The dance program went on well. Photos will be up soon. We are traveling the next couple of weekends so this blog might take a back seat. Will be back soon!

Tag game!

I have been tagged by Homecooked and here we go,

Guess it is confession time, V and R have never seen a movie together in the 4 years they have been together.. so that tells you how high we rank movies in our priority list.
V last saw Rang de Basanti with baby bro KA at Satyam in Chennai (3 years back?)
R last saw the latest Harry Potter with baby bro-in-law KA in Houston last summer

Green this! Deirde Imus and Climbing the mango trees by Madhur Jaffery

Scrabble, Trade, Chess (ages since we played.. guess it is high time we get back into it)

We do not subscribe to any but we get free subscriptions from quite a few places. And we hit the library or book store to read some. No favorites though!

Fresh bread being baked, the smell of wet earth, the intoxicating smell of pacha poo, shenbagam, manoranchitam, mahilampoo in granny's backyard.

The perfect harmony of chalangai (ghungraroo) and the mirudangam, laughter in the air

The point when you think you realize achieve your dreams

What time is it?


Future is best left undisturbed and undiscovered. Will think of it when we get there.

Travel, build the dream home

At times (Shhhhhh!)

V used too..

Fun! if not on the road. Texas famed thunderstorms are so much fun!

R's first - Honda Accord brought from good friend Loki
V's first - A chocolate brown Omni (grandpa's car), a red santro (mom's) and now a black accent. (Do you realize this gal consideres everything her's)
Their first car together is a 1999 Acura which they are planning to sell soon. Anyone looking for an Acura in Texas email us.

Manpani (mudpot) water in summer

travel, click more photos, blog more often, get the laundry done on time, develop new hobbies, improve tennis services (R), improve abinaya for dance (V), clean the house, visit friends, invite friends home and entertain... the list is endless.....

At times

perfectly happy with the natural color!

V: Trichy - Surathkal- Houston
R: Bombay - Madurai - Madras - College Station - Houston

College Football

A creative cook

A grey carpet that we would like to replace with hardwood someday


Early birds...the world is better at 4am according to us!

Only whites well cooked anyway!

A spa, beach, home

The fruit tart.. it is the closet to the pie...
Pecan pie - the Texas stable is a little too sweet for our taste.

R - Butter pecan from Hanks, Cookie dough from B&J
V - Strawberry Cheesecake B&J, Imagine Whirled Peace B&J, French Vanilla BR
These are current favorites, bound to change with time

Sementi if she is done with her exams or Lavs if she is not ruled by hormones ;)

I tag

Eat and fight AIDS

If you live in US, eat out ocassionaly and want to help the AIDS foundation, check out the Dining out for Life (DOFL) website. It is simple, just go into one of the listed resturants, order your favorite meal, enjoy it, pay the bill and get back home. A part of all food sales tomorrow will go to your local AIDS foundation.

Not all cities participate in this program and we are glad Houston resturants are participating in DOFL and there are few of our favorite resturants in this list. We'll surly be lifting our fork for fighting AIDS tomorrow!

Join us will ya?

Hobby+Passion = ?

Lovely bags aren't they? What are they made of? The answer is something so common, something you and me use everyday and vow to reduce its usage. yes the common plastic bag. is my latest favorite website/blog. Cindy is one amazingly creative person to come up with a wonderful idea for using these plastic bags we always seem to have around.

For anyone with little crochet knowledge and tons of plastic bags this is an ultimate cool project. It will also be a great project for kids. The yarn used is made using plastic bags - plarn. There is a picture tutorial here and it looks quite simple.

With her new found hobby being crocheting, and a passion for a cleaner environment, V is ready to jump into this project soon.

Picture Source: My Recycled Bags

Happy Earth Day!

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"

~Elwyn Brooks White

Enjoy a green day, celebrate the earth if not everyday atleast today!

Southern Hospitality

I have read quite a bit about the friendly people in the South and the rude New Yorkers. Almost any fiction set in the South raves on about the helpful "Southerners". Living in Houston for what seems an eternity now, we really did not feel any special hospitality radiating towards us or neither did we radiate anything special to out-of-towners!

Our visits to other Southern cities - Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and many more really left us thinking that Southern Hospitality is long gone and dead just like chivalry. Our trip to NYC last year was a rude awakening (pun-intended). We did realize Houstonians and Texans and Southerners along with all the drawls and y'lls pack in quite a lot of friendly nature reserved for everyone they meet.

But a couple of weekends back, one of those lovely Texas Spring weekends, we made a trip to a long forgotten ghost town - Independence. (You can read more about the trip in our travelogue here). Located not too far from the big-bad-city of Houston where we reside, Independence boasts of a population of 140, one general store that sells everything, one un-named gas station at the general store, few ruins, couple of old churches, a few old homes, an antique rose garden and no-other-eateries for the next 11 miles! It was in this ghost town we realized what Southern hospitality really meant.

None invited us for dinner or gave us a big gift but it was small deeds which we mom taught us. Small deeds which we never have time to do in this busy world. Small deeds that put a smile on the receivers face. Two strangers made our day trip to Independence memorable. I bet they don't even remember our faces or the small deeds they did but it matters a lot to us. And the fact that I am documenting this in our blog just implies it is one lesson we never want to forget.

Imagine this, you are on a one lane road - a country road on a Saturday morning. The road is almost deserted other than few well-worn pick-up trucks (Texas stable) whizzing past. Probably ranch hands carrying on their chores. On both sides are typical Texas farms, grass, hay bales, a few longhorns grazing, oil rigs, pipe lines, sprinklers, wildflowers. In this wild west landscape, a lone sedan making its way on this road suddenly without warning turns on its indicator lights and pulls into a small dirt track with a "no trespassing" sign big and bold. The occupants of the sedan are surprised to see the while Ford pick-up truck behind them slowing down a few feet in front of them and the driver puts out his head looking at them. The occupants, V and R are stunned, V's over active imagination is conjuring up everything from highway robbery to a mere coincidence. But soon they realize that the Texan had just done what any other friendly Texan would have done, inquire if the suddenly-pulled-off-the-road-sedan needed any help on a lonely road leading to a ghost town.

Like every road trip, they plan, they religiously checked their gas tanks, their insurances and their AAA membership cards, drinking water, snacks, cell phone batteries life and the such before setting out. In case of an emergency the first thing we would probably do was call AAA never would we have imagined a Texan stopping to help. Well this is what living in a big city does to one I guess!

And to our friendly Texan riding the white pick-up along the road to ghost town thanks! For putting a smile on our faces, for bringing back lessons that we need to remember...

The second incident took place along the same road to ghost town. A little closer to our destination,just near the town (or should I call it a village) of Clay we spotted a lovely patch of Bluebonnets in front of a house. Pulling off the road we started grabbing our cameras we did what tourists are good at - clicking pictures from all conceivable angles and complaining about the election signs placed in the middle of the bluebonnets. Suddenly, a car pulls into the driveway of the house and the car driver - a lovely young lady steps out and asks us if we want a picture together. And as all tourists we say sure and pose. Then the lady stops and says the signs are spoiling the view and goes on to pull out all the signs from the patch of bluebonnets before clicking our pictures. Another random act of thoughtfulness. Just a few weeks back, we have walked around Houston's famed streets clicking photos of azaleas in full bloom and got quite a few nasty stares from homeowners...and this young lady's thoughtfulness made our day!

And to the young lady who clicked our pictures, thank you! May your life be filled with joy as much as the bluebonnets doting your home gave us!

Is this Southern Hospitality? Or is this the way life needs to be lived? Questions we asked ourselves! Randomn acts of kindness puts a smile on a stranger's face and that smile will surely come back to you when you need it!

The goodwill pile and the closet and emotions

One of the first remodeling attempts at the currently-no-so-new-home a year back was to install a nice closet system. Out with the apartment style wire rack with a wooden hanger rack and in with the perfect closet organization system for the home.

Off they went IKEA, they measured and measured more and finally after quite some pondering and sweat equity designed their own closets and assembled them. Something to take great pride in ... first attempts at something of that scale and surprises it worked...

She thought about it a lot and planned out whose clothes goes where and places for assorted stuff that include gifts, jewelery, handbags... They had the "his" and "her" space. It looked perfect! It was their dream house and dream closet....

Slowly over the period of time, she started encroaching on "his" space and he being the nice guy always let her take over.... After all all he needed were two pairs of blue jeans, a few maroon tees, a couple of formal pants and shirts (and yes make them maroon, greys work too). After every trip to the mall, every trip to India, every arriving package from India her collection grew and more encroachments.

A couple of months earlier, they looked into the space called their closet where their clothes were thrown haphazardly and we were at times jumping over things lying on the floor. Oh yeah it is worth mentioning here, that 99% of the times, the things gracing the floor are V's.

So donning hard hats and flashlights they decided to handle the closet and be merciless about clothes they have not worn in years but just occupy space. They decided and started with "his" stuff. It went on fast and quite smoothly. He really did not have that much stuff and a few lesser maroon tees did not matter to him. Clean and neat it looked!

Motivated she thought she can do it. She started off in earnest, but with time her to-donate-pile did not grow at a rate she expected it too. She carried on and after what seemed like hours. She considered it done and stepped out to pack the to-donate-pile for Goodwill.

His clothes went in easily into the big plastic bag. She pulled a discarded-grey-top from the pile and started folding it and her mind drifted off. Her fingers caressed the embroidered design and she smiled... memories of her grandmother holding the needle and working on it, the first time she wore it, the compliments she basked in and the sentiments she attached to it. She did not have the heart to throw it out, in spite of it being a little too tight and a lot out of fashion. It went back into the closet.

She pulled out the next dress, a green salwar top, well-worn, red roses covering it. Another creation from grandma... tons of memories... she had a stupid sentiment, wear only embroidered salwars for exams in college, her lucky charm or so she taught. Her mind raced to the numerous exam halls she sat in, the last minute cramming sessions in front of the exam halls and an mini-nervous breakdown (yeah she had one before every single one), an attempt to calm her down by the every-patient-N and then more prayers and fears till the pen hit the paper and then it was smooth sailing. The salwar went back to the closet, how can she do it.

He looked at her surprised and amazed at her stories... he never thought someone could attach such an emotional bond with their clothes.... the closet looks organized but the Goodwill-pile remains small!

Now if someone can launch
such a service to Houston!!

Till then I make do with the Royal mangoes from Mexico.. they are the closest to the mangoes from India...

Thanks K for those mangoes!

April flowers!

“April comes like an idiot, babbling and stewing flowers.”
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

And off we went on a wonderful April weekend to check out the beautiful wildflowers and small town charm.. Smelling the beautiful roses at the Antique Rose Emporium in Indepence, Texas, I just realized roses I buy at the store don't have the heady strong scent. Dreaming about it and at work on this Monday morning!

More about our weekend coming soon at Scary-on

Kinkinni 2008

It is back! The annual recital of V's dance school, Kinkinni 2008

When: April 27th at 5pm

Where: Stafford Civic Center, Stafford, TX

What: An evening of Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam

The event will go on for 2-3 hours, V is a part of the 40-minute varnam. Tickets are available at

Email for more info and details

Earth-day-Blogathon - Plastics

Earth-day-Blogathon is just another excuse for me to write about certain small measures we have been incorporating in our lives to make it a little more eco-friendly.

One of the small steps we have taken is to reduce the use of plastics in our household. It sounds really easy to say that but over time we had slowly become slaves to plastics. Plastic bags, disposable plastic containers, plastic wraps, microwaveable plastics and so on. I admit plastics are so convenient and make life easier. We had been plastic junkies and had stocked up so much of everything plastic and so the move away was difficult but we are moving away now.

Off with all the disposable plastic boxes, yogurt bottles and stuff and in with the old stainless steel dabbas and glass/ceramic containers. We bought in a bunch of glass bowls to store food in the fridge and trashed a big chunk of our plastics into the recycle bin. Of course these glass bowls do not have a tight-fitting lids but I am back to the good old stainless steel plates to cover up my bowls. The pantry still has quite a lot of plastic bottles filled with all kinds of lentils and spices. We do want to make a move towards some alternative methods of air-tight, bug-free storage.

With regards to plastic bags, we have literally started carrying our bags to grocery stores like we did in those days. Saying no to plastic and paper bags offered at the stores. It is a habit we need to form. A little tough. We have a cloth bag in each of our cars and everytime we stop we try to carry in our bags and get it filled. Again a small way to reduce the use of plastics. There are times when we do end up bringing plastic bags to our house and those we use them in lieu of trashbags or throw them into the plastic bag recycling can at our local Randalls grocery store.

Why are we targeting so much on plastics? Plastics are basically petroleum based products and are non-biodegradable. And it does lead to environmental concerns that we are not aware of and not bothered about coz it really does not affect us directly. One such thing I learned during my research about plastic is about the North Pacific Gyre.

The North Pacific Gyre is a vortex of ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean. The vortex motion, draws in waste matter and marine debris which decompose over time and form the food for the tiny plankton that thrive in those seas. It is also called the Garbage Patch and the Pacific Trash Vortex because of its nature.

It is now becoming a plastic dump and ofcourse as plastic does not degrade it is causing big issues that are underworld. The plastic dump is supposed to be twice the size of Texas and extend from Hawaii to Japan. There is a good video on CBS on what you can see in the Gyre and its effects in jelly fish.

We might not end up cleaning the plastic vortex but we can do our bit and reduce the use of plastics.

Starbucks, a few bucks and magic

I thought if I should write about "this" incident. It is trivial, petty and does not carry any significance to anyone. It does not have a moral or a take-home-lesson and I had a few environmental posts planned, but still I decided to write about it. Mainly, because I want to record those lovely moments, to be able to come back to them and motivate us to do it more often.

It is one of those evenings when we were supposed to hit the grocery store and stock up on necessities like milk. It was one of those rare times when it slips of our minds. But it does happen and we realize it at 5am. Out of milk, out of caffeine to start a day is not the best way, as you probably know.

So we decide to do what every other person in US does, hit Starbucks for a morning cuppa. Surprisingly we were ready,20 minutes early than usual and we headed to the nearest off-the-main-road Starbucks. Being the time and place it was, there were few lingering joggers enjoying their drink. A few minutes later, a few dollars lighter, a chai tea latte and a mocha cappuccino in hand we sat watching the sun rise on a warm, humid Texas day.

There is something so mystic and special about watching the sunrise with a loved one. Something so exhilarating when you enjoy the morning warmth and share a friendly banter. Forgetting the day ahead at work, the daily grind of life, the chores, the bores and what not... makes life better!
Twenty minutes later, we were in our respective cars heading to work.

We promised we'll do it again, watch the sun rise together and smile! Forget the pressures and live and enjoy the time in hand! We'll do it... soon!

Crash course on how-to-cross-the-road

R who has seen the other side of the big 3-0, works for a leading oil and gas company in H-town. The workforce mainly consiting of engineers of all disciplines, managers and designers - highly educated and grown-up.

And they get this email,

The pedestrian crosswalk signal at ****, across from the *****'s entrance, is now operational. Until pedestrians and motorists become familiar with the operation of the crosswalk light, the HPD officer will remain posted at ***. There are a few safety items to remember when using the pedestrian crosswalk:

In order to activate the crosswalk signal, push the button located on the crosswalk posts.

It is safe to cross the street when the crosswalk indicator light displays a solid (white) figure in the walking motion. Cross the street only when the indicator light displays the white figure. This signal indicates that it is okay to cross the street.

Always exercise caution, and make sure drivers have stopped before entering the crosswalk.

A blinking (red) hand on the indicator light signals that pedestrians who are already in the cross walk should hurry to the other side of the street. If you have not started to cross the street when the blinking hand is displayed, do not enter the crosswalk. Instead, stop and push the button on the post. Wait for the indicator light (walking figure) to signal that it is okay to walk.

The solid (red) hand indicator light means do not cross the street. When the solid hand light is on, cars on Hidalgo have the green light and right-of-way.

Please share this information with clients and contractors who may not have access to this e-mail system.

Of course, safety is important, but teaching on how to cross a road is a bit too much for grown-up employees!Well we had a good laugh! Hope you have one too!

Backpacking through Deutschland

Finally, after almost 2 years, we have got around writing a travelogue of our 4 day whirlwind trip through Germany in the summer of 2006 in our travel blog.

As they say, better late than never!

Writing the first part and going through old photos was as interesting as the trip itself. Memories as they say, make life worthwhile!

R's pictures of the Koln Cathedral are here!