Friday, December 02, 2022

Skywatch Friday: Contrail

Evening, I noticed a jet flight pass through the sky, leaving a contrail; it was passing at a high enough altitude to be easily missed unless you are a skywatcher. At that point, I remembered that I had a couple of contrail images from last month, and because it's Friday, I don't want to miss out on sharing them at Skywatch Friday
(Just tried a filter in photoshop)

The contrail was snapped at midday. I enjoy seeing contrails cross the sky, and I think I became attracted to them after seeing many beautiful and colorful photographs of them on social media by friends. So, if I see a flight with a contrail in the sky, I shoot it if I have my phone in hand.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Signs2: Café Coffee Day


Café Coffee Day (CCD) is an Indian multinational coffeehouse brand headquartered in Bengaluru. And this coffee shop and its sign were captured when we stopped at a petrol bunk on the Coimbatore-Salem highway during a trip. 

Café Coffee Day Global Limited Company is a Chikkamagaluru-based business that grows coffee on its 20,000-acre farms, making it Asia's largest producer of arabica beans and selling them to nations such as the United States, Europe, and Japan. 

V. G. Siddhartha founded the café business in 1996, and it quickly extended to other cities in India, with over 1,000 cafés open by 2011. Unfortunately, following the death of its founder in 2019, the company's number of cafes was reduced to 550 in various cities across India by 2021. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

My Tea Travel

Tea and rain are often combined to create an ideal time for a tea break! 

Tea has become inevitable in our daily lives, and many of us have become obsessed with its flavor and the refreshment it offers with every cup. The monsoon we are going through (right now) has become a favorite time and reason to have some hot cups of tea.

The weather in Chennai is unusually cool for the last few days, thanks to a depression in the sea that's moving slowly, and it's impossible not to compare it to the weather in hill stations or highlands; I'm mildly shivering in the open. I turn off the ceiling fans, something I rarely do in Chennai unless the weather is cool enough. A cup of hot tea would feel great. 

Actually, I was and still am a coffee enthusiast; tea came into my life in 2013 when I was bedridden for nearly two months owing to a femur fracture and cast. I sipped tea and coffee between breakfast and lunch and also took that as an advantage to sit on the bed -   I hate lying down for a long. Tea became my regular beverage.

Not that I hadn't sipped tea before, and I shouldn't forget that I'd been traveling with tea since childhood because my grandfather owned a tea shop, and my first tea may have been at his stall. I remember drinking tea solely to dip butter biscuits in; however, I liked tea when my grandfather made it personal. Tea and butter biscuits are my favorite combo.

I'm always looking for good tea, but that doesn't imply home-brewed tea is poor. When I travel, I prefer to explore different tea shops to acquire a varied taste of tea since I believe the flavor of tea varies from person to person, perhaps which is why someone who brews good tea is called a tea master. But if I see Kumbakonam degree coffee, I would land there!  

The Kumbakonam-degree coffee and Filter coffee are my favorites. If I were given a choice between tea and coffee - of the type mentioned above, I would go for coffee.

I attempted to recall some of my favorite teas, but I could think of a couple. The tea at the Waterfall Estate outlet in Valparai was one of them. Among the three journeys I took to Valparai, south India, no trip is complete without tea at the outlet. I also enjoyed a tea I drank in the Nilgiris village of Yedappalli, and the Chamraj Tea Estate outlet has the best tea. 

(Waterfall Estate's cute little hut tea outlet.)

More than a month ago, I only drank milk-made tea, which is still the same I enjoy most of the time. I'm always looking for the finest tea and the best among them. My parents drink a specific brand of tea, but I used to switch brands to taste something better and better, but after a few cups, the taste returns to the same, regardless of the brand. 

When I visited Munnar in Kerala, I made it a point to visit the Tata Tea Museum and factory - which I will write about in a separate post. I tried a different tea at their store and bought a couple of packets of KannanDevan Tea, but what I tasted there was not the same as what I tasted at home. So I understand that the method of brewing tea makes a difference. 

Some time ago, I  tried Assam Masala Tea, or Chai as it is known in other regions of India. I enjoyed the aroma of the tea, which had a little spicy flavor. And we don't make it daily because it takes time to brew, unlike the traditional approach of tea powder dropped in boiling milk. I recently bought Darjeeling tea, which I had been planning to taste for quite some time. 

I learned Darjeeling tea is the finest tea in the world, and it was even a favorite of the late Queen of England, the great Elizabeth. Darjeeling tea is organic and hand-picked to be distinct for its label, and it tastes best when made with hot water rather than milk. I ordered Darjeeling black tea from Amazon, and because it was my first time, I chose tea bags over tea leaves.

I looked for an excellent Darjeeling tea on Amazon and chose Typhoo Darjeeling Black Tea Bags, whose price seemed reasonable and dependable after reading the reviews. I'm not sure which varieties are the best because this is my first time tasting this type of tea, but I'm happy with the flavor. I always want to taste the true essence of tea, and Typho's Black Tea is delivered on that front within a few minutes of dipping the tea bag.  

Typhoo Darjeeling Black Tea Bags came with an offer of two boxes of tea bags, each containing 25 tea bags. I was hesitant to buy it at first, but after taking a sip, I couldn't think of anything else except savor. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Blog, Blogger, Carrom and Kavin!

First and foremost, I'd like to thank everyone for your comments, suggestions, and concern for my emotional well-being in the previous post. It gives me a boost and energy to do something outside my regular activities, which keeps me continually occupied and ensures that I never have a dull moment or allow the dreary weather to cloud my cheery mood. I'm always an upbeat person who tries to grin even when things are unpleasant; even when things are tough, I keep an ear open for tiny notes of birds or other critters tapping around. 

Someone suggested I play Carrom, which was my childhood favorite. 

"Carrom is an Indian tabletop game that is immensely popular in the Indian subcontinent. It is widely played by families, including children, and at social occasions, with varying standards and rules in different places."

Most of our summer vacations were spent playing carrom (along with other games), and when our cousins visited home, we played carrom, but I don't remember touching the striker in the last ten years. I quit playing carrom when my cousins lost interest (because I can't play the game on my own), and I even lost my carrom board in a 2015 torrential downpour.

I have always wanted to play carrom, but my fingers have either stopped cooperating, or I lost the power to hit the striker afterward. My memories of carrom were always refreshing, and I could close my eyes and return to those treasured memories. I also used to stand and play carrom while wearing caliper shoes. 

Me and my cousins playing carrom from 2009.

My carrom board, which was 20 years old when I lost it, has always had a special place in my heart. My late maternal uncle bought us the carrom board in 1994 or 1995, and I took good care of it, even telling my cousins (born after 1995) that this carrom board is like your older brother so they wouldn't damage it. 

Everyone in our families adored our uncle, so you can tell how special he was. He was a philanthropist, not only financially, but his hard work had earned him great value and respect in the eyes of others. So how could I throw away something that remained as a memory of him, and I had only saved a few things that were also stored away in the loft? I could feel his thoughts were settled in the bottom of the memories like sediments underwater that never resurface until something triggered them.

My blog is significant in my life because it allows me to openly share my sadness, joy, and discomfort with life, which I have done for the past 17 years. Nobody supports me as much as you, bloggers, and friends, and your comments meant so much to me. In contrast to other social media today, where people only like and rarely share thoughts, I find your comment communicates with me individually. 

The hurting has never been a new occurrence in my life, and when it overflows, it bursts here in the expression of thoughts, but lately, I have discovered a delight in life. Kavin! 

My nephew Kavin lightens the mood, and I can't think of anything else in his company, and in his embrace, I am lifted to my emotional core since I haven't felt this way in a long time. I couldn't put it into words; when he hugs and kisses me, it's like the bliss of having accomplished something so pure, innocent, and beautiful that it will never be the same again.

It's something I've realized as he's been away from me for a while now; even though his absence was brief since he was visiting his maternal grandma, I feel the void intensely, but when I think of him, it feels unspecified. Though my nephew Jeswanth (my cousin's sister's boy) was the first to give me that emotion after a long time, Kavin, who is only six months younger than him, inspires me more because we live together in a household, and Jeswanth comes and goes from his house. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Nothing but a little regret!

It was a tunnel called the parental, and there was no light beyond it. No one knows much about me other than a concern, or I don't know that I haven't shown much of myself to anyone curious about the person I am or me. 

Aside from the primary feeling that life will be unbearably difficult without my parents, I worry about how understanding the people around me are. I don't travel far, but within my home and the extended family, beyond my mother and father, there is no awareness of me. 

People see me in my wheelchair all day, but I wonder what they think of me when I'm not sitting in a wheelchair.  Life isn't pleasant sitting in a wheelchair all day, but it is comfort compared to other obstacles such as attending nature calls, bathing, eating, sleeping, and other essential daily demands. I'm just thankful I have an electric wheelchair to get around on my own; otherwise, life would be difficult and timid. 

I just realized that, aside from my parents, the people around me don't know how to handle me unless I guide them. Still, the important thing is that they lack patience (which is a risk factor when dealing with me), and despite living nearby and seeing me daily, they lack the basic knowledge to assist me. They help us simply because we call them, rather than acting in their self-interest.

I was recently emotionally injured, albeit not directly affected, and I am positive it was related to my issue. I often felt like causing problems for someone because of how they behaved or acted hastily. 

It's a blessing and a curse at the same time that I can read the expressions on my loved ones' faces, perhaps because I notice details; even little changes don't escape my attention; the tone and, most of the time, their eyes reveal their intent while their lips go mute or overtalk. 

It all started in 2019 when my father had an angioplasty and stents placed. He had been cautioned not to lift weights, so he no longer lifted me for any position-changing activities. Since then, my brother and cousin have been assisting me with this, and we have only lately employed an assistant to help my parents place me in the bath and toilet. 

We had an assistant at the beginning of 2019, but he only came for one day; when he lifted me, I tore a ligament in my shoulder. We didn't look for anyone after that, but now that I couldn't bear the hardships we caused them, or at least lessen the burden, we seriously looked for a caretaker and got a nice guy through my physiotherapist. He works as an assistant radiologist in an ortho clinic, taking x-rays, and he agreed to assist me on the side.

Everything is going smoothly till now, and my heart also feels light that I won't bother my loved ones too much. Although I know they don't deny helping me at any time when we call, and I want to emphasize "just when we call," they are aware of how much I rely on them, but until we call, they don't reply or ask on their own and sometimes have to compel when they are out somewhere. It's difficult to do justice because they aren't obligated to answer, but I'm grateful for the unconditional help, which is impossible if they don't love me.   And I'm glad that, despite their apathy, they continue to help me, even though I'm upset that they do so without knowing anything about how things work for me!