My Bucket List had a book in it and I was not sure as to what and how I should be writing one. Some well-wishers suggested to write a travelogue as I used to travel for work or otherwise.
I was also lucky that I am a member of this blog group and help came up instantaneously. The sum total was the realization that I should be writing from the heart.
Encouraged by the support I decided to start writing and brought up an idea of forming the ‘Book Writers’ Club’ which was joined by a few friends. And I wanted my first few pages to be seen and reviewed by the club members.
I got a real review, ably correcting the plenty of mistakes and telling what should be taken care of from one of the members. She had one book published and here I am talking about her second and lovely book ‘Love.Exe’
If you have downloaded a complicatd software on an unreliable computer with moody internet, you get a picture of how the author unfurls the story. The story progresses like the exact stages in the software download, with the several yes/no, true/false confirmations concluding with the finish button.
That alone would make the book a hit among the tech savvy new generation. Particularly since the background is set on the dream destination for Indians for study and work – the U S A and Ivy League colleges, full scholarships and dream jobs with new gen tech and online companies.
About the Author
Manju Nambiar, originally from Kerala in India, after higher education in USA, now works in a leading frim in San Jose California and lives there with husband and daughter. Her first book ‘The Money Lender’ has been a hit.
The book is available on Amazon
The main character is a bright and beautiful girl from an orthodox South Indian family with ambition set on the typical Indian youngster intention of living the American Dream.
Marriage is what the parents think of daughters and that is what the compromise for any dream.
There is a transition from an attempted arranged marriage to love led marriage. Imagine the situation when the parties involved are the same in both the scenarios.
As a reader, I have a weakness of getting attached to the lead character. That is not the problem. The problem is that whoever is a villain to the good character (mostly heroine) has a red mark on him from me. And when the author cleverly brings the two close to where they work, I am not happy to see the villain making any gains on the heroine.
But I am unique. Almost all the others love the twist and are fascinated by the details of a real Indian experience in the campus and workplace in USA, especially when the love dominates the details. The book is a complete success in meticulously detailing every steps in the life of Indian Americans living the American Dream in the University and work office.
That’s when, though I wouldn’t like the villain coming anywhere near my heroine, all except me will be thrilled at the way the two get closer and closer and closer.
That makes a reader to get hooked on the book. That is everybody, young, old and even me.
Great romantic book and highly recommended.
After 21 hours into intermittent fasting, appetite is never a problem when wife suggests eating out. The usual suspects are sumptuous vegetarian thali places, fish specials or biriyani houses.
But Chinese, Thai or those fast food joints are always in focus. So decided to go Chinese, but the place in mind was under renovation or moved out. That’s when I suggested ‘burger’.
‘Where’s the Beef’ may be a TV commercial slogan in USA against rival fast food chains. But it’s a fact in Indian fast food outlets. But not so in Donut Factory in Kerala Kochi.
Donuts, yes when we used to visit Dunking Donuts in USA at breakfast time, it’s for their egg muffins. Similarly we didn’t think about cheesecake when we visited Cheesecake Factory in Kuwait. But then the Kuwaiti outlet makes delicious everything else, but the cheesecakes are to be imported from USA.
A good thing about Panampally Nagar is that one can park the car easily. The factory is frequented by students and youngsters. That’s not a problem as mentally we are no older. There’s advantage price to suit the target audience.
We had mint- lime juices, big prawn Tempura, me a huge Burger with plateful of potato wedges and wife a juicy steak with lots of mushroom, bell peppers, zucchini etc. We were so full that the planned ‘sizzling brownie ice cream’ was given a pass.
Of course, it’s a habit not to eat donuts in donut outlets.
Fabulous place, tasty food, good price and variety. Staff very friendly, but as usual some training on soft touches could do wonders. Highly recommended.
Another wave of Corona Virus is hitting the world. People are getting vaccinated, but unfortunately the minuscule vaccine failure is highlighted by the gossipy world.
I came across the following food items as immunity boosters in an article.
Citrus Fruits, Red bell peppers, Broccoli, Garlic, Ginger, Spinach, Yogurt, Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Turmeric, Green Tea, Papaya, Kiwi, Poultry, Shell Fish.
We have foodies showing off the tempting recipes and dishes. Perhaps a calculated effort towards popularising immunity boosting food would be a small but noble objective.
Let’s stay positive. When the first wave got under control in places like the biggest slum and in some places where masks were not used, we thought herd Immunity in layman’s definition was taking effect. But not so.
Perhaps the vaccination will prepare the world towards a herd Immunity. That, along with the established habits of covering face when required, washing hands and possible distancing plus immunity boosting food would eradicate the pandemic.
This is new, my innovation and hence I have the patent. Later when scientists study this and confirm it as a super duper food. Please remember what I said.
Chakka puzhukk is already a super food which could even cure diabetes. The a Puzhukku using jackfruit seeds couldn’t be anything different. Hence the idea.
Take, over a half kilo of fresh jackfruit seeds and boil to facilitate removing the outer cover. Cut lengthwise into small pieces and after washing boil with a spoon of turmeric powder to a softer consistency.
Into a Nutribullet or other mixer add grated flesh of half a coconut, 4 green chilies, 8 shallots, 8 cloves of garlic, some ginger, one spoon of cumin seeds and curry leaves and mix into a coarse from.
In a hard bottom vessel pour two tablespoons of coconut oil and add one spoon of mustard seeds, 1/4 cup of rice, 4 red chilies and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds and rice pops, transfer the boiling seeds, the items from Nutribullet and stir well.
Reduce fire and allow the contents to cook well. Add two eggs and mix well. Add salt to taste and reduce the contents to a coarse puzhukk consistency.
The dish is ready which can be eaten with meat curry or vegetable kurma.
We have been telling our new to Kochi friends that we will take them to Vellakanthari for a unique seafood experience. And when we did it today, they haven’t yet stopped singing praises.
We were there before the pandemic and I have even featured it here. It’s by the side road to national highway called ‘Container Road’ in Kochi, just 150 meters from the toll plaza. The place is managed and served 100% by women, and most pleasant and friendly for that matter.
What we get there! Everything fishy, yes fish prepared in many ways, exquisite prawn fries, crabs, squid, muscles and even fried fish eggs. Interestingly one variety of muscles was listed as oyster in the menu.
I must also say that they have the best Thali meal to go with those huge fill of fish. There’s one thing, one won’t get to taste the Sambar, pulissery and the like as their tomato, dal, shrimp coconut mix greenish yellow preparation is too good not to repeat.
The all women kitchen churns out the best tasting freshly caught seafood at the most affordable prices. It’s a humble small place with limited seating, but just heaven to the visiting customers who flock in their premium cars.
Want to taste seafood in the best form, come to Kochi and seek our company to watch you enjoying your tastiest seafood meal.
When I did 36 hours of continuous fasting as part of intermittent fasting, a friend asked if I see any benefit and my answer sounded ‘There goes, but for the grace of God, me’. That comparison makes any pain quite joyous.
If I take a stock on this birthday, I have a few things! To start with I am now a bank customer from a banker. That’s after working in 6 banks in 11 locations spanning 5 countries.
Sportsman never retires, my main activity is around Masters Swimming where the super ambitious target is a medal in the world championship.
En route, is the wellness program. Intermittent Fasting is a lifestyle. It’s a little beyond that, I am mentoring a group towards the lifestyle.
Other things which would make me busier than in my previous years include planting trees, becoming an ardent nature lover, restorer of traditional dishes and cooking, continue working towards a six pack, target autophagy on a daily basis to reverse ageing.
Above all, a loving husband, proud father, super grandfather, a good friend to all including the growing circle of social media friends.
The single candle symbolising ‘the number ONE’ is not on a cake but something very special and loving. This is the traditional Kerala steamed bread pudding. The white icing is rare and unique of whipped egg white with lime juice and sugar.
Sunu knows what is best of the best for me.
For a fruit lover like me, oranges and apples are likely items in the fruit basket. But I have taken a conscious decision to try and get what is seasonal and locally available.
Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation as I have read it in some of the diet/ wellness articles. Of course, I didn’t see much of the details on the science behind, but it’s certainly less expensive.
Some of them, like the pappaya and water melon in the picture could be pesticide free also. Though seasonal and locally available, the mangoes and grapes will need that extra washing before consuming.
Including fruits in one’s diet is good for wellness. There’s a tendency to go soft on fruits in the process of avoiding sugar. However, I am of the school considering whole fruits (not in juice form) as good to go for.
I usually break my intermittent fasting with some fruits. This is a major breakthrough as we have a tendency to eat fruits after a meal when the stomach is full. Wellness recommendations are against having fruits after a meal.
A star absence in the picture is jackfruit. This is the season and they are devoid of any chemicals. And I live in Kerala where the availability should be plenty. Most important- I like it very much.
But jackfruit is health food, difficult to pluck from tall trees etc etc and hence one has to take an effort to get to it. Which I must now.
After voting in the Kerala Assembly Elections, I thought of trying out something very traditional from memory.
I said it’s natural but process oriented. I am talking about the time consuming process of getting ripe Kerala bananas, sun dried. It took a few weeks.
Now that I have the dried banana, I can use it for about a year. I took a few, cut them into small squares. Added some grated coconut and I really miss the third ingredient.
That’s paani, the boiled down thick sweet honey consistency of toddy, the extract of flowers of a special variety of palm trees called ‘choondapana’.
It’s difficult to come by a bottle of paani. The right of palm tree owner is nationalised and went to the excise licensed toddy shops colloquially named ‘shaap’.
In my childhood days, we used to get the toddy from our trees, every alternate day. 12 bottles of it used to give a bottle of paani. My mother used to make 2 bottles of paani every alternate day.
In the absence of paani, I used the second best thing, honey.
This dish is so delicious and natural.
This is perhaps the most traditional, totally yummy but fast disappearing Kerala delicacy. It’s a long process and hence the reluctance of everyone to make it and use the modern tapioca chips instead.
I got the difficult part, the days long drying process done by my brother who lives in the house in Thidanad where I grew up.
Fresh tapioca, yes taken out from the earth on the same day, is cleaned off mud, washed, skin peeled off, washed several times and the pure white cylindrical roots are taken for making the raw material.
The cleaned tapioca is cut into small rectangular shape (chip size). This is a difficult process. Olden days, people had the skills of getting it done with the tapioca on one hand and the knife on the other.
Sometimes the tapioca is slightly boiled before peeling the skin for making it easy for cutting into shape also.
The raw chips are then sun dried. The best way of drying is to spread them on rocks (granite formations) in the sun and collecting them back when the sun goes down, repeating the process for quite a few days.
This raw material for the chips would last a year making my second part easier after getting it from my brother.
Heat coconut oil in a hard bottom vessel. Soak the chips in water for sometime and drain off the water. Put the chips into oil at high temperature, and fry till brown, stirring all the while.
It’s optional to add some salt and pepper while boiling or afterwards. Earlier days salt was added after frying, the reuse of oil would have been the reason. Now we don’t reuse oil. Salt, pepper, chilli powder or cardamom powder to the fried chips is personal choice.
This is 100 times better than the modern machine sliced instant tapioca chips.
Easter egg, the most eagerly awaited gift on Easter during my childhood days, was large sized made of icing sugar (hard) and thus white.
My father used to get them for us from Kottayam, the district headquarters to our small village, Thidanad.
We used to break it carefully looking for the small items inside, the most attractive of them being a plastic toy watch. Others include toffee, whistle, eraser etc.
We used to sport the watch for the next few days to school till it’s broken.
I remember Easter eggs at Flurry’s Calcutta when I was working there. The chocolate coated ones were most delicious and expensive. The ones at Kathleen in New Market were equally delicious and much less expensive.
Easter was not eggs only. It was breaking the non-veg abstinence of 40 days and after church the families were treated to sumptuous breakfast of all types of meat and a specialty called ‘kallappam’ along with usual appam etc.
Hot Cross buns were alien and not common in our village life.
This year church is online, eggs fancier and egg sized, abstinence upgraded to intermittent fasting. But the spirit and memories remain.
I have adopted intermittent fasting as lifestyle with target of 19 hours fasting and eating window of 5 hours. And I have been achieving 20 hours on average with occasional one meal a day.
Yesterday was Good Friday and I started the day with fasting from 3.15 pm on Thursday. That’s when I realised that one of the disciplines I learned from my mother was observing one meal a day on Good Friday.
I can’t be called very religious, but I follow some good things that I was trained through the childhood. Eating once only on Good Friday is one of them which was observed with some difficulty with occasional deviations.
It’s a shame then that I don’t find it difficult or forced by custom to do intermittent fasting and one meal a day.
So I decided to do some penance on Good Friday and extended fasting to 36 hours for the first time in life.
I did good, had only one black coffee on the 25th hour. Felt energetic and did 200 meters more than usual in the swimming pool.
The only thing noted was the 36 hours was to end at 3.15 am today. Sleep was affected and I raided the kitchen at about 3.50 am. Autophagy must have worked for about 20 hours and some of the damaged cells would have been repaired and age reversed to that extend etc etc.
Now I can look at a 3 day fast, say once in 6 months which would reset my metabolism positively.
Goal post can keep shifting.