News – Bollywood actresses speaking up


I saw these 2 articles being shared on FB and am really glad that bollywood actresses are speaking up about things that matter.

1. I like Parineeti’s spunk. Here’s how she gets awkward men to talk about periods. Actually, it is not only men but women too who are ashamed to mention the word. 

 

2. Then, there’s Deepika who responds angrily to cheap tweets – link. U told me that her response sounds like mine would!

Searching for a dress – India Trip #2


As I walked around Hyderabad, I observed a distinct lack of women wearing dresses and I was stumped.

A little background:

Hyderabad, like all Indian cities has had an increasing number of women wearing western clothes in public places. When I was in high school, few women were walking around in jeans and now lots of them are. When I see people’s photos on Facebook, many women are often in dresses, halter necks etc. They are sitting in cafes and restaurants in dresses or hanging out with friends outside. Even the popular Indian shopping websites have many dresses. I assumed given these observations, many women would be walking around in dresses at least in certain upmarket areas like malls and residential areas.

My observation:

I barely saw any woman wearing a dress. I was standing in a very crowded inorbit mall and looked searched for women wearing dresses.  I saw only 2 on a crowded Saturday evening. One of them was an anchor for some show in the mall. Ditto in residential areas. I waited for over 40 minutes on a busy road in Banjara hills to be picked up by my friend. Why I wondered. Why do I see these people on FB wearing dresses while I cannot spot  one in malls/cafes/restaurants?* Who is buying from online shops, if nobody seems to be wearing them? Also, barely anybody stared at me when I wore a dress in the malls. So, though safety could be cited but I do not see any issue if someone comes and goes in their car and walks only inside the mall or restaurant.

Note to myself:  It is very easy to distort ground reality on FB.

None of my friends gave me a satisfactory answer. Here are some of their replies:

  • They do not like to expose their legs [ Well, what about maxi dresses?]
  • They wear it, take nice photos, post on FB to get likes and go back to wearing jeans ha ha.
  • No idea.

Have anybody else observed this? What do you think are the plausible reasons for this case?

Read about my India trip # 1 here.

The book that changed my life in 2014


I read a decent number of books and have always loved reading. Maybe I do not read as much as I did before, but I still do read a fair bit. I go through phases  in the kind of books I like reading and how much I read.

The book that had a huge impact on me this year was: My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey.

Another bread making book I tried using the no knead method was Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Zoe Francois  and Jeff Hertzberg.

Note – Both these books are available in the public library  in Sg.

I clearly prefer Jim’s book because:

1. It is has nice colour photographs – I personally think cookbooks without photos next to the recipe are lame.

2. Jim’s was the original guy with this idea and the story he wrote about how he got into bread making makes you enthusiastic. He went to Italy and learnt how they made their bread.  He clearly sounds more passionate. I read parts of his story to U and U insisted that if we ever went to NY, we MUST go to his bakery because here is a man who loves and understands bread.

3. His recipes use very little yeast. You save more money long term and it is good for people with any fungal infections (aka me).

4. Zoe’s book asks for kitchen equipment I do not have and I do not want to buy so many things considering I am renting.

Otherwise there is not much difference in the basic recipes of both these books. I think I am going to buy Jim’s book – which is very atypical of me! I rarely buy books.

From Jim Lahey’s book I have tried:

  • The basic bread recipe – Excellent. I used this dough to make buns as well.
  • Whole wheat bread recipe – Excellent 
  • Pizza dough – Excellent 
Note – All the bread reviews are by me and U. U is a bread enthusiast and loves bread. So, I just go by U’s reviews.

Here is a picture of pizza I made last weekend:

Pizza ready for baking

Pizza ready for baking

Hot pizza from the oven.

Hot pizza from the oven. Sorry about the dark photo. We were too hungry to wait.

Have you ever tried the no knead method for making bread?

India Trip 2014 – 1


I have been trying to get my blogging mojo back.  I have so much to say but words just don’t come out when I am typing them out.

One thing I wanted to blog about was my latest India trip. This trip to India gave me new perspective as I traveled with a foreigner [F] and it always interesting to view India from a fresh perspective. Also, it made me understand who/how I am in certain aspects.

For starters, let’s look at the Hyderabad airport:

Arrival – It is decent and clean. They have toilet paper.  Useless paper work. Many people give instructions to a foreigner when they see one, more of a “I know better” way than in a “let me help you” way. But it is not that annoying. They make you fill up some customs form but they never asked for it. So, it was pointless.

Departure They really need to work on efficient checks when passengers enter the airport. I do not know why they insist on these hand luggage tags which need to be stamped by security. Again, needless paper work. The international departure section was undergoing renovation and there were not many shops. I was really disappointed with the food selection.  There wasn’t a proper chai there and that, in my opinion, is unforgivable. I mean, even Sg airport has Anand Bhavan with proper chai and better Indian food choice. Western style café had coffees. Dosa place had dosas and coffee only. BTW, the dosa was dry and one of the worst I have eaten lately as far as my memory serves me. Some random food court seemed to have not so nice biryani and tea bags. The only decent thing was Karachi bakery and we bought a kilo of fruit biscuits. There are some handicraft shops and Lifestyle branch. Basically the airport was becoming a soulless airport – the ones that look like any other airport in the world. That is nice because I do not want crappy airports though I still feel they should retain some Hyderabadi touch.

Many people rarely queue and think they can just barge in when people are standing. A guy did that to me and got promptly told off by me ie in a nice way – Mr. I am in the queue :)

Overall, the airport is good in that it is trying to maintain global standards but a bit insipid.

Links – Gender equality in Japan


A BBC article states that Japan is one of the worst in terms of gender equality among developed countries, especially for mothers - link.

This is some thing I have been saying. We often have a tendency to assume that all economically developed countries have gender equality. They do not.  Yes, money does bring in a lot of gender equality but it does not eliminate patriarchy completely. Add to that a culture of not really being critical of your own culture to foreigners and you would barely find out unless you have really observed it yourself.

  1. I am saddened at the number of people who will have 3-4 kids because they are trying for a son.
  2. Men rarely do women’s jobs (especially the older generation) – cooking/ helping in the house unless required to and even modern young women accept it as normal that their dads do not or will not help.
  3. Sexist statements do not really strike as something offensive or wrong to many women. 
  4. Women feel the need to be defined by a man in their lives.
  5. Low confidence in women because they are women.

Your thoughts?

Life Lesson #4 – Learn MS Office basics


 I am back and I am trying to get out of my not-writing inertia. Learn MS Office Word  + Excel basics (or the Apple version).   There are so many small things to learn which we never bothered about. I learnt a lot of them when I had to format my thesis and help others format thesis and some of these tricks save you lots of time and effort. For example,

  • Sorting out things in alphabetical order
  • Aligning 3 pictures perfectly.
  • Creating page breaks so that all your contents do not move down when you add in something.
  • Adding an auto table of contents.
  • Using reference software.

One can do so much with basic Office skills!