Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jaane do

I was travelling in Bihar with a man I respect greatly. He was telling me about a man HE respects.

"He's had a hard deal. His only son is mentally disabled and cannot work. So the old man has to support him."
I commiserated.
And then my host went on to explain that he wanted to introduce me to this gentleman, but he was out of station.
"He has gone to visit his grandchildren. They are in boarding school."
I expressed regret at missing my opportunity, and then did a doubletake.
"Grandchildren? But I thought the son was the only child?"
And then, forgive my inquisitiveness, the question slipped out.
"Was the bride informed before the wedding?"
In answer I got an irritated flicking of the wrist and the phrase "Woh jaane do. Let that go."

And I did this time around. But that got me thinking of how very often I'd heard that phrase or its many variants.

Let it go. Why do you need to ask such things? Let it go. This is  not one of your fancy books, real life is like this only. Let it go. You are too western. Let it go. How did you become so negative? Let it go.
I am tired now.It is time we stopped letting it go.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I hate being ill.

Not just for the discomfort of having a cough, but for all that it entails. For the last four days, I've had an epic cough. The dry, racking cough that has you bent over and trying desperately to bring up that something that makes your lungs feel like stone. The cough that  makes your ribs ache, the blood vessels in your head stand out and your eyes to turn bloodshot. The cough that has you continually smelling of Vicks Vaporub and ginger powder. THAT cough.
Now, I could have lived with that if it were not for the timing. After two weeks of being apart, Mian and I had planned to meet for half a day. After that, the next 'together' time is the middle of March. And so, this was a supposed to be a fun day-nudge nudge, wink wink. Hah. Read the first paragraph again.
It's not just this day, of course. Before he left, I had tonsilitis. If not my throat, it 's my back. I want to be his sunshine, not his patient! Bless him, HE is eternally patient and kind and understanding. But that is not the situation I want. Is that too much to ask? I hate this.
And doctors don't understand when you tell them you'll come to them for a treatment next week, but right now you want a mask for your symptoms. Grump  Grump  Hack.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Snow at home

We were all worrying about drought this winter. The middle of December and not a drop of rain. The oats were looking sad, and the roses were wilting despite my best efforts. And then one evening, clouds gathered. Saturday morning, we woke to heavy snowfall. That was a cold, cold day and Mian and I sat huddled in front of the bukhari.
Sunday, we woke to Paradise.
View across the valley

Lemon leaves and snow
Pine forest

Fruit orchard and pond

My 'office'. Now too cold to work in

Our lemon tree and neighbours

Front yard

More front yard. there are roses under there somewhere!

More landscape

We might not have had electricity. But we had our bukhari, and each other, and it was paradise..

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The garden in winter

We had our first frost yesterday. It's still light, just enough to make the parsley pretty but not enough to kill it.
but the frost covers went up over the lavender. A deep mulch and a hut should keep off the worst of the frost. I hope.
Yesterday G and I noticed that our  rye is being chomped. And today I caught the culprits- two flocks of maybe 20 birds. The chap who looks like he's wearing a bandit mask is the White-crested Laughing Thrush, his partner is the White-throated Laughing Thrush. Thieves, both. 
When it's this cold, we are glad for anything that looks warm. Like the persimmon tree.
And this is the time to bottle sunshine for late winter.
Jars of lemon marmalade. Lemons from our tree, the recipes here and here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In which Madhu and Chicu try to be smooth.

It began when the normally laughing-faced Madhu bounded up with something hidden in her mouth and lay down with her back to me. She covered her mouth with her paws and silently played with whatever was in her mouth. It was clearly A Very Big Secret.

'Whatcha got there, little one?' I asked from my chair.'What did you find?'

'Oh look!' She turned around with her usual laughing mouth and showed me the disreputable bone she'd found.So much for Keeping A Secret.

Turns out, I know where she got that from. A little after the bone incident, this happened.

I melted our food processor bowl.

Don't ask how, these things happen regrettably too often in my life. Mian must be told, but I would be smooth about it, I decided. And so I sent him a chatty text message about how much we love each other, above all material things. I got a reply in a few seconds. 'I love you too, what broke?'

Smooth, Chicu. Very smooth.

Madhu and I are lucky we have such forgiving families. She got to keep her bone, and I am getting a new processor bowl.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Back home!

It takes a certain level of idiocy to begin a photo-laden post the very day I get back to the land of slow internet. But I am so excited to be home!
The pup and I are back together. She has filled out now with a dome-shaped head and shaggy neck and fluffy tail. No longer will I be able to call her 'Bandar Poonch'.

These flowers are the last to die out in the winter. I have been plotting to have their fiery beauty in my garden for a while. And now, they are here.

This does not look like much, I admit. But this rose bears ittar-scented flowers the colour of dried blood. In a few years, this  will be a seductive blanket over our dying apricot tree.

This mustard plant self-seeded into the compost bed I was preparing for my Edward rose. And now just two giant leaves give me dinner

 The cobea is taking over the house! and I could not be happier.

Why would I not be happy with so much beauty?

A field of radishes. I don't see us running out any time soon

 I have wanted this sight in my garden since we first moved in. And now it is here.The salvia is not only a visual and tactile treat,but attracts bees all day long. Am so happy.

Glorious, glorious winter peas. What more can I say?

Ripening lemons and deep blue sky. Two of my favourite things in winter.

Call it a flower tunnel, call it a pollen gauntlet. I have wanted to see this since we moved in.

And just to remind me that I have not died and gone to heaven..the reality check. Rats!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stolen Day

This is something we have had on our walls for a while:
And last month, we did!

I needed to visit Lucknow, and discovered that I was there in that impossibly romantic city for one entire Sunday.
I texted Mian, 'Can I suggest a mad thing?' And he said yes, yes.

So Mian and I found ourselves sharing a berth (RAC, we were) in a non air-conditioned train and as giddily happy about it as a runaway couple. And in a sense, we were. We were both playing truant from work and had unanimously agreed on a no-computer day.
Aminabad, where we spent much of our time
And it was perfect. The hotel reception accused us of being an 'illicit  couple' which normally would have made me angry, but this time just added to the delicious 'runawayedness' of it  all.
Colour  and sparkles- matched our mood perfectly
After that, all that day there was cuddling and exploring the city, and shopping and eating and lots and lots of laughing. What a wonderful day.

Mian had a tough journey both ways. In the first, he stayed sitting up so I could lie down and sleep, and was stranded on the railway station for hours because his train was late. But he gave the best possible gift to his  wife.
Not us, but us all the same

Thank you, Mian.

* all photos by Mian. Thank you again.