Saturday, 30 January 2010

Its so hard to say Goodbye

Its so hard to say goodbye
when your loved ones
live so far away
and you don 't get to see them
very often.
Namrita , Mishael and Rayguel left this
afternoon. Right now they are
on the train.
We have spolen several times
on the mobile phone.

(Sonia, me,Rayguel & Mishael)

(Abner, Sonia , with Namrita, Rayguel and Mishael)

Having fun in a park on a cold and foggy day.

Mishael and Rayguel had oodles of fun
playing with Sheeba.She became a puppy
with them.
She is missing them so much,ate her dinner very late.

Mama was so happy and cheerful
all along when her youngest
was at home.
She ate well and did not complain
of any physical problem.

We bid each other a very
tearful farewell.
We all missed my elder sister
and her beloved family
and all our loved ones who
have passed on.
I am feeling so lonely without
my loved ones aound us.
Everything reminds me of them.

Man's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell. Jean Paul Richter

Thank you BHAVESH
You are an acomplished
and exceptional photographer.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

India celebrates today

Today India celebrates her 60th Republic Day.
These 2 excellent videos showcase the
beauty,brightness, youth, progress, cultural diversity, moods, music, magic, colors which are splashed all over our country

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Pat a Cake-The Tradtional Christmas Baking of North India

Dear friends with my housekeeping,hospitality and entertainment
responsibilities I 've been slow in my blogging lately, but I have plenty of photos and posts in store.
The cold weather has also played spoilsport. The past 2 days have been better with the sun reluctantly creeping out after mid-day.Otherwise our parts have been enveloped in a thick freezing pall right out of John Carpenter 's mystery movie 'The Fog '
Around Christmastime I wrote about the bakeries where one can get their traditional Christmas cakes baked ,which are really rich fruit cakes , the British introduced to India. Very similar to the famous Yorkshire pudding.
This is the way the North Indian Christians like their Christmas cakes. Wedding cakes are also prepared in the same way-rich fruit cake with marzipan or cashew and sugar icing etc.
Earlier this month Sonia went to order some cake to take with her to Lucknow and I went with her to take photographs.

Pat a cake, Pat a cake, baker's man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with a 'B',
And put it in the oven for Baby and me

Bushy the Baker ( so nick-named because of his thick Muslim beard) is famous all over India for his exceptional Christmas and wedding cakes.(People have taken his creations overseas too) His forefathers were bakers for the Firangi Sahibs and Memsahibs.Bushy has passed on and his sons now carry on the family business in their small bakery cum house. Let me add here that most bakers in India are Muslims (perhaps its the usage of eggs).

Here is a wedding cake being iced at the bakery.

No matter how expensive they are, one cannot imagine a wedding without them.

Somebody 's cakes have been retrieved from the wood burning huge furnace like oven. The large ones can weigh up to 2 pounds with all the rich ingredients. Since several people are having their cakes baked at one time, they place slips of paper with numbers and their names written on them into the cake tins, so that they can be recognized and counted when they are done.
The oven with one of the bakery employees. Its like a hot burning cave.

A large tub to mix the batter in. People take their own raw ingredients (flour, sugar, butter etc) to the bakers and they mix everything for them.You can get your un-iced cupcakes, coconut cookies and macaroons baked here too. You pay for each kilogram of batter mixed.

The baker daily supplies buns, biscuits (salty cookies) pizza base, cakes ,flapjacks and bread to shops, outlets homes and cafeterias they bake their stuff on the side. And if you are feeling peckish while waiting for your cakes to be baked (it can take several hours as you have to wait your turn -like a doctor 's waiting room) , you can buy his treats to refuel yourself.

Some more of the wedding cake and buns.This is the marzipan layer. They cover it with icing sugar and decorations.

The round cake could be for a birthday or some celebration.
You can see one of the workers briskly mixing the cake batter.Its all done by hand...pounds and pounds of batter - no machines involved here. Of course in the modern/commercial/industrial bakeries machines are used -but this is an old fashioned traditional place.
Numbered and marked cakes out of the oven.
Suppose I am getting 10 cakes baked , I will put my name and numbers 1-10 into the cake tins,so that I can identify and count them later on.

This gentleman is watching over his batter mixing. The cakes are put in steel trunks and carried home. You can see one on the side.You can also bring your ingredients in the trunks.
During Christmastime these bakeries become places of social gatherings an mingling.As folk from different churches and areas come together for their baking. Greetings, gossip and news is and ingredients compared. All this is needed to while away the hours.Sometimes your cake enters the oven around midnight and you can go home, rest and come back the next day to collect it.
Here are samples of pizza base ready for the shops.
I hope you found a little excursion to Bushy 's interesting. When I told them that I was going to share about them with the whole world through my computer, they were very pleased and gave Sonia a small discount.LOL.
Namrita has also ordered a few ready made fruit and walnut cakes to take home with her. I may get some more photos.
I really enjoyed sharing this with you.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Arms and the Men

January 15th was Army Day and there was a 3 day Army Exhibition and Fair at the Polo Grounds. Namrita and I took the boys on the last afternoon when the feeble sunlight warmed us a little.

Sthalsēnā) is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. Its primary mission is to ensure the national security and defence of the Republic of India from external aggression and threats, and maintaining peace and security within its borders. It also conducts humanitarian rescue operations during natural calamities and other disturbances.
The Indian Army came into being when India gained independence in 1947, and inherited most of the infrastructure of the British Indian Army that were located in post-partition India. It is a voluntary service and although a provision for military conscription exists in the Indian constitution, it has never been imposed.
Since independence, the Army has been involved in four wars with neighboring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot and Operation Cactus. Apart from conflicts, the Army has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), a General, is a four star commander and commands the Army. There is never more than one serving general at any given time in the Army. Two officers have been conferred the rank of Field Marshal, a 5-star rank and the officer serves as the ceremonial chief.
With about 1,414,000 soldiers in active service[1] and about 1,800,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's second largest active standing army and the largest in terms of army populace.[2] By 2020, the Indian Army plans to upgrade 4,000 T-72s, over 2,500 T-90s, and few thousand other tanks. (courtesy Wikipedia)
The best part of the show was that it was a hands on experience for visitors. People could touch and handle the unarmed weapons on display and receive information about everything..

Mishael and Rayguel with guns

Field Radar

Automatic rocket launcher(reminds me of The Terminator)

The dreaded AK 47

Another rocket launcher

Telescopic gun

Hide and Seek Man

Small earth moving machine

Aqua carrier


Mishael and Rayguel inside a tank

All aboard

Another heavy gun. What if it had artillery in it.?

Communication tower mounted on a truck.

People were very interested in the working of the various equipment and gadgets.

Namrita and her sons walking across the grounds.

In front of the show arena. They had the motorcycle daredevils and equestrian shows etc. But we missed them

The with Amrita auntie. I am wearing my Tibetan jacket which is 15 years old but still keep me warm.
Today our temp is 49*F somewhere below 1o*C. We are indoors looking like the Himalayan Yeti or Abominable snowmen in heavy sweaters.

We enjoyed North and South Indian snacks being prepared and sold by Army cooks. The boys enjoyed jalebis, and north Indian sweet.Here we are having dosas (rice pancakes)

They were providing horse rides for children at Rs 10 a ride for a short distance. So both our little men had a go and enjoyed it tremendously as it was their first time on horse back.

Here is a 40 sec video about the Indian Army