chocolate Banana Muffins

First weekend of December past with lots of activities - a trip to commercial street, malls and office. On Saturday Aarush forced me to leave bed early - deprived me of extended sleeping on the weekend. After that I was busy with him mostly for breakfast. Nowadays he has developed a nasty habit of prolonged (around an hour or more) eating times be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. After that he played for while but soon he was sleepy for nap. That created an opportunity for me to try muffin which was long time overdue.

I searched quickly for “chocolate banana muffin” recipe and found this one and went with it as it looked simple and easy except few changes. I beated powdered sugar with melted butter first. In between I kept two eggs outside of freeze to bring them to room temperature. Mixed one tea- spoon of leveled baking soda and baking power each in the flour and sieved 3-4 times to make sure there is enough air mixed in the flour. Then I whisked the eggs and added milk to it; after mashing banana in the grinder I mixed all three together.

Now kept adding half of the dry and liquid ingredients alternatively to the sugar - butter mixture. Lastly, stir in chocolate.
With that my job was almost over as soon as I put the tray for baking; to my surprise and delight they started to rise nicely. Best part of the whole exercise was quick yet successful result. It only took 40 mins to prepare and clean up the kitchen. It might take much less if you are prepared as of my case it was all impromptu right from searching recipe to oven. Anywayz, after a long time enjoyed my time in kitchen – thanks to Aarush for his nap :)
P.S. May add little bit more sugar if you prefer muffin sweet.

Wear the red Ribbon


December 1st 2008- World AIDS Day - today, AIDS is one of the main causes of mortality on the planet. 33 million people are HIV-positive in the world, but 90 % of them ignore it. Given the numbers, there is a definite need to increase the awareness levels about the disastrous effects of this incurable disease.
I am sure there are plenty online about the same which can be accessed quickly but the main problem remains in uneducated rural areas where it is not even mentioned forget about a healthy discussion.

Change


In last 20 months “change” was one of most used word thanks to new President elect Obama. I admire the way he delivers speeches and uses words. Most reporters must be missing those malapropian phrases used in last 8 years.
I took this picture in February at Mumbai Airport; personally I too was thinking about the change and transition I was going trough at work and home at that time. A long waited post with little details but again the line from Gandhi says it all.

Back to Bangalore

It is almost a month posted any thing on the blog. It’s neither that boring nor that there are not enough events happening in our life which can be shared with you. It is just that we do not have any time for ourselves where we can sit and relax which sometime looks like a very remote luxury now.The day starts quite early at around 6:30 when Pamela gets up and prepares breakfast for Aarush ; that allows some extra sleep for me if Aarush permits. As soon as Aaursh is fully awake around 7:30 I need to kick start my day ; try my best to feed him every morning but there are days when he demands for Pamela especially.After that breakfast part its me who try to entertain Aarush while Pamela finishes cooking. Same time try to get all my personal morning “hustle and bustle” taken care.Same time need to keep a Corbett eye on Aarush as he is very unpredictable and things happens before you can blink. Aarush now crawls with speed and he stands up as soon as he finds any thing to hold. He has not mastered the technique to sit from standing. All we do is pick him up and start laughing loudly which causes enough confusion for him. And it takes away the fear and cry from his face and he forgets about the same in next 5 minutes. Today we lost our faithful blue-vase as Aarush was quicker than Pamela. This was bit special as we bought in Wal-Mart and may be as couple one of first purchase we did in 2002 winter. Around 8:30/9 ish Pamela finishes cooking and I start for work and her demanding day gets more demanding. After 2/3 hours of

As time flies...

We feel elated to celebrate our sixth year of togetherness @ IndiJoe. A journey full of sweet, bitter, sour, spicy and many more...... flavours. After all soft items like paper, linen etc finally we reached anniversary which is represented by metal -"Iron Anniversary".
This year's anniversary is extra special because we were given a very precious gift from God, our son Aarush, and now we've moved on from "couple" to "small family", and it feels amazing. So,for the first time we celebrated it as parent rather than couple. Aarush was at his best which helped us to finish our lunch buffet. Though we did not had the luxury of time as we had to stuff ourselves quickly. By the time we reached for dessert he wanted to crawl all around in restaurant.

Long Time no see ...

Well we are still connected to internet just not having enough time to spare to post. There are few posts which are long overdue. Only time we can type in peace when Aarush is sleeping but by that time we are so tired that we retire quickly. Do not worry will post more often as we try to get back into a more strict routine. BTW I just registered myself in Facebook after lots of deliberation. Eric correctly said --
"Viva santanu! viva Pamella and viva the little Misra! Welcome to this stupid and so fundamental place that is facebook ..."
Just upgraded all the plugings and WordPress to the latest as dashboard showed I need to complete this task quickly.

Wish Pamela

If you are reading this post on 17th September please call up, e-mail if you have not done so yet.

Well why I am writing this post -- I am stuck in a business trip and missing her and Aarush for last 3 weeks. Sometime I wish I just could dump my current job and spend some quality time with Family. But with Financial commitment I don’t think I can do that soon :(.

Any ways wish Pamela on her special day!!

Extempo Performance

Pamela's maternal cousin Jeet was our guest in Bangalore for three nights from Calcutta. His purpose of this trip to meet his school and college mates as most of them are working in Bangalore IT sector. Jeet plays guitar and mouth organ as hobbies. His musical talent is in his gene , he got it from his mother who is a trained singer and used to perform in All India Radio in her young days.

Well enough of introduction -- this was a very informal recording as we noticed Aarush was enjoying his first live music. Normally he turns his head towards speaker when we play some music to locate the source of sounds. But nothing comes close to a live performance a little one also realizes the same :D.

ZoneAlarm Patch Tuesday Promotion


Get yourself a free copy of Zone Alarm Firewall completely free for one year. The offer is valid for one PC per e-mail id. The offer just started at 6AM PST and will be there for next 24 hours. So do not waste your time and rush to get a free copy. If you are not sure what Zone Alarm is and why you need one copy or a similar product for your PC I am sure there are zillion of web pages to guide you.

Rejuvenating old I-Pod

Our old faithful I-pod’s battery died last year; nothing to complain about the same. We have used it enough and did not have any complain. Only thing that happened is the battery started to loose charge more often and at the end it stopped charging altogether. Just after I got this I-Pod, Apple had to settle a lawsuit for low quality batteries. That way I must say I am happy to survive for 3 years with one battery.

I was not looking at spending 4,000 INR (100 USD) to replace the battery by Apple. The thing I do not like about this program is - Apple does not return your own I-Pod rather they give you a similar one from their stock. So I opted for changing the battery myself. It cost only 20 USD to get the new battery and after spending 15 minutes I was able to hit the road again.
The kit contains two plastic openers without which opening the case is almost impossible. The demo video included in the kit is informative; if they had shown how to create the first opening in slow motion and in closeup it would have been much better. As this was my first time I cut my finger with one of those plastic hinge openers. You really need to be careful with these tools. I had to use a small metal screwdriver to widen the gap between front and back case. After opening the case, removing the hard-drive and replacing the battery was very easy for me. I was very careful to make sure all connections were correct particularly for hard-drive and docking station. I did not have to open the case again as all the connections were perfect.

Whatz FRESH about Reliance Fresh ?


As we are new to Bangalore trying to explore all nearby hypermarket, supermarket and open markets as we settle in. This is also giving us as chance to explore places around. The first one we tried and explored was BIG-BAZAR on Old Madras road. As it is just near to one of our office address in Bangalore I knew how to reach there without being lost. Then weekend after we tried SPAR at Kormongala followed by Nilgiris. Hypermarket Spar is having veggies like asparagus, lettuce leaves, endive which are rarley seen. Other then that one can find chesse like brie, blue cheese, parmesan, ricotta, emmental, gouda, feta etc. In between we have ventured many small to medium scale stores like More, SMART and others. There was no particular pattern.
While going towards Sarjapur junction on Outer Ring Road we saw sign of Reliance Fresh; last night decided to check it out. To our horror we were welcomed by stinking smell; yes it was the only thing out there. The floor was very untidy, every thing was falling from the shelves, nothing organized at all, with stale veggies. Top of it, store people were not at all bothered, nor very friendly to customers. To our observations Nilgiris is very neat and tidy, well organized and managed while Big-Bazar with its vastness and madness of crowd keeps the show running although one might have to spend few hrs in queue at cash-counter mainly on week-ends.
Your comments are most welcome to share your views on super markets. This is second post related to super-markets in India what is your take.

Bombay to Bangalore by Car(NH4)


View Larger MapA journey of 1000 KM from Mumbai to Bangalore
I was asked to reallocate to Bangalore in early May from my work; as usual had no plan till the last minute. Sitting in Durg (center of India) was thinking what will be best way to reach Bangalore on Monday via Mumbai. I have to reach Mumbai to pick my bare essential before heading south. And my flight from Durg was on Saturday noon.
On Friday night suddenly realized it would be great if I can travel in my own car. This way I do not have to find a cheap air ticket and will have no problem in commuting of my own @ Bangalore.
This will allow me to escape THE FAMOUS AUTO RICKSHAWS of Bangalore. There are plenty of horror stories about them and you can always have a good laugh about the way they refuse their passengers. They are very mystic in their behaviour, there are few honest hardworking but that only proves Darwin's rule– There are always an exception. Certainly, this post is not about them .
After lots of fanatic calls to friends and family members I was very fortunate to have Ramesh as my driver. He is a very experienced driver but he does not drive any more. The plan was simple- To start early morning for Bangalore on Sunday. We will stop as night falls and will reach Bangalore on Monday.
I reached Navi-Mumbai around 9PM after spending afternoon and evening at south and central Mumbai. As soon as I reached home I had to complete a long list of house-hold chores starting with laundry. As soon as the drum started spinning I started collecting items those I will require during my stay there. I picked items quite randomly but only thing I had in my mind was about a survival kit. After doing all that I tried to sleep at 2 in the morning but after a restless hour I got up and stared to wrap as many loose ends I could before leaving.
Here is a chronicle of events that I had on that Sunday.
06:00 Picked up Ramesh from Nerul Railway Station – Returned to Kharghar ; packed all items in the car.
000 KM
06:45 Started from Home; the express was well paved and it has concrete construction with numerous tunnels. This is the pioneer road corridor which was constructed with divider and proper lane in India.
041 KM 08:15 Started from Food Mall /Diesel stop around 40 minutes. There were lots of car, SUVs and buses packed with families who were going out of Mumbai as schools were closed for summer vacations. Hardly any room left for seating. Food was not great but every thing tastes good on road-trip when you have a hungry stomach and miles to go. The service was very prompt that really deserve appreciation.
09:00 Pune We by-pass capital of Maratha culture; there were plenty of new big IT, BPO offices with glass outer wall but as they were spread on NH4 without any symmetry in between they were more of eye-sore rather than architectural beauty.
09:40 We picked up a FM station from Pune and it continued a long road. Very soon we reached another toll plaza and started our ascent for Satara Range. There are two separate roads for opposite direction. After lot of twist and turn you reach the point from where you get a great view. It was pity we could not stop to enjoy the beauty from there.
10:30 Road towards Mahabaleshwar
11:10 Crossing Satara which means a place surrounded by seven (sat) hills (tara). One thing we had to pay extra attention was there are plenty of crossroads in the highway which allows people to take turn and cross the highway from other side. Ideally there should be flyover but as we pass rural area the extra cost may not be justified yet due to thin traffic. But thankfully NHAI has put up fence to avoid crossing road everywhere. It is very common in India for cattle and human to cross road whenever and wherever they want which causes lots of accidents.
12:00 Crossing Karad, a small town but quite good infrastructure with over bridges. At this point of time we have crossed Krishna river few times. The road divider were properly maintained with lot of Bougainvillea planted. It gave a very good feeling on Indian road which is sometime synonyms with pot-holes.
397KM 13:25 – 14:05 Stop for lunch near Kolapur, Kolpar is the last major town in the Maharashtra side of NH4 and soon we will start crossing border of Karnataka. Lunch was a simple vegetarian a quick one as we were not very certain how much road we will be able to cover today - Bangalore lies in the southern part of Karnataka.
14:43 We entered Karnataka it started to rain a little bit of drizzling around Belgaum. The soil color changed to red. Suddenly we found that we have to drive for almost 5 KM on the NH-4 north with opposing traffic as South bound was closed due to a big trailer made a major accident.
493 KM 15:17 almost halfway. There are some hamlets of houses which are painted by Airtel, TATA, Reliance for their mobile phone advertisement or sometime it was cement and steel companies.
15:49 We cross a sign for Karwar (next to Goa going west) neat Dharwar but road was single lane. Saw a horrible accident involving a TATA –indica and a truck and there was ambulance. Hope the best for those in that car as it looked very terrible.
560 KM 16:17 Back to divided road. We crossed a huge Jain temple which from distance was looking like some space station where rockets were ready for launching. After searching in internet realized there are too many Jain pilgrimage palce in Karnataka which I did not knew.

599 KM We were looking for fuel station for last 15 minutes but there was none on our side of the road; finally we found one and filled diesel ; we had fuel economy of 19.05 KM/L with AC on the highway. We crossed one flight of stairs in the highway but could not figure between ourselvs which will be nearest airport for this. Wanted to have tea-break but "miles to go before I sleep"
636 KM Again single lane, road condition very bad, found almost finished yet un-finished flyover while we maneuver the bad traffic- big trucks, SUVs just trying to cross everyone by hook or honk. This continued for a while we crossed a town called Ranibennur, it looked like Sunday was market-day as it was crowded with village merchandise. There was police in the middle of the road to manage traffic. The road condition did improve as we crossed Harihar at the sunset. It was very magnificent as Sun sets on the lush green paddy field on the banks of Tungabhadra river.
It became dark and Ramesh kept on driving. We decided to continue till we felt like. Driving till Chitradurga our estimated destination was around 70 Kms away.
765KM 20:30 We reached Chitradurga, according to our destination; called relative in Bangalore and was told the road should be better now and it might be a sensible to reach Bangalore same night. We had a big dinner and stopped for one hour before we stared again. This really helped to stretch our strained body. It seems there are road side hotels around 40 KM out of Bangalore A1( from Reliance group) and Kamat to choose from. The initial part of the road was very bad and there were so many trucks. It was dusty and we had to be very careful with all these big vehicles; lots of them even do not have rear light or brake light.
After Dinner - I was feeling too sleepy and after all my best effort I dozed off for few minutes. I asked Ramesh few times if he is OK to drive or is it better to park on side and take a small nap. As an excellent driver he kept on driving without any problem. Around Tumkur, we found hotel but as we were there they closed as its mid-night and they closes at 23:30. So there was not much choice for us other than to continue driving. Blackberry came very handy as I looked up phone number of my service apartment which was booked from Monday onwards. They gave their best direction but for us it really did not mean much. There was one part of highway which was newly paved with proper marking and division so a toll plaza followed.
We could not figure out much in the dark and kept on asking for MG road as direction whenever we found someone on the road. We met some stray dogs and one drunken group who were ready to start a fight as we opened our mouth in Hindi. Somehow we reached MG road and found English speaking Auto-driver who gave us proper direction for the last mile
It was great to reach such a wonderful place. We found ourselves in two bedroom apartment; I took a quick shower before calling it a night.
In the morning we woke up quickly, dropped Ramesh to bus stop where I got him ticket in Volvo for Mumbai. And I went to office – and thus life in Bangalore started.


Lesson learnt from this 1000KM trip ---Keep your wallet ready to pay the toll. In India, government is the biggest “Bhaia” or “Don” they know all the tricks to tax their law-abiding citizen. When the road condition is good be prepared for toll after every 40/60 KM. Keep change ready or you will get toffees as change in return. Not sure why NHAI kept those odd numbers like 18, 23 or 22 instead rounding it to 20 or 25. Definitely there are lots to improve for NHAI if they want to put Indian road to world standard.
With highest rate of street accident and mortality Indian roads are not ready for family travel yet. Initially, I was thinking to drive back to Mumbai one day but after seeing that accident and the bad stretch of 200KM before Chittradurg I do not think I will do that soon. If you do want to drive; Drive during day and drive safely I mean very safe - HAPPY DRIVING