Resto Reco- Tabula Rasa

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The Flying Spaghetti Monster- Logo

Tabula Rasa may be a clean slate but it shows you its quirky side through its menus, the little quips and a nice, mellow, chilled out owner who take your orders, brings you food and also checks if it’s burptastic rather than sit on a lofty perch somewhere or have a cell phone stuck to his ears.

But before we start extolling the virtues of the people there, let’s look at the main thing in any restaurant…FOOD.

The food is Italian. No two ways about it. Right from their antipasto, to their Insalata and their main courses which give you a usual array of pastas and the sauces that go with them.

We had ordered a  mushrooms with rosemary and garlic bread for starters, Supremo (white sauce with veggies, mildly spicy and lots of broccoli) with ravioli and a spaghetti with beef bolognaise.

The thing about ravioli that is available in most restaurants in Hyderabad (when it is available that is) is that either it’s too doughy and you have to literally chew your heart out or it just falls apart and all the stuffing scatters in your food. With beef too you end up taking a chance since it’s either not a good cut and very rubbery and you end up spending more time chewing and less time swallowing. Even with the mince. The sauces in both the main courses were flavorful and the pasta perfectly cooked.

The servings were just right I’d have to say. Some places have trouble striking a balance and end up giving you either not enough or too much and you have to doggy bag it later.

What I really liked about this place is that they catered to a mildly fussy little boy’s palate by making a plate of gooey, tasty mashed potatoes for him even though it wasn’t on their menu, even as a side dish.

That alone will have me going back for more.

The decor is unpretentious with wide tables (a must for people like us who carry big bags and park our digital media on the table while feeding a child), good lighting but muted enough for ambiance. There’s outdoor seating as well and an interesting chandelier which caught my eye but I was too busy snarfing up my food to take a picture.

And with a bill of about Rs.1700 inclusive of taxes for a meal for 3 that comprised of a starter, mocktails, main courses..it is a good deal for a place like Jubilee Hills and is very easy to find.

Try it out! You might have a few favorite grub joint.

The Mumbling Husband

Originally published in- http://fortunatecave.livejournal.com/110328.html

Red mumbles. And quite likely, I’m going deaf in one ear.

This is how it happened: 
I was saying something about Mumaith Khan 
Red said something I heard as thus- She looks like Cromwell.
Me: Cromwell? Oliver Cromwell? Eeks!!
Red: Cromwell?!! I said kaamwaali!!

*walks away shaking his head at me in a bewildered fashion*

The Bloggy Journey+ Blogging 101

It’s not like I’ve reached a massive milestone and there needs to be a post commemorating it but when I woke up this morning, this post was lurking about in my head and with there still being a bit of time left before I needed to dive into Monday, I thought why not!

I heard about blogs, blogging…the whole enchilada from my husband. Only he wasn’t my husband then. He was this still-kinda-new skinny, quiet guy who walked a bit too fast for me to keep up with him on the roads and who didn’t smile much. But he read books. Devoured them like me, but in his own way. After spending some great time in a bookstore he correctly surmised that I loved the written word and the previous night he had gotten to know how much I loved the spoken word. Especially my own.

I was leaving Bangalore the same day when he asked me if I blogged. And I have to admit…I didn’t know the word at all! I knew the word blob- the movie and the concept. But not blog. Seeing me look perplexed he elaborated…erm..weblog? Do you write?

I told him I wrote…journals; but they were private. And he told me about this blogging bit which could be as private as you wanted it to be or as public as well. It was like having your own online journal and you could write whatever took your fancy. Read stuff that other people had written and it was a great way of sharing ideas, knowing that others were thinking, reading good writing and it was as real-time as possible. I was intrigued. Seriously. When I asked him how I might go about it he told me (the same way he was going to end up telling me everything for the next 8+ years to come) to research it and look at the existing blog platforms but he was on Livejournal.

This man then put me on the train that would take me back to Hyderabad, gave me a book (that’ll be a different post and soon!) and told me to blog because I would like it and waved me off.

Back in Hyderabad work and a life of leisure consumed me. There wasn’t much room to think, much need either. Then one day I was a bit irked about something and didn’t have an outlet. I grumped about a bit and found no one at home paid me much heed. And suddenly the word blog popped into my head. And this is what passed for my first blog post on 16th May, 2005.

Since then I have blogged. Some times incessantly. Other times sporadically or not at all. But it’s been a constant in my life. I wake up with thoughts that seem like they were meant to be typed out and just unleashed on the Internet. And other times they serve as a outlet which I control with a valve maintain equilibrium in my life but they don’t see the light of day. They don’t languish in Drafts either. But their time to debut hasn’t yet come so there they shall remain.

I have a few things to say about blogging- Unless someone wants to be a professional blogger (and even then) writing about what comes naturally to you will always help more in getting the words out rather than writing on a trending issue just because more people are likely to read it.

Even if your blogs don’t get many/any comments doesn’t mean that it hasn’t reached people. Some are touched enough to leave a comment but it doesn’t showcase any enjoyment or smiles, food-for-thought moments that have been caused while it was read so… write regardless!

Formatting is good but if you are a long-winded person like me, trying to curb the flow of your words just so they are arranged better, look concise can be nothing short of a death knell in your inherent blogging form. Be true to yourself and your intrinsic style of blogging.

Add a picture. It *does* make the post look better but if you can’t find a picture that talks to you or seems to be tailor-made for the post, leave it be. Not everything needs to be pretty.

Speaking of pretty- write from your heart. To some extent screw grammar (Blasphemy!) and spellings (double blasphemy!). Mistakes are made when your thoughts flow faster than your fingers can keep up. But unless it changes the tone and intent of your blog post, don’t kill yourself over spell checks. Doing it does add accuracy but don’t get anal about it.

Write from the heart but try not to offend. There are SO many kinds of people out there. So many types of thought processes, life situations. An imperious tone can often come out like a judgement. Which we may or may not be qualified to make. If it’s a personal diary, make it personal to you…not personal for someone else necessarily.

It’s ok to not write posts from time to time. Just a tweet-like post will also be called a blog post. It’s still legitimate so don’t rack your brains trying to come up with paras.

At the end of it all, before hitting Publish, if you feel good, if you feel contented, fulfilled and happy…then you have blogged! Even if the followers are in single digits and yours isn’t in the first 3 search results on Google. You did it. Your thoughts and words count.

Happy Blogging People!

Movie Review- How To Train Your Dragon 2

I have been waiting to see this movie since i got to know it was in the pipeline. And it hasn’t been that long a wait. I had actually despaired thinking that if it gets released in the 3D format then I would need a babysitter (no luck getting one till date) or go see it on my own since MLM would certainly “have issues” with wearing the 3D glasses. This child of mine likes being unencumbered by all things even going to the extent of watching movies in the buff if he feels it’s too hot around him.

Anyhoo…review time. It was good. In parts. I love Toothless. His bond with Hiccup doesn’t seem contrived at all. I know they’re CGI movies and all that but a boy and his dragon…that’s like the original love story because before there was Old Yeller, there was…wait for the drumroll…THE DRAGON!!

Ok…back from the digression yet AGAIN. I like how they makers kept it realistic…if the story’s 5 years into the future it’s only natural that Hiccup’s face show some sign of maturity, his voice deepens more. But the GINORMOUS dragons they’ve pulled out of thin air and made them into not one but TWO alphas was a shade over the top.

I mean you had the mercenary, exploitative giant dragon from the first movie who used to make the other dragons steal food from the humans and also kill them but this time to kind of fall back on a similar statured dragon is  kind of ho-hum.

But there are moments in the movie which I felt could have been dealt with differently- Stoick for instance. I mean the man had just started to get interesting and off he gets a Viking funeral (hell the movie’s been out for over 2 weeks now, hardly a spoiler alert!). Hiccup’s mother appears from nowhere and is the original dragon whisperer and yay for her but again, a bit unbelievable.

The excitement seemed a bit off in the movie. The main enjoyment came from watching it with my family and seeing my kid’s reaction to one of his favorite characters flit about the screen.

But all in all…it was a good one-time watch. Drago the Bloodthirsty (or was it Bloody) wasn’t too scary embodiment-wise or even enactment-wise and he seemed a bit like a prop to me overall.

Be as that may…nothing takes away from seeing a happy child who claps on seeing dragons blowing fire and swooping midair and doing loop-da-loops and that’s why it will remain one of our good times together as a family. Although I can’t wait to see how large a creature they bring in for part 3 of the series.

Silly Little Milestones

Am sure other parents do this as well, whether they announce it out loud or not…I remember all of MLM’s milestones…maybe not the date but the age he was when he did particular things.

Today he achieved another milestone which doesn’t appear in any doctor’s chart but pretty much everyone around him seems to have gone through it- watching a 3D movie. See? Silly.

If I had my way I wouldn’t have wanted to have him watch a 3D movie right now, thinking it could be overwhelming, he could end up breaking the glasses or just getting disinterested in seeing things hazy on screen but no…the little man doesn’t disappoint. He is predictable and predictably unpredictable all at once!

He shrugged off the glasses since they were too big for his face and he couldn’t be bothered to keep them up on his nose. But at the same time, he just couldn’t let the opportunity go to see Toothless and Hiccup and all the D-R-A-G-O-N-S do their thang either! So he watched the 3D movie without any glasses and had a blast!

That will teach me to not underestimate him. Of course he managed to get more goodies out of us at the end of the movie as well so that bit wasn’t unforeseen 🙂

But we will wait for more fun stuff to come our way and hope that the 2D way doesn’t become a thing of the past too quickly.

Escape Into Fantasy- A Parenting Placebo

Every now and then I like to pretend. That things in my home are nearly picture perfect. When I sit down on the couch, or a chair I’m not likely to sit on a clothes pin that will jab me in the gluteus maximus. That I will have my coffee in peace, at length and savor each vitalizing sip.

That going to bathe will not mean the rescue of wild animals and divers from buckets before I can aim the shower jets at myself. Or that touching any random surface in the kitchen will not reveal a presence of stickiness which will either be jam or peanut butter.

The floors will be spotless instead of having tell-tale signs of a child who runs with his glasses of milk and juice in hand. The moment I put my foot on the floor when I get up in the middle of the night I’m not going be poked by a triceratops or land on a Hot Wheels car with God know whats stuck on its hood.

I also like to pretend that when my adorable, beautiful little boy wakes up in the morning it will be accompanied by a Good Morning rather than a sound that mimics the ambulance siren down to the last cringe-worthy pitch and tone.

The fantasy isn’t one of being single or not being a parent. Because that’s not entirely a desired state of being either. Once you have kids, you may not always be able to connect with that time in your life when they weren’t around. Brats or not…they’ve fit in seamlessly and that’s how it should be. But there’s such a calming effect to the fantasy ( aka delusion) that things are in their own place, the house is clean, all the little monsters that your little monster plays with are in their rightful place and if you want to, you can just NOT RUSH while you go about doing the prosaic little things that make up your life viz doing the laundry, taking in the laundry, hanging out the laundry, folding the laundry, making the beds, planning the meals, trying to recall if the wooden stuff needs another polish and if the leather stuff can go another week without its spray and polish….you know, all the little joys we embrace when we decide to be a home maker rather than climb up the corporate ladder in any shape or form.

But reality does set it. A small person comes back home, ecstatic to see you after a few hours of being away in school. And while you are the go-to person for turning on the t.v or sourcing the iPad and assuaging hunger, you are also the person they want with you when they are happy. You are the one they turn to.  For everything.

That’s a high that the best fantasy can’t begin to compare to on most days.

Image courtesy- canstockphoto.com/canstock16191715.jpg

Image courtesy- canstockphoto.com/canstock16191715.jpg

Happy Weekending People!

Things Fall Apart Circa 2014

We read Chinua Achebe‘s Things Fall Apart as a foil to The Heart Of Darkness in college. But the name of Achebe’s novel has become highly prophetic especially as a testimony to the times we live in.

The way I see it, the horrific incident in 2012 December just opened the floodgates for the reportage of the kind of bestiality that exists in our society today. And it seems that the beasts are always trying to one up each other in their sadistic turn of mind by inflicting the most unimaginable torture, assault on people; women especially.

And while for the most part we seem to have a citizenry who is outraged by the shocking turn of events, we also seem to have social commentators, politicians and people in a position of power and responsibility who either are content to play ostrich and turn a blind eye, downplay the events or merely give newsbytes on prime time t.v.

Social media platforms are very powerful. Whether people take to a particular status update or comment because it seems fashionable to do so or because it’s struck a chord with them; it allows for the proliferation of information. This is essential in getting to know the pulse of the people out there since it’s dynamic, real-time and reflective of their collective thought process.

What I find truly disturbing is that beyond ranting on Facebook, Twitter and blog posts and gathering for peaceful marches and prayer vigils, nothing really concrete has emerged since 2012 December.

Where the fast track court has managed to sentence the perpetrators of a crime that caught the world’s attention, the overall lawmaking and governance of a nation has failed to curb the tendency of people from acting out their barbaric fantasies or whims.

Which does point out to the seemingly obvious answer that people have devolved to baser state as time goes by and are inclined to act on cavemannish proclivities instead of letting the voice of reason, sanity and humanity impact them in any way at all.

Is this the dawn of the new Dark Ages? Truly a sad commentary about the times we live.

Halves&Wholes

People often introduce their spouses as their better halves. Or bitter depending on what time of the day you run into them or during which pet peeve they seem to be exercising; but the fact of the matter is that you do feel like something’s missing when someone in your family or your everyday existence is away.

During this summer holiday we spent a lot of time away from Red. Three weeks at my mom’s place and another three weeks while he was away on a work trip. And it’s been a long, long summer because of that.

I am the first to crib when he gets home since he works long hours; long undetermined hours truth be told. And my interaction with him is usually about two hours in the morning and hour or so at night when he returns. I crash before he does because the human hurricane zaps my energies by dusk and it’s an utter luxury for me to lie in bed in darkness and just not do anything before I drift off.

And I did all of those things during this summer vacation as well but the biggest change was Red not being there. The occasional IMs, calling him up to tell him about something funny that the offspring did, the on and off whine about coming home early for once etc etc just went POOF!

Instead we would catch up while he brushed in the morning and we ate dinner, while we were waking up here and he was about to head out for dinner there and the distance didn’t feel too much but somehow the time didn’t pass as quickly either.

I guess it’s about getting used to a person being in your life that makes the difference. The daily dance you do right from tugging sheets while sleeping to making space in front of the sink while brushing to waking up to the first hit of the caffeine…it’s a routine and a very good one. You want to be able to see the familiar faces everyday. You want to be able to open the door to the familiar face everyday too.

You don’t want to be limited to Skype to find out how each other’s days went and trips should ideally be taken together or for a short duration where the person’s back before you missed them.

Of course the goodies brought back help. Albeit slightly. What you’d much rather do is remind them to switch off the bathroom light, not leave the wet towel on the bed and come home early for once. It is what gives that stamp of yourness in your life and that’s what it is all about at the end of the day.

And now I will very generously wait till the jet lag leaves him to start up about our very own brand of ourness. Well…I’ll wait till tomorrow at least seeing that the man’s passed out and still in another time zone!

 

Knowing When The Anvil Is Hot

People talk, a LOT, about teaching kids values, “good” things and how getting an early start is usually beneficial. I agree. To some extent. As parents, we often forget that while there are milestones that a majority of the kids attain at relatively the same time, there are outliers here as well. Some children reach certain milestones earlier and some reach them later; without any disability hindering them. It’s like the marathon or climbing something uphill…you’ll get there, but someone will always get their ahead of everyone else and there’ll always be the person who reached after everyone else. But they reached. And that should be celebrated. Especially with kids.

Now to take all the ambiguous talk out of the way and illustrate my point more clearly.

I have been trying to get MLM to switch off lights, fans when he exits a room for a longish period. Also to run the taps slowly and shut them off so water isn’t wasted. Same with food, take a small amount, finish it and then take some more. Basically trying to teach him to pace himself and also see to it that things don’t get wasted. But then crops up every parents’ biggest bugbear- THE WHY.

Why do I need to switch off the fan? What is waste? Why can’t I keep the water running as long as I want? The whys are endless and there’s a good reason for it- he doesn’t understand consequences yet. He has experienced consequences but he doesn’t know *what* they are. And usually the kind of consequences he’s experienced has resulted in a broken toy, a time out or a spank on his backside. Those are *bad* things to a child. They will try to avoid them but to get them to understand consequences of wastages of natural resources is a toughie at a preschool/primary school age.

Up to an age relying on the “Because I said so” response to their numerous whys has to suffice. Of course changing the tone and words of the phrasing help in getting things done. I’ve been falling back on, “Please do it because I asked you to”, “Please do it for me”  at times.

One of the most critical aspects of education is also knowing when to teach rather than relying mainly on  what to teach. As parents we need to have the pulse of the kids and know how much our child is capable of comprehending before we look at milestones set up by doctors and educationists and give ourselves sleepless nights thinking about where the child is lagging according to norms and guidelines. But those guidelines are important. They not only let you know what a child of a particular age is capable of, it also helps us understand how much deviation there is. Deviations help in identifying disability vs a mere delay.

I read this blog post from a mom I admire and whose posts I read eagerly. Her older son knows the names of birds I have never heard before. And not just knowing the names, he can identify them at any given point of time and can demonstrate that HE HAS ACTUALLY LEARNED something. A concept. And those are things which will stay with him always. So performing on demand and showcasing the extent of his knowledge shouldn’t be the main criteria for an adult to gauge how far along a 3-year old has progressed.

My child is very expressive and affectionate and his protective instincts are very strong. He is empathetic and champions the cause of those whom he perceives as the underdog or those he feels are being dominated. Sometimes he’s wrong in his perception viz an older sibling hazing a younger one isn’t always full of malice…you’re supposed to be pinched and shoved. But it’s quite a revelation for me to see him exhibit these facets of his personality at this age. What does a typical 5-year-old know these days anyhow? Spiderman? Lays chips? Ice cream and his alphabets. Basically still quite young and innocent.

This morning a few things made me smile and look at how my child processes information. He was trying to read the milk packet. He sounded the letters out phonetically- Mmm-Iii but by the time he got to L he said lollipop and said kite for K. He’s got his theory in place but a little tangled up. But he remembers. And what he remembers he will recall and eventually understand the way it’s meant to be understood.

We need to do more than just keep the child safe…we need to see what kind of learners they are, what interests them, what is fun for them. We also need to be aware of their intrinsic traits like compassion, affection and help boost them. A child can learn a good value later on in life too. He needs to learn what he’s capable of learning, to start with. The rest will all fall into place later on.

Here endeth the lesson.