Thursday, July 7, 2016

Socio Historical Journey

I saw this book lying on the table. While casually browsing through the pages, this particular picture caught my attention and the face looked familiar. 

Then I realized that this is the same lady whom I had clicked about six years ago  when I had been to Jew street in Kerala. In fact the location and the chair also looks same. 

That was when I had a serious look at the book which was titled “Cuisine Kerala” I usually avoid cuisine books, but I found this one interesting as it also mentions a bit about  the history of the place.

Like what induced the people from the British Raj (including Lord Mountbatten) to buy the biscuits from Mambally Bappu after he started his own bakery in Tellicherry (now Thalassery) way back in 1880.  

The sight of the Chukku Kaapi reminded me of how we used to have the Chakkara Kappi when we visited Kerala every year for our annual holidays. The Chakkara was made from palm sugar which had more health benefits as compared to the present day Sharkara (Jaggery) which is made from cane sugar.   

I never knew that these huge dhows were still being made in Beypore, Kozhikode. These were very much in demand earlier by the Arab traders and was also a mode of transport for people who dared to venture to “the Gulf” from Kerala in the early fifties and sixties. 

No fish curry is complete unless you add the “kodampuli” (Malabar Tamarind)  After preparation you keep the fish curry for a day whereby the taste of tamarind seeps into the fish. No wonder some call it “Yesterday’s Fish Curry” 

Whenever there is a Onam Sadhya, I look forward to this Inji curry (or inji puli as some call it)

As mentioned in the book, tourists have embraced the homestay concept which gives a boost to tourism

They like to try out cooking in the Indian style, or experiment eating from a banana leaf, though it may not be easy - notice the fork on the leaf? 

I like the layout of the book and the pictures. Kudos to Mr P N Shahnavas (and his photographers team) for doing a good job. Most of the pictures are candid and look natural.

I think the author (Theresa Varghese) has done a good job, considering the fact that she must have actually traveled the length and breadth of Kerala to collect all the information.
One thing worth noting is that these are not the regular recipes but are those that are handed down for generations where nothing is written down.

I also like the way credit has been given to each person who has contributed the recipe. 

I did a casual search and found that the book is  available on 

On the whole I should say it is a good book, as mentioned on the front page – a socio historical culinary journey through the Spice Coast. 

All pictures in this blog post (except for the second one) are from the above mentioned book.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Doing Yoga the right way

It is said that the breathing technique that Lance Naik Hanumanthappa learned in Yoga, helped him in staying alive (for 5 days) even after being buried under 35 feet of snow at an altitude of 20500 feet.

Last week was International Yoga Day and the Yoga class which I attend, decided to have the class in the open. For a change I did not take part, but decided to click some pictures. 

It was good to see the young and the not so young doing it together. 

I have attended a few yoga classes earlier conducted by different people, but there is a refreshing change in the way this class is conducted. The instructors are sincere and always makes an effort to see that the students do it the right way. 

They also know that each one has a different capacity and the aasanas are done as per the limitations of each individual. 

Emphasis is given in stretching each part of the body, something that we rarely do on a day to day basis. 

The routine keeps changing on a daily basis and as we do the aasanas we know that “today we are working on the lower limb” or “looks like today we are strengthening the lower back”

While I was shooting, I found this little guy busy on my tripod camera, trying to quickly spin a web. I did not disturb him, but at the end of the session I did not see any web, and our friend was missing. He must have moved on to the nearby tree to get his breakfast. 

I made two videos by compiling all that I captured. The first one is a one minute trailer and the second one runs for about 11 minutes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LGBT in the news

The LGBT group is in the news for some time for different reasons and the worst is for the horror that took place at Orlando.

 There are people who are for and against the LGBT but nothing justifies one human being killing another.
What still baffles me is why are weapons of mass destruction sold freely over the counter. If one guy can single handedly kill 49 people and maim an equal number, then definitely an assault rifle is a weapon of mass destruction.  

Had witnessed two Gay Pride Parades, one in Amsterdam and another at San Francisco. The later was just after the Supreme court declared same sex marriage legal in all 50 states. 

The parades I witnessed were very colourful and it was a photo opportunity for many. 

I liked the formation in this picture with the flags showing the country, the state, the city and the event (in that order)

 The Recology department of San Francisco was there in formation with their bins.

Posting some pictures at random, clicked on the day.

Some renowned people also took part in the parade. 

It was good to see families coming out in support. 

There was some good Band display too including the Irish Pipers Band.

You can see more pictures and video clips in this 15 min video

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Whale watching

Had written about Orcas Island earlier and one of the activities we had over there was Whale watching.

Even though we had booked on line, we were lucky to get the right type of boat, a small one, pretty fast and not very crowded. 

En route, we did see a Puffin floating but it was not easy to photograph the little bird from far.  
The guides were good enough to tell us some facts about the whales, like the oldest among them (known as the Granny) is 104 years old.
There was a particular area where the whales frolic around and the crew knew the exact spot where we could find them. 

It takes some time to train the camera on them to get some shots.

There were many other boats in the vicinity, all waiting for a chance to get a glimpse of our frolicking friends 

And a few colourful sail boats too. 

It was good to see that all the boats kept a respectable distance from the whales. 
You can see more pictures in the 6 min video that I made. 

When the boat was at a slower speed, I went on the upper deck and got to see the man at the helm (always good to know who the driver is)

One of the lighthouses on the way back (I presume it is a light house)

Some other scenes on the way back

The crew of our boat, answering questions.

Everyone was generous in tipping them for their good service. May be they read what was written in the boat, “you never want to tip the boat, but feel free to tip the guides”