The Bouffant Crown

Bouffant Crown

The Iron Ladies

Recently, I watched the movie “Iron Lady” which is based on the life of Margaret Thatcher. The movie gives significant detailing of Margaret Thatcher’s hairstyle which was restyled to give her a softer but more powerful look. Her hairstyle is popularly called as Bouffant and has been adopted by many powerful women with short hair, including Indira Gandhi. While Margaret Thatcher’s hair was adorned by lots of curls, Indira Gandhi’s white streaks of hair gave her a rather unique look.

Besides the hair, both the women were nicknamed as Iron Lady, both were the first female Prime Minister’s of their country, both were known for their authoritarianism and both guided their countries through wars.But I guess nothing stands out as much as the striking similarity of their hairdo :) .

I am marvelling at the magic that can be woven by the unpretentious scissors. It’s a hairy business, indeed :) .

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The Forgetting to Pay Problem

These days, I seem to be demonstrating quite a knack for forgetting to pay. I know that this is a very common problem and that hardly anyone out there wouldn’t have been a victim. Of late, I seem to be encountering this rather embarrassing situation with an alarming frequency. Just to count a few memorable instances, like when I stepped out of the auto without paying the driver, when I happily had my plate of gupchup in the roadside stall and then started off on my way only to hear a shout from behind me, when I stepped into a bakery, ordered a cake and merrily started walking away without paying the cash or when I attended this one-day course and profusely thanked the instructor in the end and wished her goodbye without realizing that there’s something else I owed her. And the list goes on…

So after facing countless number of embarrassments in the last few months, I put my lazy brain to work. And I thought  well what could be the root cause of the Forgetting to Pay problem. And one point struck me. It generally happens in those places where you first get the service and only then are asked to pay for it.Like when you eat the golgappa first and then pay for it or when you pay at the end of the auto ride. Or when you are in this store that does not accept credit cards, so the guy behind the counter politely informs you the cost and then gets busy packing your stuff without waiting for you to hand over the cash. Or when you are in a informal setting where the person is polite enough not to ask you for the cash and expects you to do the honours yourself.

So with this analysis, I think it would be a little unfair to lay all the blame on myself. You know the addictive convenience of payment through cards is also to blame. Coz the people who do all the deductions on the card reader machine wouldn’t make the mistake of handing the customer their package without first asking for the card.They make sure that “na rahegi baans na bajegi basuri”

Well, the times they are a changing….

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A Stitch in Time Saves Nine :)

Not that the zillion or so stitches that went into making this stuff actually saved anything, he he :) . Or maybe it did. Maybe it prevented that fine virtue called Patience from running away from me :) .

These are the Anchor stitch kits which are easily available these days in big retail stores. I purchased mine from M.K Retail near CMH road Junction. I got hooked to them after leaving my previous job, he he :) , so now you are getting it! But had loads of fun making them and have spent countless hours pouring over them with a menacing needle and an aching back. Btw, that innocent looking koala bear really drove me nuts.Phew!!!!

Hope everyone out there likes it !

Disclaimer : These are not for sale or donation :)

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I Dreamed a Dream

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

Courtsey : Les Miserables

This song was performed live by Susan Boyle in the 2009 auditions of the show Britain’s Got Talent.However, I stumbled upon her audition video only a few months back. Since then, I have seen this video an uncountable number of times, and yes, got goose bumps every time. Be it her divine voice or her absolute lack of interest in appearances or her heart warming nature or simply her attitude that’s brimming with positiveness and simplicity; she is one lady you just cannot help falling in love with. There was something very magical about her that drew me so close; deep inside I could really identify with her. This also prompted me to do a significant amount of research on her life and background(I have devoured all her youtube videos) and her sudden rise to stardom from very humble beginnings. Her story is one that would never cease to inspire and has broad appeal to every commoner.

So what are the lessons drawn?

1. Appearances do not matter; attitude does. A person’s attitude can provide the support and guidance necessary for channelising his/her talents. Appearances can only help you part of the way.

2. There is no work that’s lowly or demeaning; every work is respectful, be it sitting at home and nursing your parents or working in affluent and polished workplaces.

3. Go after your dreams relentlessly. Age should never be a barrier. In fact, most people become famous only when they are old.

4. The way you feel from inside, the same way you see the world. So if you feel happy, content and positive from within, that’s how the world will appear to you.

5. Don’t bother about things others will think or say about you.You cannot stop people from wagging their tongues.

Long live Susan Boyle!! You have made me feel abundantly happy and you are very high up there in my list of personal heroes :)

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Foodistan : About Chef Wars

These days the Ndtv Good Times channel is showing frequent promos of their upcoming show Foodistan which debuts on 23rd January. Foodistan is a cookery show wherein professional chefs from India and Pakistan compete against each other to dish out the best of recipes. The show is being produced by Siddharth Basu’s Big Synergy and is the most expensive show of any kind that the channel has ever made. The judges panel consists of Vir Sanghvi (India), Sonya Jehan (Pakistan) and Merrilees Parker (celebrity chef from Britain).The hosts are Ira Dubey and Aly Khan. Refer Vir Sanghvi’s blog for more interesting details.

Since I saw the promo, I have been waiting very eagerly for the launch of the show. Prior to this, Ndtv Good Times  had another competitive food show called Pressure Cooker.It had only 6 contestants who were amateur cooks and who were handpicked by the judges.The fact that the show concept was very unique was the only thumbs up. Everything else, from the excitement level to the suspense to the degree of hardness were a huge letdown. Hopefully Foodistan will be nothing like this and will come true to the high expectations we all have of it :) . Hopefully, it has all the drama quotient and hopefully we would get to see some good recipes, especially from across the border.

Time for some food diplomacy, my friends :)

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The Secret Behind ‘Firm’ Potato Cutlets

I have made several attempts at cooking potato cutlets.But I have always ended up with super soft and delicate cutlets that break very easily. The damage can happen at any stage of the cooking process; either when making the patty, or when transferring it to the frying pan, or when flipping it so that it cooks on the other side, or when removing from the frying pan onto the plate , or even when you so much as lift it to eat it :) . Needless to say, making these potato cutlets requires a great deal of care and the cooking procedure while pretty simple is actually riddled with several pressure points.

So I turned to the internet (my saviour !!) to look for a workaround . I learnt that the reason potato cutlets break is due to high moisture content. This will happen if the potato has been mashed when still warm or if the water has not been completely drained from the potato before mashing it. In my case, the problem was occurring because of the potato being mashed when still hot; for some reason, I thought it will be easier to mash when still warm; when the trapped hot air inside the potato condenses, it makes the mash soggy. Apart from this, many forums and blogs also recommended dusting the cutlet with bread crumbs or semolina or maida or corn flour to give it the firm texture.Sometimes, these can also be mixed with the mash. Not only does this stiffens the cutlet but also makes it crispy when fried.

Have fun making aloo tikkis!! 

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Hard-boiled Eggs

In the last week, I had to prepare hard boiled eggs on a couple of occasions. Unlike my expectations, it wasn’t a smooth ride and I had several frustrating moments trying to find my way around those small white innocent but beastly things.Once all the egg white oozed out while the egg was still simmering in the water, and on another occasion I removed the eggs from the heat prematurely, consequently ending up with runny eggs.Peeling the eggs was another pain and I had to do the peeling at a really snail’s pace in order to ensure that the whites didn’t get detached along with the shells.Not to mention that the cooking process is greatly influenced by the shape, size, quantity, temperature and freshness of the eggs.

So I resorted to the internet to look for some tips on getting perfect hard boiled eggs. Surprisingly, there was a load of information dedicated to this seemingly simple topic, much to my delight. Ok, so I am not the only morone who doesn’t know how to boil an egg :) . Below, I have listed down the useful links I referred.

1. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_perfect_hard_boiled_eggs/
2. http://www.wikihow.com/Hard-Boil-an-Egg
3. http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/BoiledEggs.htm

Enriched by all the information that I have gathered, I hope I can cook the perfect boiled eggs next time, and do that without having egg on my face :)

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Learning Programming on the Go!!

Today in office, one of my teammates pointed me to a very interesting site http://labs.codecademy.com/. It has been around for some 4-5 months and is still at a very nascent stage. The site promises/aims to teach you programming online without downloading any IDE or editor.Currently it offers courses only in Javascript, but Python and Ruby courses are also on the way.

Each course is divided into several lessons and a lesson consists of several exercises.To encourage the learner are incentives in the form of badges and points. The lessons are pretty straightforward and are presented in a very logical fashion.An online editor is provided for the learner to key in the commands and see the output.And oh, did I mention that you can create your own lessons? Frankly, it’s difficult not to be wowed by this thing.

So today, I spent some time in this place learning javascript.From my end, codeacademy has a big and emphatic thumbs up :) .It really makes learning a new programming language less painful. Can’t wait for the upcoming lessons!!

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Playing with FlashDevelop

The project I was assigned to in my new job had a web-based Flash UI and looked pretty cool!!. In the past, I have never been directly involved in any web UI related work. So I thought that it would be a great opportunity to learn something new and that’s basically the inspiration behind this post.

While searching for a suitable Flash Editor, I came across FlashDevelop, FlashBuilder and FDT. Both FlashBuilder and FDT are eclipse plugins for flash and flex development with FDT being the editor of choice for ActionScript coding. The only downside is that these two eclipse plugins have an attached price tag. However, FlashDevelop is a free and open source editor. It provides support for ActionScript coding and haXe development.According to this, FlashDevelop is more generally a great web developer IDE with integrated source-control support(svn, git, mercurial), tasks/todo, snippets, XML/HTML completion and built-in zen-coding for HTML.

I downloaded the FlashDevelop executable and tried to install it on my dev machine. The installation was however not a smooth ride as the installer kept failing in downloading third party tools (I guess some proxy/timeout issue).I spent a good one hour troubleshooting this error, but couldn’t find much help on the net. Finally, I found a workaround here, which worked like a charm :) . Now, I have my editor up and running.

FlashDevelop has it’s own wiki, which has loads of helpful information and very convenient for beginners.I will need to spend a lot of time here going through the various concepts and buzz words(ActionScript, Flex, haXe, AIR….blah,blah,blah).

Some of the things I want to achieve with FlashDevelop are,

1. Create a small movie. It will actually be a slideshow of pictures with music playing in the background.
2. Create a sample Flash desktop application (prototype of my PoC work in office??)
3. Create a sample Flash web application (prototype of my PoC work in office??)
4. Explore the various features and capabilities of FlashDevelop.

Good Luck girl!! :)

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