Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Of New Year Wishes, Surprising Yourself and Perfect Trials

Last year, I made this greeting to wish family and friends on Facebook a happy new year! The photo is mine, from my trip to Newport, Rhode Island in December 2014.

When I made it and found the words to go with it, I had no more hopes than my usual - that the year should not bring any earth-shaking changes and rock my boat, and that if there was any change, it should only be for the better. Then I forgot all about it as the year went by. (I even had a moment's trouble recently remembering the name of this place that I visited.)

When Facebook prodded me to 'See Your Memories' this New Year's Day, this greeting came up. I was surprised to see that I had actually done a few of those things it said.

I 'made some art' as the picture exhorted one to - I took to colouring late in 2015, in end-October or early November, and have been having a lot of fun. I know much has been written of its therapeutic and stress-busting value. I don't know about that, really. I'm not one to take to every new-age hobby or discipline and declare them a marvel but I enjoy it thoroughly. I have accumulated a bagful of sketch pens, pencils, a few paintbrushes, and three colouring books. I am also planning to go and buy a few paper supplies tomorrow. The pictures you see below are a mixture of the designs I've found on the Internet (search for 'adult colouring free prints') and those from my colouring books.

I've even arranged to go for a certain art class this Saturday!

I 'read and re-read some fine books' (A Spool of Blue Thread, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Painting The Darkness, I Do Not Come To You By Chance, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and quite a few more, fiction and non-fiction).

I went on a completely unexpected trip - the nice part was that it was unexpected. The trip itself, well, let me say I was glad to have taken two days off for myself after the first three days which were important - I really found the time to unwind and not feel too bad about the earlier part.

I kissed someone who thinks I'm wonderful (my 7-year-old niece, who really does, but would never admit to it) dozens of times.

And I did 'surprise myself' with handling a certain challenge which I shall not discuss as I'm superstitious about it. Another thing I surprised myself with was getting off one of my two Facebook accounts and not missing it. It was linked to this blog but it wasn't delivering what I wanted it to and I decided I would no longer waste any time on it.

It has nothing to do with how I feel about this blog, though. I'm still keen on keeping it going. I haven't had the time in the last few months to do much blog-hopping either, given the pressures of my job, but I will set time aside for it once a week at least.

At home with my parents, I watched my cook make a favourite colocasia fry and got it right when I tried it in my kitchen. Now that was a solid achievement. It also reminds me of what one of my friends says, that cooking is one area where it's possible to get instant gratification.

Before I get to the ingredients, I'll tell you what I learnt first

Boil, not pressure cook, the colocasia. Keep poking it with a fork or a knife to check for just-doneness. If you pressure cook it, it gets squishy even with just one whistle.

Do not turn the pieces immediately after you have slid them into the oil. Just de-clump them if you have to, with the ladle, but don't turn them over deliberately. They have to fry a bit before being turned over. Once you turn them over, don't disturb them again till you see the colour deepening a little more - then use your good sense and sense of sight to determine when they are golden brown and then remove them from the oil.

For the amount seen in the photo, you will need

1/2 a kilo of colocasia, arbi or taro root, boiled as above and sliced
Oil to deep fry (try deep frying in a small but deep vessel, I think we use up lesser oil that way)
Red chilli powder

Heat the oil well, lower the flame and then slide some of the colocasia pieces into the oil. Do not crowd them. Some will stick to each other. Separate them with the ladle. Let them fry for a minute and when you notice them turning brown, turn them over. Repeat the process as the colour deepens, once or twice, and remove them when they are a golden brown.

Put them on paper napkins so that the extra oil is absorbed.

Sprinkle salt and chilli powder little by little, tasting at each step, and mix lightly to coat with the spices.

I am very greedy when it comes to this dish but miraculously I managed to save some for The Spouse. So I guess the year did have some 'magic' that is mentioned in the greeting - it was magical that I wasn't so much of a glutton and he got to eat something he never would have otherwise. As for dreams and good madness - yes, there are always the dreams and the craziness in all spheres, too many examples to recount here.

How was your year? What did you do? Did you surprise yourself?

The same wishes are what I wish for you, and of course, I wish that we see more of each other this year, much more than before. Happy new year!



  1. A very Happy New Year to you and lots of wishes for a great year ahead. Keep this soup alive.

    1. Aparna, wish you the same! I badly want to keep the soup alive and flowing but I seem to have managed only a sluggish stream last couple of years!

  2. Happy New Year, Sra! Wow, you did good on your resolutions. Love, love the art!

    On the recipe, did you boil the arbi after slicing?

    1. Thanks, Anita! Happy new year! Glad that you like my art!

      Arbi - Boiled whole and then sliced.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed your post. Keep going, best of luck!:)

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  4. Wow, you really write it so well. I got lucky to get in touch with another love of yours. ♥

    1. What a lovely surprise to see you here, Aishwarya! Thanks for the compliment.

  5. Happy New Year dear Sra... nice to connect back after ages :) Loved your coloring pages - beautifully done. I have been eyeing these coloring books but yet to try my hand at it. This colocasia fry is one of my favorites too (and makes me greedy as well) and this is exactly how my parents make it and it tastes awesome.

  6. Hi Laavanya, how are you? It's nice to hear from you. Thanks for the compliments. Happy new year and here's wishing you lots of colocasia fry!