Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Places

Walking into the pages of Jane Austen’s books

So after the cousin got married, we sent the couple off on their honeymoon and packed our bags to Kerala. Kerala has always been a personal favourite. I love waters and mountains. And Kerala is a generous giver of those pleasures.

On the way to Thekkady

We hit Thekkady first. It was pre-monsoon, which meant hazy mornings, warm afternoons and pleasantly chilly evenings. We spent a couple of days there – loitering around the town munching vaazhaikai & jackfruit chips, stopping at random tea stalls for that glass of glorious tea. We attended a couple of shows – Kalari (martial arts) & Kathakali. Excellent performances really. We also took elephant rides and it was so much fun. There was a plan to visit the Periyar lake but unfortunately it was closed that week due to some recent heavy rains, so had to pass on that one.

From Thekkady we went on to Nedumkandam. We’d booked a homestay there. It was a lovely piece of property and had the best view. The vacation was just like I had wanted it – lazy & without an agenda.

img_20180721_1813437098984101744483168.jpg
View from the bedroom

The entire week followed this charming routine: Wake up to the view of misty hills, sit in the garden chair and ponder on the beauty of life while sipping hot coffee, curl up in the sofa and read, walk around the town in the afternoon, get back, enjoy that steaming cup of chai, lie/roll in the grass in the front yard till the delicious aroma of kappa & beef curry come wafting out through the kitchen window. Run like the wind to the dining table, eat, hog, stuff yourself and land in bed. This routine, generously sprinkled with magical trips into the world of Jane Austen’s characters – PERFECT.

Local Market – Dried Fish
Local Market – Quail Eggs

Just walking in and around the town felt like I was transported to the pages of Jane Austen’s books. Like Elizabeth or Elinor walking across over moors, among heather bushes, picking wild flowers from the fields. There were some friendly hills in the town, which meant very less effort to climb. So that’s what I did, I went up these hills – just walking, skipping gaily, humming & singing. And once at the top, you can feel the wind trying to blow you off the hill. Whew! I am visiting this town every year. This is a beautiful beautiful place.

All that is missing is a basket
Traipsing through fields of grass

There is this place Ramakkal Medu nearby, where they have a giant statue of a Kuravan-Kurathi couple. Oh and there are these wind mills on these hills and it is fantastic to see! Another day we went to a waterfall in a nearby village called Etithope. It was so pretty and I am glad we did it. We had to descend quite a long way to get to the bottom of the falls, but it was just worth it. There was a cocoa bean and nutmeg plantation and I badly wanted to flick some. But i wouldn’t know what to do with it later, so i just walked on.

Cocoa Bean Trees

Yes, Please do visit this place. It is so lovely. No I am too lazy to describe stuff in detail. Please do yourself a favour and go visit it, trust me!

Also, totally stuck on two songs that I dug up from an ancient playlist. and on repeat ever since

Shukraan Allah – Kurbaan

 

Vaanam Keezhe – Thoongathey Thambi

 

Take care,

pH.

Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Grumpy Girl Chronicles, random musings

WWID

What if, what if right now they said that a T-Rex is loose and running wild in my neighbourhood. And people were being evacuated. I am wondering if I would immediately run as fast as I could to the safe assembly points and push over people to get onto the evacuation trucks/autos.
Or would I try and stay back for as long as possible just so i could see a dinosaur up close. Maybe just hide under a rock and touch it’s claw?

I guess I will pick option 2. Death by a theropod is better than death by old age.

Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Places

Uphill & Downhill

As per usual, it has been sometime since the last post. I have taken up a new assignment at work and have quite a few things on my plate. I couldn’t find time to write. I haven’t even had enough time to read and my TBR tray has a pretty tall stack.

Talking of books, I had been reading Picadilly Jim sometime back. I was only halfway through it and had lost the book. And somehow mysteriously it has now appeared on my work desk. You are forgiven, penitent thief.

A couple of weeks back I went uphill to Kotagiri for a short holiday. It was a sweltering summer in my town. The mind ached for a cool place and the body faltered to the Nilgiris. It was a refreshing change going from 33 – 35 degrees to 14-15 in a matter of 8 hours. I went with the family and we stayed in a cozy cottage in the middle of a tea plantation. It was the perfect place to unwind. Misty mornings, filtered sunlight with generous downpours for a couple of hours in the afternoons. Plus a most beautiful view to wake up to. The world is a beautiful place.

Waking up to this

There is one thing I wanted to write about – Panamarams. I have always liked the routes I take to work. One of my older jobs had me take the East Coast Road everyday, and I would travel around 3-4 hours overlooking the sea. Yes crowded buses, sweaty passengers who assume they are playing kabaddi – but you could still just somehow become oblivious to all that and just get lost in the beauty of the sea, the sand, the horizon, and those lovely panai marams. Palmyra palm or Borassus or just Pana maram. The blue-brown seascape & the pana marams would seem like the ever present backdrop and the towns would be the foreground frames that kept changing. Everyday on the ECR was like watching a bioscope show.

I think I can boast of a decent memory, and I have seen a fair share of panamarams pretty much everywhere in the state. Tall, dark & handsome. No wonder it is the state tree. There used to be so many of these trees just strewn along the geography of Tamil Nadu. They just grow on their own whims & fancies. The pretty palms. And their nungu fruit!

Palmyra Palms

The road that I take now to work has pana marams too. But I think they are getting lesser in number. I remember there used to be large paddy fields not very far from home. The borders were lined with palms and there used to be so many parrots in those trees. I would wander around those fields on weekends listening to the parrots, hunting bugs & beetles, living life to the fullest.

Now, i can’t remember when I last saw or heard a parrot. I don’t see as many palm trees. And sadly, those paddy fields aren’t there anymore either.

Baseless rants, Books, bric-a-brac, Frivolously Yours, Growing pains, Music

An anklet and some heroes

So I got all started on a new section – bric-a-brac cabinet to show off some knick-knack I deem precious and cool. And yet again I failed to make it past one post. Lugging this heavy failure around, beaten and pummeled by laziness, I have now risen from the ashes to write a post under That Was The Week That Was ( twtwtw, if you will).

Please be kind.

Where I live, a week consists of roughly 12-20 days. I live in Omicron Persei 8. And nothing worth writing a post about happened the last week. Although one could say that the kolusu incident deserves a significant mention.

I was on the train the other day when this gypsy trinkets seller charmed me into buying a pair of seed-bead anklets. Now, I am not an anklets person but they were so dainty and I just wanted to have them. So, I bought a pair. YAY! Look how pretty they are on me.

But that is not the end of the story. The anklet doesn’t have a hook mechanism, but the gypsy had deftly slid it up my foot. My brain was probably on stand by coz I did not for a minute think how I would remove it at the end of the day. And when said end of day arrived, I couldn’t remove it – No surprises there. The only way to get it off was to cut it. But it looked so pretty and I did not want to do that. It was the effort of a poor and industrious gypsy woman and I did not want to snip that labour into shreds. (But I also kinda think she cheated me, and I should have bargained).

It has been a week now and I am still wearing it. I wear it to work. I wear it when I am sleeping. Yeah, I like that it is hippie. I like hippie. But my love for it is slowly turning cold now. I am no longer excited about it. Of course, When i am on the toilet seat and there is nothing else to do, I stare at my foot and admire it. But there is only so much quality time one can dedicate to a well meaning anklet. I feel like it is now drawing unsolicited attentions and some feeble giggles at work. I also think that when I walk to the food counter everyone is pointing to my anklet and engaging in very animated conversations. I want to cut it off but I also don’t want to. I want to wait a month before I do. So, whenever I am walking about at work, I pray to the seed bead deities to get the ones on my ankle to scurry and hide inside my salwar. But isn’t is like the job description of gods to not answer prayers? Maybe I will cut it tomorrow.


I watched the movie Hidden Figures yesterday. An outstanding film I would say. It is a beautiful story about the forgotten women who contributed immensely in turning men into heroes during the space race. That they had to face so many daunting challenges and yet be able to deliver is a real inspiration. It is equally sad that they were so easily forgotten, hidden under all the bling & show, and eventually faded out of memory. I think these women were heroes themselves. I feel happy-proud of them. Very happy, very proud.

Incidentally, I was reading Neither Here Nor There, a hilarious book by Bill Bryson on his travels in Europe. The book is legit funny. There is one place in the book where it gets warm and touching. Outside of this, it is very funny and you should read it.

In chapter 8, there was this passage that tugged at my heartstrings.

Afterwards I strolled on to the Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht. It was packed, but moving none the less. Eight people spent three years hiding in a secret flat above Otto Frank’s spice business, and now an endless line of visitors shuffles through it every day, to see the famous bookcase that hid the secret entrance and the five rooms in which they lived. The tragic part is that when the Franks and their companions were anonymously betrayed and finally captured in August 1944, the Allies were on the brink of liberating Holland. A few more weeks and they would have been saved. As it was, seven of the eight died in concentration camps. Only Anne’s father survived.

The Anne Frank museum is excellent at conveying the horror of what happened to the Jews, but it is a shame that it appears not to give even a passing mention to the Dutch people who risked their own lives in helping the Franks and others like them. Miep Gies, Otto Frank’s secretary, had to find food each day for eight people, as well as herself and her husband, for three years at a time of the strictest rationing. It must have been extremely trying, not to mention risky. Yet this was hardly a rare act: twenty thousand people in Holland sheltered Jews during the war at considerable peril to themselves. They deserve to be remembered too.

As much as Glenn Powell and Katherine Johnson were heroes, so were Frank’s secretary and his family. Right? I am proud of them too. But kinda sad-proud.
Too many unsung heroes. Way too many.


Anyway, I shall stop right here. No, I will stop right after telling you what I have been listening to too many times this week

Bruce Springsteen – If I Should Fall Behind

Go on, love it.

Frivolously yours,
I remain

pH.

bric-a-brac, Frivolously Yours, Grumpy Girl Chronicles

Bric-a-Brac Cabinet

I am getting older with each passing day. I no longer have fun theories and/or juicy gossips. (Not like I had any earlier anyway). So I am going to start using social media platform for the purpose it was primarily designed for, viz. Posting abundant pictures of self/babies/crappy-food-posing-as-gourmet. No, no.. The mice made Cats and Dogs their allies when they hired Magrathea to build the Earth. So, cat and dog images can and should be posted and re-posted and worshiped and adored. Compulsorily.

Anyways, So in my cozying up to social media, a line up of challenges await me.

  1. Baby Pictures – I don’t have a baby. Yet. Mind you. So I cannot post pictures of non-existent drool machines and come up with cool captions like “Isn’t he the chweetest baby in the world – opening his eyes like that?“. Yes darling, he is. Coz no other baby in the world can open its eyes. Oh, What the heck, do other babies have eyes at all!!
  2. Sexy Sambar Saadham Shots – Muscle memory has the hands digging into the food platter long before the brain can even think ‘Photo’. So, no Bokeh effect murukku – kaapi pictures. Not a chance in the world.
  3. Selfies – N.O. An unbreakable vow was cast. That-which-cannot-be-named shall never be done. NEVAAA EVA.

Faced with these obstacles, I have no other choice left. But this. I am going to post pictures of my bought, borrowed, or stolen bric-a-brac, books, fruitless arts & crafts attempts.

Let us begin.

vangogh_starrynight_earstuds
The Starry Night on the Imperial Fritillaria.

This is a pair of ear studs that i bought recently and am totally in love with. I like paintings. I like the Renaissance era. I like watching comedy shows that may have an episode with a stolen painting story line. Do you see how closely I follow art? Good. So I bought these Vincent Van Gogh ‘The Starry Night’ ear studs. For a price so cheap you would think it would be a Wincent Van Ugh reproduction, but no! These are really cool and attracted some really flattering compliments.

Also, please note how I have cleverly placed the ornament on a copy of Van Gogh’s ‘Imperial Fritillaria’ . Jeez, thanks.

The post is over. Thanks for visiting… Wait… for it.

I already know what I am going to brag about next. Watch this space!

Baseless rants, Frivolously Yours, Growing pains

That was the fortnight that was

I think That was the week that was would do better as a fortnightly column. For two reasons, 1. Nothing exciting happens in my life in such a short span as 7 days. 2. Barely anything happens in my life in such a short span as 7 days.

So, here I am, at the beginning of March – the days getting longer and the nights less colder. And before you know it, I will be sweating like a pig’s rear. Speaking of which, I actually have no idea how a pig’s rear looks like. Let alone a sweaty one. What we know is a drop, isn’t it?

A week back I saw one of the most beautiful things ever. I was on my way back home on a bus. The sun was pondering on setting and was glowing this beautiful red-orange. The bus passed by a stretch of paddy fields that had just been watered. The plants were young and short and the sun gleamed brilliantly in the water filled row spaces. It was inarguably the prettiest thing I’ve had ever seen. Like alternating strands of green & scintillating orange against a clear blue sky in the background. Beautiful.

I am going to move the post from Jediunderpants to this blog. Centralization measure.

Also, the civil war in Syria has aggravated and there are many innocent people dying everyday – Kids, babies. Gives me a stronger reason to not go back believing in God. Also gives me a stronger reason to hate myself. There are children in agony and pain – and here I am making playlists for the evening commute. God!

I hate that the world is a terrible place.

Frivolously yours,
I remain,
pH.

Baseless rants, Books, Frivolously Yours, Music

Frivolously Yours,

First post of this year.
Every January I resolve to write more, better (read : less crappy) and frequently. But if it has taken me 29 days to write the first post then.. you do the math. Oh also, I have no idea what this post is going to be about So I’m just gonna wing it.
I think I need to blog frequently at least so I remember the wordpress password. I had to reset it again today.
Things have just been the same but yeah I finished 3 books already. Yeah I still love crime/thriller fiction like I am a stupid 20 y/o. And that is what I started the year with.
I read Jo Nesbo’s THE SNOWMAN. and Boy did I love it. I stayed awake till 3 in the night/morming reading it coz you know – Murder mysteries.

Goodreads link : The Snowman – Jo Nesbo

I also read Hugh Laurie’s THE GUN SELLER. It is an okay book. I wouldn’t say great because pretty much through the entire read, you are in this state where you are unsure if it is an amusing book or a thriller. Because it is funny! Come on, it is Dr. House for Pete’s sake. (Notice not taking the name of the Lord in vain here)
So Maybe House, sorry Laurie, tries to add a little too much humour that it kinda dilutes the thrill. Quite a handful of names to remember, but it was a good read overall.

The Gun Seller – Hugh Laurie

Weirdly, the third book was also a thriller. I don’t even know why I picked it up to read. Yes, I shamelessly admit that my James Bond knowledge & exposure is only limited to the movies and I have never read an Ian Fleming. But I love James Bond. I truly believe that James Bond & SpiderMan are the only two people who should be allowed to board a running train. No, not even Superman or Shah Rukh Khan. Ah, what am I saying. Superman aka Shah Rukh Khan.
So, the story is this. I picked up Anthony Horowitz’s ArkAngel. I think I would have loved it if I were a 15 y/o gal. But this 31 y/o brain & body I am trapped inside – Not really.

Ark Angel – Anthony Horowitz

On the flip side, I have been crocheting. At a glacial pace. Coz Come on, I still have like 40 more years to finish a coaster! I am doing these V-stitch Granny squares and crocheting them together into one piece – hopefully before I die.
Speaking of Grannies, I think the ones that invented these squares had really great bones. My fingers already ache so much after knitting say about 1.5 pieces of square(s) per week. But let me just brag by posting this picture.

And listen to this

mashup : Neha Kakkar – Mashup

This is on repeat right now.
Good

Night. I remain, Frivolously yours, pH.

Books, Frivolously Yours, Grumpy Girl Chronicles, Music

Frivolously Yours, That Was The Week That Was

So the last fortnight saw, no, I couldn’t say a burst, perhaps a sliver of Spring. My roses started blooming in bunches. The Gundu Malli began to tassel out. I am super glad that the Red Oleander cutting is shooting up leaves in all directions. Super glad, because in the last 2 years and 8-9 trials, this is the first time an Oleander cutting has rooted for me.

I am also planning to pot native flowers. I have the blue and the white Pigeonwings, yellow and red Kanakambarams, lilac/purple and magenta December Flowers scattered in the backyard.  I will need to get them organized. It is weird (and sad) that my week’s worth of blog entry is just gardening update.  But then, I at least have something to talk about.

So,otherwise, when my hands weren’t dirty, I was reading Ngaio Marsh‘s Death in a White Tie. I always wanted to read her books, Queens of crime and all that. I do not remember why I chose to buy the seventh Alleyn novel instead of the first. Oh, I should say it was too good. I am gonna do the whole series. You should too.

I was also weaving in and out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It has long been on my To-Read list and I will finish it by this week.

Also, I watched this 1972 movie Sleuth. I think I really really liked it.

I maybe 4 years late to listen to La La La – Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith, But there you go, I admit it –  I am hooked to it. I found the “la la na na na… ” part so funny. It sounds like some 60’s Hindi filmi song prelude to a courtship dance or something. I thought it was so amusing and so funny that I started listening to it just so I could laugh out loud, and now I enjoy listening to it 4-5 times each day. It is now like my go to music for neck stretches.

And, song reco for the week to come: Let’s Be Still – The Head and the Heart.

So, that was most of the week that was…
Filled with petty little things,
And small bunches of spring.

I remain,
Frivolosuly yours,

pH.

Books, Frivolously Yours, Music

Frivolously Yours, That was the week that was.

New Column: That was the week that was.

From  a political perspective, the last 2 weeks was like an adventure park trip for Tamil Nadu. News was the most watched TV program, Political memes were the most shared topics of social media. So much hustle!

And amidst the chaos, I spent my life one day at a time, in tedium and monotony. There was no hustle. Hardly anything happened.

However, the prime points of the fortnight, for my reference later and for the bored reader who made it till this line – Here I go.

  1. After the craving for old English setting storylines passed, I wanted to read something light and settled on Caroline Lawrence‘s Pirates of Pompeii. I liked how it did not demand remembering names and places, or knitting the eyebrows in concentration. It appealed to my mellow state of mind and I liked that. Now, I have decided that after every 3rd book, I am going to read a children’s book.
  2. After the Pirates, it was time to get back to being an adult and I started with “The Cup of Ghosts” by Paul C. Doherty. It is the first in the Mathilde of Westminster series. The only other PC Doherty book I have read is Nightshade – 16th book in the Hugh Corbett series. But it was a long while back, 2010 I suppose. I think that was what inspired me to read Historical mysteries. I think I need to complete at least one full series.
  3. The internet was having mood swings the last 2 months, what with Vardah, telephone cable repair work, etc. Now it is all fixed and I can use the internet unhindered. So I signed up for the Amazon Prime trial membership and have been digging Mozart of the Jungle. It is fun. S1E2 led me to this really nice song that I want to listen like forever and dance too! Aleh Ferreira‘s Pra nao parar de samba. I love it.
  4. There is another song that I have been listening to on repeat. Kannan Vandhu Paaduginran. Ilaiyaraaja magic.

Have a good week, y’all!!

I remain,

Frivolously Yours,

pH.