Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Assam Road Trip 2008 Map

I created a custom map with the locations we visited as a part of the road trip in Assam. The locations indicated with the blue markers are places we visited. We are also using this map to add locations associated with the family in Assam. For example, Ishani's grandparents on her mom's side live in Moran (green marker).
  • Guwahati
  • Tezpur
  • Kaziranga National Park
  • Jorhat
  • Sibsagar

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fish for Lunch!

An advantage of living close to the ocean is that you get fresh fish closeby. We got some King Fish (locally known as Vajram) from the market and then recorded amma cooking fish curry and fry.

I put together a video of that below. The ingredients of the paste were not very clear in the video. I have listed them below:
  • Paste for the fish curry - coconut, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, shallots and curry leaves
  • Paste for the fish fry - pepper, fennel seeds, shallots, chilli powder.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Visit to a construction site

This morning we stopped by a home construction site as Mike and Bernie were interested in observing how buildings are constucted here. Mike was true to his reputation, climbing up the rickety ladder to check out the top of the building.

Here are a couple of pictures shot on my G1.

Pimli's Birthday

hmmm cake!

Three Too Many!

Q. How do you work on 4 computers at the same time? 
A. This is how!

Q. Why do you work on 4 computers at the same time? 
A. Well, because you can!


Mike and Bernie arrived at Chennai last night. But you never truly arrive till you've had something to eat!

Its been 3 years - let us feast!

This is the first time we have been back home for our wedding anniversary. Is there ever a better excuse for stuffing our bellies with food. Here is a traditional Kerala lunch being laid out on banana leaves.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Corn Roasted Over a Flame

Walking by the Bay of Bengal, strong sea wind, great time for some corn roasted on a vivid flame and rubbed with lime juice and spices! 

An embedded Google Map for those who are curious where this place - Elliot's Beach - is located.

Bird Feed - Freshly Served

Turns out that Ishani and I are not the only people who flew in to get some food from my mom. This crow has been a regular companion ouside my mom's kitchen (across a screen) since it was little. It follows my mom, jumping from one side of the window to the other as she moves around the kitchen. When it was little, the crow used to caw till my mom put some food out there. But now, it is well behaved and just waits the turn. 

My mom explains in the video that the crow does not like rice as much as the thick layer of milk fat (left behind when milk is boiled and cooled, as seen in video) and egg yolk. Also, she is visited by 4 pigeons later in the day for more food.

Monday, December 1, 2008

O'Reilly on Obama's National Security Team

One of the drains on my time over the last months has been the never ending presidential election campaign. As a news junkie, I try to get multiple view points. I try to watch O'Reilly Factor once in a while, cringing through a lot of it, as I want to get some conservative view point.

I figured given Obama's choice of a centrist team, disappointing some who voted for him, it would be interesting to see what Bill thinks. After all, Bob Gates from the Bush administration is staying on as Sec. of Defense. And Jim Jones a formar NATO commandant, who disagreed(s?) with Obama on a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, as National Security Advisor. 

How would O'Reilly make this consistent with his theme of 'I am fearful of Obama'? Easy. By not saying mentioning these two gentlemen in his review of the team. 

Does my desire to get opposing views extend to watching Hannity and Colmes? Nah! I switch over to Hardball for this hour, as Chris Matthews asks his guest if the left feels betrayed by these choices. 

I long to take refuge with Jon Stewart.


It has been about 6 months since I blogged. Not because time stopped, but because I slacked. 

Given that the last time I blogged was when I visited India, I am making another (feeble) attempt, given that we are visiting home again!

Friday, May 30, 2008


Came across an interesting article in Time of India this morning.
"Tough times ahead for techies in India. Pretty soon, they may have to carry tissue paper to office, for the US recession seems to have entered even the toilets of Indian software firms."
The TOI website takes for ever to load this article and so here is a link to the same article in Economic Times. But if you seek instant gratification and would like to see the cartoon that accompanied the article only in the print version, here is the scan:

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Larry About Innovation and Risk

It is not often that Larry talks in length to the press. Here is an interview in Fortune magazine where he discusses how to change the world. (Hope the link still works.)

He said lot of interesting things, but here is something about risk aversion and innovation
Even when we started Google, we thought, "Oh, we might fail," and we almost didn't do it. The reason we started is that Stanford said, "You guys can come back and finish your Ph.D.s if you don't succeed." Probably that one decision caused Google to be created. It's not clear we would have done it otherwise. We had all this internal risk we had just invented. It's not that we were going to starve or not get jobs or not have a good life or whatever, but you have this fear of failing and of doing something new, which is very natural. In order to do stuff that matters, you need to overcome that.

ब्लॉगर Transliteration

Just playing around blogger settings and noticed the transliteration feature and thought I will give it a shot.

Hindi - आती क्या खन्डाला? (Will you come to Khandala?)

Tamil - இது ஏப்படி இருக்கு? (How is this?)

Malayalam - എന്ടെ ഗുരുവൌരപ്പ! (My lord!)

That was easy!

Disclaimer - I think the above is mostly correct, though the scripts I studied are slightly different from what is generated on a computer screen.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cool Pottery Videos

Pottery is hard, but we are getting better. I thought I will share some YouTube videos I came across when looking for some inspiration.

An awesome Japanese pottery video demonstrating tea pot and cup.

More comprehensive (and long) video from Irish pottery maker, Stephen Pearce, going through the entire process - making clay all the way to modern pots.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pottery Class

Too excited to share this with everyone!!! Here's unveiling our first pottery collection! Not sure if Murali blogged about this, but we joined a pottery class last month and our first set of glazed pots just got done today. Here are some pictures.

They are by no means anywhere near perfect, but we still love them!

(update - uploaded the images again from a PC)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Vishu and Bihu celebrations 2008

Murali kept asking me to post something as a guest blogger and so here I am, blogging about our regional cultural experiences here in the Bay Area!

In a fit to reconnect with our roots, I decided to become a member of the Malayalee Association of Northern California as well as the Bay Area Assamese Community. I joined the groups in April and this was perfect timing as we were able to attend the New Year celebrations!! (Note for our non Indian readers: Different parts of India celebrate New Year's following the harvesting season, around the 14th and 15th of April).

So, first up, was the Malayalee New Year celebration - Vishu. As I was getting more and more excited about finally getting a chance to wear my Mallu saree, Murali was getting into weekend inertia and debating the need to get up and spoil a perfectly jobless weekend attending a social event. I kept bringing up the "free snacks" piece and eventually came up with another brilliant strategy of getting Frank (our Malayalee friend) involved in the whole deal. The idea was that the two Malayalee's can give each other moral support, while this Assamese girl enjoys the event :)! It worked! The cultural program was complete with Thiruvathirakali, Mohiniattam and Kathakali performances. The pictures below will show the highlights, including a picture Murali sleeping through the event!

The bummer was - most of the free snacks that I kept talking about was all gone before the boys could make their way to the snacks station. We nevertheless managed to get some deep fried banana and a couple other deep fried items :)!

Murali then came up with a very sincere plan of visiting the Livermore temple. This is one of the bigger temples in the Bay Area. I was kicked by the idea, especially with the thoughts of getting some free food in the temple (am I not sounding like a poor girl who rarely gets to eat good food? Well, people who love free food will know exactly what I am talking about). So, we dropped Frank off (he had other free food plans cooked up through his family connections) and drove some 40 mins to Livermore. After visiting the Gods, I pushed Murali to what I thought was the kitchen area. As soon as we entered, we were seated and served about 15 different side dishes with mouth watering sambar, rasam, potato sabji and payasam!!! It was definitely a Saturday well spent!

Vishu Celebration

Next up, was the Bihu celebration the following Sunday. This one was an easy one - just as Murali was getting started with the regular complaints of spending yet another weekend in another social event, I played the cultural balance card - the need to participate in my cultural events, as much as I participate in his (though his reasons had nothing to do with it and more to do with his love for the couch and CNN + other news channels)! The function was held at a restaurant that was reserved for the event. It was a nice space (though much smaller than ICC) and the food was alright. The highlights definitely were the Bihu dances including a Husori ( a form of dance where village elders move from house to house singing Bihu songs and blessing each household). Murali did not fall asleep this time. I also met many new families and hope that we will receive some dinner invites soon!! The pictures will tell the rest of the tale.

Bihu 2008
So this is all the news from the Bay Area. I promise to keep the readers posted with more cultural news and more stories of my successes dragging Murali out from his beloved couch on perfectly sunny outdoor-sy weekends!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Christmas at Irvine

Frank, Ishani and I visited Archana and Nishanth for Christmas. We all got gifts and made an 'honorably late' visit to the Christmas mass!

Trip to LA - Christmas 2007

Bernie and Mike's Visit

We hosted the Minnesota couple for a few days last week (too short!). Ishani and I (for some part) made the most of it - Big Basin, Point Reyes, San Francisco, Google visit, birthday! Quite a list, huh?

More pics below in the photo albums (yes, what you are seeing is a whale!).

Big Basin State Park
Pt Reyes with Mike and Bernie


We played holi; my first time. It was messy, but fun! Pictures tell the tale better.

Holi 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Long Time

Inertia, laziness, more-work-less-time, along with some half finished weighty posts meant that I have not posted for a long time. The last post was in early Nov. Since then:
I will start with a few photo albums about these visits and hopefully I can start blogging more regularly.

Friday, January 18, 2008


He had been sick for a few weeks now and my parents were tending to his every needs, carrying him up and down the stairs. But by the time he reached the hospital, it was too late. He had tumor in his stomach that had spread to many internal organs. The doctors gave him no more than 3 months. But even that was not to be. He died in the hospital, with my parents by his side.

I was hoping to go see him early this year as he was getting very old. But now, I will (have to) grieve from far.