Yada Yada Yada #Y #AtoZChallenge

May have spoilers ahead!

I know I am late with this A2Z post but better late than never. Pen-ultimate alphabet and this is with a reference to one of my favorite TV shows … nooo not FRIENDS, much better – Seinfeld! That’s right! I am a fan of Jerry Seinfeld, and his wit. Seinfeld is the cleanest comedy show I have watched till date, and highly recommend the same, for a lot of reasons. Although nihilistic in its approach, Seinfeld along with the genius Larry David serves to us a comedy in a show about ‘nothing’ as they claim, but typically has everything about, and for life. This blog post is a special dedication to ‘Yada Yada’ a phrase that I caught up after this famous sitcom. It has a longer history dating several years before and after Seinfeld, but this particular episode brought out some of the best usages for a filler.

George’s Yada – Is it amusing?

The phrase ‘Yada Yada Yada’ is being used by George’s then attractive girlfriend. The way she fits it into the most crucial part of her sentences, amuses George. Just to catch on with her trend, he tries to use it in his own sentences hoping to make her curious and makes a disaster out of it, ending up more amused and curious about the missing parts of her sentence. There is his signature embarrassment and desperation in George’s Yada.

George’s girlfriend’s Yada – Is it the sneaky stuff?

Contrary to her boyfriend’s curiosity, her Yada is the most intelligent usage in the episode. She places all her Yadas to hide her sneakiest details. Until she gets confronted by George’s impatience, she goes about Yada-ing guiltless and guileless.

Elaine’s Yada – Is it the subtle obviousness?

Unable to hold up with his own lure, George brings to the table, about his girlfriend’s Yada Yada Yada and as always, Jerry and Elaine form the jury. George gets convinced with Elaine’s definition where she says Yada Yada Yada is the most subtle part of the obvious story that one does not need to explain to complete the sentence. Giving her the benefit of doubt since she is a woman, George is pretty convinced and at the same time is an atom bomb which  braces up to detonate itself.

Jerry’s Yada – Is it succinct 

Jerry faces George’s first amusement about Yada Yada and finds it quite cool. He claims George’s girlfriend to be succinct for having a smart eloquence. This is pivotal since this drives George to find out about it more.

What else is Yada Yada? 

Yada Yada Yada cannot be anything and everything. It is not just the inexplicable. Rather it could be the worst, best, succinct, obvious, subtle or the dark part of a story. Before you Yada someone, make sure the other person can catch it, for Yada is like sarcasm. It may not be for everyone. And remember, not everyone can Yada you just by using it wherever/however they please. It has limitless possibilities. But it has boundaries. Nevertheless, when you see someone go Yada, you can’t help but Yada yourself. . .!

This post should have come up a while ago but I got so busy with stuff first, and then a bit unwell next, and then a bit of travel . . . and then . . . well .. Yada Yada Yada!

This post is 25/26 of #AtoZChallenge

Triangle Lake – Oregon 3/3 #AtoZChallenge #T

Here comes the third and my last post on the Oregon travelogue series. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t. The third part is Triangle Lake. Google provides this image which is a bird’s-eye view of the Triangle Lake.

Source: Google Image Result

Now, people don’t normally visit or bookmark this place as a part of their travel. It lies in the middle of nowhere, and is on the way to Siuslaw National Forest. That’s how we “bumped” into this beauty. From high up the hills of Siuslaw’s peaks, this forms a nice pretty view of the “valley” like all usual hikes. But what struck the chord for us, was the time of the day. It was dawning and the sun had not risen yet when we hit this road. We were mostly sleepy except to peek at the alertness of one who was driving. It was too early to be hungry but the outside air was fresh nevertheless. I was the passenger in the front and tried to keep myself awake to keep the driver awake, for the safety of the vehicle. Yes, there was no doubt I was trying to rant and ramble despite the calm morning. That kinda reminded me how difficult it could actually get, to talk when you don’t want to. Talking is also difficult man. I mean how do the RJs do it so well at 6am? They also take it upon themselves to wake people up to rise and shine. Talent indeed! My friend totally got my vibes and played along because all the rambling helped putting off the sleepiness and sluggishness.

As the darkness to the right of the car was strongly endorsed by the tall trees, the driver’s side of the car slowly started opening up to some light. The day was beginning to light up, but nothing seemed to exist beyond scanty trees to our left. There was nothing. From nowhere, we saw trees and hills continuing out of invisibility. My rant stopped. So did my friend’s. For a second, I was wondering if I were awake or asleep and dreaming. It did look dreamy. I was fighting off those early morning blurs but holy, my vision was super clear like 3 minutes back! I dint want to distract my friend on the wheels, but I could not contain the excitement. With the speedometer wondering why we were not on par with the designated speed limit, we were covering the road but the invisibility had worsened. Thankfully, the road was not obstructed. If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at this pic that was captured before it got fully blown into white silence of invisibility.

Misty mornings be this calm!

That was the limit. We needed to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle. The other two sleepy-heads in the backseat also woke up to our loud curiosity. Obviously, they couldn’t sleep after. The element of fog, mist and mystery is the underrated Triangle Lake. We drove ahead into the parking lot and pulled up the car facing east. No no, my sense of direction is not sound. The sun was coming out, and that is how I was sure. All the dew drops in the leaves, and the birds in the trees had braced up for their morning work out of leaning down and flying high. Untouched beauty danced in front of our eyes like this . . .

In between the woods . . .

What might have otherwise been an ordinary lake on our way to a destination in our road trip, turned out be a show-stopper! Perhaps, all of us needed to revisit the chapter of perspectives and aesthetics in life. Never undermine anything in life just because something dint seem glamorous or attractive on the outside. Maybe the sun and the stars had not aligned to give you the best view. More so, maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. That does not make the place any less pristine. That doesn’t make the actual view any less beautiful. When you visit a place, get into its soul and understand its character. And it will offer you more than you can imagine. Apart from surreal views and calm, the Triangle lake obliged to give us some amazing pictures like the ones below. There is so much symmetry in there. If you observe closely, you would not know if the subjects are looking at the camera or away from it. I guess the sun and the mist did the magic on this beautiful day! It was magically intuitive . . .

Think about it. Are they looking at the camera?

More often than not, photographers plan their mind, and plan trips to capture the beauty of this planet. I guess places offer you, what they wish to show on the very day you are present there. They are characterized by terrific mood swings. Until we understand that, we will remain the most ignorant species on Earth. One more on the perspectives . . .

Endless silence.

Part 1 of Oregon Travelogue.
Part 2 of Oregon Travelogue.
This post is 20/26 of AtoZChallenge

All the images used in this post are personal, and subject to copyright infringement if used without the permission of this site owner.

Siuslaw National Forest – Oregon 2/3 #AtoZChallenge #S

I am going to spice this up with some pictures for Oregon is a photographers’ paradise. Of course I can’t do justice to the 3 GB card of images, but my favorite few that would show the place well, is posted here. This blog post is the next part of my Oregon travelogue series. Refer to the first post here if you haven’t read it yet.

Part 2 of the three-part Oregon series is Siuslaw National Forest, a treasure in the bustling rainy state. Located on the midpoint of the northwest capital Portland and Eugene, Siuslaw stretches across with its sand dunes and vegetation,backed by the water-bed of the Pacific. En route to the forest, we halted at a small dock area that had a lot of recreational boats and other water sport activities. It was meant for private boats and jet boats and thus people seemed to rush to the area right in the morning to secure a space for their boats. The day dint feel too hot, probably because it was not even 9 am, and the fact that we were so close to the waters, chilled the air. We were the only car looking for a petite parking lot surrounded by thumping RVs. Every time I spot an RV on the road, my bucket list pops up in my head to add the same old unfulfilled item. RVs trailing the boats on the road are a scary scene, that leaves the smaller cars speeding past them as though they are trembling in fear of the RVs size. Here is a picture that summarizes the first leg of the day, where I am already lost into the morning scene.

Flamboyant visuals

After a trailer of the coast’s beauty, we got back on the road heading towards the actual national forest. We dint quite know what was up ahead the curves but isn’t that the intention? Get on the road. Turn and twist as it bends. Enjoy the views. Explore what it offers. Road trips are similar to life philosophies. You can’t always plan until the last psi of your tire. It is best enjoyed when you take it as it comes. Guarded by tall conifer-like trees, we were clueless as to why the roads were narrowing up the hill. But the kaleidoscope views that the bridges and the tunnels offered us, was beyond description. Here’s your sample.

Tunneling through our inhibitions and bridging our gaps with nature . . .

One by one, the scenery on our two sides, started to withdraw themselves, as though the curtain was raising to the actual show. Few trees stole the view and I wouldn’t blame them. City planners have tried to come up with legible boards like the one that reads ‘CONGESTION’ in the picture below. Trust me, it is an irony. You feel more liberated and freed of the city’s congestion here.


By now, out seats had pushed us to the front, and we were holding ourselves from falling off to maintain the car’s balance on the road. World’s calmest ocean had readied to show herself to us, the minuscule fellow species, and the grand opening of the coast muted our senses, unlike a conventional stage show. Here is the spectacular moment for you, that took our breaths away.

Teach your kid sky and sea from this view, and I will donate my rods and cones right now!

Sand Dunes –

As we breathed loud to get our stamina back, we saw a bunch of sign-boards alerting us of the sand dunes ahead. For a moment we thought we were going to drive amidst the dunes, and we were thrilled that we would get some fun views like the ocean roads. Little did our minds work at that time. Sand dunes are heaps of loose sand that gather in hoards and hoards across a vegetation. The sign boards were advertisements of the ATV companies that would allow us to rent or take a ride with licensed ATV drivers. We drove to the farthest one in the stretch and finally decided to shed our laziness to get off and see what it was all about. After some splendid views, no one was ready to move, awaiting more such views. But this laziness did not last long as our group’s name was called to board the vehicle. What we enjoyed for the next 30 minutes was sheer fun driving in the highs and lows of the dunes, racing against other vehicles and motorcycles. Contrary to our intuition, it was freaking cold in there, with sun-god shining yellows and whites on our heads. After spitting the last of the sand granule out, we decked up to the treasure of this northwestern national forest – Cape Perpetua! But before we head there, here is a glimpse of the mossy sand dunes for you!


Cape Perpetua – 

Cape Perpetua, according to the geographical definition, remains the hub of tides and erosion. The park ranger at the visitor center, had told us that the timing and the day was perfect for high tides at the Thor’s well. If we reached the Thor’s well in the next 4 hours, cinematic high tide splashes would be welcoming us. It is funny how exotic locations are considered cinematic. Creators use cinema as a window to the world, and show landscapes from life. To the viewers, dreamy locations come from the celluloid.

Cape_perpetua.jpgAnyway, the short trail to the rocks of erosion, were covered with fresh berries, and thick leaved plants and herbs. The affluence of rain water and moisture were extended up to the last lamina in every leaf. Another tunnel in the middle of the forest, made us wonder if Oregon is all about hibernation and fighting open to sunshine. The tiny berries seemed to fight the thorns, one ovule at a time before blooming into rich fullness in red and green. The camera loved the location, and started to act like a human, capturing the nuances of nature like an ordinary human eye. A yellow flower, focused out in the picture is a classic example.

When the camera turned into a traveler …

The diverse landscape and all of the vastness that Oregon offered me, made me think that anyone who visited this place, would learn to appreciate life, nature and all of the bliss around. I don’t think it spared the engineers who built the roads to the coast. The first view from the flat roads is that of the lofty mountains. As you keep driving, the road elevates and the sea becomes visible. I had never seen the coast from an elevation like that, ever before. On top of it, mountains on one side, with ocean on the other, just visit Oregon I say! And the engineering marvel of the road smoothly tilts the farther side of the traffic for a seamless view. So your scenic view does not get obstructed or overshadowed by vehicles on the opposite lane. Did the engineer’s aesthetic sense just get refined in this heaven? Or was it the mountains that asked for a better view of their wavering neighbor?

The way back is the longest!

After having waited for every other wave, like a  seashore, we still wanted to stay there and never go back. It would have been at least an hour since we had talked to each other. Nature silenced us. Rather humbled us. We gave each other a hesitant look after the pop up of google flight reminder. We wanted to undo that act and continue not talking to each other. We hated each other for an unknown reason at that moment. Maybe it was the splashing waves, or the towering mountains. Nobody stopped us though. But we had to go back! To our lives, to the routine and the challenges. To face them better this time. To live life!

But Siuslaw let us take one last look as we parted the forest, trust me we remained silent for longer . . .


Part 1 of Oregon travelogue.
Part 3 of Oregon travelogue.

This post is 19/26 of AtoZChallenge

All the images used in this post are personal, and subject to copyright infringement if used without the permission of this site owner.

Quotient #AtoZChallenge #Q

Meeva: Do you like that song Abu?
Abu: Yes Meeva! I like that green frock that the actress wears.
Meeva: Me too! You know those circles she makes? The dress looks so pretty with those flowers!
Abu: Yellooooooooow flowers! That dress goes around with her. She has sunflowers all over her! Will the bees come for those flowers and sting her Meeva?
Meeva: You silly! Those flowers are not real. The tailor uncle stitches flowers on her green dress.
Abu: (Wide-eyed in awe) Oh! So they don’t smell good?
Meeva: They don’t have any smell of the real flower. Maybe they smell of the ice-cream that the actress spills on them? (chuckled the elder sister)
Abu: (Giggles as they run back home holding hands)
Simba looks up at the sisters as Meeva enters the house followed by Abu. To him, their frock fantasies, make-up manias, and jewelry jealousy were all worthless. Video games. They are the real deal-breakers. Why do these girls giggle and run around ignoring so much fun? He looked down. And continued building the tallest roof-scraper.

Twelve years later …
Abu did not speak to Meeva. Nor did Simba. They just did not know what to tell her. Just when the adolescence had given them the arrogance of an assumed adult, life suddenly withdrew their pride, as Meeva was robbed of her mother. Aunt Garni was sweet, and always dear to Abu and Simba, although not pet sorts. At her mother’s loss, their silence dint matter to Meeva, for she felt silenced for the rest of her life.

A year later ….
Narul: I know that the loss is terrible. But you must live for Meeva! She is a child. Her loss is nothing compared to any of ours Cyril!
Cyril: (weeping) I know! I may be the eldest of us all Narul. But I feel like a weak child. It is so painful! Sometimes, Meeva is the mother I lost in Garni. I don’t know what to do!
Narul: Listen up! I don’t think this endless grief is taking the two of you anywhere. Do you trust me?
Cyril: What are you talking Narul? It’s my extended family that is all left for me in this life! Have I ever done anything to prove you otherwise?
Narul: Okay, don’t get emotional now! I just needed your assurance. Do as I say. Book tickets to my place. Stay here for a week. After that, leave Meeva here with us, and you go back. Let her continue her education and career here. You go and stay with Midiga until then. Meeva needs a change of place. Midiga is equally grieving! Console her. Powin and I, will take care of Meeva like our own daughter Abu. Abu and Simba will also love having Meeva around.
Cyril: But how …. (interrupted by Narul)
Narul: You trust me don’t you, Cyril? You guys deserve only the best!
Cyril: Okay. I will book the tickets and let you know.
Narul: Listen! Don’t tell Meeva all of our plans.
Cyril: But she will be shocked again Narul!
Narul: Pleasantly this time … Okay you both take care until then! (hangs up the phone)
Cyril was not sure what awaited in this journey, for his little girl. He just gave in and decided to let faith do the rest.
On the other side of the receiver, Narul trembled and looked at Powin nervously. She smiled reassuringly and brought back Narul’s good faith.

Abu: It was just too embarrassing you know?
Meeva: Why so Abu? He just likes you and he came and told you right? Why would you feel so nervous and embarrassed about it?
Abu: I don’t know! His proposal did not seem genuine Meeva. He was trying to create a scene. He seemed to try to seek attention. I mean everyone’s attention, not just mine. It did not seem like my feelings mattered to him at all!
Meeva: Do you feel so because he was loud and it was outside the library where lot of people walked by? Did he not meet your standards of proposal?
The question struck Abu like a pin’s prick. For a moment, she was taken aback by Meeva’s directness.
Abu: No no! That’s not the point Meeva! His feelings did not seem genuine or honest! You know the vibes you get with new people? It did not feel good! It’s not even the impression!
Meeva: Hmm! I know not your stand! You are the best judge! But I must confess. I haven’t had even a single proposal all my life. I do have a lot of guy friends, but nobody ever proposed to me. Not even “on the surface” like you mention.
Abu: (Quickly grasping the gravity of the situation) You have gotten some amazing friends Meeva! These guys that I have met, are not real. They don’t yet have  a character of their own! Their age is just taking rides on them. But your friends are real. They stand by you always! No wonder they deserve your comradery!
Meeva never looked at it that way. It brought in a whole new perspective to her. She looked at Abu who seemed lost in her own thoughts.
Meeva: I think I get why that proposal dint get through you.
Abu and Meeva smiled and winked at each other. Abu decided it the best time to open up her long due question.
Abu: Hey Meeva! You aint mad at me or Simba for that matter right? I mean we did not even reach out to you during …. you know …
Meeva: My mom?
Abu dint blink a drop. Meeva continued.
“Abu. We are all growing up and learning now. You just taught me how to look for depth in a person. All this time with you both here, gives me so much calm and hope. And I am grateful to Narul uncle for this!”
Abu: Any other daughter might have thought that their uncle separated her from her distressed father. But, you! You are awesome!
Meeva and Abu felt a sense of relief and connect, as they held their hands and walked back home to check if Powin needed help with something. Simba enters after a tiring match, and gives them a nasty look.
“What are you girls up to? Shopping? Or useless gossiping? You are both such a waste of time!”

Meeva smiled at Abu. Time had never wheeled for the cousins. But their quotients? Definitely!

This post is 17/26 of AtoZChallenge.

Perseverance #AtoZChallenge #P

Halfway through this challenge, I must confess and document about what goes behind this endeavor. What started as a child’s bubble, has grown to become a vent spot, a habit, a passion, an obsession, an addiction and a dope. But the good thing about this is that, it does not hurt you. It does not hurt anyone, if you do it right. Bloggers across the world suited up their sleeves to take this challenge head on, and I joined the bandwagon. Hey what is this challenge? Is there a theme to it? Should it be a story? Or perhaps a submission? What does it even mean to do it everyday? There is no hard and fast theme necessary. But if you like, you can stick to a theme. Beware of the consistency challenges ahead in that case. The submission is the promise you keep up to give yourself a good sleep every night. No one watches over you. No one would ask you if you dint do it. You might even get over it in a day if you abandoned it. But if you did stick around, it would make a world of difference to you and this world. The bigger question is the last one …

What does it even mean to do it everyday? 

It means you are not letting yourself down. As the day begins, your mind starts to observe the world keenly, and tries to make mental notes, in the hope that you would be able to conceive the simplest of happenings with the best of words. The discipline of channeling your thoughts to your device’s screen is a favor you are doing to your mind. In the long run, it is going to improve your observance, calmness and helps organize your thoughts. Of course, all of this is personal experience. But I am sure my fellow bloggers go through a similar cycle of emotions. The perseverance this challenge builds in you, is enormous. I mean it is just amazing to see people carry a theme, and make time in a day, to do such grammatical justice to their conviction. It speaks volumes of their blogging integrity. It humbles me to pay massive respect to the macrocosm of this determination.

I had a splendid coincidence today, as I decked up to write about this perseverance. And I stumbled into this body builder/fitness model’s answer to a similar question, and I was blown away. Apparently this person is an author/writer too. Writing doesn’t spare most passionate souls I guess. Well, it made my day, and gave me more than what meets the eyes. I think you should read it too!

How will my life be different if I go to the gym every day?

So I have decided to pause, and honor my progress and also give a shout-out to my peers, as we gear up for the second innings. As a token of this milestone, I am going to share some of the best AtoZChallenge posts/series that have kept me going over the past two weeks. I like to highlight the bird’s-eye view of the sweat and sweet that doesn’t peep through these transparent screens. What gets posted as the final public draft, is the brain child of a whirlpool of words, disciplined distractions and fearless focus. I have shared my experience of reading these pieces. So do yourself a favor, and go over these pearls of writing.

No matter how old we grow, we know that we are those insatiable kids on the inside. Outside Perception’s series captures amazing anime/non-anime movies and a bit about their experience watching it. Trust me, I have added most of them to my list for unknown always expands like an ocean. Keep it going fella!

Oh, this author series is fueled by passion and military discipline. Seriously! I am an avid reader. So, every post of Dhivya’s alphabet, dragged me into caves of research about the authors and their bestsellers. My browser knows exactly my mood when I type in the letter ‘g’ and obligingly opens Goodreads instead of Google. What amazes me more, is her grit to read up books for writing up posts for this challenge. Isn’t that some level of tenacity? While all this goes behind the scenes, the platter is so pleasingly presented in the form of the title she is about to discuss, the author’s history and her first memories while reading the book. An organized approach that teaches us efficiency and passion management. Hats off Dhivya! And thanks for filling in me with great authors and books!

Blind man does not bluff love, most of all. This series is an example to bring in front of your eyes, all the cracks and crevices of emotions that travel towards love, despite the blind and unconditional blend this emotion expresses. This blogger has been published by THE HINDU (A leading and most demanded newspaper in India) for the simplicity and ingenuity of the theme. Give it a read, and a nice breeze will sweep past your heart.

Vid Dev can sing the letters together apart from penning them down to express her thoughts. Her series is a tribute to some of the finest stalwarts of Indian Classical Music. Some of these lost pearls, are a source of inspiration and their works involve a lot of math sans the music that has been commonly recognized. Read on, and discover some millennial passions!

Aratrika’s blog is all about taste buds. It is not just another food blog that talks about a restaurant menu or a home-made attempt. This blog is window shopping in beast mode. The moment you click the link to read on, your fingers reach the pocket to make sure you brought your credit card without fail! This personifies the inner demon that kills our convictions with cravings. Now, that is the success of this writing. That said, if not for such relish and cherish, what else is life about?

This author brings to us the charm of south India – Madras! The Petrichor and the flavor of this city, is depicted throughout the posts. It is the perfect tribute to the common thought – “Chennai is a city; Madras is an emotion” [Chennai was formerly called Madras]. For the love of madras, these posts will remain close to my heart!

This series is by far the most challenging one. Mommy bloggers are on the rise, but to stick to a 26-day commitment to write, deserves mountainous respect and a special mention. Through this series, this mommy describes the different emotions and the happenings that surround motherhood, in the modest of ways possible. Three cheers!

What shows up as a child’s kindergarten alphabet chart, is actually a thriller story from this talented writer. Imagine having to come up with a story everyday. To a normal blogger, the absence of surprise of the next word might seem like a loophole. In real, that is the biggest confinement to a writer’s mind. But Iain is undeterred about any of these, for his writing style, attention to details and the language keeps you hooked to the alphabet killings. Health alert – Those with a sensitive heart/brain conditions, are advised to binge-read this series for the author knows the technique of pinching your curiosity nerve and watching it dance in anxiety. Another must-read series for upcoming writers!

This is a specialty food blog that has tested and tried out recipes for the kitchen scientists out there. The signature of this blogger’s posts, is the originality and the innovative dishes she tries out. Taste-worthy reads!

Kavya’s ARR series documents some of the best songs of the Oscar-winning south Indian musician A. R. Rahman (aka) ‘Mozart of Madras’! This man goes out of his ways to establish music as a language, sans language. Hear his songs more than once, and you will know what I am talking about!

What’s a challenge without a Harry Potter reference? Yes. This series is a celebration for the HP maniacs and readers alike. The blogger brings to life all the nostalgic spells and the terminologies used by mistress Rowling. And sure he spells you to look for the next post, everyday! Aberto!

The boon and joy of womanhood and the essential gospels of a modern-day woman, has been neatly captured by this woman blogger. An intense interplay of the traits that would guard a woman, is the take away of this series.

Roma’s series is an intricate love story, painted with the hues and shades of the protagonists. Lovers world across would be of this love story with all the highs and lows it presents.

Sneha’s pensive series is like the diary of a calm lass, who sneaks in through her busy day for rampant sketches and sayings. These are a precious remnant of her blogging journey. It gives you an opportunity to slow down and smell the fragrance of the flowers, as you wait at a traffic light to take part in the long day ahead!

Zarahatke’s interviews are page turners of failure and success stories. Women from a realm of industries and fields are interviewed to discover a side of their life that the real world has no idea of! Commendable efforts!

Archana’s blog is like that mind voice which we all mute down to keep going at the day. She unravels the hidden agenda and confronts the reader’s self, and that is the success of this blog that connects out to the reader in more than one ways. Give it a shot! Motivation is the mantra of this age!

Rajmi’s series is unique. It is like the secret thanks all of us whisper into thin air. It is the hoard of her fulfilled bucket list that spreads a sense of contentment to the writer and the reader. Simple, sensible and smile worthy!

Inspiration gets insipid, if we do not learn to look around. In the lives of every person around us, life throws a million lessons to each one of us. And bloggers like Uma seize those daily lessons and give them words and shape. Read her series, and look out your window – who knows? Maybe your next inspiration is that old lady walking her pet dog!

Jansdoodles blog is about everything. There is inspiration. There is love. There is venting out. And then there is hobby! Apt to the title, it comes from the bottom of their heart, and reaches out to you, in no time!

Who would have thought this space could be used to express your thoughts to your family? Well IfsButsAndSetcs has made it possible with a series of letters to her son.

I was so hoping to find at least one travelogue series, as I frantically browsed through different other genres. And PolkaJunction showed itself as an Indian hideout. Travel across this incredible country through the eyes of this traveler. Remember, with every travel, you discover yourself!

Soothing poetry left to the interpretation of the reader, is the theme of RashmiAndI’s blog. Crisp and courageous communication seems to be the mood of these poems.

Anmol Rawat seems to fill the space with independent short stories of various genres. Again, a commendable effort that deserves to be humbly enjoyed!

Standing away from the noise of literature, poetry and other niche, this blog ambitiously educates about the do’s and don’ts in the retail industry. A bit of knowledge outside of our forte, is always handy. You would never know when it would be put to use. When the time comes, you will just be silently thankful!

Lance is a square peg in a round hole. Amidst people who squeeze their nerve cells to live up to the challenge, this author comes up with two posts for every letter. How would you react to that level of ambition? I’d suggest, click the link and read on!

Teerthadhanam’s series is all about classic cinema [Hindi and Tamil]. Some of the gems of yesteryear geniuses with a brand new perspective, is a refresher to read about and go to, for a second watch. Go for it!

True to its name, super shanki writes about the little big things that he encounters in a day. The catch is that his posts bring a smile or at least a chuckle on the reader’s face and that credits to his hilarious style of writing. Now that said, watch out for his intellectually stimulating reviews of some of the finest movies of Tamil cinema. His reviews are a creators’ delight for he notices the prick of a pin and documents its significance to the concept and the movie. I find it thoroughly enlightening. I am sure you will. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and take a shot at his wit!

To the readers out there, thank you all for keeping us going. To my peers, please keep this going until the finish line. It’s okay if you are behind. It’s okay if one of your blogs seems short or less intense. It’s okay to have double standards and also meet them. End of the day, it makes you happy, and that’s what matters.

This post is 16/26 of AtoZChallenge.

Oregon 1/3 – Crater Lake National Park #AtoZChallenge #O

Oregon commemorates the inception of my travel diary in this space. A long pending one! I would not want to endorse a place as such, because everyone’s sacred space varies, and it is their right to choose their own. Oregon is not a must see place, it is just a must experience place! To me, it remains the sanctum sanctorum of the United States of America. One good that thing that happened to america, spells 6 letters in that order – O-R-E-G-O-N. Unable to get over the look and feel of the three spots I visited in Oregon, I am going to blog my experience in multiple posts, for this beauty has won to become a pageant after multiple rounds of selection criteria. So, free your mind. Put your shoes on and buckle up. Ready to travel?

Kerala, a coastal southern state in India is fondly called “God’s own country”. On the lines of the coconut state, Oregon can be deemed as a poet’s paradise. Walk in with your life, and walk out as a writer for life. Tall trees, deep blue ocean waters that whitened towards the darker rocks, coarse sand dunes, and a 2000 ft deep crater lake, Oregon is a wonderland, and a home to a planet in itself. There is the desert like sand dunes just bordering the pacific waters, and then there are the mountains competed by tall trees. From the tallest tree to america’s deepest lake, Oregon scales heights of adventure and astounding beauty.

Getting off of the Eugene airport was the easiest choice since the road to the Crater Lake National Park seemed like a shorter drive. As you get closer to the wonder, your phone loses its tower signals and that is the best beginning of a trip anyone could ask for! If you paid attention to the vegetation and the character of the road en-route the lake, you will realize that your anxiety mounts with the elevation. And when we stopped the car to take the farthest view of the crater on our left, there was forest fire on the right hand side. We were lost between earth, water and fire, all at once! First things first. Take a good look at the forest fire before it burns out [Wow what does nature do to you? So much courage and counter intuition when a forest is burning?] That’s right. We did not want the fire to subside until we got a good view and info about how these fires happen in the area.

Enroute the crater lake
Postcard greetings!

The yellow morning that mesmerized us while on the way to the Crater Lake was the country side that seemed like one of those pages directly pulled out of the fairy tale books. As we approached the lake waters, the blue shades were starting to show themselves. The fringes and the frills of the blue frocks several feet below us, was painted by the dragging boat motors. And the white boats decorated the blue waters like the froth on a cup of creamy coffee. As I stared into the still blueness, there was this childish urge to dip a feather into the ink and sweep the sky with an all blue rainbow.

Blue frills

It reminds me of the lyrics from a famous Tamil song.

Andha vaanam varaya .. neela vannam .. En kaadhal varaya .. enna vannam?

[It takes blue(s) to paint the sky … What would it take paint my love?]

A lot of National Parks in the US are hyped for business. But all that’s only until you grasp the perspective. What you see through your eyes and what you go through in your veins is no one else’s fantasy or fanaticism. Not a lot of people found crater lake to be as mesmerizing as I did on that day. And then there were returning people. The center of the crater was the silence in a cacophony. Irrespective of the degree of craziness, the hole rapt everyone’s attention, with its still and calm. The moment you learn to master soft speech, you start ruling the ambiance with your communication.  Until that point, there was a lot of peppy music and leg pulling in the car. The journey towards the center of the lake, can be divided into pre and post first look, much like a movie. After looking at the palette of the hottest spectrum color, our minds were doting on the bowl of blue, and refused to send any signals to the vocal nerves. The calm normally comes after the storm. For a change, this calm was after the blue balm.

The wheels revoked their screeches and decided to play along, as we approached the visitor center. They did not seem to have a lot of interesting events planned for the day. Not that we were interested in any form of human interaction, it was just a courtesy drop in from our end. We had options to go to the hill at the center, and maybe take a ride in the water and see it all up-close. I’m glad we decided against it for it was too beautiful to be touched. At least I had not gathered the romance in me yet.

Although I have lost count of the number of times I have used blue in this travelogue, I promise that there is not the slightest exaggeration. Eyes don’t lie man. That blue is unique. It is precious. It is a jewel in the crater cup. Earth seemed to flaunt her blue stoned finger ring in the northwest of North America. The blue gotta be conserved, and protected. It would be even better if it were untouched. That’s what it tries to convey – touch me not! With the darkness and the calmness of the water’s blue, you get a sense of contentment that filled you at the first sight. Maybe it was love at first sight for you just like me. But you want to leave it a virgin. Because it gives a pristine feel. You don’t mess with such serenity. If you don’t trust my blue experience, ask the rocks. They have been married for over a century now – 117 anniversaries to be precise with the 117th one coming up in a month from this Earth day, and even now, lady blue chuckles at the first step of a rock. The dark rocks surround the waters all year long but are not allowed to touch the blue. All that the rocks get to touch and roll over, are the algae green that extends as a patch of coral green, until it turns into inky blue. Virgin blue is a smart lady. She tricks the rocks into believing that she is not yet ready. If she is not ready for the rocks yet, aren’t we all farther from the rocks?

Virgin blue that shies away from the rocks bordered by the algae green

Part 2 of Oregon Travelogue.
Part 3 of Oregon Travelogue.

This post is 15/26 of AtoZChallenge.
This post is a submission to ‘The daily Post’s’ weekly photo challenge.
It is a tribute to mother earth, as her birthday approaches on Earth day on 22nd April.
This post is a submission to ‘The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt
Today’s prompt is chuckle.

All the images used in this post are personal, and subject to copyright infringement if used without the permission of this site owner.

Naarthangaai #AtoZChallenge #N

Out of the 26 options available in the English language, at least one ought to be a food post right? This is the one. Did you ever experience a food coma after some cheesy oily pizza and pasta? All you parent mommies out there, I am sure you would have had morning sickness during your first trimester (at least). Did you feel the need to have something that would give you instant relief from your gastric and bloating? Travel bugs, senior citizens, pregnant women, indigestion cramps, who else and what not? There is an angel out there who answers everyone’s calls and that’s Naarthangaai aka the citron. It is a mandatory item in South Indian shelves, and is considered a dead lift agent in every household.

The aroma is medicinal and inviting. It looks and tastes very similar to lemon, but the citron has a unique flavor that works on call for all of the troubles thrown by the stomach. Greenish skin that peels off in ease, dry epidermis, and a juicy interior flaunts its flavor upon cutting it open, citron is our dear mitron (if you do not know the significance of this word mitron, I urge you to – Mitron ). Yes Citron is a favorite friend. Ironically, we don’t want to hang around Citron all that often because Citron’s continued demand means there is an ongoing trouble in the system. Now that we have an idea about it, let us look at some lip smacking citron recipes.

Naarthangai saadham [Citron Rice]

Very similar to the traditional lemon rice, wash and rinse the rice pellets before pressure cooking. Upon release, temper the rice with mustard seeds, lentils, curry leaves, Asian Indian green chili, hing powder, turmeric and salt. Once the rice cools to lukewarm, squeeze the citron cuts on the rice and mix it to homogeneity. Those who have tasted this recipe should have already conquered the mild citron sweetness in addition to a lemon rice’s sour that haunts them right now.

Uppu Naarthangai [Salted Citron]

This is a go to snack for the in-digested souls. Yes. You read it right. Upset stomachs can afford snacks? Remember citron is our mitron, so the answer is an undisputed yes. The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. Citron balls are cut to pieces, and sun-dried after adding turmeric and salt to the juicy flesh. That’s about it. No oil, no tempering, flavoring or detailing. All the flavors get imbibed in its tissues, on exposure to sunlight. It is dried to an arid outer skin and is believed to stay edible for several years when it is maintained cold. Ceramic pots are known to be the signature citron containers in traditional households. Be sure to always have a back up at home. It can cure diarrhea and constipation alike. Pregnant keep smelling this magic ingredient to relieve themselves of the morning sickness. With yogurt rice, this is typically a go to medicine without side effects.

Naarthangai Oorugai [Citron pickle]

Now this is a luxurious version of the previous recipe. There is room for some glamor in the name of gingelly oil and spices. With glamor, comes a price and that is the preparation. Fenugreek and hing are dry roasted and powdered to finesse. Aroma is waiting to be added. Meanwhile, salt and spice blinks at the citron from inside the jars. So take them both and grind them to fine powder [dry red chilli and sea salt]. Mix the aroma and the spices together and set the stage for some absorption. Similar to the previous recipe, cut the citron to pieces, and add the prepared powder. Make sure to mix them well for an unbiased mixture. Warm the gingelly oil to mild heat, and pour it over the flavored citron. Of course watch the delightful seeping of the hot oil into the crevices and cracks of the citron forest. Allow it to settle down for 3-4 days, or more if you like it well immersed in the bath. Some people add more heated oil just as a preference. More oil preserves it longer. Relish the pickle with snow-white yogurt rice or piping hot plain rice. Citron redefines heaven.

Naarthangaai Pachadi [Citron side]

There are two variations to this dish. A spicy and a sweet version. In the spicy version, tamarind water bath filled with citron pieces, is brought to boil on the stove. The full becomes half, by thickening of the tamarind pool, and injecting the flavors into the citron flesh. Oil tempered mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, and hing are added to the reduced mixture and salted to taste. For the sweet version, jaggery could be dissolved in the tamarind bath and brought to boil. Without jaggery, the sour n spicy version tricks the taste buds into eating until the finish line. A perfect side to any bland main, a healthy option not to be missed.

A husband’s sister is a naathanaar to his lady. As a gesture to honor sister-in-laws’ relationship, this name, similar to naarthangai, is a metaphorical reference to a medicine like bond that needs to preserved and savored eternally. Apparently, Google requested a dessert’s name for Android last OS, and naarthangai was a favorite among the Asian Indian options. A bunch of other interesting recipes and memories can be savored, for citron is always a mitron.

This post is 14/26 of AtoZChallenge.