10 things we do on whatsapp

10 things we do on Whatsapp

I’ve been toying with the idea of this post for quite some time now. I wasn’t sure I could come up with a big enough list. I didn’t want to offend the Whatsapp folks I know of. But then I realized I’d exited most Whatsapp groups that I was part of. Also I don’t expect the serious Whatsapp-y folks to have enough patience or attention span to read this 900 word article. A video or meme may have stood out but not this one. So here goes. Let me know your experience with Whatsapp. I’d love to hear. HBD We never remembered birthdays and anniversaries of cousins, cousin’s wives, their kids, uncles and aunts. And rightfully we did not wish all these people either. Things seemed real. With Whatsapp when all these extended family members are cloistered together in a Whatsapp group just a tap away, every day is somebody’s birthday, somebody’s anniversary. The cousin’s wife or brother or sister gives the cue usually by changing the title of the group. Changing the title is the red carpet treatment of Whatsapp. Everybody else follows suit with their own “HBD” wishes. The more cake, balloon and confetti emojis you add, the greater your effort and therefore the heartier your wishes. Easy, quick and empty. Not wishing would make you a mean person. Vaguely texting a bunch of emojis would make you a vacuous but sensitive person. Choose.  There are the groups within groups. This is going to look like an analytical reasoning problem in CAT paper, but bear with me. There is a Whatsapp group (group 1) that has A, B, C, D and E. There is another group (group 2) that has just A, B and C. D and E don’t know about this group. Another group (group 3) has A, B, E and F. C and D don’t know about this group. A also talks to D one on one. A talks to everyone within the group and outside too. People need to keep track of the group overlaps when forwarding messages. You don’t want to send what was sent in group 1 to group 2 or group 3 because some of them have already seen it. You need to look up to see which group you’re texting in to make sure you’re not talking about D in the group that has D. Not easy. There are the office...
Teriyaki Noodles

Teriyaki Noodles

Before whatsapp groups happened, how did women show off their Krishna Jayanthi decorations to relatives and friends? Did they just do something simple that appealed to them and let that be? Wow. That must have been peaceful and boring. Those days, they didn’t try to make it look pretty. A heap of mangoes would lie in a corner of my grandma’s Poojai room, left there to ripen slowly. A motley set of photos and figurines lined the window sill and wall around it in no particular order.  The Kamakshi Amman vilakku (lamp) stood in the middle. A stack of Sami-books lay in a corner. A godrej bero stood in a corner unrelated to everything else in the room. This was the set-up the whole year round. I can only imagine what my Ammama would have said if I had asked her to make it look cute for a picture. Remember this is the family that cannot sit together for a family picture, the family that will not change out of lungis and crushed cotton sarees, children were always just in jattis, a family where some will grumble about photos shortening their life-span and others who cannot smile and still others who’re just too busy for this shit. If I had asked my Ammama to pretty up the poojai room for a picture, the old lady would have kicked me out on my butt and given me the toilet brush and phenoyl bottle and asked me to start from there. She took no nonsense. She ran a big busy house. She cooked round the clock, served coffee, Maltova and Horlicks to different people at different times of the day without anyone asking, remembered to sprinkle sugar on my upma for my school tiffen, told me stories and dozed off midway but started off right from where she left off once I woke her up and let me plait her beautiful long hair while she took her afternoon nap. She didn’t care what people thought of her. I think the world of my Pattamma Ammama. I am not there yet. I still feel I need to show the world when I’ve worn a saree.  When I get to her state of un-care I would be fully free. Her unique brand of cynicism and wit have rubbed off on her grandchildren as also her love for good food and cooking. This teriyaki Noodles...
Double beans biryani

Double beans biryani

Here’s a rambling update of things here in Chennai. It’s the season when the morning is hot and usual but a sudden burst of afternoon rain springs a cheery surprise on us. The dusty leaves on the trees get a nice washing and look greener. The tar roads look glossy. Kids return from school, their shoes wet and muddy. Suddenly autos go into hiding. Ola rides get pricier. There’s no time for tea and bajji. Mid-terms are around the corner. Dosai it is. Yuvan’s been missing his tamil text book for more than 2 months now. We didn’t miss it. I calculate to the end of the school year. I wonder if I can continue without it for the remaining time. I decide to decide later. People assembled before the TV last Friday awaiting big news, live TV drama and maybe a holiday or two. Nothing happened. They continued to check over the weekend hoping to ride over the Monday with that single piece of news. It wasn’t to be. They got back to work and looked up the next public holiday. That was Aug 15th, Wednesday two weeks away. Dejected, people strayed to facebook and whatsapp and wasted more time. The Neelam mangoes have arrived on store shelves ushering in the last of the mango season. I hoard like a mad woman and my kattai pai (dowel bag) breaks at the checkout counter and my mangoes tumble out. I take it as a sign that I’ve crossed my limit. I continue to come up with shortcut recipes out of sheer laziness and waking up late. One such recipe is this double beans biryani recipe. This is a no-chop biryani. You won’t be doing any chopping whatsoever. Raita doesn’t count of course. The onions, garlic and ginger are being ground into a punchy fragrant masala. There are no veggies or meat either to chop since this is a double beans biryani. This is truly a lazy person’s biryani. My style. But hey, this biryani can give any veggie biryani a run for its money. This biryani is deliciously fragrant and unbelievably yummy. The double beans are a great substitute for meat or potatoes. I am really happy to share with you one more Somberi recipe. I hope it helps you maintain your somber lifestyle. Serve with raita and chips for a complete meal. Enjoy! Print Recipe Double beans biryani This...
Enchilada salsa verde

Enchilada Salsa Verde

One of my favourite scenes in the movie “Sindhu Bhairavi” is the one where J.K.B (played by Sivakumar) calls his wife (played by Sulochana) a “gnanasoonyam” because she ran her mixie on full throttle when he was passionately listening to music. Stung by his words, Bhairavi sniffles “Will Lata Mangeshkar make paruppu podi for you?” J.K.B feels even more contempt for his ordinary wife. I love this scene because it is beautiful and brutal and honest. On seeing this scene, if you pity Bhairavi for being a simpleton, you are just being a kinder J.K.B but still a chauvinist. If you see the simple truth in Bhairavi’s words you’ll realize that if the wives, mistresses, mothers did not make them their paruppu podi when they were travelling, if they did not remember to pack their jattis and lungis, if they did not steal the jeans away for washing once a month, if they did not pack their lunches, if they did not deal with homework, dinner and emails while they caught up on matches and Sunny Leone on whatsapp, if they did not remind them about their mother’s birthdays and anniversaries, if they did not fuss about making the dosai just the way they want it – crispy or browned on one side only, then the J.K.Bs will realize they don’t have the veshti for the kutchery, their stomach’s upset from eating out and they’ve run out of jattis. And if only women practice less perfection, women may finally find some time to listen to music, read the paper and have a conversation with a friend. I have tons of things I’ve been meaning to share on the blog here but haven’t got around to – Project50k (my weightloss journey), my trip to kodaikanal, a few stellar recipes I tried over the last few weeks and plenty of big small things. I’ll share these on the upcoming posts. Enchilada Salsa Verde I have a scrumptious enchilada recipe to share today. I knew I wanted to make Enchilada salsa verde when I saw lovely plump green tomatoes in the grocery store. I made a large portion of salsa verde that I used for this recipe. I still have a jar of leftover salsa sitting in my fridge. I took the lazy route to making this salsa as you would have come to expect from me. I didn’t roast the veggies. I...
Pesto paneer sandwich

Pesto paneer sandwich

When I hear some people complain that they’re too overwhelmed, that they’re overworked and super busy, I feel like Manick Basha caught amongst “Naanum rowdy thaan” rowdies. The real dons, the real rowdies, the worker bees go about their business like the professionals that they are. They don’t have the time nor the need to tell everyone how busy and important they are. I learnt though that this is not as obvious to the world. The world believes the “Naai Sekhars” more than “Manick Basha” or “Velu Naicker”. Strange world. When men tell me they’re too busy, I feel especially amused. Single men, you don’t even qualify. Really? You are busy whatsapping in the toilet for an hour, reading the paper, taking your own bath, dressing up yourself, eating, putting on shoes on your own but having somebody bring you your socks and going to work. By that standard, my 6 year old is overwhelmed and super busy too. What do ya call the mommies and wives who cooked two meals, packed several lunches, got the kids ready for school, made the morning coffees and teas, set up the washing machine, straightened up the house, did the morning poojai, bathed & dressed (nobody brought her socks or panties) and drove to work, worked all day, answered calls in between to tell folks where the cello tape is, where the cough syrup is, came back home, straightened up the home, cooked dinner, lost her temper during homework time and made up during bed time? I call them the real rowdies. The professionals. No snivelling, no complaining, no publicity, no projection. We simply get the job done. Next time some “Naai Sekhar” complains to you about how busy he is, remember who you are. Basha doesn’t go about telling people he is Basha, until it is time. Pesto Paneer sandwich I have an incredibly easy but flavour bursting pesto paneer sandwich recipe for all you real rowdies out there. Read on for the recipe.   The key to a good pesto is good olive oil and a generous amount of it. I love a good pesto (check out the pesto recipe here). I love it so much, I’d willingly slather it on toast, stir into stir fries and toss my pasta in it. I suddenly realized last week that I hadn’t made pesto in a long long time. I was in luck,...
cabbage paratha

Cabbage paratha | A kindness Challenge

Tell me it’s normal to not want to read the newspaper because it makes you sad. If you’re here for just the cabbage paratha bit, please feel free to jump right down to the recipe. If you have a bit more time, please read on. I cried last week when I read the stories of the wives, mothers of fishermen from Kanyakumari who are waiting, praying for a miracle after cyclone Ockhi. They are fighting despair as each day passes, hoping that their loved ones would return alive somehow while also wondering how to make ends meet, how to explain to the little kids at home who are asking for their “Appa”, how to pay back the loan they took for the new boat, how to pay the school fees. I pray for all those families. I urge you to pray too, for them. I am a huge believer in the power of prayers. I think it can make a difference. It is hard to be kind Too often we underestimate the value of a kind act, a small prayer, a tiny favour. We’re doing these things so rarely these days because we’re very busy being enraged about the news. There’s rarely anything positive or happy in the news anyways. I can barely contain my despondency when I read about another rape, another hate crime, the lifelong court trials that suck the life out of the people before tilting in favour of the powerful. Add to that, the self-righteous, sweeping generalizations and twisted up narratives that people serve up on social media attacking their favourite people to hate. I don’t know if everyone has an Aadhar card, if everyone has a bank account. Everyone sure has a group they hate. Women, men, hindus, muslims, Christians, low-caste, high-caste, brahmins, devars, non-brahmins, Sanghis, Commies, Congis, Leftists, Thalapathy fans, Thala fans. It is hard to be optimistic. And precisely because it is so difficult, I think we need to try extra hard to stay hopeful, to be kind and to do good. Kindness, generosity and cheer are like muscles. We need to work them constantly so that we can put them to use when we need them most.   Goodness There was a friend in school who complained about being left out from the gang and acted up from time to time being frosty and even rude. I remember being miffed by the...
Sprouts dosai, crispy, delicious dosai that is healthy too

Sprouts Dosai | Tastiest breakfast that includes sprouts

I want to share a spectacularly easy and delicious Sprouts Dosai recipe with you but I want to tell you a little story first.  Story I was cycling away at the gym. A mobile phone rang somewhere nearby. The person next to me on another cycle picked up one of his two mobiles. It was one of those large screen LED TV type mobiles and there was a bright flash of light which even I with my poor eyesight could see quite clearly. A woman’s photo flashed on the screen. I turned away because I am decent and well-mannered and I don’t peep into people’s mobiles. He spoke for a couple of minutes which I did not listen to. I happened to turn that way when he hung up, the light caught my eye and I saw “Wife Darling” in big bold letters on his phone. Now I didn’t know which way to look. I looked at others who were very seriously going about their workout uncaring of what I had witnessed. I had to say this to somebody. So I am writing it on my blog. I’ve also seen a few men who stored their wife’s number as “My Wife”. This particular Parthiban and Vadivelu scene comes to mind. Why the “My”? It’s not like you have the numbers of all the wifes in your apartment – “ABlock 19 Wife”, “B34 Wife”, “Carparking fighter’s wife”… I tried to understand the characters who’ll store their wife’s number as “Wife Darling”, “My Wife”, “Wife Chellakutti” and so on. I know we store our mom or dad’s number as mom/amma, dad/appa because that’s how we call them. But “Wife Darling”?! I tried to list down the kinds of people who’ll do that: New to marriage Is the expressive kind of person who’ll write long posts on facebook praising his wife for cooking for him and having his socks sorted. Is the kind of guy who likes to be “mothered” (smothered), the one whose wife calls him 20 times a day, tells him what to wear, what to eat, answers for him and accompanies him everywhere he goes. This is the kind of guy who’ll willingly hand over his phone to the wife who’ll read his whatsapp messages, change his picture and then name herself “wife darling”. This could be the person who forwards exclusively “nagging-wife” kind of un-funny jokes to all whatsapp...

Eggplant Parmigiana

The whatsapp had been going off non-stop with first the news about Jayalalitha’s death and then about controversy theories about her death and then the cyclone. Amidst this mayhem there were these messages – “Yes Ma’am” “Yes Ma’am” “Sure Ma’am” “You are looking so beautiful Ma’am” “You are so sweet, Ma’am ” “Your handwriting is too good” “Please be safe Ma’am.” No, these were not students. These were mommies falling over each other in being sugary sweet to their kindergarten kid’s teacher. I cringed. But then I laughed. I remembered that Jagan by a strange twist of events was part of that mommy-teacher watsapp group and was witness to these exchanges. I imagined how these converstions would look juxtaposed with car mileage/gearbox debates, porn pictures and topic –less but expletive filled ribbing. As expected, he was traumatized by these mommy exchanges and asked me if women talk this way all the time. Poor guy. I suggested he take a combiflam and exit the group.   Mommies, really? Really? Do you really have to? I wanted to tell Yuvi that he was out on his tiny ass. Don’t expect sweet nothing texts from me – “Yes Ma’am, okay Ma’am, I love you Ma’am, I miss you Ma’am” because your number work is untidy, because I would like you to speak in the assembly. I know I am not setting it up for you to be the teacher’s favourite in school, the sweet mommy’s boy who teachers will remember from the top of their mind when it comes to choosing the house prefect, choosing the one to give the school address. I am not giving you a step up. I am not giving you privilege. I am sorry. I can’t bring myself to. I know how much I hated those teacher’s favourites in school. Plus I am simply un-equipped for being that sweet. I did not tell Yuvi as much. I suspect he may share it with his sweet, beautiful teacher with good handwriting. We were eating eggplant parmigiana for lunch, Yuvi and I. He slurped the pasta noodle in.  Do you like it? He made a sign with his hand to say it was. Spaghetti pasta in marinara sauce wasn’t one of his favourites. Really? “Yes, it is. Very nice, but little bit not nice.” I smiled. I realized he wasn’t going to be any better than me in lying. But...

Mexican style rice

For all the serial whatsappers and facebook addicts, I believe many of you would have come across touching stories in your newsfeed that “will make you cry, leave you stunned, will make your day” where the husband/wife/friend/son/daughter realized they’re missing real conversations with real people because they’re staring at their phones all day. I bet you have liked and shared these stories too. And? Am I the only emotional nut taking forwards seriously? I once turned a vegetarian because I read a forwarded message on how foie gras was made. I couldn’t keep it up too long  though because I couldn’t subsist on nothing. Our family was an exclusive non-vegetarian group then. But shortly after I gave up, my maamiyaar turned vegetarian and now we’re a very inclusive group. Timing. Not one of my strong points and never on my side. The little fella is missing for 20 minutes but everything is silent. They’re not fighting, nothing is broken, none of them have run up crying and the TV is not on. All of this can mean only one thing. Look for your phone. It’s gone. So is the grandmother’s phone. Hasini and Yuvi are curled up on the bed with a smartphone each playing games and colouring pictures. Everybody is staring at a screen. No one to talk to. Not even little Yuvi. Best time to try something in the kitchen. Maybe some Mexican style rice. I rinse the rice and beans, heat up the oil, peel the onions and start chopping the garlic. At that point when I am committed, when I am more in than out, when the oil is hot and when I’ve just thrown in the garlic, Yuvi shouts out to me “Ammaaaaaaaaaaaa“. Timing. Never on my side. Prep Time: 10 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves: 4  Ingredients – Mexican style rice Long grain rice/Basmati rice – 2 cupsTomato puree – 3/4 cupGarlic – 4 cloves chopped fineOnion – 1 medium chopped fineGreen peas – 1/2 cupFresh red beans – ½ cup (substitute with butter beans or other quick cooking fresh beans of your choice)Green chillies – 4 slit lengthwiseCinnamon – 1 inch stickWater as necessarySalt to tasteOil – 3 tbsp Ingredients – Salsa Chopped tomato – ½ cupChopped green capsicum – ½ cupCoriander leaves – a handful choppedLemon juice – 2 tspSalt to tasteSugar – 1 pinch Method 1.       Rinse rice well in 2-3...

Mangai More | Raw green Mango & coriander flavoured buttermilk

It is so hot. Everything’s got to be short now – our dresses, recipes, time in the kitchen and this post too. In telegram style, I’ll be making super short telegram posts like these. ‘Kaasu ku yetha dosai’ (crudely translated ‘penny wise pancake’). For super simple recipes, posts are going to be super short telegram style too. Survived April Fools day un-fooled. Didn’t open Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp or newspaper. Phone battery dead. Friends busy. Haven’t checked weight since start of diet. What if? What if? What if no change? Ding Ding! (Hattori style) Any stricter diet Ninja style, I am really ding ding. Why are there no hair-styles for non-curly, non-straight, in-between hair type people? Bloody Systematized society! Know a good place to straighten hair? Nights spent wrapping and labelling Hasini’s new books. Had to fight for the privilege. Don’t ask. Not hungry these days. Really! Thirsty yes. Loved this Mangai More – chill, refreshing and with just a hint of pucker from the grated mangai (raw green mango). It is best had chilled. Perfect any time of the day. This Mangai more cools from the inside. Dieters, take heart. No portion control on this one. Glug away.        Prep time: 5 mins Serves: 4 Ingredients Yogurt – ¾ cup Water – 3 cups Salt to taste Coriander leaves – 2 tsp very finely chopped Green chilli – ½ chopped very fine Raw Mango – 2 tsp grated (with skin on) Method Whisk yogurt/curd well. Add water and whisk or use your churner to whisk/churn until frothy. Add in the finely chopped green chilli, coriander leaves and grated mango. Add salt. Mix well. Chill for an hour. Serve chilled any time of the day.
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