Mar 29, 2010

Unaccustomed Earth

Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth talks about the same homesickness of Bengalis living in the US that we have already read in Interpreter of Maladies and Namesake. I believe her characters are now becoming very predictable. The Bengali woman from Calcutta getting married to a Man in the US who is doing some research work. The woman is unable to adjust to the US lifestyle and sticks to her Bengali roots. She is always homesick and visits India every summer. her parents and in-laws dying without her being on their bedside. Then comes the children who are very American but she wants them to stick to their Bengali roots which makes her unlikeable to her kids. In all three books we come across these characters over and over again. Be it Ashima in Namesake or Mrs Sen or The female characters in Unaccustomed Earth or Hell and Heaven. The husbands are always slightly unromantic, introvert, reclusive and in most stories the couples are hardly shown bonding romantically it is more of a co inhabitance. The next generation is always inclined towards the American way of living, hating the Bengali gathering that they are forced to attend, having American Girlfriends or boyfriends at times even spouses.
Jhumpa Lahiri's own experience as a Bengali child caught in the transition of two worlds in captured in most of her stories. But after three novels she should grow as a writer and come out of her own cocoon and write something new. At least she should introduce some new characters.Although I personally still like to read about all those Bengalis living in the US but at times I would like to read something new something that has not been told before from her. She should not fall into the trap of Bollywood potboilers who repeat the same formula films again and again to get the box office ringing.

Mar 26, 2010

Often I feel very sorry for my mother. At times I really feel how selfish I have been. I always took her services for granted. Now that I am in her shoes I really know where it pinches hard. Being a homemaker is a 24x7x365 thankless job. Here you are expected to deliver your best without fail. A home maker is giving her labor of love, but what is she getting in return? I think this is the time when I should truly thank my mother and all mothers all over the world for everything they did.

Recipe of Doi Mach

I am not a very good cook. Infact I am one of the few Bengali women, who is always trying to skip the kitchen apron. But at times I do tend to cook. Mostly for myself. I recently managed to cook a fish dish using curd/yogurt. I believe many are already accustomed with this recipe.


8 pcs of Rohu Fish
1/2 cup yogurt/curd
1/2 cup green peas
2 onion chopped
3-4 green chillies
1 tomato chopped
1 tsp cumin powder/paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1tbsp mustard oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

How to cook

Wash the fish pieces and marinate them with turmeric and salt. Keep aside
Heat oil in a kadai and put the fish pieces. Fry till brown. Remove and keep aside
Put some more oil in the kadai
Add the chopped onions. Fry till golden brown.
Add tomatoes and green chillies. Stir till the tomato turns soft
Add green peas and stir for 1-2 minutes
Add cumin powder, ginger paste and turmeric and stir till the oil starts to separate from the spices
Beat the curd/yogurt adding little water
Pour the curd
Cook for some time in low flame
Add the fish pieces and let it cook for some time in medium flame
Add sugar and cook for sometime
Garnish with coriander leaves

This dish can be best enjoyed with steamed rice on a Sunday afternoon.This dish is both delicious and easy to cook. Hope you would enjoy cooking and eating it. Do post your comments.

day in the life of an Instructional Designer

9:30 am, Ruchi is running to catch her office shuttle. Today she really needs to hurry up. The storyboard is expected to be back with client reviews. She needs to do the fixes and send it across by late afternoon. She would barely get time.

Today is going to be a hectic day in office. She has a meeting scheduled with the graphics team at 11 am for her AMD project. Last night, Ruchi sat late to go through the AMD introductory screen and was exasperated to find at least 35 bugs in one single screen. She wants to give a piece of her mind to the graphics team in the meeting.

Thankfully today the roads were empty. 10 am Ruchi entered the office lobby. She was feeling thirsty and wanted to head for the coffee machine. She controlled the temptation and instead went to her workstation. The first thing she did was opened her outlook inbox….”oh my god’ she gasped, it was full of mails. No time to go through all mails so she started prioritising them and searched for the storyboard which she was expecting. She found the storyboard with client comments and immediately started working. The unopened mails were making her curious but she concentrated on the storyboard. The clock was ticking fast and her work was not being able to keep up with the pace.

One mail that she managed a glimpse was particularly bothering her, the one that she dared to open was the meeting request from her onsite project manager Rohit Shetty, Ruchi dreads this man. Unable to control her curiosity she finally opened it. The content disgusted her. Rohit wants to fix a meeting at 9 pm India time.

All her plans went haywire with this one single mail. Today is her mom’s birthday and Ruchi wanted to go to her mom’s place to wish her. Rohit’s meeting usually lasts for more than 2 hours, so now the chance of making it to the party seems remote. She would have to abort that plan. She felt disgusted but has no time to sulk. She concentrated on her current task.

At 11am her outlook started reminding her of the impending meeting.

Ruchi was the last person to reach the meeting room. The graphics team were ready with their clarifications. The meeting ended at about12:30pm. Straight from the meeting room Ruchi headed to the coffee machine. She desperately needed a cuppa. She poured coffee and almost ran back to her workstation. On her way back she barely managed to say few customary hi-hello’s to her colleagues, all of whom were glued to their PC screens.

Ruchi started working on her remaining fixes. She wanted to be done with the fixes and start her new storyboard. Suddenly, her intercom started ringing. Naveena the Content Lead was on the other side of line. She asked very politely ‘ hey Ruchi, are you busy right now? Could you please come over for a minute? I just wanted to discuss the design template with you’. Ruchi wanted to say she was busy, but she did not want to upset her content lead. She obliged and went to meet the Lead. The discussion with Naveena exceeded much more than five minutes and when Ruchi finally came to her workstation it was 1:30pm.

Ruchi was feeling hungry but she had no time. There was too much to do and too little time. First she had to finish her SB, and then she had to work on the design template that Naveena gave her. She also needed to prepare for her meeting with Rohit.

The fixes and the design document were finally completed at 6:30 pm. She was already feeling exhausted. At last she got time to go to the cafeteria. Although she was hungry but she was not feeling like having anything heavy so she settled for instant noodle and a cup of coffee. In the cafeteria she occupied a corner seat and started eating.

In the meanwhile Urvashi and Geetha entered the cafeteria and finding Ruchi alone they joined her. After a hard day it was for the first time that Ruchi was relaxing a bit. But at the back of her mind, the meeting with Rohit was ringing hard. At 7pm she came back to her workstation, and finally started writing her new storyboard. She also quickly jotted down the agenda for the meeting with Rohit. At 8:30 pm she was done. She again went to the cafeteria to refresh herself before the gruelling meeting. At 9pm sharp Rohit was on the other side of the conference call. Randy the SME was also roped in. The meeting lasted for a gruelling 3 hrs.

At 12:30 Ruchi came back to her workstation. The office was almost empty, but many of the graphics team were still working. Ruchi asked them how long they are going to stay. They sadly replied that maybe the entire night.

After leaving office Ruchi called her mom. Ruchi said ‘happy birthday momma’. Her mom replied “thanks beta, but it is too early for my next birthday”. Tears rolled down Ruchi’s cheeks. Work has left no room for her dear ones.


i am slightly confused about how to create this blog thing...pls help


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