My seriousness and black ants

My mother would keep a check on my studies till 7th grade. We had minimum of six subjects in my school.  Mathematics, Social Science (which included History, Geography, Civics and Economics), Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and the languages English, Kannada and Hindi. . Before monthly tests and annual examinations, she would ask me to go through a couple of chapters in a particular subject. Later, she would ask questions given in the end of each chapter from the text book and from the Class notes we maintained at school. We called it, Class work. Our teachers at school would dictate questions in each Lessons and give us answers as well. We were supposed to study these questions and answers for the exam.

My mother would be very strict during the question answer session. She kept a wooden ruler with her which she used to punish me for my pranks during ‘Question Answer Session’. She would hit me on my hand and knuckles or whichever body part she could instantly reach. I would not have seriousness most of the times and would lose seriousness soon, especially when I would not know answer for some questions. Things I did which showed my lack of seriousness would irritate her. For instance, I had a sharpener, which had a glass cover. And then there were black ants crawling on the floor. They usually form a line and carry sugar or food chunks in their mouth. I would take the glass sharpener case and trap one of the ants going in the line. I then watched the perplexed ant inside. I would giggle looking at it get confused and run in all directions to find an exit. Probably the ant would see its friends and family outside the glass case and wondered where the hell this case came from? I would watch for 2-3 minutes and then set it free removing the glass case. I never liked to suffocate it. The ant would run to it’s folks grabbing the food in it’s mouth and join the line.

My mother who by now had noticed the long silence for her question, would finally look at me distracted and giggling, and give me one tight slap with the wooden ruler. Some of the days my grand mother would come to stay with us. Seeing my little play and get beaten, she would cover her mouth with her hand and laugh holding her breath, suppressing any sound. She was scared of my mother and more than my mother, she was scared of me. Getting beaten in front of my granny would embarrass me a lot. She would later come to appease and caress me with fruits and delicacies.

After I went to 8th grade I was on my own to study and had hence got some sense of seriousness.


Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe

I love Broccoli and this is an easy to make Broccoli Stir fry recipe. I had not heard about Broccoli till I came to US. One of my aunts cooked this Broccoli Stir Fry often because Broccoli is healthy. This recipe is her version which I love to prepare instantly as a side dish. I simply get 2 head Broccoli from Sprouts (I love shopping in Sprouts, they have good deals on veggies and fruits) and prepare this stir fry quickly.I mostly don’t use it in any Indian cuisine I cook but I add to Pasta along with Zucchini. Considering that Broccoli is very healthy, I prepare the below easy side dish anytime for lunch/dinner.

Broccoli Stir Fry

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


2 head broccoli chopped, both florets and the stalk

2 spoons of oil

Salt, Pepper and Lemon Juice

Any Indian curry powder


Heat oil in a pan. Add cut broccoli florets and stalk. Cover with a lid for 3-4 min till they are tender.

Add salt and pepper powder. I add 1/2 tea spoon of Indian curry powder which I generally add for any curry I make. In the end add 1/2 tea spoon of Lemon Juice.

They are ready to eat

The Solitary Reaper

Two days ago I was reading an old email my father wrote to me. He had written that he and my mother had been to Talkaveri in Kodagu district. The spot was beautiful and it reminded him of the poem ‘The Solitary Reaper’ by Wordsworth. He had even quoted a few lines from the poem.We had it in school to memorize. One of the several poems I loved back then.

After reading the poem, I imagined a  girl engrossed in her work, singing a song  in lush green farm. Her tunes echo in the valley. This picture I created in my mind stayed for several hours.

What I like in this poem is a simple thought beautifully put in words. The whole poem is nothing but about a lonely girl who sings in a farm while she carries out her chore. Poet tries to understand the song and her emotions. Was she singing out of sorrow or about a day-to-day matter? Or about a battle long gone? Whatever she sings her voice, like a cuckoo bird, breaks the surrounding silence, it appears as if the tunes are overflowing from the valley. For a minute the poet stops and listens to the song. He stays motionless and listens. The song appears endless. He continues to climb up the hill as he listens to her song. He carries the tunes in his heart for a very long time even after he hears the tune no more.

As I read the lines, I paint a picture in my mind. The poet knows the tune and he carries in his heart forever. I carry the picture I painted forever. The best part is to imagine the tune. How beautiful the tune would have been to make Wordsworth write this beautiful poem. I only wish he could describe the tune somehow!

‘The Solitary Reaper’ by Wordsworth

BEHOLD her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listen’d, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

Teeny-weeny things I hate in winter

It’s cold these days and the heater is on most of the time in my house. In this cold weather some of the teeny-weeny things I hate to do:

  1. Washing my hair and stepping out of the house. I do use hair dryer but then I don’t have time to completely dry my hair.
  2. Sometimes I don’t switch on the fan when I take shower. The hot vapors collect and create a Sauna effect. I don’t like going out of the bath after a hot shower.
  3. I dislike wearing any metal chain. I don’t like the touch of the cold metal on my warm skin especially after a super hot bath.
  4. Wearing my trousers. They need few minutes to get warm after wearing (absorbing body heat)!! I don’t mean that I dislike wearing trousers (OF COURSE I DO WEAR TROUSERS, What were you thinking??? !!!) Only I wish they underwent some kind of heat treatment before wearing.
  5. I come out of my room getting ready and my finger tips have started to wrinkle. I hate the dry wrinkled fingers!! My palm seems to shrink and fingers start curling inwards. I have to stretch them and quickly apply a moisturizer.
  6. The moisturizer makes me look all the more oily. Now after applying a body lotion, I begin to wonder did I take a bath just now??? It’s oily!!! Ewww!! My husband who doesn’t like oily moisturizers, prefers to settle with dry wrinkled hands and legs. I wonder how he could???? Anyway, I look in the mirror. The moisturizer has made me oily, devoid of freshness!! It looks like I have just come from gym or a treacherous hike. Adding to that, I am terrible in applying make up on!! Some days however I give it a try. I take the liquid foundation and apply on my face and happily go to work. Obviously I look different from other days.My friends look at me in sympathy and ask if I am not doing well!!! Gosh, oily is better. At least it makes me look NORMAL!!!
  7. I hate sitting inside my freaking cold car. However I open the door and all it has to offer me is the cold seat, on which I hate to settle. I hold the steering wheel which is just as cold as the seat. I switch on the heater in the car, cold air blows on my face. By now all the heat I got from my Sauna is lost.
  8. I hate the static generated in my hair, hands and legs. By evening the moisturizer would have been absorbed completely and rubbing of clothes against skin creates static making it hard to remove the clothes clinging to my body. And when I pull the cloth I hate the crackling sound.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

Diamond Head Light House

Diamond Head Light House

While coming back from Hawaii, I read an article Odyssey Of Mind by Rob Britton ( in the in-flight magazine in American Airlines. The author says that at some point in our life we get caught up when we will have no time to travel. He says,

Although trip recall is often spontaneous, our senses usually are our boarding passes. Our senses of sound, smell, taste and feel can serve as similar tickets to another time and place.

We left Maui reluctantly, thinking we could have spent more time in Maui. Reading this article was a consolation to my mind. Ever since I returned from Maui, I have been revisiting whenever I narrate my experiences to friends or when I wrote posts on this blog about my travel.

Like Rob Britton said in his article, senses of sound, smell and taste take me back. Every morning I close my eyes and breathe the fresh air and the smell takes me to Maui. The sound of running water in a fountain at my office takes me in front of those waterfalls and the black sand beach. I come home and listen to Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s flute, and next second I am in Halemano. While cooking, I open the kitchen rack and the tinned Dole pineapple chunks remind me of Honolulu. Pesto Penne Pasta reminds me of Halemano, since we cooked the same at Halemano kitchen for evening dinner.

Looking at the photos that we captured in Hawaii again takes me there and all other places we have visited so far. There’s no 6 hour flight and journey is free of cost.

Re-posting some of my favorite photos, some are taken by my husband and couple of them by myself. The picture of a flower in snow, was not taken in Hawaii.

Koki Beach Park

An island seen from Koki Beach Park


A distant tunnel seen from Nu’uanu Pali Look out


A Beetle on a plant


A man skiing at Ho’okipa Beach Park


A flower covered in snow

A pineapple at Dole Plantation, Hawaii

A pineapple at Dole Plantation, Hawaii

Scenery on Kamehameha Highway

A tree on Kamehameha Highway,Hawaii


Dancing girl at Thanksgiving Parade – Waikiki

Statue of Kamehameha I the great

Statue of Kamehameha I the great

Puua Kaa State Wayside

A waterfall- Puua Kaa State Wayside

Our cottage at Halemano to the left

Our cottage at Halemano to the left

Morning Sun rise

Me sitting on the bench at the edge of the cliff watching the morning Sun rise

Written for :

Part 3: Mahalo Oahu, Aloha Maui

Music auto plays on clicking this post.

1 Dec

In the morning Inland Air plane, we left for Maui, the second largest Hawaiian Island. When the plane took off, we got a good view of Diamond Head Crater, colorful beaches and the Honolulu/Waikiki city. The flight from Honolulu to Maui is about 40 minutes. On the way, we get a good view of Molokai and Lanai Island.

While Oahu was crowded and commercial, the part of Maui that we saw was naturalistic. We had rented a cottage at Halemano estate, down Hana. We rented a car and started driving on Hana Highway. There are many beaches, hikes, look outs, gardens, on Hana highway. We stopped at Paia, a little town, on the way for breakfast. The small restaurants and grocery shops blend in the nature. We had breakfast at Cafe Des Amis at Paia and bought grocery at Mana foods, an organic food store, to cook for the night.

Our first stop was at Ho’okipa Beach Park followed by a small hike to Twin Falls. Drive on Hana highway is very scenic, but the roads are curvy and narrow. On almost every one mile we encountered a water fall. It is a scenic drive in the middle of mountains with lush green trees and water falls, on a curvy and moist road. The leaves of the trees were fresh green and wet. The light breeze carried fragrance of the mud. All these reminded me of my native town and the drive to the town. Continue reading

Part 2: A peek into Hawaiian History

Second day in Oahu, Hawaiian Island.

30th Nov

We woke up as early as 4 in the morning to visit Pearl Harbor Memorial. In holiday season tickets for USS Arizona memorial tour are limited and are sold quickly. The park opens at 7 but according to my hubby the queue starts as early as 6. We got ready and had ‘everything bagel’ and coffee at a cafe in front of our hotel. It was dark but not very cold. By the time we reached there were already 30-40 people standing in the queue. The tour hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.. In each tour a maximum of 100 people are allowed. After waiting for 30 minutes we got tickets for the first tour. We bought a self guided audio tour. For the next 40 minutes we followed the audio tour. We were shown a short movie for 20 minutes about Pearl Harbor history. After the movie, a ferry waited at the exit, in which we were taken to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. During the World War II, Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and  USS Arizona ship was hit with a torpedo. Arizona sank and became a final resting place to nearly 1177 soldiers even to this day. This catalytic event led US to enter World War II. A memorial is built on USS Arizona that still sits under the water. Traces of oil still seeps from the ship, families of soldiers believe that it’s the tears of soldiers trapped in Arizona bubbling up. Here are some photos:

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We came back to the park and went around to complete the audio tour. There were many more interesting tours but that would require a whole day. We decided to leave for Iolani Palace that is located in Honolulu business district. May be because of Saturday morning, the road was empty and very few cafes and restaurants were open. Those that were open had no vegetarian options. The Denny’s at Kalakaua Avenue was the nearest. We drove back to Waikiki for breakfast. Vegetarian is not just difficult to find but very expensive.

We drove back to Iolani palace after breakfast around 11 a.m.. Iolani Palace belonged to King Kalakaua and his sister and successor Queen Liliuokalani. Iolani stands grand and majestic. A big banyan tree stands next to the palace, as grand and huge as the Palace itself. We didn’t take the tour inside the palace.

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace

In front of Iolani Palace is the Statue of King Kamehameha I or Kamehameha the Great. A brave and powerful warrior, he is said to have conquered all the Hawaiian islands and established Kingdom of Hawaii.



Lunalilo, unlike his grandfather Kamehameha I, is said to be the most liberal king. Below pic is the tomb of Lunalilo. He requested a burial at Kawaiahaʻo Church with his mother. His mother Kekāuluohi was excluded from the royal list and was not buried at the Royal Mausoleum, which was mainly for the chiefs.


Mausoleum of King Lunalilo

Nuuanu Pali State Park Lookout. Battle of Nu’uanu was fought here. Kamehameha 1 fought this battle to unify Hawaiian Islands. A information board displayed warriors falling of the cliff during the battle. For that reason in Hawaiian language it is known as Kalelekaʻanae, which means “the leaping mullet”.

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It was terribly windy at the Nu’uanu Pali Look out. After spending 20-30 minutes photo shooting, we headed back to Waikiki for food. We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen at Ala Moana Center, Waikiki.

The one thing we were desiring to see in Hawaii was Hula, the traditional Hawaiian Dance. Polynesian Cultural Center has a packaged tour including Luau, a traditional feast accompanied by entertainment. The feast comprises of mostly pig, salmon, chicken and other food. There were Luau at other places but we didn’t find it reasonable to pay an exorbitant amount simply to watch the dance. We dropped Luau and decided to spend rest of the evening at the beach and Waikiki Street.

While exploring each store, we stopped at a huge crowd at Royal Hawaiian Center. In an open garden there was a stage arranged with lights and microphone. After a couple of minutes dancers in native Hawaiian costume showed up. We managed to find a seat at a corner. The Hula dance, which we most wanted to see, began. It was a wonderful experience to see the Hawaiian Hula Dance. I managed to take some videos. From where I sat, there was not enough light for recording. The video recording is shaky. With the help of YouTube I stabilized and auto corrected which is bearable.

In Hawaiian, Laka is the goddess of Hula dance. It is said that the hulahula dancing in Hawaiian was not so much of dancing in usual sense. The dancers act out of hand gestures and movements to convey the meaning of the song. Dances were named from the nature of accompaniment. Like, ka-laau, in which the tune is marked by the striking of sticks, hawaiian puili sticks, the Hula Pahu accompanied by drums.  Dancers wore Pa-u dress with wreaths on head. 

Though the following videos are shaky, it is worth watching. The first playlist has 7 videos, showing Hula in traditional Hawaii fashion. The singer uses the instruments Ipu and Hula Pahu. She beats it for rhythm. Dancers use sticks I believe to be puili sticks made of bamboo.

Second single video is of an artist dressed as Elvis Presley and other dancers. I thought this is modern form of Hula.

Third playlist has 4 videos. We managed to find a seat in the front for this performance. The singer uses a guitar kind of instrument called Ukeke. Dancers use Ipu and puili sticks.


Interesting read:

Other references: Wikipedia

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