The neighbour

 After a week we moved in, I observed a couple of crows trying to build a nest on the nearby tree. I would see them day in and day out, bringing different sticks and trying to place that first  stick , carefully balancing it between the branches. The stick would fall the very next second and they would go away yet again, looking for a more suitable one. The placement of this first stick,obviously crucial, took around 8 days and the next two took a week. Talk about grit!
Once a triangle of sorts was formed(the foundation), the next steps went by considerably quick.Stick after stick,carefully chosen, were brought to the location. A rigorous testing of the new stick(if it was strong enough) was performed and meticulous placing happened. The nest evolved beautifully with some plastic wires and other oddiments thrown in.
I think the crows observed me observing them. So, they decide to collect a fee for the “show” and how? The strands of my new broom are taken for a cushiony interior. And of course, the “she” demands the finest. So, my broom is torn apart in the quest for the softest strands. The rest of the mess is left for me to cleanup.
After the nest was complete,I saw her just sitting on it for days together, with the frequent visits of the male crow. Apparently she was not just ‘sitting’ but incubating! One fine morning, I saw the tiniest chicks in the nest. The mommy would never leave the nest leaving me to wonder where on earth she gets the food from.That’s when I saw it – the dad bringing in food for the mommy and the kids! I was touched.
I started leaving out some cooked rice, veggies, portions of my evening snack for them to feast on and also a bird bath for a refreshing dip in the hot afternoons.The dad did enjoy all these, but the mom would NEVER leave the nest, except for that occasional hop to the next branch(few milli-metres away), probably to stretch those sore limbs.
One evening,there was a heavy downpour of rain accompanied by blinding lightning,resounding thunder and very strong winds. I rushed out to see how the little chicks were faring.I do not know why I presumed the mom would have left. But there I saw her,sitting with silent resolve.I could see she was trying to hold her nest together with her wings, blinking through the pouring rain.She had a steely determined look.

I stood a fascinated witness to the love, affection and that fierce protection the crows showed on their little ones.

The chicks have now grown a little and the mom is comfortable leaving the nest, coming back with the gathered food.She caws to me, if I don’t leave her the daily quota of food. Thanks to this little family, I’ve made that long pending visit to the ration shop, to get more rice to feed the little ones.

And oh, we’ve named the little ones Ram and Shyam 🙂

choosing
in progress
checkout the interior
babies
the mommy, taking a break
the dad, always wearing a worried look
ram and shyam
napping away

Crow trivia:
**A flock of crows is called ‘murder’. Like ‘a herd of elephants’, they’re called ‘a murder of crows’

** Crows mate for life! They find a new partner only if one of them die or they think it’s not working out between them(can’t produce broods)

**The male brings food for the female during incubation period. He dunks the food in water, sometimes letting it soak for a while in order to quench the female’s thirst during summers

** Pairs already mated do not have any courtship displays. So, no fluffing of feathers, displaying wings to impress, singing songs for the wife happens. Much like us, innit? 😀

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Once upon a lazy saturday….

 K has gone to India for a couple of weeks. I usually am not someone who keeps calling the husband every single minute giving live updates(OK! I did attempt,but always ended up hearing his “everything fine?I’ll talk to you in a bit”…just 10 nanosecs :/ ) But I sure am a woman who knows how to keep herself very busy – aimless blog hopping. 😀 That’s when I came across a beauty tip, which like the others promised that fresh-smooth-glowing skin. I remembered the Shenaz Neem face pack I had bought on my previous trip to India. As I was digging for that in my suitcases, I was picturing the husband singing this as soon as he sees me 😛

ek ladaki ko dekha to aisa laga…(when I saw this girl, she seemed to me like…)

jaise khilata gulaab(like a blooming rose)

jaise shaayar ka khvaab(like a poet’s dream) – WOW!

jaise ujali kiran(like a glowing ray of light) – Shenaz says I’ll very much be this in the next 20 mins.

jaise ban mein hiran(like a deer in the forest)

jaise chaandani raat(like a moonlit night)…….

 That’s when I heard it …THUD….THUD. I think I saw a shadow, like someone going down the window! I was shit scared, mainly because I live on the 33rd floor and I was all alone. Who on the earth is scaling such a tall building? Or is it my imagination?? I took a moment to think logical – It’s definitely not ghosts, because they don’t come during day time. It’s not the husband trying a surprise entry because I spoke to him on his India landline few mins back(Yea, right. That’s why it’s not him!) Hmm, who could it be..maybe an uber-hunk thief? Like Hrithik in Dhoom? Or maybe Spider Man??? Most likely Spider Man, given that New York is just a few mins away…

So I decided to go take a look outside the window,pinning all my hopes on the last two guesses.

This is what I saw – two ropes. So it was not my imagination!

Wait. Now rope rules out Spider Man,he don’t need those 😦 Hmmm. Then maybe it’s a theif, a la Hrithik in Dhoom or better, Kites. I peeped out the window, full of hopes and dreams only to find out it was…

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The building maintenance guy, performing his bi-annual window washing duty 😐

So much for all the “logical” thinking I did. Hmmph!

For all the false hopes he made way for, I rightly punished him. Almost made him jump out of his skin. How?? By showing my face 😛

*scary photo alert*

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Hee Haw…

Eye Candy

Gosh, how CUTE is that??? Look at the tiny polka dotted cups and plates in delicious colors!! And the perfect packaging,awww…

Be it Final Fantasy or any other coolest newest video game, it can never ever have this charm!

Image courtesy: attic24. Her blog is a major everyday drooling for me, am sure it will be for you 🙂

Dates and Nuts

Thanks to everyone for their comments and to those who told me personally that my cooking disasters are fun :/

To those expecting the “slaughter of the dates” or suggesting my recipe is to just eat them from the hand(though that’s the best way),

***SURPRISE!!***

It turned out really really good. Maybe God wasn’t able to take the incessant questioning, day and night – ‘Why??’, ‘Why ME??? What wrong did I do(except for adding extra tamarind paste)?’, “Why won’t You let me cook well??”.

Then I took a resolution. I will try cooking one final time. I will make some simple dessert. It will be offered to God first so as to take His blessing. Hehe, now He won’t let me screw it up, will He? 😛

Thus started the making of ‘Dates & Nuts’ from here

Changes I made are not adding Cardamom powder and Sesame seeds( both were not available at home and husband suggested added flavor was not really needed for something that’s going to trash can 😐 ).

Ha! Look for yourself who had the last laugh!

Unfortunately the plate was wiped clean before I could even take a pic – it was that hit. In fact they(inmates of the house) asked me to make it again and again. They said, ” You are just awesome. Just keep making this dates sweet every day!”

“Thank you, Thank you!!” was all I could manage grinning widely…..Hey wait. Did they  indirectly ask me not to try any more cooking?? :O

Cooking is an adventure.

First things first – Why do I term cooking an “adventure”? Well, because that is what it is to me, literally! Having never ever cooked in my life before, I was suddenly put into a situation where I can either take a cooking turn or shamelessly eat the awesome stuff prepared by the other 3 in my house. After being shameless for quite sometime, I decided to give cooking a try. At this point I would like to thank my wonderful husband for his ever growing ” I COOK for you, can’t you wash vessels?”, ” I COOK for you, can’t you do the laundry?”, ” I COOK for you and all am asking is one foot massage!” which made me jump into cooking. Thanks K! 😉
As with many, my first kitchen encounter was a disaster. Oh, if you think too salty,too spicy food implies a disaster, NO. That is not the worse that can happen, trust me.

All I had to do was make a tadka and add it to already cooked(by someone else) rice with essentials like salt/chilly/turmeric powder and cook it for some more time. Sounds simple right? But fate had other plans for me.

I start the tadka process and wait and wait for the oil to get hot, lose patience and decide to throw in the mustard et al. It promptly burns,making me remove the vessel with whatever I get in hand – paper towel was what I got. Not a good idea, as it quickly caught fire. I hastily put the vessel on the counter and get busy with putting off the fire before it sets off the alarm. Meanwhile the tadka vessel had started melting the mustard packet which was in close proximity, oops…now the mustard is going to spill all over and so I think and jump to take away the vessel,not remembering it was on stove only 15 secs back and hence red hot. Thus I ended up with burnt fingers and heavy loss of culinary confidence.

My second attempt at cooking was making “spicy tangy mushroom chettinad”. It was a flop as well. After googling for ways to reduce the tanginess(don’t ever add that tamarind paste on an approximation), couple of frantic calls later and adding spoonfuls of chilly powder and lots of water, all I ended up was with a potful of orangish thick fluid drowning the poor mushrooms.

Am I one of those who just don’t have that cooking streak in them? You know, no matter how much ever one tries, sometimes they just cannot make something. That’s when I came across the Dates recipe.

Wanna bet the outcome?? 🙂

Hot samosas,cup of tea and more

What a perfect evening it is! Hot samosas, a cup of tea and novel in hand…can it get any better?? Did I say I’m over at a friend’s place, which means the cup of tea and hot samosa was neatly offered, without me having to move my finger. Again, can it get any better at all?!?! This is my in-heaven moment today  🙂

Off to enjoy!