5 (1)
Detachable pouches.
photo 4 (2)
Easy to remove and attach…
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Once detached, makes more room inside
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Add- ons that come with the bag… Stroller straps, long shoulder strap, insulated bottle holder, changing pad/mat, zippered pouch.
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The junk revealed…
photo 5 (3)
Light blanket/ swaddle/ nursing cover/ multi- purpose cloth thinggy!
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Spare outfit, socks, mittens (not used). towel, cap…
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The absolute basics plus her hardly worn shoes…
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Some random “emergency” stuff…for Mr H, J and Z…
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Items to keep Zoe engaged…
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Items to keep J engaged…
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Bits and bobs…
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Essentials…
Gum and hand- sanitizer are often used, the hand cream rarely and the pacifiers wipes- NEVER!
Gum and hand- sanitizer are often used, the hand cream rarely and the pacifier wipes- NEVER!
Never know when one might need stink!
Never know when one might stink!
I carry it more for it's "cuteness quotient"...
Carried more for it’s “cuteness quotient”…
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Fragrant waste bag dispenser- Super handy!

Also, other items that usually go into this bag are J’s wallet, planner, iPad, mobile phone and a water bottle!

I guess that is almost everything. Not sure if I’m missing something. Will update if I am…

Things will change a bit now since Lil’ Z has started having “food” and “water”… Bibs, bottles, sippy cups….Aah…tis bound to get heavier!

So my lovely mommies …What’s in your changing bag?

Till next time…

Dr J.

P.S. During the course of the evening, Mr H made use of some gum, tissues, wet wipes, pen and lip balm :-). And we used a waste bag as well…. Just saying…

And the “down- sizing” of The Bag never did happen!

The Shameless Consumerist.

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Mr H calls J a shameless consumerist. The type that advertisers love and capitalistic economies thrive upon. The type that drives minimalistic, sustenance- only, under- the-top individuals like him nuts!

J has always vehemently and vociferously denied the accusation, of course. She believes she only buys what she ABSOLUTELY NEEDS. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why would they manufacture all those things otherwise? If no one needed the things, or did not buy them; wouldn’t the companies go bust?

The problem here is complex, folks. Both Mr H and Dr J truly believe in their economic theories. One vouches for reductivism in life, while the other ardently believes in pampering and rewarding oneself for their everyday drudgery. A necessity for Dr J is an indulgence for MR H.

 Aah! The balance of the universe. The heavens have chosen this pair wisely. Their balance and opposition in beliefs and behaviours keeps them glued and yet drive them crazy!

Yin and Yang.  The Yin being materialistic, impulsive and intense, the Yang being calm, practical and forethoughtful. The Yin with the credit cards and the Yang with the shopping cart.

Opposites.

Complementary.

Pair.

Perfect.

It would be perfect, if only Dr J was just like “another girl”. If only she craved clothes, shoes, make-up, bags and the like….

She does.

Absolutely.

But she also loves quirky gadgets, cool technology, the latest gizmos, the trending contraptions….

She’s abreast of all that is hot on the techie market. And is constantly pointing at stuff in store aisles while hopping from toe to toe and making her all-too-famous “puppy- face”.

Mr H falls for it every single time…..

If only matters ended there…

What of the books?

The endless, ceaseless, interminable greed for books. The racks are gravid and the cartons are full, but the books keep coming. Mr H dreads the words…” Honey, there’s this book it seems…”. Aah, he knows what the statement entails. A trip to the bookstore.

And he is well aware of the consequence of that…..

And pray, tell me folks….

Which ADULT in their right mind goes gaga over stationary? Really…who does? J does. Don’t tell her I mentioned it though. It’s her embarrassing little secret.

So, that’s another way for the family finances to be siphoned off…

And the home appliances?

The quadruple door matte- metallic, extra-freezer space, cold water dispensing fridge?

The top-shelf Nespresso machine?

The curved, ultra HD, LED TV?

The double- decker oven with grill and broiler function, cum stove with eight burners? The fancy, uber-tech food processor? The blender?

And who wouldn’t want the chic bed linen? The ultra- cushiony couch and the to-melt-into mattress. The cool-as-hell curtains? The whispy, light pillows.

Every half-decent home- maker would want that!!

The fancy china, colour-coordinated and themed pots and pans. The 450 piece dinner set and the exotic table-ware…

The basics my friend, the basics!

And please, don’t ever ask Dr J to scrimp on food.  It blasphemous to her. Food is her one true love (along with books and shoes!) ……..

Dare you stop her from indulging in some quality grub!

The list continues…

Cars, home, vacations…….

It is a disease my friends. An addiction. An affliction with no cure. The more you get, the more you want.

The bucket lists never taper. The wish list never terminates. The desires never cease.  They only recycle and re-form. Old ones once fulfilled give way to new ones…..

That is how a consumerist rolls… Dough is their drug and the smell of “new” is their high.  No one but them shall understand this high. It is self- perpetuating. An exercise in self- indulgence.

It is harmless in moderation, and can give great joy if practiced within bounds.

It can also be destructive, debt inviting and ultimately catastrophic to the family finances. The rule of the game is to always cut your coat according to your cloth. With lesser cloth in fact. 

There is a fine line between a joyous consumer and a miserable debtor. And not crossing it, is an art folks.

One that J seems to have mastered!

Shop responsibly folks!

Till the next purchase…..

Dr J.

 

Disclaimer-  The above post includes disproportionate exaggeration of people and events for the benefit of creative purposes and reader enjoyment. 

The Grubbie Tuesday “How Not To” Series- Making Dosas!

I have to do something unthinkable this morning. I have to willingly bungle up my perfect dosa. To demonstrate to you guys, how NOT TO make dosas.

No worries though. I shall happily sacrifice my ladle-full of perfectly made dosa matter, for the greater good of nouveau-cook- humankind!

For those uninitiated to South Indian cuisine or cooking, dosas are rice and lentil based, fermented pancakes which can be made and had in myriad ways. Today we shall be making the “classic” variety. So, hop along folks and join me while I make breakfast.

I really do hope I don’t botch things up today!

The DO NOT’S….

1. Do not add too much or too little urad dal while preparing your batter (1/3rd to 1/4th ratio to rice – as per preference). This step is key to making good dosas.

2. Do not add too much water to the batter. A runny batter seems to disike the pan, and will keep “running” around and ultimately clump up and become an unedible mess.

3. Do not use the dosa- pan to make/cook/ heat any other item of food. Just don’t. She does not like it.

My seasoned. well- loved flat, cast- iron, flat dosa pan/ tawa.
My seasoned. well- loved flat, cast- iron, flat dosa pan/ tawa.

4. Do not pour batter on a cold pan/ tawa. Pointless exercise.

5. Do not over-grease the pan. Just apply enough oil to give it a hint of a sheen.

Notice the hint of "sheen"...
Notice the hint of “sheen”…

6. Do not apply too much pressure while spreading the batter. Caress and swirl my friend!

Not too runny... Notice the bubbles appearing already...
Not too runny… Notice the bubbles appearing already…
Caress and swirl, my friend!
Caress and swirl, my friend!

7. Do not be impatient. Please wait till the dosa acquires a golden brown color and the edges start to come off the pan before you commence the battle to scrap it off!

Not perfect this time though....
Not perfect this time though….
Be patient... You don't have to wait till they are this brown though...
Be patient… You don’t have to wait till they are this brown though…
The trick is to have a well- seasoned pan...
The trick is to have a well- seasoned pan…

8. Do not let the steaming dosa lay ignored on a plate. Eat the crispy, delight before it withers and dies, please.

9. Do not fret if they initially don’t turn out the way you thought they would. Or how your Mum makes them. Trust me, you don’t want to see my earlier dosa disasters.

I’m sorry. I tried. I really did. Just could not bring myself to purposely foul up a perfectly fine dosa! Moreover, I hardly had enough batter, so I decided it would be wise to not get too carried away. And most importantly, Mr H is late for work and is already patiently waiting at the table with an empty plate in front of him. Waiting for my photography chicanery to be done with…..

This is how I like my dosa.

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Crispy.

Golden brown.

Crunchy.

With a hint of sourness.

With a slightly fluffy middle.

With spicy chutney/ chammandi.

With some fine roast, filter coffee to chug down.

With a husband who loves the same!

Till the next meal….

Dr J.