Saturday, January 25, 2020

Nedumudy and Fish curry

When wifey saw the drumstick in our garden she said "let us make some fish curry"




So it was my duty to pluck one and the instructions were very clear  "make sure you cut the fat one as the other one is still tender"
It was washed and peeled and cut into equal pieces (I have always wondered how she manages to cut them exactly into the same length without using a measuring tape) 


I kept hovering around in the kitchen as I wanted to click the finished product. I saw that she was following the recipe "Meen Muringakka curry" 


The aroma and the taste when fish is cooked in a chutty (earthen pot) is very appetising 


As she was cooking I glanced through the recipe book and found that this Meen curry happens to be a delicacy of Nedumudy, one of the larger villages of Kuttanad (Kerala)
This village takes you to a picturesque hidden nature known as Munnattumukham, where three rivers mingles each other and flows. This is the spot where the river  Manimala joins the river Pampa 


So now there is only one drumstick remaining, and my guess is that this will go into the Sambhar next week. 

  

Thursday, November 21, 2019

While we were away

When we were not at home, these birds decided to make a nest in our garden. This is not the first time the Scaly Breasted Munia has nested here. 




I had seen earlier (about nine years ago) how feverishly they gather the green long blades to weave a nest which has an opening on the side. Usually the opening is facing the wind direction. By the time the eggs are laid the leaves dry up and the nest has a messy look from outside , probably acting as a camouflage. 


During the course of a week, I managed to capture a few shots of the parents and their young ones. 
Here you can see the young one having a look at the outside world 



Here you can see the three young ones, probably frolicking outside the nest when the parents are away. 


I am assuming these are the young ones as there is a prominent white moustache on all three, which is missing in the adult Munia.
The adults usually takes a halt outside and make sure the coast is clear before slipping into the nest.  Here you can see her perched on the tapioca stem 


The sound you hear in the video is the ambient sound.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

My sixteen year old jazz dreams

That was the best set of statues I have seen. Maybe because it evokes action, music, life, whatever you call it. I just loved them. Their body stance is so perfect. 



It is Seward Johnson's creation, cast in bronze. 
If you are at the "Grounds for Sculpture" in New Jersey you can see a vast variety of sculptures and statues, which cannot be covered in a day.


The one on "God Bless America" is quite big. It is in aluminium and wood. 


If you want to gauge the size here is one more picture.


The girl on the bench reading a book looks very realistic from a distance, and all are curious to know what is so interesting in the book. 




What you see in the foreground is "Painting by the glow of the green Fairy" The Van Gogh figure is working on his painting lit only by the stars and the lantern to his right.  



Sailing to Siena is again cast in bronze and painted (chromobase paint system) clear coat. This is based on Eduorad Manet's painting "Argenteuil" 


One thing I realised is that all those that are outdoors, remains outdoor so it has to withstand sun, rain and snow.

Coming back to our musicians shown in the first picture, I clicked a few pictures, put them together and added some music to make them come alive. Wish I had clicked a few more pictures to make the video longer.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Princeton University

Imagine, having to work your entire life time just to earn some money so that you can have your freedom. This is what happened to James Collins Johnson. 


I saw this picture  on a doorway while strolling around Princeton campus. 


It said "James Collins Johnson (1816 - 1902) arrived on campus in 1839 and worked as a janitor until 1843 when a student identified him as a fugitive slave from Maryland. After a trial in which he was ordered to be returned to his master, a local citizen loaned Johnson approximately $500 to buy his freedom. Johnson returned to work on campus and repaid the debt. He sold used clothing and furniture to students and for almost 60 years was also the licensed vendor, selling fruits, candies lemonade and other snacks from a wheel barrow near this site. After he died in 1902, students inscribed an epitaph on his gravestone in Princeton cemetery that described him as 'the students friend'

Was at the Princeton Campus last month. It had a relaxed atmosphere (being a Sunday) and I could see some students under the trees with their laptop 



Could see some group of tourists on a guided tour of the campus. Loved those tall trees. 


Even though it was noon time, I preferred to click pictures against the light. It showed the leaves the way I liked to see it. 


Was told that Einstein's house was close by but somehow we missed visiting the place. 
I had no idea in which style this was made (maybe Gothic) but it  looks grand and good to know that it still stands.  


and so does the stone work here. 


Some tourists found it a good spot for clicking some modelling shots. 


I don't know how old Morrison Hall is but the windows look mesmerising with that long balcony. 


Was always fascinated by Sundials and I found one here:  



What a coincidence. Two days after coming back home, I happened to watch a movie "I will follow you down" and while watching the movie I realised that most of the movie was shot at the Princeton campus, so the scenes were very familiar to me. 


and yes the movie showed Einstein's house too :-)



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Smallest Chapel

One more ticked off the bucket list. The Niagara falls is actually the collective name of three waterfalls. Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the American Falls. One fifth of the world's fresh water flows through the great Lakes and tumbles over Niagara Falls. 




Unfortunately it was a wet and rainy day (the first half) but it was worth the visit. We decided to skip the boat ride. The view from up was better and gives you a better perspective of the falls. 
Couldn't resist clicking this double decker bus which was parked close by.

A statue erected in remembrance of the men who fell in WW-I & WW-II



The world's smallest chapel is not far from the Niagara falls. Our tour bus did not have a scheduled stop at this place,  but slowed down by which I could get it in my video. (the picture below is from the internet) 
It is said that it can accommodate only 6 people, so if the pastor is in, then only five can get in.

Source : Internet

On the way back to Toronto there was a stop over at a small town known as Niagara on the Lake. There was something British about the whole place. 


It was not yet Fall, but the colours were showing, especially against the white.


This plaque gives a short description of the Town. Interesting to know that the Americans had captured it in May 1813 and had burned it down during their withdrawal 


Also found a cross road where the Kings St and the Queens St intersect. 


Saw these decorated horse carts waiting to give customers an interesting buggy ride. 


And some enjoying the ride 



This Hotel seems to be holding on well especially when its been standing there for more than one and half century. 


Some shops had some unique names like "The Owl and the Pussycat at the sign of the Pineapple" I walked in and asked the shop owner if there was any significance to the name, but she was not in a position to give me a plausible answer. 


A word of appreciation to the Queen Tour, the tour bus that we took. Very prompt, with a cheerful and witty driver. Wish they could add that stop at the smallest Chapel in their itinerary.


Saw this store of Ten Thousand villages on the same road.




The history of this store is very interesting. It all began with one woman (Edna Ruth Byler) 
In 1946 when Byler travelled with her husband to Puerto Rico, she met women in La Plata Valley who were struggling to feed their children. Having to live through hard times through the depression, she knew the face of poverty. She also knew the importance of dignity and people wanting to help themselves.
Byler was moved to do something. She saw the pieces of fine embroidery the women of La Plata created, but had no place to sell.  
If she, an American, was so struck by these unique textiles, perhaps other Americans too would appreciate their beauty. With no clear plan, but with a sense of purpose, Byler brought the pieces home and began to sell to the neighbours and friends.
Mennonite Central Committee, an aid and relief agency, saw the long term value that sustainable income opportunities would bring to impoverished villages. They supported Byler's endeavours and facilitated her travels abroad including India and Jordan.  

 pic courtesy "Ten Thousand Village"

It was a simple idea. But a pioneering one that would launch Ten Thousand Villages and blossom into a global fair trade movement.
I saw another outlet at the Amish village in Lancaster. 



More on the Lancaster village in the next blog. 

While we waited for the bus in the morning at Toronto, saw this church. A good example of the old against the new.