Shiny, new stuff

Well, what can I say. When more than three people write in to a) ask where you’ve disappeared to again b) remind you about a post you casually promised to finish and post and c) request you to please blog on either on of your blogs (yeah, talk about pressure!) it’s only a matter of time before you decide to give into the muddle of things you want to say, and resort to a list.

Here’s what’s new. And some news.

1) A haircut. After over a year of semi-short hair, managing curls, cursing bloody product, and reaching the point of needing a trim a little too often, I decided to bite the bullet. I’d been thinking about this for over two years now, and the original short haircut was meant to be a buzz, with the hugsband’s electric trimmer. I’m glad I didn’t do anything that drastic, because I now know how fast my hair grows, and maintaining that would have been a bigger nightmare than I was looking to deal with.

At every point that I would go in for a trim I’d request a shorter crop, only to be told my face is too small, or too long, or that it was too drastic a change, and I’d be asked if I was realllllly, realllllly sure. Apparently, just asking for it is not enough.

So finally, last month I decided enough was enough and that I had nothing to lose, but the few inches of hair I was going to chop off. And that was pretty much all there was to it. Anti-climactic end after the climax that was all the over-thinking, over-cautioning and over-dramatising.

It’s short now. So short that on day 1, the help walked in, looked at me, began to giggle and didn’t stop, pausing momentarily only to tell me, “Didi, peeche se to aap mard jaise lag rahe ho.” Okay, then.

So yes, its boy-short. Pixie-short. Don’t-need-a-comb short. Wash-it-everyday short. Roll-out-of-bed-and-nobody-would-know short. I-love-it short.


2) The sister says I look like a lost farmer child in the picture above. She’s close, actually. VC snapped it when I was gardening. An activity that still makes me feel lost and at-sea. And yet, yet, yet, there’s a garden growing in my home, yougaaiis! For a whole year after we moved in here, I let the yard grow weedy, overgrown with so much rubbish, until one fine day I could take it no more. 4 snakes sighted around our colony over the span of a week might have had something to do with the sudden urgency with which I had it cleaned out. I have an abysmal track-record with growing plants. Essentially, anything I touch, dies. So in order to improve my chances with keeping a garden, I decided to get professional help. I hired a gardener who now comes in once a week to oversee all the major stuff. I’m not on my own, he makes sure I’m treating my plants well, and that they’re not being suffocated by my over-anxious over-watering.

It’s been a little over a month and my Sundays now begin with an hour of pottering about the garden, messing around in the mud, rearranging stuff and generally feeling chuffed and fascinated at how stuff grows. It’s quite thrilling to watch buds bloom overnight, tiny curled up tightly-rolled leaves unfurl and take shape, tendrils clinging on to the closest support and climbing high, seeds sprouting and pushing their baby heads out of the soil.

My entrance now sports a profusion of several kinds of Petunias that are seriously growing like they’re running out of time. There’s also a couple of pots of Impatience (called so, because they’re so impatient to grow). And I have to admit, the front of the house is transformed.



I took the friendly advice of some seasoned kitchen-gardeners, bought some good quality potting mix from the closest nursery and “scattered a few seeds from my masala dabba.” Seriously. That’s all it took. I had a pot of methi that burst to life in just a few days. I actually looked at the pot, tiny green shoots pushing their way out of the soil, and went “aww.” Little baby stalks of methi, fighting to come out and breathe, with bits of mud atop their heads. Totally adorable. And no you’re not the only one who thinks this is abnormal behaviour. A told me to stop stalking them, because it’s not like they’re going to grow up and go away to college.


My over-enthusiasm to “nurture” them might have gone a little wrong, and some over-watering might have occurred. So I had to “harvest” the methi prematurely today. Young, wee tender leaves and stalks got cooked into a channa-methi dal, as suggested by someone who saw the picture on facebook. Totally yummy, and I suspect psychologically yummier still, because you know, garden-to-plate and all that hipster jazz.

I’m not writing off my slowly-turning-green-thumb yet. So I also potted a fresh batch of methi again today, determined to get it right. There’s a pot of garlic shoots that is growing out of control. I regularly snip the shoots and add them to tadkas, salads, etc. They taste like a sharp variety of chives and make for an excellent addition to pretty much anything.

Here it is, on cheesy scrambled eggs last Sunday.

Cheesy Eggs

3) The Hungry & Excited website. Yes, its new. Again. Go see! Still polishing it, tying up loose ends and figuring it out as I go. But it’s up and working, now if only I could get my email subscriptions to work seamlessly, we’d be set.

But the up-side of having the blog running again is that I have no more excuses. I kicked the lazy out of me this morning and posted a 7-month old draft. Yes, I’ve been that lazy this year.


I made these rolls in April, when it was hot, hot, hot. Perfect weather to make bread. But right now, is perfect weather to eat make meals of soup. And you know what goes with soup, right?

Dinner rolls, silly.

4) This new little gadget is currently making VC’s world go round.


It’s being used with alarming regularity.


And was used in the making of this new foodeo. Which, btw, was a total blast in the making. Read about it here. (Yes, I’m on a roll — that’s yet another new post!)

<p><a href=”″>Easy Chicken Biryani</a> from <a href=””>HungryandExcited</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

5) There’s been a healthy amount of new work too. Woke up on Saturday morning to tweets and facebook posts pimping my first Mint Lounge piece. A piece I really enjoyed working on. Hopefully this will be the first of many more to come.

Then there’s some work scheduled to come up on the much-talked-about and much-anticipated Huffington Post India. I’ll update when I have more details.

And if you’re in Goa next week, I’m going to be speaking on a panel on food blogging at the Goa Arts and Literatary Festival 2014. Again, I don’t have complete details. I know there’s going to be Pamela Timms, Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, Helene d’Souza, Karen Anand and Aparna Jain (of The Sood Family Cookbook fame). When I have more details, I’ll update them.

6) Also new, after a few gloomy weeks of feeling a bit lost and wondering where I am headed, is a new-found, burst of energy, and more importantly focus. To make things happen rather than contemplate them endlessly. To cut back the faff and focus on what matters. To count the joys, celebrate them, no matter how big or small, and treat the hiccups as they should be treated — hold your breath, count to 40, breathe out and move on.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the lowest I’ve felt in way too long. I was blue and moping over something or the other seemed to become an everyday thing. And suddenly I had this day. Ironically, the bluest-skies-of-all-time kind of day. Just like that, out of the blue. One of those days where everything went really well without anything special happening.

There was good company, reminders of love and friendship, two fabulous surprise homecooked meals, great conversation, a kindred spirit, a good few hours of work on a fun assignment, one of the harder workouts I’ve had in a long while, a big fat endorphin rush. And these crazy skies were the cherry on the top. It felt good to just be happy, for everything the way it was. That good old, my-cup-runneth-over type feeling has returned.

And a fitting song on loop today:

Okay, back to work before some troll accuses me of having too much fun in life.

16 thoughts on “Shiny, new stuff

    1. Impatiens actually, its latin for Impatience. Nursery guy gave me this trivia. He was very chatty and got extremely excited when I told him I was from city and all that.


  1. LOVE the hair! LOVE it. Ok, I have been reading you for a while and absolutely love this blog, for the writing and the frequency of posts. And today, had to comment for the hair. I am this curly/frizzy haired person who has been straightening it forever (9 years exactly) and my plan is to go exactly THAT short in 3 years from now. This pic, I shall be using as reference. You have curly hair yes? And this just stays yes, as in after washing and stuff? Phew. Thank you! :D


  2. First of all, I love love the haircut and as someone who also has curly hair…quite gutsy Ree to go so short!! I guess I remain reluctant because once when I was kid I went short.. and the end result was a weird buzz cut that grew into an even weirder afro…lets just say I’ve kept my hair long ever since!!

    as for the garden, have you tried herbs like celery, thyme ..very easy to grow.. grow them in pots…really handy when you are cooking any roasts, bakes, breads…

    btw..i found VC’s mama’s slightly shy on screen persona really endearing.. she should do more foodeo cameos!!!

    snakes!!!! reallyyyyy…


    1. About the hair, I’ll say this: I’ve had my share of disasters in the past, but I have finally found a hairdresser who “gets” my hair and understands my attitude to it. The past few semi-short cuts have been low-maintenance, and the kind that grow out well too. Most people would give me a cut, which looks nice short, but starts looking horrid the minute it begins to grow out. Also most others assumed i’m the sort to apply products and make the curls behave. Whereas Im the kind that wants to pay as little attention to my hair as possible. So my experiences over the last 3-4 haircuts that have been short is that 1) its all about the right cut, there is no one size fits all, and these folks have figured out my hair and my laziness 2) there are haircuts that grow out well 3) once you go short, regular haircuts are a necessity, until you decide to painfully grow it out again. So yeah, I’ll have to get trims once in 5-6 weeks now, until such time that I decide Im done with short hair. As of now that seems distant, but Im confident that when I want to go that route, these guys will figure out a way to make it as less painful as possible.

      The plan is to try and grow as many herbs as I can, I just started with things that are known to be easy and forgiving, considering I dont have even the slightest green thumb :P

      And yes, SNAKES. Really. I live in the wild.


  3. Meera Parameswaran

    Very refreshing post! Your haircut :O Seriosuly couldn’t recognize its you for the first few looks! Big change but cute :)

    Loved the making of the chicken Biryani and glad to know about your food blog! Looking forward to exciting new recipes there.

    Your garden …well…its a dream of mine..all the best for the upcoming batches!


    1. The initial shock of the new haircut is done now. I was getting used to people looking at me and not recognising me. And wondering why some people are blankly looking through me. Now its settled down :)


  4. R

    This post is such a case of the happy- highs! And dei, that food lit fest sounds grand! Congratulations. Tell me more. I love your happy writing style, so effortlessly good. And then you go and throw some puns in, for good measure. Like this one – Ironically, the bluest-skies-of-all-time kind of day. Just like that, out of the blue.
    Also, I totally loved the description of baby plants, with mud on their head and all. Almost made me imagine them as tiny, alive and kicking. :p


    1. Arrey yaar i didnt tell anyone about the lit fest. Thought il quietly go, speak and come back. But now theyre advertising all over goa and im on standees at the mall and neighbourhood supermarket men! Getting frantic messages from people who spot it asking why i havent mentioned it. Meta embrazzing.

      I dont know much more myself. Shold have better idea later this week then il tell you. Im just excited to be sharing panel space with pamela timms and karen anand :D

      Blue skies out of the blue when i was feeling blue. And yes baby plants with muddy heads is so right. You should ask vc. I have entire imaginary stories of parallel plant lives happening here!


  5. Love the new do! Looks super cute! I’m SO glad Hungry & Excited is back on track! It was where I went to when I wanted to be inspired to cook!

    Super jealous that you have a kitchen garden! I adore them! My friend here has one as well and she’s growing basil and curry leaves and palak and a plenty more. I unfortunately don’t have the luxury of a balcony so don’t have plants. Nothing can survive in my too-cold-for-humanity apartment, so there’s no way I can do any gardening.


  6. Ok, what is that blue thing that you’re holding?

    When I first saw the thumbnail of your new look, I needed time to realize that it was infact you and not someone else..

    The flowers look so pretty.. They must add such charm to your place..

    Can you remember which snakes were sighted? Generally rat snakes harmless and cute.. All the best with the kitchen garden, I hope you get to grow more herbs.. Raai and Ajwain and very easy.. Ajwain gives off a wonderful smell too :D


    1. Its a watering can.
      There were a few snakes. The big four poisonous ones are all common in goa. But in my neighbourhood its more common to see rat snakes. A baby viper was spotted in my neighbours yard. And pythons are routinely seen around my colony. So i wasnt taking chances. Also i have little mercy for reptiles. They are NOT cute!


      1. That is a nice pic.. It’s like he caught you unaware.. To me it looked like a big wrench and I was like what does one need such a big wrench for..

        Venomous ones are scary.. in the sense that they are so adept at being discreet that you never know when you might be too close for them to attack.

        Umm.. Can you take pictures? (please?)


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