Of corn rice, minestrone soup and open bread toast - I

Corn rice is one of those dishes that everyone, from Tarla Dalal to Nigela Lawson has a recipe for. And most of the time no two recipes are the same.
So after a lot of deliberation, I decided to create one of my own. Here it is, tried and tasted :)

What you need:
Rice - 2 cups
Oil (preferably olive oil) - 2 spoons
Tomatoes - 2 large
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Capsicum - 1/4 th cup, chopped
Sweet corn - 1 cup
Ginger - 1 teaspoon, finely shredded
Salt, black pepper powder, chilli flakes

Cook the rice. Drain off the excess water.

Boil the tomatoes. After they cool down, blend them and sieve out the seeds. This is your purée.

To a frying pan, add 2 spoonfuls of the oil. To this add the sweet corn and toast lightly. Then add the tomato purée along with chopped onions, capsicum and ginger. Add half a teaspoon of black pepper powder, half a teaspoon of red chilli flakes and salt to taste. Let the vegetable cook in the purée and soak in the flavours.

Once the vegetables are cooked, let the salsa cool to room temperature. Add the rice and mix lightly, ensuring you do not break the rice grains.

Note (all these are from my own real life experience today)
1. While draining the rice after cooking, pour cold water over it and drain off. This removes the starch and makes the rice non-sticky
2. If black pepper powder and chilli flakes do not spice it up enough, you can add finely chopped green chillis too.
3. If you feel the corn may not cook well enough in the purée, you can boil them a bit before adding to the purée.

Those long-necked beauties...

Off we went to Mysore, to realise my Dad and his grandsons (aka my son) dream of a visit to the famed Mysore zoo together. We left home at 6 30, before Bangaloreans looking for a quick day-trip to Mysore clog the busy Mysore road.
Reaching Mysore at 11, after stops at Ramanagar and Srirangpatna, we immediately headed to the zoo.
We were cheerfully greeted by these 4 long-necked long-legged beauties. It was a sight to behold, majestic and unhurried, they went about munching on leaves oblivious to the awe-struck crowd (mostly children) that watched them with obvious excitement. The little one (my boy) could barely conceal his awe as one of the giraffe walked close to the edge of the enclosure, gave him a long hard stare, before walking back, not unlike a model on a catwalk!

Recursive functions...

It was a déjà vu moment...when my niece told me how she was trying to memorise a program to print out the n'th Fibonacci number, in preparation for her practical exams.
Rewind to my late teens, the age of learning complex computer logic such as recursive functions. And the first (and probably the most common) program to test your recursive function concepts and skills was generating the Fibonacci sequence. It was easier to memorise the program that ran into not more than 10 lines than wasting time understanding a logic that there would be lots of time to understand later in life! Those were the days when shortcuts could be taken without any guilt :)
At that time, little did I realise that I would understand the concept of recursive functions under very adverse conditions in a corporate setting a couple of years down the line :)
Coming back to the present, with an undisguised glee I explained the concept of recursive functions with examples to my niece, silently patting myself on the back. Maybe that is what growing old is - when you stop enjoying the simple joy of memorising a program to clear the impending practicals and instead, try to understand it, so that you can write those kind of things for the rest of your life!  

A story of 572 steps!

A resolution to take the stairs and not give in to the temptation of taking the elevator is about as tough as it can get. It is also one of those that I have made innumerable times, for reasons ranging from a love for the environment to a determination to lose those 'few extra pounds', and given up with barely a fight.
There have been various and apparently genuine excuses for not taking the stairs...an important conversation that would have been interrupted if I alone took the stairs, a colleague who might have to take the lift alone if I took the stairs, a meeting I might get late for if I took the stairs (never mind the fact that I wait for 5 mins for the lift)...so on and so forth :)
So, it is not with great optimism that I made this resolution along with a colleague one more time yesterday.
And proud I am to say that on the second day, a day where all the meetings I had to attend were on different floors, I have climbed up 572 steps and climbed down 572!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ever since I finished Half of a yellow sun, I wanted to read other books that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written. What struck me about her writing (even though I was only one book old) was the simple language and the fluid writing. Adichie writes about the life of ordinary people, people whose lives are what we call "normal", more importantly they are ordinary people who face common challenges, no matter whether they are rich or poor. And the best thing, they do not always end up winners (in the usual way that the protagonists do)!  


"All kids fall down mummy, its ok" - these were the pearls of wisdom that my little one bestowed on his mom, after he fell for probably the fifth time in 25 minutes of his first skating class.
25 minutes earlier, his 5 months long wait (to turn 4, so that he can start skating class) and the more excruciating day long wait to start the class at 4:30 pm had ended. He could barely conceal his excitement as he put on his gear (knee, elbow and palm pads, helmet and skates). For us, however, every little event...the moment he put one tentative step on the rink and almost landed on his rear-side, looked back at his mom when she left him with the coach, his first fall and his tears when his helmet fell off...had us convincing each other that his fascination with skating would not end too soon.
Shortly, the wheels on his skates were tightened a wee bit, he was walking on his own without support, falling down, but getting up on his own and yeah, the icing on the cake - when he walked over to the railing, picked up his water bottle , had a sip and placed it back upright...all this without losing his balance even once!