Sunday, November 20, 2011

If for some reason we had 2 extra hours in a day..

When Lamartine wrote Le Lac (The Lake), he pleaded with all the forces of nature to suspend time, to let his beloved live a few more hours, to immortalize their ephemeral human love..

Thus driven forth forever to new shores,

Born toward Eternal Night and never away, 

Sailing the Sea of Ages, can we not

Drop anchor for one day?

Suspend your trek O Time! Suspend your flight

O favoring hours, please stay!

Let us pause, savoring the quick delights

That fill the dearest day.

All in vain. Vicious time! Time wasn't kind to the greatest Romantic poets that ever lived. Why would I be so fortunate to have two more hours in day? Perhaps time wants me to persevere on the poetic path like Lamartine did even after it was brutal to both of us. 
So I'll take advantage of the fact that I'm studying literature in Paris and go to Café de la Flore like Simone and Sartre did. Over the cigarette-smoking, high-heeled shoe wearing, wine-drinking Parisian chaos, I begin my introspection. How is me studying Literature in France going to help my country? I'm going back to India in one a few years. Will the country care for my literary dreams? Will someone accept my proposition to create an artistic salon like Diderot? How will I convince ferociously driven engineers and doctors to contemplate and exhibit their artitic selves? My thoughts wonder to the spot where I left my heart. Goa. Home. Yes! maybe here I could welcome everyone to my forum of spiritual reflection, artistic, literary, economic and political debate and exposition! 
But wait! Where would I build my Salon? Is there still a clean spot left on my coast? Is there a surface by the sea where I can wriggle my toes in the soft sand, take a nap and be sure not to wake up drugged and raped? Is there still a Goan who hasn't succumbed to his greed and let an international hotel chain raze off his architectural heritage? 
Goa? Paradise lost! 

For now my beautiful plans penned down while drinking Café-Crème far far away from the shores of home will stay safely among the pressed flowers in my journal. Maybe someday I will read through these words and bring my project to fruition? Will I find the courage to confront powerful vices and people who build colossal polluting structures on my coast and convince them to embark with me on an artistic adventure? Maybe. Or maybe this too will fade into oblivion like the dreams of so many artists and writers. 
If I had two hours, I'd finally write an Eulogy to Socrates. I haven't got down to this because I procrastinate "I haven't had the time". Socrates wasn't just an ordinary cat, he was my little mafiosi! He had his ear ripped in two, his fur torn off his neck, his whiskers and bits of his tail missing but he was still handsome. He stayed for 12 long years, and loved us. Wholeheartedly. I know it broke his heart when I left home. He refused to eat, he was lethargic all the time and one day he was just gone. 

Dear God, do you have this vivacious-calm ball of orange fur?
He's name is Socrates, he has soft paws and a gentle purr.
His quiet presence is all the comfort you need on a bad day,
If you feel sad, he'll cheer you up with his amusing cat ways.

He won't ask much of you God, maybe just a bowl of cream in a dish;
Although for lunch, he'll really love it if you gave him fish.
At dusk, he turns in his warm heart and like an assassin he'll crouch into the night,
He and his consorts you will see, their green eyes, smouldering bright.

Then dawns comes and he's back at your doorstep witholding cat secrets,
You must let him in and give him a warm place to lay his head.
He's so adorable as he sleeps, dreamily and calm.
Like me you can't resist, you'll pick him up and let him sleep in your arms. :)

On to a lighter note. I talk a lot of nonsense. What does a girl love to do when she has two extra hours to indulge in nonsense? Why, plan a wedding of course! (Well I'm not sure I'll take the plunge because I'm too skeptic about the whole institution). However I love the idea of planning a nonsensical wedding like this one by Marc Chagall. There would be a nonsense party, with a nonsense groom, nonsense people, nonsense food, nonsense dancing to nonsense music played by nonsense musicians. At the end the nonsense bride and groom would live nonsensically happily ever after :)
“Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. 
It's by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I'm human” 

Lazy Girl foods: Easy Quiche Lorraine/Reblochon

What's nicer than preparing a quiche on an unusually warm Sunday afternoon? Quiches are in fact really easy to make. Trust me! I'm lazy and they now feature on top of my quickly impress guest list. Today I'm going to add Reblochon, which is one of my favourite cheese in France, made in the Alps. If you don't have this kind of cheese, grated cheese will work just fine. Here's what you need for 3 people :
  • 1 roll of puff pastry (easily found in your supermarket, in France it's called pâte feuilletée).
  • 200 gms diced bacon.
  • 30 gms butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • sliced Reblochon (or as much cheese as you want)
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg 
  • Spread the puff pastry evenly on the baking pan. Next, make sure you pierce the pastry with a fork. 

  • Fry the diced bacon in a pan for a few minutes. Let it dry on kitchen towels in order to absorb any excess oil.
  • In a salad bowl add the eggs, milk, fresh cream, salt (very little since the bacon is already salty!), pepper and nutmeg. Whisk thoroughly!
  • Spread the diced bacon evenly on your pan. 
  • Add slices of butter alongside the bacon.
  • hmmm. Reblochon. Dice it up and add as much as you wish.

  • Pour the whisked up mixture over the cheese, butter and diced bacon.
  • Place into your oven! (P.S. Remember to preheat your oven at 220° C for 10 mins before placing your Quiche).
  • Let your quiche bake for 45-50 mins at 180° C


Voilà! Easy peasy!
  • Last step, slice. You can serve with tomato salad or avacado salad. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I love Sunday: 5 things

I missed updating 5 things on sunday. Thankfully, the novelty hasn't run out since Sunday and here are the few things that make me happy.
  • My latest baby came in a few days ago. This is the Voigtländer Vito CD. Made in Germany, 1960. This is my favourite brand of vintage cameras and I admire German quality because the camera is fully functioning as you read this right now!

  • I love tea. But I miss drinking hot "thé" (French), "chao" (Konkani), "chá" (Portuguese), "chai"(Hindi) with my aunts and grandma on our balcão /verandah at home. 
  • Loved this! Move over Amélie, another masterpiece is taking your place! If you ever get to watch "Intouchables", you'll spend two hours of your life thinking how great mankind is and how happy the world would be if we just looked past our differences. This French comedy film stars two amazing actors, François Cluzet plays the role of a paralyzed Parisian aristocrat, who shocks his entire entourage when he hires a new home help, just out of prison; Omar Sy, inhabitant of the banlieue or ghettos of Paris. This film is based on a true story and it's undoubtedly the feel-good film of the year. French cinema is really begininning to retrace it's steps to glory. Bravo, je dis!

  • Who is this you ask? This is the man who's taking up most of my time these days. Jules Vallès was a French author and journalist, known primarily for pro commune and anti-capitalist combats. So basically I have to finish reading as many of his books as I possibly can and present a 60 page memoir to the validation bureau. I love reading his works but I wish I didn't have the pressure of presenting the memoir so quickly. Somehow takes away the charm of enjoying Parisian novels in Paris! :) 
    • Thanks to Monsieur S., I discovered this devilishly delicious cake called Kouign Amann (which mean literally mean "Butter Cake" in Breton, the dialect spoke in Brittany). The cake originated in 1865 in the town of Douarnenez, in the beautiful finistère region. 

    The dough used for this cake is similar to bread dough except that it has a lot of sugar sprinkled between the layers. Like all foods from Brittany, there's lots and lots of butter too. As the cake bakes, the butter puffs up the dough and the sugar caramalizes creating this magical fusion for all pastry lovers. So yes, damn the diet. Eat what you love. STAY HAPPY!!

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Shh.. I'm reading



    Managed to finally organize my Ghent photos from the begininning of the year. Ghent was the last stop on my Belgium tour. This is a port town which also has a huge student community. I was there very briefly, I couchsurfed at the home of two lovely Belgian girls. I couldn't see the city in depth because the weather was horrible, it was freezing and if it didn't rain, there was fog. Thus not too many photos. Tip: Do not choose early spring to visit Belgium, unless you travel sans camera. 

    The first thing you notice about Ghent is the nouveau art structures all over the city. Sometimes right on the pavement, sometimes on buildings, sometimes in places you least expect to find art!
    Another prominent landmark where you don't look for art is the Railway station. That's right! At Gent-Sint-Pieters station, you must look up (and also pay attention to your luggage). There are beautiful murals depicting the life of the city all over the ceiling.
    To escape the chilly weather, you can visit the Saint Nicholas' Church in the heart of the city. Construction of the church began in the early 13th century and continued till the end of the 15th century. Try and see here how the cathedral looks from a 360° angle. 
            You have to love the religious statues wielding the little objects painted in gold. 
     The decor and the choir stand is so pretty. 
    The Angels were all singing out of tune,
    And hoarse with having little else to do,
    Excepting to wind up the sun and moon
    Or curb a runaway young star or two.

    ~Lord Byron
    Architecture in Ghent ressembles that of Brussels and other cities. You have to admire the effort taken by the government to preserve and restore the buildings dating back to the middle ages!
    You can't get tired of the zig zag Belgian façades! 
    And the charming streets built alongside canals..

    Finding decorated bicycles can brighten up anybody's rainy day in Ghent!

    Monday, November 07, 2011

    Wednesday, November 02, 2011