Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Pazhampori | Banana Fritters | Kerala Snack | For Amateurs Like Me

Pazhampori is sliced banana fritters. My non-mallu friends all go, 'what?' when i tell them that pazhampori is banana. The banana used to make this is not common in other Indian states. It is nenthrappazham in Malayalam. The kind of bananas that are usually available in Kolkata are those we call robusta, a variety of Cavendish bananas. That's what is commonly seen in Bombay too. I get my nenthrappazham from a Malayalee store nearby and they cost Rs. 80 per kilo. Half a kilo gives me three bananas and i can make a 24 small pazhamporis. I can also eat so many by myself. *Wide grin* Sometimes that's all i eat in a day. Apart from tea. Oh by the way, for people with normal eating habits, this is a snack that is usually had with tea.

In the snack and tea shops in Kerala, the pazhamporis that you get are longer than the ones i make. Probably because they have bigger pans to fry it in. 

Slice the bananas into thin discs. Usually, i slice one banana into two first and then slice each of those slices into two. Then i cut it into half to reduce the length. So each banana gives me 8 small pazhamporis.

Take 1 cup of maida (all purpose flour)
Add a pinch of salt
Add sugar - i add 5 tsps of sugar.
Add water to it to make it into a smooth paste, the kind that can cover each banana slice. Like the dosa batter. I use a little less than 1 cup of water for the right consistency of batter. 
Put all the banana slices in this batter.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Drop in a bit of batter to see if it rises and makes the 'shhhhh' sound. If it does, it's hot enough. Keep it in medium flame.
Take the banana slices one by one, coat it in batter and gently drop into the pan. 
You can fry three or four or even more bananas at a time, depending upon the size of your pan. 
Turn the slices over to the other side after a minute. I judge it by the colour. If it is golden brown, it's done. This is in the right amount of flame. If it is too high, you might still get the right colour but the insides might not be cooked. 

Pazhampori, Kerala snack. Banana fritters

Some make it adding an egg to the batter. I tried it and hated it. It completely changes the taste and it is not for those people who don't like an added taste to usual tastes. If you know what i mean. If you are used to the egg pazhampori from the beginning there is not much change in the recipe. Break an egg into the batter and mix it well. Keep in mind that adding the egg will make the batter more loose, so keep it at a slightly thicker consistency than required before adding the egg. 

There are very few things that i make better than my mother. I have realised that pazhampori is one of them. At home, i would be the first to know when she decided to make pazhampori. The smell tells me that. No, this is not the pazhampori frying smell i am talking about. Even when she is just beginning to make the batter, i somehow smell something i associate with pazhampori. Now that i have started making them myself, i have understood what she was doing wrong. Her slices were thicker than required. Instead of 8 thin slices, she was making 4 thick slices. Also, sometimes the maida wouldn't be cooked through. Anyway, she won't have to make these anymore now because i have learnt how to. I can make it for her. I also want to find out how many she can eat.

Oh, if you haven't guessed it yet, this snack is not healthy at all. Lots of oil and things that health conscious people should keep away from

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Exterior/Day/Footpath on a busy Road in Mumbai

Every evening on my way back home from work, i get pissed with the bikers using the footpath and honking for pedestrians to make way for them. Every evening, at the end of the footpath, i see the same old woman holding the hand of a person, walking slowly in the opposite direction. Yesterday, i saw that she was alone. It is only when she held her hand in front of me, beckoning me to hold it, that i realized that she was being walked by different people every day, strangers to her, just like me. 

I thought of my mother. I felt really sad.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Shrink Tales | Revisiting Violence by Mother and Sister: Why do Families Have to be Complicated, Always?

This session ended with me telling Ish, my therapist that i was a manipulative and abusive bitch. She said that saying that meant that i wasn't manipulative. It is part of the plan, i said in my mind. That's how i work around people. I think i try to make people like me by being manipulative. If i am interested in those people. I don't like whom i call the 'accent guy' in office. [He said 'oh you are from Kerala? But you don't have an accent!,' while speaking with the accent every indian has himself] So i don't try to manipulate him to like me. I like my boss and i do try to make her like me. Also feel guilty about it later. Same with Ish. It's all part of a big plan to make everyone i like like me. I hope i live to see the end of it. No use people liking me after i am dead, i suppose.

During therapy, Ish asked me if my reason to try and be like my sister was because i thought Appan would like me better if i was like my sister. It could be true. That's the reason why i started reading, learning english etc. The two of them seemed to be having so much fun talking about books and language and everything. I was a child, but i didn't know that. So i felt i was not fully equipped to talk to Appan. I must have decided to work on it. I succeeded too and i was proud of it.

But it's also true that i didn't feel good about me being liked more than my sister. I always felt that my mother liked me more than her and i did not like it. I did not like it when my sister felt bad about me playing chess, winning tournaments. How my father and mother did not have money to enroll her into any classes she liked, like dancing. By the time i was in the enrollment-in-extra-curricular-activities stage, something every middle class indian family has fun doing, my mother had money to do that. [My father was dead by then.] In fact, i 'retired' from chess when i was winning tournaments because i felt bad about my sister and also because my mother had started abusing me when i lost games.  

I uploaded on Facebook the picture of me confronting L about rape. My mother called me a day later and she was crying. I guessed that she must have seen the picture on Facebook. I wondered if what i was doing was right. Felt very bad hearing her cry. I told her that i was going to mallu land for a talk later that month. She cheered up a bit. I always feel bad for my mother thinking of what i made her go through. Then i feel hatred towards myself. But i will not be able to stop upsetting her because when i speak there is at least one woman somewhere out there, who finds courage to speak up, confront and fight. I owe it to her. 

During and after therapy last week i thought about Ish's comment on cat calling. I wanted to tell her that cat calling was not a compliment in any manner. It's like equating rape with sex. I thought about my own dependency. Tomorrow, if Ish were to say something that offended me, wouldn't i continue taking her help? Isn't that what i did in all abusive relationships? I also happened to read an article about the relation that a black person had with their white therapist and how the therapist was being racist. While thinking these, i got scared that Ish will stop believing the things i say, like everyone else, because i questioned them. Or did not agree with them on some front. Thought of NN's mother who is a therapist and her comments about Dalits.

Inji Pennu. I have not been able to understand her fully. And sometimes when i don't understand her i get angry with her in my mind. I have exhibited that anger once in public. So I can understand why a lot of people hate her. The problem becomes political when the hatred towards her is used to derail a larger cause that she or anyone stands for. My family falls under the category of people who hate her. They are also extremely jealous of her. I have no idea why.

The week took a downward spiral towards the end. I posted on Facebook about some of the abuse that i faced at the hands of my mother and sister. It has been hell after that. Everyone questioning me. My partner, my friends, Calico, Inji was the only one on my side, who in fact felt that there was a need for me to post that. She was the one who asked me to, if i could do it, pointing out how it was against #HugHadiya women. I questioned myself several times before doing it. And i did it. 

Mother attacked with emotional blackmailing. Sister with the usual cold 'i couldn't care  less' interspersed with emotional blackmailing. She sent a suicide note to me, blaming me for it. I immediately sought help. Even contacted her colleague who said that she had noticed that my sister had been very irregular at work, lately. I am worried about her. But there is absolutely no way i can help her now because she is neck deep in hatred for me. 

Meanwhile, during this ordeal, i thought  of suicide once again. First time after the last attempt. Whenever Mother starts one of her call her repeatedly till she is forced to pick the call, with messages i between asking to pick, i get very scared and feel like my tormentor is right next to me. Earlier these messages would be in bad language, sometimes with swear words. Or just 'edukkedi'. I cringe when i even think of it. Even while writing my eyes water. When all that started again, the exasperating conversations in which Mother says even more bizarre things, i thought of how it would be for them both if i had died. I thought that they would be relieved that they wouldn't have to deal with the only person who says nasty stuff about them, accuses them of abuse. Life would be easy for them, i caught myself thinking. 

I thought of getting an earlier appointment with Ish but decided against it. I can manage, i thought. It has now been two days since Mother spoke to me. The last thing she said to me was that other parents had done even worse things, probably and they were still liking my post on Facebook. I don't get hurt because she is saying that. I get hurt thinking that she is not getting the problem with saying something like that. It hurts me that when she is with Sister, she will never be questioned or made to understand what is wrong or even offered help. I really do care for my mother even though i have not been there for her when she wanted me. I have even forgotten how to express my love to her. [Eyes just watered again.] I am really sad that she is so alone, doesn't have a companion. 

Vai Vow got a high paying job and i am elated. Also jealous, but very little. I am very happy about him and i think that he will get immersed in work and will be able to forget me soon. I texted Mother. I hope she replies. I want to help her. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Thorn Birds: Relevant Notes

Magie - A frame from the miniseries, The Thorn Birds.

Part 01
Very interesting. The owner of the farm - rich independent woman who seems to have a crush on the priest. The priest who wants to be the perfect priest. The young girl who is discriminated against for being a girl. It also seems as though the young girls in the place are also attracted to the priest (the beauty competition winner) He says, as reply to the young girl 'wouldn't want to upset/make jealous my best lady.' Sounded weird [towards the end of the first part.]
The old rich woman who clearly controls everything. (It is made to look unusual and cruel because it is a woman. also seems to be acting strange around the father's relationship with the young girl. I don't want to spoil your special 'arrangement' with emphasis on arrangement she says when she learns that the father has given a room for the girl in the parsonage. Really strange. But it is not badly made. Not at all.

The 'thorn bird' gives its life for just once. The best is only at the cost of great pain. The rich woman accuses that the priest's intentions with  the girl are not good. He is infuriated.  
Cardinal's robe. The priest confesses that he had eyes on her wealth and contacts. The youngest boy dies. Magie also has a church of her own where she prays. Like the woman in 'Sins'. The girl says she will grow up and marry the priest so that they can mate. The priest says he is a priest and he can't marry (wrong thing to say). She says he can stop being a priest anytime he wants. He says 'no'. Changes topic. The old woman is observing them. 

People cast glances at the priest when he places his hand on the girl's hair. The girl feels ignored and cries seeing that the priest is not talking to her properly. The woman (75) asks him to kiss her on her mouth. Says she loves him. Always have. He says he is still a priest. She says she is still young inside. [I predict she is going to die this night as i write while watching]
What you musn't do is dreaming of me in a romantic fashion - we've been through this before. Horse scene. 
[My prediction just came true. She is dead.]
Ha ha. That wicked old intelligent woman. She gave the man a temptation as her will. [I predict he will accept the cardinal's post.]
[My prediction came true.]
The priest says it is better this way because he won't  have to marry her to someone else or watch her change into something he can never have. He hates it that she grew up because he can't have her now. He could have her when she was a child. They kiss. The he does the 'I can't' thing and runs away. She however is happy. Says 'go to that god of yours but i know you'll come back to me because i'm the one who loves you.'
[P.S I like the theme music a lot.]

When the priest reaches Sydney, the older senior priest asks him if he loved all of that family alike or someone more than the other. He says that he loved the girl in particular. Felt responsible for her. That her parents sometimes forgot she existed. [Indicative - The higher officials were aware or that there were rumours of some sort.]

A younger priest is given a punishment transfer to a small parish somewhere for being 'disobedient' by breaking his vows of celibacy. The young girl should not know where you have been sent. This, our hero priest says. 'I think I know something of the pain you are feeling. You know how many in your situation might have given up the church but you have chosen to remain and it takes a great deal of courage. May god bless you for it.'

The girl gets married. The priest gets a high position like a bishop or something. 

Part 5 of 7
Lady Chatterly's lover. The lady gives Henry Miller reading list to Magie. To get herself pregnant. Magie tries to get herself pregnant. The arch bishop and Magie have sex. The priest goes back. 

Part 6 of 7
The son wants to be a priest. 
Father and son they are. They even look alike. 

Part 7 of 7
Election of new pope - I think actual footage. Nice. 
Son dies. A tragedy in the beach where the sister and her lover reunite. She even sees people gathering around a corpse but does not recognize that it's her brother. Father/priest dies. Daughter goes away with her lover and would pursue theatre. So in the end there is just the daughter she hated to take it (family, legacy?) forward. 

I really really liked this series.