Cooking Diaries: The disaster

Weekends are generally my turn to surprise my wife and daughter. Today, this is what I made. Khaman Dhokla. Here’s a picture of what was expected and what the outcome was. It spoiled my years of reputation as a cook in my house. This is the worst disaster ever in the kitchen for me.

Cooking Disaster: Khaman Dhokla
Cooking Disaster: Khaman Dhokla

I was trying to multitask, entertain the kid and make lunch as well. And I lost track of time, till I saw smoke coming out of the microwave. The wife burst out in anger, which quickly turned into laughter, when my 2-year-old daughter asked, “Papa, Ye Dhokla Tha?”

This wasn’t the second batch of Dhokla. My wife made the first ones, and my daughter knew what a Dhokla looked and tasted like. It was yummy. Unfortunately, I didn’t click a picture of it.

Traffic troubles for all

Those Empty Roads
Those Empty Roads

On the way to my office, I have to cross the most dense traffic of the city. Every day is a new challenge. And thanks to the repair works, even the footpaths are occupied by mud, slosh and huge circular pipes (God knows when they will finally be sent into the ground, and free up the footpath). So, the frustration levels of us commuters have crossed the limits.

The bike people: Now, the bikers are a bored lot. They just stand on the roads, and honk. While not moving, they are busy cleaning their rear-view mirrors, checking their smart phones for new notifications (Come on, everyone else you know is either also stuck in traffic or sleeping), looking at other bikes and cars while keeping a tab on the countdown on the traffic light. The countdown is like the start of a bike race. People start their engines at the count of 10, and slowly nudge forward and cross the lines already by the count of 5. Some people zoom ahead at the count of 3, and the idiots like me, don’t move an inch unless they see the green lights. But the funny thing is, somewhere down the road, I make a point to overtake all those who made a head-start. That gives me immense satisfaction, and is my way of enjoying the traffic. It even feels a lot better on the days when I am on my bicycle.

The car people: Well, they have already been past the frustration limits. They have accepted the traffic, and it’s troubles. They don’t care how much time it takes for them to reach their destinations any more. A car these days, might have a pair of faulty brakes, but their radio and the speakers would always be in prime condition. And the Radio stations, you have so many of them, you can actually tune in to your favorite song for just about any situation. The people on the 4 wheels are not as bored. Rather, it’s quite a comfortable ride for them. Just some time for themselves, their only alone time. It’s like being castaway, with a radio, and a smart phone.

The bus people:, first fight for boarding the already overcrowded buses. They fight for a seat. They fight to get a ticket and to get back their change from the conductor. They fight to get down at their stops. The only time when they are not fighting during their journey is when they manage to get a short nap, be it sitting or standing. The nap makes all these fights worth the effort. When they finally reach their destination, they are charged up, all because of this power nap. For that, I consider themselves the luckiest people on the roads.

People on foot: Now, the pedestrians are the happy lot. At-least they have got a few inches on the footpaths for themselves, which otherwise was being used as motor bike trails. More traffic is always better for them, since they can now cross the roads easily. The footpaths now have more space to walk on. The only thing that is bad for them is the copious white and black fumes that gets thrown on their faces. You can see most of them change into their “Daaku” costumes before they step out of their houses.

The rest: You must be wondering who else would be facing the troubles of traffic!!! Those four wheeled motor-less vehicles… No, not the hand carts. The four-legged animals. Yesterday, I saw a herd of cattle stuck in the middle of the road among vehicles all around them. And they were just clueless and stood their until the road got cleared. The only difference between them and the humans, they didn’t honk even once, unlike us.

Cycling chronicles: Over 1000 kms

Rock Rider 5.0
Rock Rider 5.0

The distance to my office is about 16-17 kms one way, and the days I chose to cycle to office, it feels like a really long time. 34 kms, in a day, cycling, I had never imagined that I would be able to do it regularly, without fainting. I haven’t fainted yet. But, I do sweat a lot. And after reaching office, I have to take  a mini shower before I can start to work.

It’s a Rockrider 5.0. Weights 14.5KG (Light weight comes with a higher price tag). 21 speed 3X7 grip shifters.

Overall cost: 11, 000 INR

I have already crossed 1000 kms on the odometer. But, I am quite far away from my target, 3500 kms in a year. And there are only 5 more months to complete the remaining 2500 kms. That’s about 16kms a day, which doesn’t look realistic. Let’s throw that target of mine out of the window for this year. I don’t want to revise the target for obvious reasons.

A few things for people who want to buy bicycles.

  1. Don’t go for the geared ones unless you are planning to ride it for more than 10 kms at a stretch. It costs you more, and is not worth the trouble dealing with all those gears. Although you will get used to the gears, you would hardly use them during short commutes.
  2. For Bangalore roads, you need good mud-guards which would ensure that your own tyre don’t throw mud on yourself. The shopkeeper was suggesting me not to fit the mud-guards while buying it. He asked me to come back after a month and get it fixed, since it was summer time then. I am glad I bought them. 4 days later, it did rain while I was out cycling.
  3. A bell and a night light, (Rear view mirror is optional). You would probably think that they would never be used. But trust me, you will definitely need these.
  4. A pair of gloves, if you are going for long rides.
  5. And of course, a good helmet.

You might now want to buy everything here in one shot. If you are coming back from a long break, some practice before going on longer rides is definitely required. It will take some time to get adjusted to just about everything. Right from your posture, pedals, handles and the seats, it will be very uncomfortable. I took about 2-3 days to be absolutely sure that I could handle all kinds of roads, traffic and my fellow commuters on the roads. After all, I was starting to bicycle again, after a gap of 12 long years.

The rainy days

Its been raining a lot for the last few days. And I just had a long long weekend; Diwali holidays, a five day extended weekend. Today morning, its still raining. And I am on my way to the office on a bus. As usual, everyone’s now back to work. And the rains have made the traffic situation worse. Moving at a snails pace. Fortunately, I managed to get hold of a seat. It will probably take close to 1.5 hours today. The ride is very bumpy, although my phones spellcheck compensates for that.

Its been a very long time here, for various reasons outside my control. If the rains don’t stop by evening, I might as well come back again then.

Bus rides are comfortable, although I have a few arguments against them. My new office is farther from the old one, and its in the heart of the city. The only viable road to the new office is heavily crowded during office hours. And I thought riding a bike to and fro would be very painful. It’s been about a week bow that I have been travelling by bus. Although it has been quite comfortable, I end up spending more than 2 hours of my day in travelling.

So I have been able to get back here after such a long time. Last week I was trying to read some articles on my phone to use up the idle time on the bus. But it didn’t work out. The roads were bumpy, and I had to concentrate very hard to avoid the distractions. Writing, in such a scenario seems a little better since you don’t have to focus for long stretches. Think a bit, write a bit.  Wait… Thinking….

Looks like its raining inside the bus as well. The roofs are leaking a bit. I have changed two places inside the bus, but looks like its leaking from everywhere. The roads are flooded. It is advisable to take the bus instead of your bikes in such weather, if you are in Bangalore. Its better to be inside a leaking bus instead of being in the splashes of the vehicles on the roads, especially, when you are going to the office and you are not carrying a spare set of clothes.

I am just 15 mins away from my office now. Have to get prepared for de-boarding. Its going to take a bit of effort.

Things I hate about gyming

I can’t wake up now

– Waking up early each and every day, while the wife’s alarm clock still has an hour to ring.

– Putting on and off my shoes and socks. That’s like 10 precious minutes of my morning.

– Reaching the gym. Each second before I enter the door, I think of skipping it that day.

– Even after I reach the gym so early, there are already so many people lined up near the treadmills.

– Right after I enter the gym, all the pretty girls are about to finish their workout.

– There’s always a queue in front of the water cooler, especially when I am out of breath, and my throat has gone completely dry.

– I follow all the rules of the gym, while the more muscular guys do whatever they want.

– My determination for the day just drops off after the first 20 minutes of working out.

– When I am ready to leave, more pretty girls start pouring in through the doors.

– Just when my determination bounces back, my muscles give up.

Every day is a new day. I have been a bit irregular at the gym for the last few days. And I am planning to get back to my usual routine from tomorrow. That’s going to be hard though after so many days of abstinence. So, need to sleep early, and set the alarm back at 5:00 AM. Good night.