Thursday, August 30, 2012

Towards greener pastures!

And I mean "greener" pastures more literally than anything else.

If you have been following me on my blog, you do not need a recap of all the trillion times I have cribbed about our stay in the desert. Well, here's an important lesson: if you crib hard enough and long enough, looks like god does intervene! 

We have moved across the country - all the way from Arizona to Virginia. And inspite of the obvious downside of a move: the distance, the packing, the organizing, apartment hunting, re-settling down, etc. etc., guess what, I am not complaining. At any given point of the day, the temperatures are atleast 20 degrees lower. There are no blast furnaces burning on your face when you open the door and the sun stays well withing its limits. Not to, ofcourse, mention the pleasant green everywhere. 

We are far from settling down just now, but I thought it is never too early to announce the closure of the desert diaries; greener pages should start soon :D. 

And hence we bid adieu to August on a cool note! 

[Image source: Google Images]

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My favorite part of online news articles...

...Is the Comments section! 

However disturbing, grave or poignant the news maybe, there are so many people who find the time, patience and inclination to share their completely subverted and perverted vision with the whole e-world. And that usually makes for a very interesting, and more often that not, very hilarious reading. 

I am not trying to take a high moral stand here saying that only my opinion is right, but that so many people have such shocking views that they feel are right, is what baffles me. Vish and I are often exchange such comments and together wonder at the diversity (and absurdity?) of the human consciousness.

Here are some examples:
  • In articles where a woman has been reportedly harassed, molested or sexually assaulted, there will always be these front running patriarchs who will find fault with the woman. "Why was she alone?" "For the kind of clothes she was wearing, she deserved it" "I am sure she provoked the guy/s". "Women are cause of all trouble."
  • In articles where harassed women in live-in relationships have committed suicide, our moral police step up their act. "This is what happens when you try to ape western culture." "The woman's character  has led to this." "Why wasn't she married; she wouldn't be harassed if she was married to the guy".
  • In articles that report the accused man has been arrested, staunch believers in the supremacy of "man"kind retort: "Why only men are blamed for harassment of women, why not the other way round?" "Maybe she provoked him into raping her." "She should get married to him instead of putting him behind bars." "Men will be men, women should protect themselves." "Why aren't wives/girlfriends arrested when husbands/boyfriends commit suicide?" And this is a genuine gem: "Can you please tell me which company the accused was working in? I am looking for a job and I am sure his position is now vacant."
  • In articles discussing power failure in India, patriots suddenly arise from nowhere. "India is better off than other countries, unlike the developed nations atleast our lives don't come to a full stop when the electricity goes of." One Sri Lankan wrote, "Sri Lanka is better", and to that an Indian responded, "Please keep quiet, else we will invade you. The last time we invaded you, we killed your president". Confused as to when India invaded Sri Lanka? So were Vish and I. Thankfully the Indian guy had posted a wiki link. It pointed to the story of Ramayana and Ram's invasion of Lanka.
  • In articles that talk about sports, especially cricket matches, the range is even better. From abusing each others' countries, to abusing your own players, that too in extreme expletives that I dare not reproduce here!
  • Ditto as above on Hollywood and Bollywood articles. And I am talking about 100-200 word detailed comments. There's marital advice that goes on for lines and lines; genuine love expressed in fancy vocabulary and even extreme hatred for no specific reason.
  • And let me not even get into articles that discuss immigration issues or inter religion/community/sect issues. There is a violence in the very wording that is bone chilling. Merciless words are thrown around so irresponsibly, "Gas so and so; nuke such and such country; throw them out", etc. etc.

So what is your opinion on such commentators? At times, I just laugh the comments off but certain comments get me thinking as to what might be the motivation behind such long winded tirades (most anonymously posted or in disguise) that are so distasteful. Do they not realize it? Or is it just a fun exercise - taking the Internet for granted and unleashing your crap in all the spare time you have? A skewed sense of e-freedom, maybe?

Thursday, August 16, 2012


My 200th post! And soon My Musings will enter its 5th year. Wow! It almost seems like I have "aged" with this blog :). 

And while we are at the number game, some other interesting numbers from Blogger:

75335 page views (I think this number should be more as I installed the page view tracker only a year ago :D)

28978 page views for a single post (Tom and Jerry: Just a cat and mouse game) - personal high!

24457 page views from India

20799 page views from US

11508 page views referred by - referring site with the highest numbers!

1412 comments so far

124 page views directed to My Musings using the key search word "yuvika chaube" (Now, that makes me feel like a celebrity :P)

89 known followers on Blogger (And I am assuming there are others who read the blog directly through Google reader, RSS feeds, FB and Twitter links etc. :)) 

87% traffic from Windows users

44% traffic from Google Chrome

38 comments for a single post (High Five!) - personal high!

1% traffic from iPod users (not bad, huh?)

All these numbers set aside, thank you for being a part of My Musings. LIke I have said before, no joy like writing and no greater joy than writing and being read.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Toddlers and Tiaras

Toddlers and american reality show that follows the world of child beauty pageants. 

This is exactly the stuff that makes me sick through and through. I spoke about negative body image and the acute consciousness of "physical beauty" in youngsters these days in my recent post here

What do you feel about this very "popular" show on national television that is now in its fifth successful season? 
Babies as old as 3 participate in beauty pageants and each episode documents the journey of the preparation. The toddlers are taught how to pose (including the pout and the cat walk), wear weird adult like costumes (forget plunging necklines and backless gowns - they go all the way to copy Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman and Beyonce in her negligees), put make up on (complete with false eye lashes and spray tans), do their hair (sprays, gels, wigs) and finally be confident on stage (this is ensured by giving them energy drinks such as Red Bull etc.). 
The end product: Miniatures of the adult modelling world who look plastic, frozen, and, apologies for sounding harsh, plain disgusting. 

Who's to blame: Ofcourse, the parents! One can't help but notice that the parents are the ones dying for the limelight, that fleeting moment of glory; that grandeur and life they could never lead, which they now want to live through their babies. They make outrageous claims such as 'it is the child's heartfelt desire to be here' (yeah right, at 3, she understand the glamour world so well), or even worse still, 'my daughter's favorite toy  is a dilapidated puppet in a wheelchair because she is genuinely empathetic to special children/people' (all this while the poor girl is looking around wide-eyed, understanding nothing and weighed down by the pounds of make up and other paraphernalia on her). 

Seriously, what are the Child Protection services doing? They say you can't hit your child but you can put her through all this trauma and emotional harassment? Isn't this child abuse?

My heart goes out to those miserable little ones who are paying the price of having foolish selfish beings for parents. In an age where kids are potty trained, they are forced to walk the ramp and wave out to the crowds and be their cheerful best even if their diapers are soaking wet! The kids can't even cut their own nails, but have elaborate pedicure and manicure sessions planned before the d day! Before they learn their letters and numbers, they should learn success and failure based on physical aspects! We sexualize them to the degree of fake breasts at the age of four, their lives replete with scandalous media stories and gossip already, and then we hope to bring up confident young women who will be the leaders of the future!

Why are we making barbies out of our babies? Do we really need tiaras on our toddlers to validate their essence, beauty and existence? Do we no longer need children - just miniature adults with hollow insides, who will grow up to be even more shallow copies of some evasive body image?

[Image source: Google images]

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New additions to my 'Can Cook' menu!

Like I said  in a post earlier, have a bunch of items to share with you from the culinary department :).

Somebody mentioned to me the other day, "with all the yummy looking food pictures on your blog, you are undoubtedly a good cook". My response? "Hell, no!" All these brag posts and pictures are after long hours of labor. 
So, I thought before beginning, I should clarify that cooking doesn't come naturally to me; I have to put in considerable effort and believe me there are so many fiascoes. The only reason they don't get space on my blog is because, well, they don't make pretty pictures. Imagine me posting the horrible mess of spring rolls the other day, or the dhokla attempt that had to be instantly discarded, or the go at dosas that resulted in rubble on the pan!

With that modest start, here I go.

Venn pongal and tomato gotsu
This is a south indian dish that is fairly easy to make and is now a quick fix dinner solution for both of us. Here are the recipes I followed. On a side note, I am also now a self-proclaimed expert on sambhar and rasam. And what I mean by that is that when I make it Vish is able to recognize it and even throw a compliment my way :D.

Medhu vadai
I followed the standard recipe here. Was not very happy with the results though. The vadais didn't come out fluffy and light like they are supposed; plus shaping the damn things with the hole in the middle was so difficult!
(P.S. The coconut chutney in the picture below is from the local Indian store.)

Masala vadai
One would think I really needed something from hubby dear to suddenly attempt so many south indian dishes :D. I clarify, there was no such intent. This is the recipe I followed. And the dish was a super success. Teamed with tomato ketchup, this is one of the few recipes that came out almost perfect!

Chilli gobhi
I remember learning how to make chilli gobhi during one of our hobby classes in school. This one dish is ideal for a rainy cool summer evening. And I think I did a reasonably good job. Here's the recipe

Foccacia bread on a griddle
Got this recipe from a reference in my sister in law's blog. She made it primarily for her kids, but I seem to consider it a serious adult food. I end up making it every week but only for myself. Vish dismissed this delicious wonder after the very first bite. He called it "a dosa gone awfully wrong, and a wannabe uthhapam" :(. To reiterate, I absolutely love it.

Low fat banana bread
I am often accused of posting high calorie recipes. Well this one is to satisfy those complaints. This is the recipe I followed. Baking is seldom disappointing and I am so happy that I was not disappointed this time again. This makes a nice moist bread and both of us enjoyed it as an evening snack for almost a week!

Happy cooking to you too :)!


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