Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The sweet scent of summer...........

My sweet friends, how have you been? I just wanted to drop in and check on how you were...the last week just flew past in a hazy blur of appointments and chores. I have been taking it easy the last couple of days though as I needed to recuperate from a bout of allergies (which I had no idea I had!) It seems like forever since I blogged! When I sat in front of my computer today, I almost felt like I had forgotten blogging! (Not quite tho'--it's like learning to ride a bike, you never forget!) There have been so many changes these past few months, some monumental, some minor, that it's quite hard to know just where to pick up the conversation---"awkward pauses", anyone? Certainly a lot on my mind too...I was reading my posts from the past few weeks. They seem very "me-centric".....not what I've been aiming for, but it seems to be something I can't shake off that easily either, at least not just yet. Please bear with me? In the meantime I was catching up on my reading list...not an easy task! I have my reader configured to be a constant source of inspiration (read: I subscribe to too many blogs!!) and the list was overwhelming to say the least. I did manage to read all the posts in my backlog, but I haven't been able to comment on them...Please excuse me, I know you'll understand...

In other news, the rose vine in my backyard bloomed...a much-awaited event, it flowers for about ten days in the whole year, but it brings summer with it, wafting along with the sweetest-smelling white roses..... I like to clip a few sprays and place them throughout the home. Like I said, they don't last long, but there is a poetry about them, even when those delicate white petals start falling....

It appears like posting will continue to be erratic this week as well...I hope to catch up with you over the weekend, when I'll hopefully have some time on my hands. Till then, I'm going to leave you with this song from Shubha Mudgal, one of my all time favorites........


**Edited to add: To all of you who wrote in this past month and all of you who stopped by P&P to check up on me--thank you for your kindness....your sweet comments have left me overwhelmed to say the least. I'm well, as is our family....I've been traveling and we're also in the middle of a long-distance move and it has all kept me pretty busy. Sorry to have gone AWOL on you! :( I hope to be back soon (in fact I've been trying to write up a post for you for the past three days--hopefully I'll put in the finishing touches and have it up on the blog in a bit.......)Till then, Thank You...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hello Monday and the weekend that was.....

Gentle reader, how has your weekend been? I was craving comfort this weekend; as my mind worked at the speed of lightening, I felt the need to balance it all out with outward trappings of calm. There are several  goings-on happening behind the scenes at P&P central. There some very exciting new friendships and future projects that keep me busy, and on the home-front, there's a lot of shaking up happening as well (nothing bad, just different!) As life gets busier for us, I find that a change has come over me, as my family needs me more, I find that I can rise up to the challenge and I'm grateful for that....It's good to be useful!!! And while my mind races and flits from project to project, I turn to familiar comforts-- music, food, books, as I create my little mom-cave (mom-aura to be more accurate, because it follows me everywhere, not limited to a physical space...did that make sense?) ....

This weekend I decided to don my new apron (gift from my mom) and throw myself into the ritual of baking; while my hands went through the familiar motions of measuring and kneading, my mind was elsewhere, calculating and planning (Oooooh, that sounds sinister!!!...nothing Machiavellian in the works, I assure you!)  Are you like that? Whirling dervish inside and calm collected homebody on the outside...

Do you cook more when you're "stretched"? I've found that I most certainly do!!! There's always music in my kitchen and the afternoon sun through my kitchen window just makes me happy. Funny, several years back  I would never have thought that cooking would be a source of comfort for me (I used to eat to live, not the other way around!!!), and yet, here it is....

Anyway, I made my favorite "everything focaccia".....I adore the aroma of bread baking in the oven!!!

Looks good doesn't it? It tastes great too! :) Here's a link to the basic recipe, you can switch it up with any combination of flavorings you want...

Posting may be sparse this week, but I'll keep popping in to check on you. (Don't give up on me yet, tho', there are a few good posts in the works....) 

Hope you have a  wonderful week ahead!!


PS: Music from yesterday (and the sweetest video!).....(I actually like most of the songs on this soundtrack. You?)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Summer breezes, banana pancakes and freedom.....(Redux)

Editor's Note:  This post is a reloaded version of my original post which appeared on May 11, 2011. Due to a technical glitch in Blogger, the original post seems to have gone AWOL. However, I found it extremely hard to let go, in part because I loved the flow of thoughts I'd penned down (and the extremely thoughtful response I had received from you, dear readers) and in part because the pictures and music I'd posted up here were reflective of my state of mind, calm and unhurried (something I don't do as much as I should!) and I'd love to document them if I can.....the technical glitch in blogger also served to show me that yes, my post was worth saving, at least for myself, and I was pleased with that thought because it revealed to me that I had, finally, moved to the place where my posts held a deeper meaning to me, something I have been straining to do for the past couple of months (and have ranted over, ad nauseam--sorry about that, dear reader!). Luckily, my pictures were still intact on Picasa, the music plays on courtesy YouTube and the text was preserved in my reader! Whew.

Put it all together and what do you get? glorious Deja vu. :D             

My only complaint??? Your wonderful comments have disappeared. Maybe we can remedy that too....

Two loads of laundry to fold, endless chores to wrap up, dinner to plan (what do I make for dinner today????) and all I want to do is sit still and watch the breeze play with the curtains while I sip my nimbu paani and listen to this......(Told ya I was the queen of procrastination!!)

I loved this song the first time I heard it (on the "find your beach" commercial--love the concept too, btw!)

Other music that's been playing as I go down my list of to-dos today.....


Totally unrelated, yet-related-in-a-weird-kind-of-way profound thought of the day: Life is good. The best things in life are fee (or brought too you courtesy of youtube, LOL!), but you need to have a degree of freedom* to enjoy it. Here's hoping you find your beach (and the freedom to enjoy it too....)

 Freedom to "root", to "grow", to "be", to drink in natures gifts.....

*Freedom in its many avtars has been on my mind a lot lately....I've been meaning to explore this theme and what it means to us, but that is the subject of another post, one that will take time to compose, so till it is written up (which may not happen anytime soon) I'd love to hear your thoughts on it..........

Here are some of the comments this post received: 

Mehjabeen Arif:

Nice post !

Freedom to be myself, to explore life any way I choose, to voice my opinions, to do the right thing without ramifications...and more to ponder about:):) Thank you for taking me down this path today, Gagan.

Ambika :

Hey that's a nice black n white jug, did you do that?
(No, Ambika, it was the thrifted find!)
Freedom to me is free spiritedness, just being a positive myself, letting troubles roll-off like water on a leaf, and walking down life with my near n dear with-the-wind-in-my-hair!
Good day!

with all the violence in the Middle East, freedom is something I appreciate more and more.
Loving each new addition to your tumblr account...guess I've told you this before, but still!!

Anpu :

Lovely post Gagan...and a lovely view from the window...I second Kala with my views on freedom...and realize how blessed I am...

Geeta :

Loved the breeze in pic #1.

Free in spirit is all what I aim for in a larger perspective, especially with what's happening around the world, we can't take it lightly any more. 

richa :

Nice post, n lovely descriptions and pictures.

nisha :

i love love love that curtain of urs..
Thank you girls, for all the love and support and for sharing your thoughts with me! I have to agree with  everything that you have written; freedom to me is my right to exist as a daughter of the earth, to be able to express myself, unfettered. To roam and grow, to absorb and reflect without restrictions, and without the need for explanations. To be able to set my own boundaries, not abide by ones imposed. To read, to dress, to think the way I want to....That and so much more....and as I realize all the freedoms I am blessed with, I am all the more grateful for what I have....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thrifting like a pro: A guest post.

Hello, lovely people! How has the week been treating you so far? I have a treat in store for you today....the always vivacious Evie from the blog Post-College Working Girl has put together a wonderful post on how to spot a bargain and thrift like a pro. As you may know, I'm a big fan of thrifting...for me it makes sense on several levels, it's economical and it's Eco-friendly (reuse, recyclye, upcycle....just make sure it isn't headed to a landfill!), it's also about the thrill of the hunt and finding something unique. And it gives me a chance to flex my creative muscle without working our way into bankruptcy, LOL! Like the saying goes "you don't have to spend a million........"

So without much further ado, I present to you Evie and her wonderful tips (be sure to pay extra attention to her wonderful home in all the after pictures too; if you haven't discovered Evie's blog yet, you positively have to click on over!! Resourceful comes to mind. As does creative. And of course, fun!) Take it away Evie.....

I was honored when Gagan e-mailed me (which was no small feat considering the e-mail malfunctions we had!) and asked if I would write a post about thrifting!  She is so sweet and I love her blog so I didn't hesitate one moment to say yes!  So, I must confess to y'all, you know, get it out in the open, since we are getting to know one another:  I am a thrift store junkie.  There.  I said it.  I love going thrifting.  I mean, lah lah lah love it.  Sure, the excitement of finding a bargain is about as addictive as watching the Lifetime specials leading up to the Royal Wedding, but for me, the real thrill comes in finding unique objects that can't be found all across the world at your Ikeas, Crate and Barrels, and Pottery Barns.  

The most common thing that I hear from friends and my blog readers when they see the things that I have found at a thrift store, is that they wish they could find "good" stuff like that but that they just don't know what to look for.  I am here to offer my humble tips and tricks of the thrifting trade because there is TONS of "good stuff" to be found out there!

1)  The best thing to take with you when going thrifting is... an imagination!  Sounds corny, I know, but to find the "good" stuff you have to look past the dingy fabric, the color of an item, and the nicks and scratches on wood.  Look at the structure of an item, or the "bones," and picture it in your minds eye in a different color, or re-upholstered with a different fabric.

I purchased this couch from a thrift store for $42.  The fabric was old and dingy but I loved the curved back and arms along with the wood detailing on the bottom.  It was also sturdily constructed, which is important!

A little bit of new upholstery and some wood polish and I was able to make a drab couch a "great find"!

2)  Another one of my favorite things to look for in thrift stores are little figures and items to use in the decor around my house.  When looking for these things don't get caught up in the exterior, but rather look at it's shape.  For instance, I love elephants, but I wasn't in love with the dull, metal finish of the guy below.  I picked up this pair of elephants for about $3 though because I thought that the posture of the trunk was interesting and knew that I could change the exterior, which was the only draw back.

A little bit of spray paint and now I adore seeing this pair with their GREEN trumpeting trunks!

3)  I cannot stress this next tip enough:  WOOD FURNITURE CAN ALWAYS BE PAINTED!  Ok I think I scared myself a little bit with those capital letters, but I really think that this is the biggest tool of the thrifting trade.  Sometimes things just need a coat of paint to go from dated and tacky to hip and fantastic!

Coffee Table purchased for $50

Painted black with shined up brass legs!

Dated looking side table.  Purchased for about $15

Now a super chic two toned table.

The wood here makes me want to cry it's so bad, but I love the scalloped edges and unique shape of the cabinet windows.  Purchased for $90.

Now I cry only tears of happiness!

A "nothing special" mirror for $6.

Sophisticated in black!

4)  When all the other rules of thumb fail you, and you see something that you just HAVE to have, go for it.  At the end of the day, if it makes you happy and you love it then you can't go wrong.  I, for one, fell immediately in love when I saw this PINK velvet chair.


And then I fell in love again when I saw THIS pink velvet chair.


Both are currently living in harmony in my house, because let's be honest one can never have too many pink velvet chairs.

I hope that you found this helpful and that it inspired you to go out and find the thrifted things you love!

Evie those were some excellent tips! And I especially enjoyed looking into your gorgeous home--I love how warm and inviting it is without being too fussy..and now I have a strange hankering for a pink velvet chair. Hmmm now where did that come from?? :)  Thank you so much for putting together this wonderful post!

I hope you enjoyed the post, dear reader, and whether you're thrifting at the rose bowl or back in Mumbai's chor bazaar, don't forget to tell me about the treasures you bring home..... :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Calling all mommies....

.....Hope you have a wonderful day! Hope you get some time to put your feet up....

(And read a good book...I loved reading this one! green toenails optional..... :D)

...enjoy something pretty...


(The orchids have faded now, but I'm so happy I still have these pictures to enjoy their beauty.......)

......and get pampered.........

Tempting? Get the recipe here. I used to make this quite often, but I didn't know what I was missing out on till the magician-cook whispered her secret ingredient in my ear---Ginger!! I've jazzed it up with some scallions and fresh herbs--basil from my windowsill and cilantro from the grocer!

Those lovely batik napkins are my mother's work....aren't they gorgeous!

My new tablecloth, that-isn't-a-tablecloth. It's actually a curtain...I couldn't find any table covers in India that would fit my unwieldy dining table, so I picked the prettiest curtain for the purpose! Bonus: it was on sale! Yay.

Confession: these pictures were taken much earlier, nothing to do with the momentous occasion (!!??!!) of mothers' day. I just thought they'd look pretty presented here in one post. 

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend, my lovelies!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baagh Singh: Chief Tabby-in-Residence.

So here he is folks, as promised. Meet Baaghwinder Singh (you can also call him Baagh** Singh  if you feel the name in its full glory is a mouthful) and yes, he currently occupies the exalted position of chief tabby-in-residence. He likes to go romping in the jungle, peeping through leaves while he stealthily stalks his prey and POUNCES!!

 (**Baagh, for those of you not familiar with the word, is the hindi and punjabi term for "Tiger")

 Sneaky Cat!

 Frolicking in the sunlight...

His favorite spot at home is either on my table where he runs amok, messing up all the papers (yes, he's the one that made the current mess on my table. Cats I tell you!) and of course he just loves the sunny ledge on my windowsill...he can sit there for hours (and days! LOL!)

I'm taking a couple of days off blogging, there are several tasks that need to be tackled and I have only one business day left to accomplish it all in (Oh, the pressure!), I may pop in over the weekend just to say hello..... Till then, be good, (miss me?) and have a great weekend!

PS: What do you think of my copycat styling? (pun totally unintended). Catch the original here. ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011


I'm not doing any DIY anytime soon, but if I were, here's what I'd love to sink my teeth into:

 Picture and DIY tutorial via Apartment Therapy.

That rug is a DIY!!! O.M.G. And it seems she did it overnight....totally droolworthy and totally bookmarked!  The simple ideas are always the best, don't you think? Are you planning anything creative anytime soon? Once the rain lets up (and I have enough natural light to photograph in), I have to post pictures of a certain orange tabby cat! I'd love to hear what you've been up to in the past couple of weeks...:)

Hello Monday!

Hello and a happy Monday morning to all you lovely folks out there......how was your weekend? Did you get some time (off of your worries and cares?) did you get a chance to sit and breathe (in beauty?) did you get a chance to read (for pleasure?) I did, and I'm ready to take on the week now! After my hugely cathartic post on Friday, I felt strangely light (as in lightened of load) and bold enough to try something new (something relatively minor, nah, minuscule! in the cosmic scheme of things I'm sure, but a big departure from the usual for me). And that's what it was all about, opening up a little (a big thank you and many warm virtual hugs to those of you who chose to comment, and those of you who chose not to as well!). And yes my weekend involved gazing at water (just not the kind pictured, alas! More rain, I'm afraid.) *rolls her eyes* However, because it has warmed up some, it was nice to see the neighborhood kids playing in the puddles it left behind......

Good while it lasted. 

A pain for the person on laundry duty tho', LOL!

I hope to back with a couple of quick posts later today, but just in case I don't quite make it, I know you'll understand, right?

Till then, be good (and don't you do anything I wouldn't!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Date a girl who reads (reblogged from "A lady's findings")

Came across this yesterday and I just had to share it here.....I've reblogged the entire post that I found over at "A Lady's Findings" (an excellent blog btw!)

by Rosemarie Urquico
(In response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date an Illiterate Girl)

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Hmmmmmm, sound familiar?

Good! ;)

PS: I added loads of new pictures to my tumblr (if you're looking for your daily dose of lovely!)
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