Attended a live performance of Swan Lake yesterday and was surprised at how different the womens’ and mens’ movements were. Man or woman – performing any work of art such that it completely mesmerizes the audience takes a lot of perseverance and hard work. And mesmerized I was, no doubt. But I also found myself wondering if this was an art form that was way more demanding of its female dancers. While the men had their feet flat on the ground most of the time, the women were on their big toes for most of the performance. They did twists, turns, and complex maneuvers while they were precariously balanced on their big toes. And sometimes their entire body weight was supported by a single toe! As someone who cannot even look at heels without wincing, I am amazed at these women who walk and dance on their big toes for hours at a time… And here I thought, dancing was all play and fun!

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Delicacies from distant lands

Hobbes had taken a Moroccan cooking class sometime back, following which, we promptly purchased a tagine. I’m not a cook, but I find tagines beautiful to look at. In my opinion, they are one of the prettiest kitchen equipment. And so, for quite some time, our tagine occupied a prominent place at home as a decorative piece, and served as an excellent conversation starter.

Last summer, we had chicken tagine at a small restaurant in Rome. It was delicious and reminded us that we had an amazing piece of pottery at home, just sitting there and doing nothing. And so, after procuring all the necessary ingredients, it was put to good use. The end result was delectable!

Now that this tagine has been inaugurated with successful results, the plan is to procure more of these beautiful pots. And use them 🙂

On the same trip, we also got introduced to some amazing desserts, one of which was kunafah. Think gooey goodness in an edible format. And since we were completely wooed with it, Hobbes had to do what he always does. Another trip was made to ethnic grocery stores and unfamiliar label names were deciphered. It was all a labor of love, and well worth it. The kunafah was a big hit with our guests. They even asked for some to take home 🙂

Here’s to discovering many more foods from faraway lands. Not to mention, re-creating and relishing them in our own kitchen!

Delicacies from distant lands

For the love of reading

I had been a decent reader during and soon after my college days. But as life went on, I slowly stopped reading. Reading real books, that is. I would still read business and technical books, but most of my pleasure reading would be online. Every now and then I would pick up a book, but it would take me months to finish it. Or worse, I would abandon it half way through, justifying to myself that had I not been so busy, I would certainly have finished it. I feared that I had forgotten how to read for fun.

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to re-learn how to read just for the pleasure of reading. The local library has become a favorite haunt of mine. Yesterday I picked up The Kite Runner. It was published in 2003 so I am very late in getting to the book. But what a book! Der aaye durust aaye. A part of the book happens in my corner of the world, so that familiarity and identification was an added bonus. Thank you Khaled Hosseini for assuring me that I can still get lost in a book. That a story can still fascinate me enough to forget about everything else. And that I can still finish a book in six hours.

For the love of reading