Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas eve....

As every other year our car slowly stopped at Harjit and Sven’s place for the traditional celebration on the Christmas eve .  The ambience was Christmasy  - with excited kids hovering around tempting gifts sitting under the purple  Christmas tree  , windows shining bright and the  table set for the yummy traditional Christmas food ...


With kids wanting to open the gifts and the parents -  ‘No No not now - food first' , ofcourse the balance of power was with the parents and the little ones counted seconds till the eating was done and then there was no stopping  :-).

Bolla the hamster too got its Christmas gift and so did our family.


and ofcourse mamma got the best gift :-).
Merry  Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Breaking plates.....

Yes you have guessed it right - It's all about an evening at one of our Greek friends home. I will let you know what this breaking the plates is.... Greece is all nice things - fantastic islands, beautiful beaches, remote villages, mountains and most of all I love their FOOD and their salads with the wild greens and  yummy cheeses tossed with lip smacking virgin Olive oil.

The festive season has BEGUN! and what better way than in a greek home with lovely ambience, music, great food and wonderful company of friends. I will let the pics speak ...

I really liked the dramatic effect created in the bed room by a floor lamp
lovely black and white sketches 1.steps at the benaras ghat, 2. a tram in kolkota street and 3. a street market. They picked these in India during their 2 year stay on an UN project.
 Yummy Isn't it? Baked Aubergines and capsicum with a generous spread of tzaziki


and finally the cappucino in the making

Coming back to the breaking of plates - we were told that Greeks like breaking plates to release the positive energy that has peaked during the party and express happiness. Gypsum plates are made for this purpose and there are special places where one can order a party including the breaking of the plates. Interesting !!! Read more here

all pics by me . Last

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas - the most Perfect timing!!!

There could not have been a more perfect timing for Christmas!!!  

For me though it is not of any religious significance, it is still a high point in the middle of the winter that not only makes me deal with the ice and the cold and the freezing tempertaures, but makes them enjoyable too.

Today  at minus 14C I was walking out in the Jul Marked( Christmas Market) arranged every year in the walking street of Oslo and I definetely need a Christmas and its festive fervor to live through the cold dark winter days,

 festive shopping

Red Vanilla Glazed apples
 cheese with that little extra, and figs withBalsamico

 Fresh caramelised almonds
and ofcourse the winter wear. 

There could not have been a more perfect timing for Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My first trip to Africa

When the plans for a trip to Africa were unfolding – I really did not have much expectations , didn’t think much , didn’t do much home work  – but then this turned out to be one of the best trips I ever experienced. Not in any particular order but over the next few weeks I will post things I enjoyed.
Art , Wine, Mountains , Vineyards, Music, Old world charm  - Yes then you are in the right place - Stellenbosch a quaint little university town in South Africa , 45 kms from Cape town will delight you in more than one way.
Be it the scenic drive through the extensive winelands spread across the valleys surrounded by majestic mountains
the gorgeous cape dutch 300 to 400 year old homes , 
 with their exquisite furniture - intricate inlay work below - looks 3D but feels like 1 piece on an almirah
 It's always intersting to see the kitchn's from the bygone erasThe copper container on the table I was told is a post box . The lady of the house would find in it an apology note from her husband after a fight or an argument. 
Ofcourse you are in Stellenbosch - and visits to the wine yards and wine tasting is a must ...
 Rustenberg wine estate that we visited and one of its many impressive buildings
 this town is sure to fill one’s eyes and heart making it a ‘want to comeback place’.  Oops!!!! did I hint anything :-).
  We chance upon such quaint little places as my husband’s work takes him there. I am not complaining that he is traveling 100 days a year :-)

pic 1by Laurette Van der Merwe

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My 'Maa' in Norway....... Et Norsk Hjem - 2

I am so glad writing this post for home Shanthi home today .  I have been contemplating this since I entered the blog world. Finally today I crossed the Granddad's street (Bestefars vei )and went down the Grandmom's street (Bestemors vei) to meet my Maa in Norway – May  (84yrs) and Harald (93yrs).

When you straight land from India into a land where everything is so different  - the culture, the language and the weather (I landed in the end of December ),  and where TV channels only relayed Norwegian programs, with not a single Indian vegetable in sight in the shops,  trying to understand the Norwegian names for Aata, Suji etc ,  I cannot tell you how special it was to chance upon meeting May . She is so special and just radiated warmth.  For me she is my Maa in this land and was always there to help me with any information / help I needed - as recently as this Sunday she helped me planning  a trip to Egypt :-).

Paintings on the wall show the town her husband grew up and cute pics of her great grand children.

Her’s was an open house to guests and specially to foreigners . We were always greeted to warm cups of tea and freshly baked cookies and it is still fresh in my mind how I enjoyed watching her lovely home with things from all her travels. 
She is one of the pioneers who started the Ås international women’s group which just celebrated 25 years and she has been given many awards recognizing her contribution to the community and to the women in particular.
I have always seen her well dressed, lady like and fashionable with special liking for chunky Amber and silver Jewelry.  She and Harald visited India to attend my daughter’s half saree ceremony in 2002.  She takes Harald in his wheel chair around the world. They travel to Spain, Denmark, around Norway  and many other places round the year. While in Norway she attends concerts, café’s , wine drinking sessions  with Harald and plays bridge with her girl friends once a week.

Bed room with paintings, self potraits of her daughters and photographs of children , grand children and great grand children.

 Organised to the core ... Her books and Albums..... and mind you she did not know that I was going to take the pictures....
  The silver and brass thalis used as trays 
An antique french clock and candle set she inherited which her Grand parents got as a wedding gift
 Though she followed her husband  to Egypt for 3 years in 1964 ,posted in the UN,  its her friends and love for the country and its culture that took her back every year since then till date. Many people in Ås and Norway saw Egypt in its entirity due to May. She is also the international member representing Norway in Alexandria. 

Some old woven textiles dating back to 300 A.D from Egypt

Hand woven tapestry from Egypt - speciality of this she says is that no picture is drawn first and is conceived in the mind and progresses henceforth.

Coaster made from an old wedding gown of a bride in Egypt

 and cermaics d art resembling the old greek leather documents lie on her table along with her magnifying glass and other knick knacks. 
I salute her for her sunny optimism and the spirit with which she loves and lives the life to its fullest.

Pics source:taken by me at May's place this sunday