Monday, May 23, 2016


Over the weekend I read Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air." I could not put the book down. In a long time, I actually finished reading a book from start to finish, non-stop. I read and re-read, I cried, I smiled, and I wished I knew this man. 

Some of the things from this memoir that struck a chord (these are all straight from the book, and not my words):

1. The mind is simply an operation of the brain.

2. Putting lifestyle first is how you find a job- not a calling.

3. Diseases are molecules misbehaving. The basic requirement of life is metabolism, and death its cessation.

4. What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?

5. All you have to do is look me in the eye and say, "I'm sorry. What happened was my fault and I won't let it happen again." ...... "No. You have to be able to say it and mean it."

6. When there's no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon's only tool.

7. Had I been more religious in my youth, I might have become a pastor, for it was the pastoral role I'd sought.

8. The root of disaster means a star coming apart, and no image expresses better the look in a patient's eyes when hearing a neurosurgeon's diagnosis.

9. A tureen of tragedy was best allotted by the spoonful.

10. I came to believe that it is irresponsible to be more precise than you can be accurate.

11. One of the early meanings of patient, after all, is "one who endured hardship without complaint."

12. The call to protect life- and not merely life but another's identity; it is perhaps not too much to say another's soul- was obvious in its sacredness.

13. Science, as I had come to learn, is as political, competitive, and fierce a career as you can find, full of the temptation to find easy paths.

14. Neurosurgery requires a commitment to one's own excellence and a commitment to another's identity.

15. Profanity supposedly ran on a slightly different circuit from the rest of the language.

16. Death comes to all of us. For us, for our patients: it is our fate as living, breathing, metabolizing organisms.

17. You can't ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.

18. Darwin and Nietzsche agreed on one thing: the defining characteristic of the organism is striving.

19. Shouldn't terminal illness, then, be the perfect gift to that young man who had wanted to understand death? What better way to understand than to live it?

20. Samuel Beckett's seven words, words I had learned long ago as an undergraduate: I'll go on. I got out of bed and took a step forward, repeating the phrase over and over: "I can't go on. I'll go on."

21. Moral duty has weight, things that have weight have gravity, and so the moral duty to bear moral responsibility pulled me back into the operating room.

22. "She has your cell membrane," I remarked to Lucy.

23. The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing.

24. Maybe in the absence of any certainty, we should just assume that we're going to live a long time. Maybe that's the only way forward.

25. There is no proof of God; therefore it is unreasonable to believe in God.

26. Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete. And truth comes somewhere above all of them......

27. As I stepped out of my car at the hospital at five-twenty the next morning, I inhaled deeply, smelling the eucalyptus and...... was that pine? Hadn't noticed that before.

28. On second thought, I left my books behind. They'd be of more use here.

29. Doctors, it turns out, need hope, too.

30. In English, we use the word time in different ways: "The time is two forty-five" versus "I'm going through a tough time."

31. And so it's not all that useful to spend time thinking about the future- that is, beyond lunch.

32. Graham Greene once said that life was lived in the first twenty years and the remainder was just reflection.

33. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present.

34. There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.

After A.J. Cronin's "The Citadel," this is my next favorite book so far.

Beautiful, Brilliant, Profound, Touching


Funnily enough, in my last post I grumbled about memoir writing and how I find it utterly boring (and ridiculous) to go dig into my past and write pages on events from my life..... well, I now understand why. The highlight of my memoir will probably be the couple small tattoos on my body that mean so much to me and perhaps the paragliding, skydiving and bungee jumping that I intend to check-off at some point.

I know this post is a digression considering this is a food blog. Perhaps I ought to start another blog and call it, "There's more to Life than just Food Blogging." And then maybe I could add that to my memoir.....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

India 2016- Bangalore, Wellington, New Delhi

My trip to India in March turned out to be the best trip ever!

Let's start from the very beginning.

The above two lines, my friends, was written sometime last month. It is May 18, 2016 today, almost 7 weeks since I came back from my fantastic India trip, and this post has pretty much no content whatsoever. I have been taking a memoir writing class, and really, what it is doing to me is that I am beginning to realize that this whole writing about one's life and events from one's life is, in one word, tedious! Other words I'd use would be boring, boring, boring. There, I said it! I am good with a page or maximum two, but that's about it. I suck at similes and metaphors. Here I am trying to live mindfully, living in the moment- you know, mindful living is currently trendy. And while I'm trying to do that, I am also expected to go dig into my past and write pages and pages on my doll and how my doll with the open-shut eyes was my best friend back in the day (Gosh, I sure was one lonely child!). I am officially done with this whole memoir writing business. And therefore, I have decided to ditch the writing part for this post, because there's too much to write, and I do not want to think. Instead, I'll show you pictures from my trip, with captions, so you understand what I'm trying to say. Incidentally, telling stories through pictures is also quite the trend these days!

Guava. YUM!

What? Our neighborhood Papa John's is there too? Hmm

Ah, a good South Indian style meal on plantain leaf. Waiting for more food to be served....

Miss those banyan trees. On way from Bangalore to Wellington. Fun road trip with mom and dad

I see hills, I see tea plantations

Heading towards Coonoor to get to Wellington

True Blue

Yay! After 29 years!!!! 

The little shop we got Maggi noodles and Marie biscuits from!! Still there!! 

Beautiful Bougainvillea

Entry to Wellington Gymkhana Club- that's where Dad had booked our stay

Ooh, nice tiled entry to the cottage

Begonia- that's where we stayed

Reminds me of the good old military living quarters.... our living room used to pretty much look like this
View from the room (mom and dad sitting there....)

Champaka Tree

The Champaka Flower- oh, that fragrance!! 

Morning Tea

Glyricidia sepium- another fragrant flowering tree, blooming all over the place

My old school- KV Wellington, now Army Public School

The staircase that led to our classroom- still dusty as ever! 

The same staircase 
Club Dress Rules- for Ladies- "respectable" dress please!  
Eucalyptus trees- the air smelled like eucalyptus

Tea plantations

Colorful houses

Ooty! A random outdoor furniture store

While going down, back towards Bengaluru- 36 hairpin bends! That was quite a drive, Dad!! 

Construction worker women

Men digging 

Tea Stall 


More tea

Pilgrimage? Procession 

Via Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. No tigers though!

Bar, Jeep, Blue Mosque

Welcome to Karnataka State 

Silk City, Ramanagara- "Sholay" was filmed here

Tender Coconuts

The Ramanagara Hills- the very hills that "Sholay" was shot in and Gabbar Singh went, "Arrey O Samba, kitne aadmi the"

Back home after wonderful road trip with mom and dad
Vidyarthi Bhavan, estd 1943

Delicious Vada Sambar

Expert at carrying dosa plates- look at that!!

Benne Masala Dosa- my favorite! 


Greasy!! Mm! 

Delicious Sabudana Khichdi made by mom, with love

Century Club Rules- Not sure why anyone would walk into a club in their underwear! Lol! Hot pants? 

Holy Basil- "Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki" 

My savior in that heat! 

The 60 year old Stone used for washing clothes, used even today! 
New Delhi!! After 29 years!!!! 

Hard Working Cycle Rickshaw Waalas- standing in the scorching heat, waiting for passengers

Our old house (the blue door) back in 1989-90

My old school- KV Jalahalli 1989-1992

Gangamma Devi Temple in Jalahalli

Temporary accommodation- the last place I stayed before heading off to college in 1992!


Our house!! 1990-92 

Yep, that was our house! :) 

Couldn't believe my eyes- had friends who lived in this house!! It's all gone now! 

Banyan Tree and the ginormous prop roots

Temple architecture

I visited Wellington after 29 years and I visited New Delhi after 29 years too! How does that work? Well, we left Delhi in 1987 and moved to Wellington. That makes sense, right?

I celebrated my birthday with my mom and dad in Wellington amidst the beautiful Nilgiri Hills- it was nice and quiet and lovely. That's not all. I met my dearest, sweetest, bestest, most favorite person on earth- Gaurav, after 22-23 years and I don't have any words to really express my feelings. All I'll say is that I was ecstatic. But it was a super short meeting and we barely got to talk. Rather, I barely got to talk. He is anyway a man of few words! So G, you still owe me at least 21 more hours!! ;)

That's the gist of my India trip. Hope you liked the pictures. If you notice, this time there wasn't much emphasis on the food part of it. I mean, a self-proclaimed foodie saying that the food didn't excite her this time- that's like a whoa! really? I did of course enjoy the benne masala dosas, idlis and vadas, and the delicious food cooked by mom. Sadly, my stomach didn't hold up too well this time. Hashtag girl-welcome-to-the-40s

If I have to describe this trip in one word, I'd say nostalgic. And no, I'm not going to wrack my brain to come up with similes and metaphors to write pages and pages of the how and why this trip was nostalgic. And no, I'm not going to tell you how I found my old doll in the attic and went down memory lane, thank you very much!