Showing posts from 2015

Tales from India part 4: What it's like to be black in India

***Click here for part 1, part 2 and part 3*** I'm black! That's something I've never really been consciously aware of. I've been aware of the fact that I'm female and that it might cause situations to turn out differently as a result. I've been aware of my class. I've been aware of my tribe. But never in my life has the colour of my skin and the texture of my hair been on the spotlight. In Americanah Chimamanda says that Africans only become aware of their blackness when they leave Africa. And I found that surprisingly true!   Reception about the colour of your skin in India depends on who you encounter. If you meet an Indian one of three things is likely to happen:1. They stare.
My friends and I have stopped entire market places and shops just because the people around stopped to guffaw at our blackness. All this despite the fact that I've seen South Indians with skin darker than my own.  If you're lucky,  that's all that happens. I have a f…

Tales from India part 3: About that time when my life turned into a disaster movie!

***Click here for part 1 and part 2***
  This week a friend asked me how I've been. That was a interesting question. The answer is a bit complicated.
   See, These are the things they  don't tell you in disaster flicks. You're phone will not be fully charged. No you will not have power. Your kitchen will not be fully stocked with enough non-perishables to last you the whole time. And mother nature is unpredictable!

  Those who have been  to Chennai, India know that they basically built a city on a marshland with zero drainage. It started insidiously really. It rained on Monday evening,  and the whole of Tuesday. A cyclone apparently. Then on Tuesday evening they opened 3 dams and shut off the power telling us it would be restored by Wednesday morning . So was I worried with my phone battery at 30%? Nah! The fact that our usual take-out joints wouldn't  deliver food because of the water level was a mild inconvenience. I had cereal for dinner and chatted with friends befo…

Maybe we rebuke too much and correct too little

 2nd Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NKJV)
   I came across this verse as I was doing my morning Quiet time. I'm currently reading one chapter a day, going from one New Testament book to the other. I started with Romans a few months ago and I'm currently on 2nd Timothy. As of now, my plan is to go to the end of the New testament, then go back to the gospels before starting the Old Testament. A bit unorthodox, I know but it works for me. But I digress.

   So I came across this verse this morning and then it struck a thought! I googled the NIV version of the same verse for the sake of comparison and it says this:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[ may be thoroughly equipped fo…

Tales from India part 2: Things that you learn as a 20-something in a foreign country

For part 1 click here
You learn...
1. How to be an expert at speaking your mother-tongue, if you have one... Especially when it comes to discussing cab fares and the prices of things. In my case,  that would be Swahili. The locals keep doing the same to you anyway, whether intentional or not.
2. Being away from home takes the concept of budgeting to a whole new level. You actually have a cash limit and it's not like mom or dad can just bail you out whenever like they do back home. You actually have to think about ATMs that accept visa or Mastercard, Western union , Moneygram and the transaction charges charged by each.  Therefore that automatically means that you have to spend your cash in more sensible ways so that you only use the above services when absolutely necessary.
3. It brings new meaning to being an adult. Where to spend the night,  where to eat,  how to get your laundry done, what to do if you get sick, what cab service to use,  where to explore, what's feasible and…

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini

Rating: 5 stars Target audience: Young adult and adult
   This is the kind of book that you have a love-hate relationship with. You will love it because of the amazing and unpredictable storyline and the way the writer handles his sentences; with a flourish. The story sucks you in and leaves you a bundle of nerves at times. You go through all kinds of stages from outrage to pleasant surprise. I mean, what are you supposed to do when you encounter passages like:

   But you might hate it because it shows you just how ignorant you are of certain world events, despite all the fanfare about information being at our fingertips. Today we know more about the Kardashians than we do about what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really about! And though this book is fiction we've heard reports of some of the plot points happening to actual people. That just makes it more real.
    This book reminds you that there was a time when it wasn't a crime to be a woman in Afghanistan. There was…

Tales from India part 1: Culture shock!

No amount of Google-searching and receiving pep-talks could possibly prepare one to deal with every single aspect of being in a country that is not your own. I've been here almost a week and this is what I've experienced so far. Some of it funny, some of it irritating and some of it down-right weird! I'll let you judge for yourself:
1. People being fascinated with my hair. Braids are totally normal at home but here, I'm almost losing count of how many people looks at as and go, 'Wow, I like your hair!'. And then they want to touch it, and ask if we do it like that every day, and how we wash it. 2. Being called 'maam'. It's almost like I took a trip to the sixties!

3. Shots of tea. I ordered a cup of tea and it came in well a shot-cup. There's no other way to describe it. Then we asked if they had big cups and they said no. So naturally, we ordered like 2 extra shots each!
4. Buildings with street addresses that actually make sense. When you take a ta…

Foodie Fridays: Coconut pancakes

Do you know what happens when you travel to the Coast and buy a whole lot of coconuts for very little? You go wild trying to figure out what you can and can’t put the coconut in! Rice? Yes! Smoothies? Yes! Pancakes? Huh? Yes! My obsession with breakfast foods continues and I’m not even a bit sorry. This was definitely an experiment that paid off! The pancakes had a new flavour and texture that was just fun to experience. Crunchy with a hint of beach vibes! :-)
   So how did I make them? Just follow my basic pancake recipe here, minus the raisins of course. Then add about half a cup of grated coconut flesh to the batter before you start frying. Now, take some time to enjoy this montage of pictures I took while going through the process.

Bon apetit!

Foodie Fridays: Italian Wonderpot

I loved trying out this recipe for several reasons:

1. It's super quick and easy (Lazy-day hack anyone?)
2. It sounds so fancy (Way to impress!)
3. I got to use spices that have lingered in my kitchen for ages. Who knew basil could be so amazing.
4. The end-result was delicious!

   I initially got the recipe from this site. When it came down to it, I realized that I had macaroni instead of spaghetti...and a vegetable mix instead of spinach, among other things I chose to substitute. But I decided to soldier-on. Once I get an idea in my head, the rest is ancient history. Experimenting definitely paid off, so here goes:

4 cups water/vegetable broth
2 cups macaroni
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped vegetable mix
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
½ Tbsp dried basil
¼ tsp Cayenne pepper

1. Add four cups of water to a large pot. Add the macaroni, tomatoes, cooking oil, vegetables, onion (thinly sliced), garlic (thinly sliced), basil and cayenne pep…

Maybe you haven't met the right guy yet because he's not ready to meet you

It’s not you, it’s him. This one is for the girls. All those girls who've been moaning to their friends about how there is a severe lack of datable guys in our generation. All those girls who are considering giving up on their standards so they can settle. All those girls who are feeling daily pressure to date someone, anyone...especially when Monday rolls around and their timelines blow-up with #MCM posts. I want you take a break from your wallowing and Hollywood rom-com binging and think about this for a moment: What if you haven’t met him because he’s not ready for you yet?
   I’m a strong proponent of being the one. As in, becoming the kind of person you would want to date. You can read about that in a previous post. I’m also a strong proponent of dating God’s way and that His timing is best. I know we all acknowledge that there are things in our lives we may need to grow out of or sift through because at the back of our minds we know that they’re just not right. And I thin…

I'm from a hopeless generation, but does it really have to be that way?

And by that I mean a generation that literally has no hope. And that’s ironic considering the sheer number of campaigns aimed at making us feel better about ourselves. Campaigns and strategies that we cling to with all we have. And it helps for a while. But you can’t put a band-aid on a bullet-wound and expect the bleeding to stop. It’s not practical because that’s not what bullet-wounds need.
   We've lost hope in the prospect of wholesome relationships. We've lost hope in our parents. We've lost hope in the very systems in put in place to govern our society and help us live our day to day lives. Because most of us have been hurt ten times over or have seen the hurt in those closest to us. We tweet daily about corruption in the government and all the things wrong with the systems in place and rarely do we see our outcry come to fruition.
   So it’s become easier to not care. To drink away into oblivion because it’s not necessarily our problem. To distract ourselves i…

Things you shouldn't do while interacting with a book-lover

1.Be-little their love of books. This would be the easiest way to get us to write you off. You lose points for being flippant, and gain points by using vocabulary like ‘bibliophile’.

2.Mention that you don’t read.  Instantly minimizes the number of things we have in common with you.

3.Ask who their favourite author is. That’s an unfair question. Do you have any idea how hard it is to choose just one writer who you like above the rest? Personally, my favourite author sometimes depends on what I’m currently reading. The same goes for that question about favourite books.

4.Interrupt them in the middle of a book to ask how it is. One word: concentration. And you just broke it. Be a doll and wait till we’re done with the book, then you can get a blow-by-blow account if you want.

5.Interrupt them in the middle of a book, period. Engrossing reads are hard to find at times. And having one is like eating your favourite ice cream and then suddenly having it snatched away. Can you imagine that h…

Foodie Fridays: Cake-in-a-mug

Dear fellow cake-loving foodies, I have found the solution to all our midnight cake cravings. Cake-in-a-mug, which is probably the best thing since sliced bread! Thank God for Pinterest. As promised in my last Foodie Fridays here is an easy-to-make healthy meal for the busy 20-something on the go (A healthy diet includes carbohydrates and some cake every now and then won’t kill you so stop judging me :-D) All you need for this 10-minute craving fix is a microwave and basic cake ingredients. I adapted the recipe from this site and I substituted a few things to suit me. So here goes:
1. Vanilla cake-in-a-mug
Requirements ·4 tablespoons flour ·2 tablespoons sugar ·1 egg, whisked ·2 tablespoons of milk  ·3 tablespoons melted butter/margarine ·1 teaspoon vanilla essence ·A large mug (or two)
Method 1.Place all of the dry ingredients in the mug and mix with a fork. 2.Add the whisked egg and combine well. The mixture will be pretty sticky at this point. 3.Stir in the milk and oil until well combined. …

What it feels like to study for Medical-school exams

1. Constant guilt whenever you take time away from studying so that you can do other things. shower

2. No matter how much you get done,  you still haven't gotten anything done

3. Reading, forgetting and realizing you have to read again

4. Rainbow notebooks and textbooks. ..enough said

5. When your non-med school friends complain about not having seen you in a while

6. When people don't understand why your study patterns have gone up 10 notches when you're usually constantly studying in their opinion

7. When you over-hear your classmates discussing a topic that's not even vaguely familiar to you 

8. Study-mode is kinda like zombie-mode...only more intense

9. Cleaning and being orderly stops being a major priority. My room becomes a constant tornado of books and papers.

10. In fact,  your personal appearance stops being a priority. ..unless you have orals...Then it's a major priority.