Monday, January 31, 2005

Eminently avoidable and definitively enjoyable

After reading all the reviews on the net (very mixed) but getting one verbal recomendation from friends, V & I decided to hunt down 'The India Club'. If you don't have a map and/or sharp eyes you could be forgiven for missing it. It's in the Strand Continental Hotel (very distinct from the Strand Palace Hotel) which is behind the Indian High Commission in Aldwych.

It was not a good start - the hotel is just a scarred black door on the main street with a well matched unassuming sign board. You enter straight onto steep and narrow stairs and climb to the second floor (passing a small hotel reception painted in fluorescent blue and lit dimly with a tube light on the first) all the while wondering if you have reached some other century via a time tunnel. On the second floor is the restaurant (my head hurts every time I have to call it that - it is so unworthy of the name!). Enter and its as if you have been transported to an oldy wordly sarkari office - pale yellow walls adorned with dusty framed prints by MF Hussain & a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore complemented in no way by a well scratched linoleum floor. The tatty tables and chairs look like they have been stolen from a shaadi pandal and are so worn out that it would not be incorrect to imagine they were transported to England oh about 100 years ago and subsequently forgotten.

I'm not fickle. Decor is not everything (although this is worse than any I have ever seen in a self-respecting eatery). We have eaten in humble places and almost every dhaba between Delhi and the outskirts, so we decided to be open minded and receptive to the experience. In we went and chose a table by the window in an absolutely empty restaurant. The lone (& very) surly waiter approached us and quickly shooed us to a corner table where the only view out of the very drafty window was of the scaffolding holding the building upright. The menu was short and uninteresting. As for service, what service? We ordered what we thought could not be stale - a masala dosa each. Limp, soggy and completely bland pretenders arrived soon after accompanied by a unclean jug of tap water and similarly stained beer glasses. While we ate in silence and contemplated our next move a stately old Englishman all suited and booted came in and sat down at the table next to ours. The waiter seemed familiar with him and not needing to take any fresh orders quickly brought him his meal. Other entrants included a table of 8 and a desi tourist with his elderly father. The table of 8 seemed to be familiar with the place as 2 of them quickly went out and procured some beers to have with their meal. The desi tourist wandered up to our table to enquire whether he had to order at the counter or if he someone would come and take his order. About 20 minutes after we had finished eating the waiter announced that his bill book had finished so he would mentally calculate our bill!

Never again! All hope that the quality of the food and service would belie the surrounds was dashed.The overall experience was exceedingly dissappointing and although the price was not unreasonable, it was still grossly overvalued. What can I say about the old man and the table of 8 except that I feel desperately sorry for them if they think this is the 'real' thing. I hope the desi tourist found someone to serve him. The India Club is apparently a relic of the raj, claiming to be the oldest Indian restaurant in London. All I can say is that I am shocked by it and all the people who think it's auhentic. Open your eyes! And definitely DO NOT GO THERE!

Shocked by the experience we indulged in some retail therapy before completing planned chores. All chores completed we ambled into wonderful Covent Garden where like moths to a flame we ended up at Paul. For the uninitiated Paul is a small French bakery (of which V claims there are many all over Paris) with a board hanging outside claiming 'Maison de Qualite'. Of this I can vouch. We were introduced to Paul by some friends soon after we came to London and have been hooked by the freshness and sumptuousness of its many products ever since. It's a small, unassuming bakery with a cafe behind. There is always a line for both bakery & cafe and its not surprising considering how delicious all its breads and pastries look & taste. V & I bought some fresh wholemeal bread, a slice of (sinful) chocolate cake, a salmon and spinach quiche and a strawberry tart. Charged home with our re-enforcements and proceeded to enjoy a wonderful tea, each bite lessening the horrors of lunchtime.

In the evening we hooked up with friends and ventured to central London once more. This time to eat a meal at Busaba Eathai. Busaba is fast becoming a favorite of mine -even the half hour queue was not daunting enough to put us of. Read the menu under the street lamps while we waited. Once inside the atmosphere was great with big square dark wood tables (shared by 10 people) and low lamps. The menu is basic but very interesting, the staff polite and efficient. V chose a prawn & crabmeat noodle stirfry and I chose a chicken jungle curry & jasmine rice - both meals were wholesome, tasty and excellant value for money. Thankfully there was no music, just voices and laughter. V recommends the Chang beer! Busaba is certainly on our visit again list...

As you can see it was a busy Saturday in our foodie wonderland with one extremely disappointing meal losing out to two London gems. It's no wonder we only ended up having one meal and a very long walk on Sunday!

Paul: 29 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London WC2 Tel: 020 7836 5324
Busaba Eathai: 106-110 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TR

Sarkari: of the Goverment
Shaadi pandal: marriage marquee
masala dosa: a south indian crepe of fermented batter served hot & crisp and filled with cooked mashed delicately spiced potatoes and onions

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Book 2: Zanzibar by Giles Foden

I knew there was a book called ‘Zanzibar’ before V & I had at the greatest ever vacation there in September 2004. I postponed picking up this book till after because I wanted it not to influence our trip in any way by setting up preconceived notions. I was right to do so.

It's setting is beautiful Zanzibar and Tanzania and it's main plot is guided by real events: the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Tanzania by Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaida network. Nick Karolides (USAID marine biologist), Jack Queller (a spy) & Miranda Powers (an American embassy worker ) are Americans in Tanzania, and the book is narrated around their activities, all embroiled in the events of the bombing in Dar.

Quiller is an interesting character, battling the loss of his wife and perceived failures, trying to make recompense and drive a deeper understanding of the forces behind terrorist activity. Nick is escaping from the rut of working in Florida, a mother who is increasingly religious in the wake of her husband’s death from a shark attack and the memories of his father. Miranda Powers is beginning her career in the US diplomatic service with her first posting in Dar and aiming to ‘make something of herself’ to fulfil the wishes of her dead father. Wisely, Foden skirts past the bombers who, though crucial to the plot, are incidental to the narrative. Real events are reported so as to make one sit up and take notice – a balanced mix of fiction and reality.

From the author's note I got the following interesting information: Apparently, Foden completed most of the novel before September 11, 2001 changed the world. For many, history stopped that day and when it started again the world was a more dangerous place. Although there is no mention of those events, 'Zanzibar' trashes the notion September 11 was a one-off.

This book is so different from how I imagined it. The image that lingers is not the white sands and palms of Zanzibar but the haunting vision, only barely allured to, that Bin Laden will strike again. The book explains how the hydra-like nature of cells that make up the al-Qaida network ensure this. The book really shows off the diligence of Foden's research into the organisation.

Some of ‘Zanizbar's’ power was diluted by the completely unconvincing love story between Nick and Miranda. Yet, it was an enjoyable read - a book that provokes thinking about modern day history – to suggest a view of both Islamic fundamentalism and American Imperialism and the struggle between them.

As a thriller 'Zanzibar' is a slow read, setting the scene meticulously for two thirds of the book. The action occurs in the last third of the book and leaves one shivering with the thought of living in a time when the cold realities of modern day terrorism can wreak havoc anywhere, anytime and often without warning.

For me, just the scenes of Zanzibar described by Foden alone made the book worth reading. The descriptions of the sea, sand, palm trees and marine life made fresh my memories of our fantabulous time there. All in all a book worth reading.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Do your bit to help a good cause

We recently got this e-mail from a friend of ours inviting us to come to a special screening of 2 very popular hindi movies in London, all to help raise funds for literacy projects of Pratham in India.

Formed in 1994, Pratham has provided pre-primary and primary education to over 1.5 million children so far and has an ambitious goal of having every Indian child in School...Regularly and Learning Well.

V & I are going for one of the movies and hope all the desi's in London that read this can join in too. It's a great way to revisit a hit of the past and contribute a small bit to helping a worthy cause.

On 12th February 2005 - Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
On 19th February 2005 - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
(both with English subtitles)

On both days:
Time - 1-5pm
Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square
Tickets - £12, (£10 concessions)
Available from the box office - 020 7494 3654 (daily from 1.30-8.30pm)

I hope that

1. you can attend both or at least one of the screenings to support this worthy cause, and

2. spread this information to more people who you think would be interested in the event

Be tempted: A selection of Indian snacks will be available for purchase at the venue

Be very tempted: Think about your own good fortune and the educational opportunities you have been privilaged to have, think about children in India who need this start in life and what a simple contribution this is.

See you there!

Monday, January 24, 2005

A saturday evening at Dalchini

It was a busy weekend but the highlight of it was a fabulous meal of Indian-Chinese food.

Chinese food in London is usually characterised by smells quite subtle, quite chines-y. The chinese food you get in India, on the other hand, is a wonderful blend of the ingredients [that may have chinese connections] and strong flavours that are the hallmark of Indian food. For desi's who are parted from the food of their country by geographical complications, certain tastes and smells are divine. In London the one place where desi's will feel right at home is Dalchini (147 Arthur Road, WImbledon Park). Its a place V & I have come to enjoy very much.

On Saturday night we joined 8 of our friends [all desi like us] for an evening of Indo-chinese delghts. It's comendable that all 5 couples made it to Dalchini [and very nearly on time] as being located in Wimbledon Park it is really the opposite end of where any of us live. So for coming from the far corners of London and many tube rides away, I thank you all.

To the food: we had a multitude of starters and main dishes, all with reassuringly known names such as schezuan chicken, hakka noodles, chilli potato, vegetable fried rice, crispy lamb. Each dish was well prepared, flavoured to suit our very Indian palates and with no crisis over the food, it was a meal with laughter and great conversation.

Dalchini is the perfect antidote for a desi's homesickness in London. Nothing like great food that reminds one of home!

We ended the evening by stopping of at Brogans in Fulham Broadway. It turned out to be a lovely pub playing very 80's music (recognisable to us oldies!) and was a great ending to a delightful evening.

Dalchini: 147 Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park Tel: 020 8947 8885
Brogans: 1, Fulham Broadway, London, SW6 1AA Tel: 020 7385 2003

Friday, January 21, 2005

A dose of culture.....

I'm no culture vulture but I do so enjoy watching the BBC's Culture Show on BBC 1 every Thursday.

Last night's episode had some interesting sections including one on the folk music of Scotland. It explained how folk music (which was surprisingly soothing to the ear) has flourished in Scotland (not in small part due to festivals such as Celtic Connections) but how English folk music is struggling to find it's own strengths, focus and place.

There was another piece on Charles Saatchi, the collector and philhanthropist who kick-started the BritArt phase. It talked about how he made a fortune from dealing in art and how his Saatchi Gallery, though undoubtedly grand, is not big enough to hold a fraction of his great collection. Andrew Graham-Dixon was discussing how the new collection going on display soon is once again changing direction, moving the focus from installation pieces (like Damien Hurst) to paintings. Dixon claims that by selling his original collection of American focussed art (Warhol and the likes of it) to more than a single buyer, Saatchi (and the world apparently) has lost the most wonderful collection. What alternate choice does Saatchi have? Also if he didn't change his collection or the direction of his exhibits ever so often we would end up with a stagnating gallery. This way Saatchi gets to buy newer/different art, possibly things he likes & can afford, promote new & forgotten artists, create new trends and be considered the sometimes lord master of good taste in art. And the public gets to enjoy a large variety of art, see emerging artists work and question its own taste in good art.

I must say though that I really enjoyed Graham-Dixons questioning of Charles Saatchi's motives - he was questioning the difference between being a collector and being a dealer. Saatchi would like us to think he is a collector but by changing his collection he is marking his place as a dealer. Either way he has influenced how the British public look at art.

I have yet to go and see the Gallery - have probably missed all of Damien Hursts pickled animals (eeew! and thank goodness I missed it!). For this season of paintings, 2005 will definitely be the year to go.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Easy peasy Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is the national dish of Delhi (hahaha!). It's one of the foods I miss most from India. I got this recipe from a book and ammended it to make my own version.

Recipe 1: Easy peasy butter chicken

Really easy, do the prep work the night before, assemble in 5 minutes and pop in the oven for 1hr and 10 minutes before eating.

You need:
1 kg chicken (preferably thigh, preferably fillet - so no skin, no bone). Cut into manageable but fairly large pieces (basically each thigh should give you 2 -3 pieces).

In a blender blend 180gms of blanched amonds (can buy blanched and peeled from any supermarket), 6 cloves garlic, 2 inch piece of ginger, 1 green chilli (keep the seeds) and 3 tbsp of dahi (natural yogurt).

Put this mixture in a bowl, add 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp dhania (corriander) powder, 1/2 tsp clove powder, 1.5 tsp salt, 1 tsp garam masala and another 3 tbsp of dahi (natural yogurt)(total 150gms dahi) and 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400gm can); mix well and then add the chopped up chicken. Mix lightly, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate.

On the day of serving, chop 1 large red onion & 1 green chilli. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, fry chilli and onion till golden brown. Add chicken mixture and turn lightly with a spatula for about 4 minutes (all on high heat). Almost nothing will be seared by this time but never mind!

Put it in a big baking dish. Add 6 tsp chopped dhania (corriander) leaves and 4 tbsp of double cream. Mix lightly with a fork so that all this gets mixed in well. Do not cover. Pop in pre-heated oven at about 200 deg C. Bake for 1 hour. At the end of 1 hour take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes. All the oil and extra juice will come to the top: spoon this off. Serve with naan.

It's incredibly moist and tasty.


I will try and add a picture next time I make it. In the meantime, trust me and try it!

New food

Over the last few years V & I have entertained in our home on average 3 times a month. Each time it was usually a few couples for a meal on a weekend. And while V's large collection of wine worked well, my cooking became kind of average (not in taste {my middle name is not Modesty!}, only in variety).

I chose to cook Indian when we entertained because that's what I am most familiar with and seemed easiest to fill plates and stomachs. I seemed to be dishing out the same standardised Indian menu for every gathering: chole (or rajma), sukhe aloo (or baingan bharta), U.P.kadhi (or a Rajisthani gatta). So if you came to my house for a meal in the past two years you pretty much would have got a selection of 3 dishes from the above set.

It was all getting repititous and boring. Drastic measures seemed called for and I took to buying a few exciting cook books. Now I'm trying new things often and our taste buds are enjoying the ride. Will try and post recipes as I try, ammend and perfect them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

And now I'm reading....Book 2

I like to think of myself as an avid reader - most subjects, anytime - give me a good book, plonk me on something comfy, turn on some music in the background and I'm in heaven! I'm planning on a sidebar link up to interesting book reviews, but till I understand the technology I'm just going to post on what I'm reading and how it turned out for me.

In 2005 I intend reading 30 books and reviewing them all. I read about 6 books over the Christmas/ New Year break but my speed is down due to the renewed pressure of work. Since the begining of 2005 I finished only 1 book. So Book 1 is A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler. It's a grand book (like all her others). The main character is Barnaby Gaitlin whose great-grandfather invented the 'Twinform', a wooden cut-out model with a custom-painted face, used for trying out clothes and accessories together, so that a lady might plan an outfit without having to get undressed. The Gaitlin family has been well-off ever since. All except Barnaby who is considered the black sheep of the family. Almost 30 (coincidence that I would pick this as my first book of 2005!), he has spent his adult life working for Rent-A-Back Inc., an agency that arranges to do chores for the old. He has fraught relationships with his parents, his ex-wife, his brother and his 9 year old daughter. But to his clients he is a hero - endlessly patient and hardworking. Anne Tyler paints a brilliant picture of Barnaby as a misfit on a personal journey that will change his, and everybody else's, view of himself. Uplifting in spirit, this story is worth a re-read every so often!

Here's what I'm reading now:
2. Zanzibar by Giles Fodden

My review will follow when I'm done! So far so good....

What book is in your hand at the mo?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Black is gone

For the very few who have so far viewed my blog, and deigned to come back (thankyou thankyou!), you will notice that I've changed the template. Black was just making me feel low! It looked great to start with - all sleek and neat. But as the number of posts grew it seemed to be bursting from the seams, incoherent and sad looking. I like the new template - pastel blues and greens. It's very me!

If you enjoy what you've read so far please and intend visiting, please add me to your list of bloglinks - I'm currently feeling like the most under-read blog in history! More than half the numbers on the stat counter are me coming back to see if anyone has linked on!!!!!!

3 years and counting

Today is 3 years since I came to live in London. It's my first home since V & I got married. And this morning when I woke up I remembered quite vividly the hugs and kisses from my folks at New Delhi, the excitement of the flight here, V waiting for me at the airport barricade, the Picadilly Line, the endless changeover at Green Park, the Jubilee Line and then finally our street, home in Swiss Cottage. It was a mini flashback, no less clear for all the time that has passed. Some memories do etch themsleves inside your eyelids!

Anyway, it's been a fabulous 3 years. And now I think I qualify as a Londoner! After all...
1. I did vote in council and mayoral elections in 2004
2. I have done most of the sightseeing things and can guide my guests quite confidently
3. I can traverse the tube with the ease of one who owns it! (for what it costs to travel I might as well own it!)
4. We have a fairly large social circle of desi's and nons
5. I have been a working human for 2 years
6. We have a favourite in each category: chinese, indian, fusion, american-esque etc
7. We have visited many of the quirky London markets over and over; Greenwich is our favourite; Borough comes in a close second

Two things I love about London are that firstly it gives every festival its fair share of the limelight and secondly that Londoners are a unique breed, mainly from diverse ethnic backgrounds, all comfortably nudging their way into the tapestry.

After 3 years I can say that London is my home!

Here's to all Londoners!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A & P - Engagement

Today is my cousin A's engagement to a very special girl, P. In Gurgaon, in Delhi, in India - and most of my family is enjoying it. I will live it vicariously when the pics arrive!!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I love Saturdays

Just knowing that I have two full days to unwind, relax and not worry about work is the real treat for working very hard for 5 days a week! Saturday morning sets the pace for the weekend - and I like them to be full of action yet calm and peaceful.
5 things I love about Saturday:
1. Waking up at 6am (body-clock!) and realising I can go straight back to sleep
2. Going for a relaxing swim or walk
3. Reading and dozing off alternately in front of the telly
4. Calling India and yakking with folks
5. Going out for a calm, quiet meal (often with friends, doubling the joy)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Is your blog your letter home?

I was/ am not about to put out my real name on the blog to start with or anytime soon. I like the idea of being a bit anonymous and an unknown quantity. Things known are perfunctory: age 29, lives in London. All other things remain irelevant (at the moment) and will probably emerge as I continue to blog.

Initially the plan was to use the blog as a notepad (for myself) to write down interesting day to day happenings, bits of news that catch my eye, foodie stuff, holiday stuff etc. Then the plan also assimilated the thought of moving away from a monthly e-mail that I write to about 100 family & friends. Now that it's here I'm not sure if this will adequately fill the void of email as that is a much more personal month-to-month recital on our lives. I am reluctant to give up the letter writing because its my way of staying in touch with everyone I know outside London. But I am also bored of it because I've been doing it for over a year and very few people actually ever reply at any length. Maybe I will email round the idea and see what the reaction is....or maybe not. Any ideas anyone? Is your blog your letter home?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Design Museum London

My place of work conveniently closes down for two weeks at Christmas time, traditionally from the weekend before Christmas to the weekend after New Year. It gives everyone a chance to unwind properly, breathe deeply, safe in the knowledge that other organisations we collborate with may be open but not really functioning. So anyway, this year I decided to be a London tourist once again and made a list of museums and interesting places I wanted to visit/re-visit. First up was the Design museum.

On a cloudy December morning 2 friends and I set off for the Design Museum. It's location is perfect - a few minutes walk from the magnificant Tower Bridge, nestled among very swanky building, this white box-like building is home to design in London in its many forms. It's a rather compact museum spread over 2 floors (+ the ground floor which house the cafe, reception and shop) and was showcasing the design of Mark Newson. His design is mainly futuristic, sleek with clean, bold colours and lines. The more functional designs were appealing (like Nike shoes, watches, chairs)but others were just plain bizzarre (Kelvin 40 - a plane of some kind). Overall appealing but not extraordinary.

The second floor had an exhibit on car design and another on seating through the years. The car design exhibit was appallingly small and not at all well thought through - they had just bought different (mainly vintage) cars and lined them up. The seating exhibition was also disappointing in its application (looked more like a furniture stall) although the variety of chairs was admitedly wide.

The last exhibit made all the other mediocrity seem worth getting through - Under a Tenner. This exhibition featured what 14 different people, all from different parts of the world, had picked as good design costing under £10. Not only was the idea brilliant, it was well executed and a joy to go through. What amazing things people had picked - chopsticks, steamers, egg cups....The public was invited to join the fray by commention on the collectors choice and add their own examples of good design to a post-it note wall. Sadly, this exhibit is only on till the 27th of February 2005. It is a gem of an exhibition and happily made design seem less lofty and formidable, more approachable and it's understanding so within the layman's grasp.

It was a good choice of museum to begin the holiday with....

Monday, January 10, 2005

What's in a name?

The decision to BE a blogger and not just a blog reader is not one I took lightly. I thought about things I wanted my blog to mean (for me, for others who might come across it), what I wanted it to look like (and belive me it looks nothing like that at the moment!) and its general direction. What I did not have to think about too much was the name ... I chose '30in2005' because was taken (and is a truly fab blog).

2005 is a big year for me. I'll turn 30 this year and I see this as the almost halfway mark in my lifetime. I spent the early years waiting to 'be and adult and get on with it' and no doubt I have spent the past few years wishing I could still be 21. But I have come to terms with the 'age thing' and am sooooo ready to be 30 and all it means. 30 seems to be my number - an age where I am responsible for my life, my mistakes, my decisions. Its the marking point in my life, to which all other years/ ages will be relative. I want 2005 to be my 'victory' year - to be a fitting commemoration of all the wonderful years before and this blog to be a reflection/ collection of the bits that have made/ will make it so.

I also plan on making list of various things (favourite books, foods and their recipes, favourite movies, places seen/to see get the drift) and yes each list will eventually add up to 30. I find lists of 5 or 10 exhausting, binding and constricting; lists of 50 or 100 too exhaustive, open ended and often with things just thrown in to make it add up. So 30 it is and 30in2005 am I!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The greatest circus of them all.....

As a child my mum took me to watch an Australian circus that had come to New Delhi. I don't remember where in Delhi, what age I was or whom we went with. What I do remember is that it was that one show that began my fascination with all the wonderful acts a circus brings together. Having said that I haven't seen as many as I would like. I have, however, now seen the greatest circus of them all.

Even at the end of 2005 (by when I hope life would have taken interesting exciting turns and loops) I will look back on this evening as having been one of the most exciting in my almost 30 years. It's nearly half past one in the morning and V & I have just spent our evening at the beautiful Royal Albert Hall in Kensington watching Dralion by Cirque du Soleil. I have been planning and plotting towards this moment for so long now (thinking about it and unable to afford it for 5 years; deciding to buy last Jan; buying and carrying the tickets around in my wallet since June 2004) that by Saturday afternoon all my enthusiasm had kind of faded away - mentally preparing myself for the big fall when it turned out not to be as brilliant as I imagined it. Just one look at the throngs of people at RAH on Saturday evening had me all fired up again. It was brilliant! This was an experience that has embedded itself on the inside of my eyelids. It was AMAZING - simply otherwordly!!!! Everything was perfect: from the gorgeous costumes to the powerful music, the adroit juglers to the dare-devil acrobats, the hilarious clowns to the complicated (very dangerous looking) balancing acts. All in perfect harmony, well thought through and prefectly executed. It was so consuming I barely blinked!! I am hoping to go back and watch them when they come back next year with a different show. I would recommend them to anyone with any degree of enthusiasm about circus acts. It was AMAZING! If they come anywhere near you splurge and go watch them - you will not regret it!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Technology is magic!

Reading blogs was so much easier than owning one! I simply marked the blogs I wanted to revisit in 'favourites' and lo behold, everytime I came back to any one of them there it was - a re-freshed page bursting with new posts, links, pics and doodles. Assuming that if so many people could do it, so could I, I began this blog 3 days ago. The first few steps were easy enough - find a template, put in your name, the barest of detail and lo behold I was on the worldwideweb!

The posting of info is easy enough. Parallel wording to an e-mail but the same functions really:
Email & blogs: for both you log in
Email: compose; blog: create
Email: send; blog: publish post
Next thing you know its out there on your web page looking all jazzy and self important! The difficult part is jazzing up the blog. Decided to go for a site meter (yes I'm so insecure). Found that adding a site meter took me half a day. I had to keep reading the instructions on how to install and copying code into my template. Don't know how I managed it but somehow there is now a ticker on my site (all the numbers are false though cos I'm the only one visiting it as yet!). Then decided I needed a section of links to show what other blogs I follow (and to build myself into a community of bloggers I hope). That has taken me two whole days and yet everytime I click on one of the links I keep going to Microsofts homepage. I sorted it out eventually but honestly do not know what it all means anymore.....Technology is magic and only the magician has the key!

Yesterday I told V I had had enough and was deleting my blog. He offered to help and I decided to sleep on the decision....and this morning I have awoken more positive. So this blog lives another day!!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

the wave ...

It's all over the news - that event that proved the wrath of nature is so much greater than man could ever imagine - the terrible earthquake/ tsunami waves that have dominated our lives since the morning of Boxing Day 2004. I must admit that it has cast a shadow over my heart and made me question many things. I am blown away by the size of this catastrophe and how powerless I am just sitting here in my house. I feel the inequity between my life and those lives lost and injured and wish I could do more. We have decided to give money/ materials/ time next year when we are in Madras because by then it will not be a need for immediate relief (of which there is plenty thankfully to the generosity of the world) but a need for sustainable rebuilding of whole communitites. I do know how small our effort is and how terribly insignificant it looks even in my own eyes but it is all I can promise to afford/ give of myself for the moment. I also know that its my drop in the ocean and that all the drops will add up to something bigger. Possibly this is the wrong example – oceans and all – but it’s the only one I can think of.

In spite of this awfulness, we did have a New Year eve dinner – friends joining us for a quiet evening of food, watching fireworks from our balcony, and gentle laughter. However, through it all I know that we were all saying a prayer for those affected in this terrible time, to find the strength to carry on and to find peace and rebuild their lives as fully as possible. This morning when I went to work I found out that we lost a colleague and her daughter to the waves in Thailand where they were enjoying their Christmas break. They are both in my thoughts and prayers as are their families.

So remember, no matter how small your drop, its a drop adding to the ocean.

and so it begins.......

THIS is my first ever blogging word.......

I cannot quite believe that after turning this idea around in my head for so long and dilly-dallying so much I'm finally here! As yet, I do not know what the world of blogging holds for me. What I do know is that it is a space that I so desperately want to invade, to own a piece of, to mark my own prints on....

I have no idea of theme, direction or categories. I do have an myriad of ideas I want to explore. Unlike my long winding e-mail to my family and friends, here I have no one but myself to really please. If you read it, you will either love it, like it or leave it. I hope you love it and want to come back for more. If not have a great life!