Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .

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Lock-Down Dairies – 8 June 20 : Will there be a growth in rural areas, reviving my old Mortar and Pestle , Minimalist kitchen

Growth in Rural Economy :

Now that the Migrants from cities are back to their villages , is it possible for the migrants to give a boost to the rural economy. While the cities now face a shortage of skilled labour , these skills are now available in small towns and villages. Would this segment of population help in setting up new businesses in rural areas. But right now  they are jobless and they are struggling with hunger too. Also heard that a lot of houses in the cities are now vacant after the migrants have vacated.

The shortage of these skills in the cities is now leading to an increase in the wages of labourers and they are in a position to demand a hike. Only time will tell what is in store for the future. Appears that the situation is going to improve the lives of rural folks , povided the government lends a hand.

Reviving my old Mortar and Pestle :

I recently joined one Facebook group named ‘Roti Pachallu’ . This group is all about making Chutneys with different veggies , lentils , greens etc. Been coming across a variety of new recipes which I never knew existed. Water melon rind chutney , Asparagus chutney , Cluster beans chutney , Tamarind flower chutney etc. All these are prepared in the traditional way using a Mortar and Pestle. My Mortal and Pestle which I bought just after my wedding was lying in the attic. Now that I am inspired by the posts in this group , I got mine down the attic and this is how it looks.

Need to spend some time curing/seasoning it , and then it is ready to be used to make chutneys. Since last one year , i have been fascinated and obsessed by the traditional ways of cooking , be it the type of Utensils or the recipes.

Minimalist kitchen :

I am also currently researching on how to achieve a Minimalist kitchen. Surely it is a more disciplined way of life and helps in having a neat and clean kitchen with minimum effort.

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Lock-Down Dairies – 2 June 20 : Covid-19 and 6 feet distance inside a car with car driver , separate plastic shield and A/C vent for every seat in the car, received my package with a plastic curtain today

I have been going to work since last 15 days. I have a car driver who drives our car. One important precaution to take during the current COVID situation is to wear a mask and also maintain 6 feet physical distance. How is this possible inside a car.

As of now , the windows of the car are lowered and we wear masks and also a face shield. This arrangement is not easy during summer ,as it is very hot and suffocating.  With the windows open ,the car interiors would get dirty too.

But I have no choice.

I am now thinking as to how I should manage during the coming monsoons when it would be difficult to open the windows.

I had ordered a plastic curtain online and received the package today.

I will be setting up this sheet as a shield inside the car. Surely the whole setup is going to spoil the car interiors  with all the sticking that is mandatory. 

This arrangement would be suffocating too, when it rains and the windows have to be closed. Our car doesn’t have A/C vents at the back seat and I am going to have a tough time during the monsoons too.

Hopefully ,all the cars in the future would mandatorily be designed and manufactured with a shield for every seat. Just like the curtains in the ICU for each bed in a hospital.

Not just a shield, but also a separate  A/C vent for each seat.

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Lock-Down Dairies – 31 May 20 : pre-monsoon showers, Mending my broken plants

In india, monsoons are awaited with excitement every year.

They have arrived in Kerala and will reach our city by the first week of June. However, we had the pre-monsoon showers this afternoon.

The temperature in Hyderabad was the highest last week and I was enjoying the cool breeze and watching the showers sitting in my balcony.

A couple of weeks ago we had a milder shower and I noticed that my cluster beans plants which were almost 3 feet in height ,had bent and touched the ground. I then shook the plants to remove all the excess water that stayed on the leaves and tied them to sticks. They got back to normalcy in a day.

This afternoon, I did watch the plants from my balcony and noticed they were bent. Very soon the downpour became severe and I missed the plants. The plants had grown much taller and stronger after I had tied them to sticks last time . But due to the heavy rain this afternoon , the plants broke just above the place where I had tied them to the sticks.

I almost cried seeing them :((. I immediately thought of all the farmers who solely depend on farming. The plight of farmers during such unforseen circumstances.

Hubby dear ,seeing my sadness , immediately searched the internet for remedies. He found a write-up where it was suggested to put a tape to the broken stem.

We immediately mended the plant. Hopefully they recover well.

They had grown to be strong, tall and healthy ,and had started flowering too. I was hoping for a good harvest.

~Wishing well for all the crops ~

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Lock-Down Dairies – 23 May 20 : Full day at work , New Boss at work

After almost 50 days of WFH , we started going to work on 5 hours shifts. Very soon after a few days we were told to work for normal hours , which is 8.5 hours for us.

Feeling very tired since two days. Have to cook/pack breakfast in the morning. Yet to get accustomed to the new routine. During the Pre-Lockdown days , I had a cook , but with this virus thing I decided to stop the cook. Yet to call the cook back to work which may not happen in the near future.

I have to be strong.

We now have a new boss at work as the earlier boss has retired. The introductory session took place today.

Got late at work and crashed early as I was very tired.

Our neighbours mangoes have ripened under the jute bag. I had one big juicy Mango as my dinner and slept early.

~Take Care folks!!~

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Lock-Down Dairies – 20 May 20 : My Official Birthday , no time for gardening :( , suffocation at work due to wearing the Mask

My Official Birthday :

Today is my Official Birthday. All Birthdays along with wishes are displayed on our Intranet Website. I have been getting several messages on Whatsapp and also from colleagues wishing me. So, I get to celebrate twice every year 🙂

Missing Spending time with my Plants :

Since I started going to work I am unable to spend any time with my plants. Missing my plants a lot. I had a wonderful time taking care of my plants during the Lockdown period.I would check the sprouting of seeds , growth of new shoots , every leaf , the buds, the flowers , the soil , water content in the soil, look for any pests , give manure , make organic pesticides and fertilizers at home . It is three days since the change has taken place and i am yet to reschedule my daily routine so I can include the plants too. It is a bit hectic now , I am busy with cooking in the morning and then I have to work from home for half a day , have to physically be at the workplace during the second half and by the time I am back home it is 7pm. Too tiring. Hopefully I will get used to the new routine soon.

The Mask woes at the workplace :

While I am in my seat in my cabin , I usually loosen the mask. However , as soon as someone enters my cabin I put on my mask. All is well in the cabin. But when there is a meeting in the conference Hall , things get difficult. The A/C is not permitted to be switched On . We need to discuss over some document that is projected on the screen. If the windows are opened , the matter on the screen is dull and not visible . It gets very suffocating inside the conference room. Speaking with the mask ON is also not comfortable to many. The voice is not loud enough and feels snuffed. Few colleagues are removing the mask when they wish to speak which is not acceptable. Some put the mask only to cover the mouth and do not cover the nose.

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Lock-Down Dairies – 19 May 20 : Gradual Unlocking of Lock-down in Hyderabad/Telangana, night curfew for 12 hours

The Lock is being opened in the city where I live. It is 55 days since Lockdown was imposed.

Initially , everything to do with Health care was open ( Hospitals, Diagnostic centers, Pharmacies) , Pharma companies , all supermarkets , Milk supplies , makeshift vegetable vendors , Non-veg selling stores were permitted to be open.

A couple of weeks ago , all Wine shops were open.

A week ago , all stores related to the construction industry were opened up. All paints , Hardware, ceramic tiles, Steel, Marble , cement stores etc were also permitted to do their businesses.

And today many more businesses are being allowed to operate. All businesses except Restaurants (dine-in) , schools, Malls, Public transport , Pubs are allowed to do their business.Even Cabs and Autos are permitted with restrictions.All private companies and Factory can work.

The economy is almost opened up.

The message is clear.

We have to learn to live with the new virus.

Got to take enough precautions and go ahead with normal life. The number of cases have been rising all over India but life must go on.

Night curfew continues to be on from 7pm to 7am. I have been coming home from work just before the curfew starts. My office timing is upto 6.30 pm and I start almost immediately . Very less traffic around this time as everyone has already reached their homes. the remaining are rushing back so as to reach before 7pm and we are among them 🙂

Everyone is speeding on the roads which may be dangerous too.

It is funny how I always had this wish that the traffic would reduce some way or the other and this is how my wish materialised :).

Although it is temporary and very soon everything will get back to pre-lockdown era.

Take care folks !!

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Lock-Down Dairies – 17 May 20 : My Face Shield , Lock-Down lunch with extended family, games we played during our childhood.

I will be going to work from tomorrow..end of Lockdown for me.

One vendor of my company had sent pictures of PPEs a while ago. One of them was the Face shield. When I had enquired he said he was supplying to Hospitals. Since I am dependent on my driver to take me to work in my car ,I thought it would be good if I can get a few of them. Luckily he agreed to give me and he promptly delivered today.

Face shield

Very light and comfortable to wear.

My brother and sisters families had decided last week to have a potluck lunch in our stilt floor today.

I made ‘Mirchi ka salan’ and ‘raita’.

Rangoli Raita 🙂

I shared this photo with my classmates from college and everyone loved the design and the appearance :). One of them even named it ‘ Rangoli Raita ‘ … sounds apt isn’t it !?.

Other items in the Menu were Biryani, fruit salad and Double ka meeta.

Enjoyed teaching and demonstrating a lot of games that we played during our childhood ,to the kids.

Pittu / Seven stones / Langocha game

Pittu/Seven stones/Langocha , 4 pillars, chain, thokkudu billa, kaccha kaayalu (5 stones) , Veeri Veeri gummadi pandu etc were some of the games that were played without buying any stuff. All are team games which we played everyday for a couple of hours after school 🙂

Kids were interested in learning and playing these games.

We started of by maintaining some distance but very soon forgot all about it. A few neighbours too were curiously peeping on hearing the laughter and noises. I had to keep telling everyone to maintain silence which was very difficult.

We all had a video call too with our parents for a while.

~ Let go and be free ~

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Lock-Down Dairies – 11 May 20 : Haircut for hubby using a trimmer, Mamidikaaya orugulu , Kalchatti seasoning

Everyone these days is talking about a haircut. Desperately looking at the alternatives. While some are feeling awkward to display their crowning glory, some are showing it off on social media 🙂 . Lots of cartoons too on social media and celebrities giving haircuts to their celebrity husband’s .

One day hubby asked me if can trim his hair. I said why not and held the trimmer for the first time. This happened 2 days ago. After learning how to use it ,I was eager to start trimming. I used a comb to help in the process. I enjoyed the process .Hubby was happy and beaming with the outcome 🙂 . Must have been a great relief. He need not take the risk of going to a barber if and when the saloons are opened. By then he would be sporting braids I guess 🙂

I selected a few mangoes from the lot that we plucked from our neighbours Mango tree to prepare ‘ Mamidikaaya orugulu’. Washed ,peeled and sliced the raw Mangoes and placed them in plates for drying. This is the best way to store Mangoes and can be used throughout the year in various recipes. Fresh amchur made at home 🙂

I got my first Soapstone vessel almost a year ago. I was not aware that before using it the vessel has to be seasoned. I quickly looked up on youtube and found a fe videos. The process was too long and confusing.O just put away the vessel and forgot about it. I rediscovered it at the back of the lowest shelf in the kitchen during the lockdown and decided to complete the task of seasoning during the lockdown. Finally, i started the process last week.

I am making a video on this whole process and will upload it on my youtube channel. Once completed I will share the link here.

This is how it looks when we buy it
Soapstone vessel after 5 days of seasoning

It looks white before seasoning and becomes blackish during the process.

Sprayed Epsom salt mixed in water on my Money plant and few other plants. Got to see how these plants react. This is the first time I am using Epsom salt for plants. Supposed to be an organic way of growing plants. I am excited to see the difference in a few days.

Take care and stay safe !!

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Lock-Down Dairies – 3 May 20  : Soapstone vessels , Chinna Rasalu (small juicy mangoes)

I had bought one Soapstone vessel almost a year ago. But before using it for cooking, the vessel has to be seasoned. I kept postponing this job till the lockdown happened and I said to myself that I will complete this activity during the lockdown. This Vessel is called as Kal chatti in Tamil and Rachippa in Telugu. A traditional utensil which has a lot of wonderful benefits.

The seasoning process is very lengthy and takes a minimum of 15 days. I am making a video on the process and will upload once completed.

Summer and Mangoes are synonymous in India. Got my hands on the first Mango of the season and enjoyed thoroughly. I like the ‘Chinni Rasalu’ variety which hubby got today.

Watched the movie ‘Parasite’ . Crazy movie which I didn’t like. But while watching the movie I realised that very recently I had come across what are called Bunkers in houses in South Korea. Wanted to know more about these and unknowingly ended up watching a movie which revolves around the Bunker in a house. Strange coincidence.

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Lock-Down Dairies : 29 Apr 20 – My Wish come true, Random Musings

I started wearing a mask since 2 years , whenever I went out. Be it to the office, shopping malls, supermarkets or any other crowded/dusty places.

I use the standard Mask sold in a Pharmacy. I hardly saw anyone wearing a mask like mine except the Medical staff. I did stand out in the crowd and I did get some glances.

It had become a very important accessory whenever I went out. I always went out in our car and made sure that there were spare masks tucked into the seat pocket and also in my handbag.

This was the best solution that I had to keep myself safe from the dusty and polluted places. Thanks to the mask I never had any respiratory issues.

When I went out ,I would see few men and women using a handkerchief or dupatta to close their noses ,to protect themselves from pollution. Most likely they too had been suffering from respiratory issues or they may be taking precautions. I would then think of all the people living in the cities driving and working in highly polluted places and I always wanted everyone to use a mask like I do. Respiratory problems have been rising in the cities all over the world.

I knew that in Japan it is very common for people to use a proper mask , especially when they are coughing and I wanted people in India to also follow these hygienic habits. I secretly kept wishing that people who see me should get inspired by me and start wearing a good mask.

Hmmm….Little did I know that the day was not too far off when everyone in the world would be wearing a mask.

I will henceforth not be getting any more stares and my wish is fulfilled.

Hopefully the pollution too would reduce with the government and citizens efforts in the future.,

Came across an article today about how one IT company ,that employs lakhs of people, is proposing to have 75% of its workforce working from home.Surely most of the other IT companies too would follow . Working from home is definitely quite effective while carrying out administrative jobs, especially with all the collaborating tools that are now available. With more jobs being carried out from home in the future the traffic should reduce and thus the pollution.

This is my wish now. Seeing most people working from home except those who are actually into core manufacturing , transportation , Medical staff, Agriculture related activity etc. Hopefully ,everyone’s dream of a healthy ,beautiful Blue planet , our only Home , will be realized sooooooon.

The invisible creature is able to control all the unnecessary spending on luxury items, unhealthy eating habits, bad habits like smoking and drinking , on unnecessary travelling etc. We now know that we can survive without all the fancy ways of living.

Majority do realize that nothing else is more important in life than just being alive !!

Uploaded my new cooking video today. Vermicelli Vegetable pulao/upma. Here is the link-

Hope you enjoyed my recipe .

~Stay Home and Stay Safe ~