Saturday, 30 March 2013

7 days

Made some carrot soup on Monday, mixed it with some split red lentils on Tuesday, I was making love in the pot with potatoes and leeks by Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, I made spinach and nettle soup on Sunday.

I have had a wild week at home in the countryside. I've got no car so to get ingredients I had to walk an hour to the nearest farm shop. Then Lexie managed to drag half the fresh loaf off the sideboard so I had to go back to get another. Lucky soup making is my new passion!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The love bus

We've spent a relaxing five days slumbering by the side of Periyar wildlife reserve. Once on the bus out of there Ro remarked that these lazy days have been her favourite. I replied that I was happiest here right now. For the next three hours I knew I would be jammed in the middle seat of the bus with the other two forced to cuddle me. What could be better for someone so needy? She said I was a weirdo.
Unfortunately I'd forgotten that I get travel sick so spent the time head back with a cold flannel over my face. It cooled my brow and blocked me from the air thick with heat, dust and perfumed trees outside, which would otherwise be beating my head like a high thread count towel. 

I came up for air once to soothe Ro's nerves. Men were banging the metal blinds shut on the bus windows and it reminded her of the prelude to that poor girl's rape in Delhi. I think I've infected her with my traveller tension by every night as we fall asleep clutching a lock of her hair so she doesn't get McCanned.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Where is my daaling?

We have come to the most idyllic beach I've ever seen, in a coast town called Alleppey. The sugar gold sand has hardly any visitors, just shady palms and the warm sea lapping its edge.
Ro is sunbathing in the sun's full glare whilst I prefer the preventative cancer treatment of not only lolling in the shade but burying ever exposed skin area in sand. I'm pretty camouflaged. Mum is busy doing Mum stuff like guarding the stuff and getting hot enough to swim later. 

Sunbathing is blissful to Ro. She has cheered up this morning when she was a little irritated. Apparently not only was I sleep talking again but in the early hours I awoke and started dramatically searching for her, convinced she'd been McCanned. She keeps reenacting two large Fran claws grabbing down on her unaware sleeping form, like in an arcade machine. 

Lunch also soothed her at first. We had daal and bean curry, with rice, and popadoms. I like to smash my pop into my meal. Ro winced. Uhoh. The loud smash noise must be bringing back memories of the night.. crash crash grab.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Death on the jeep safari

We had to get up at 5.30 am for a jeep safari. It's a bit of an understatement to say Ro and I get prickly when tired. We escalated into a massive argument discussing whether Kate Middleton's funeral would be more upsetting than Diana's for the general public. This luckily developed into a really good word game. "Whose death is more tragic?"
I.e. Pregnant Peaches Geldoff, or George Clooney who is kind of old now? Heartbroken Rpatz or David Attenborough?
Much better than the license plate game.

We returned to our luxury tree house in time for brunch with our three favourite mid life couples. And then went to play with the monkeys on our balcony until lunch. 

Three Headstones IoE number 48191

Friday, 22 March 2013

Under a collection of rumpled tissues, suncream stains and paratha flakes I've unearthed a wad of blog posts I was yet to publish. They're pre ashram. When I still had energy to write. So the next lot will be out of sequence but you seem to have to got used to this not being a proper food blog so I'll trust that my audience is flexible. Not as flexible as me. I've been doing four hours of yoga a day. This morning I fell out of "the crow" with quite a bang.

Groomed girls

We've naturally formed a mean girls gang at the ashram. We shun mid day Hindu lectures for sitting at the health  hut with as many vegan smoothies as possible, chatting about nail polish and what style bikini wax we prefer. Did you know that Spanish girls ask for something for the Hitler? We had to draw diagrams to understand it.
 It was easy to tell our new friends apart from everyone else. Once Ro had loudly announced in dinner queue that she hated people with dreadlocks, the others fell away from us like dead skin to reveal our NBFs with top knots and turn ups on their styled yoga pants. One even got chucked out of class for wearing shorts. It was such an antiodote from the sanctimonious others at the ashram. We were fed up of being told that it was an ashram not a resort, to use our inside voices, and that i couldn't have the overhead fan turned on above me during yoga. Have you ever seen someone cry because they are so uncomfortable with sweat? No? Well you obviously haven't been on holiday with me yet.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Karm down

As part of our stay here we have to do karma yoga. Ro and I so eager to please, put our hands up first, only to realise the first task was cleaning the dormitory toilets. For once i'm glad that we don't get much fruit given to us here. Yesterday's treat was one grape with dinner. It means a lot less to mop up.

Unfort after five sweaty days of it it started to grind. Ro and I had attempted to whip our team into shape but two fellow toilet cleaners kept not showing up. Well, just wait till they show. I vowed to use up all the rubber gloves. I'll wear five pairs at once (i have sensitive skin) and they can pick up all the shower swollen tampons with their hands.

On the penultimate day one of our ashram NBFs broke. She asked the supervisor if she could perhaps say hello to her before coming in and ordering her about. Some well meaning colleague interjected. "Err karma yoga is a selfless act, you shouldn't want praise for it. It does hurt your ego to clean toilets but that's a good thing. Once your ego is quashed you can get close to God.."

Pah. Today we're going to punish that pious girl by wearing scanty clothes to cleaning. It's so grimy in there that we could do a pretty convincing Christina Aguilera 2001.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Spoon fed

It's been two days at the ashram but it feels like two years. I can't remember what the outside world is like. What does it feel like to not be plucked from bed at 5.20am for meditation? What does it sound like to not have 'hare hare hare hare raam' going round and round in your head. What does it taste like to have more than two meals a day?

The food is amazing though. Loads of different veg curries, daal, popadoms, some way of doing cauliflower so it tastes like meat. The only thing is that it is a bit hard to eat the liquid with your fingers. I usually leave my raitha or just dribble it over the floor. Ro finds eating with fingers disgusting so she has smuggled in a spoon. Spoons are currency here. "Have you got one?" "I saw an engraved one by the sink, quick." "I'll swap you my mosquito net for your spork."
Today Ro dropped hers with a clatter on the stone floor during dinner. I watched the internal dilemma on her face. To eat with hands or eat with the spoon which has been dropped on the floor where everyone stands with their dusty yoga feet?

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


We managed to flee our valley prison into the open arms of the periyar tiger reserve area. It was warm and dry, and full of food which wasn't bananas, but it wasn't without its own dangers.
We got picked up by Suresh, the owner of the homestay late at night when we couldnt bear the other place a moment longer. For the three hour journey Mum and Ro slept, and I willing to do anything but be rude, chatted to Suresh the whole time. Big mistake.
He invited me up to the roof the next day to learn about meditation. He guided me how to breathe from my chest better, as I again wished I could learn to vocalise it when I don't want someone to touch me. Then he showed me a reflexology food massage. He thought this would be better in the dark. I was very glad when someone tripped over us.
After gently explaining to Suresh that though he had never felt a connection like this with anyone, this was just how I spoke to everyone (joke, as if i explained that, i just hid from him), Mum, Ro and I went on a nice day of bamboo rafting and trekking. Our tuk tuk driver asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him up the mountain the next day. Hmm. I think the excuse of chaperones is appropriate in India.
Just as I was recovering from that we came across a herd of elephants grazing in the wild and had to run away before they mistook us for bamboo. Quite a big day!

Luckily we had a nice relaxing evening meal of partha, and this really nice rice with bits of pineapple and grapes in it. Just fruity enough for me!

Going bananas

Today I've had five bananas. I'm worried I'm going to get potassium poisoning. Dido once recounted in an interview her greatest fear, which was the above. She traumatised me for life about them.
We might die anywhere here. Mum just asked us to move further away from the bonfire as the manager of this "hotel" poured more pure alcohol on the flames. Maybe it's slightly better out here than being in the damp wooden cabin with wet beds from a leaking roof, and the carcasses of unidentifiable spiders carpetting the floor. 
We're in the hills of Munnar. It's an area rich with cardamon, tea, cashews and confusion. We're staying in a valley in the middle of nowhere. We're the only guests at this place and the only staff are three single men who like to watch us eat our bananas. 
Oh great. Power cut. I wonder if Mum and Ro can see my SOS torch distress calls through the bonfire smoke. Oh well. If they don't materialise then there's more supper for me. 

We had peas masala, aloo jeera, paneer something and rice. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Pet me

I've discovered this new food called paratha. It's dimply and chewy and has me just tearing into its wheaty flesh. It falls apart in your mouth. It reminds me a little of Indian ladies' back fat. Even the slimmest lady has a few rolls due to the sari blouse sucking the skin in tight only to let it seep out of the hem. I want to pet it like I would a shar pei. The closest I've got is Ro letting me lick her cheek in return for an errand from me.
I can't help thinking that Dave would let me if I was on holiday with him. In Vietnam I'm sure we used to play something called,'what flavour am I stocking today?' where I would have to lick his armpit and pronounce the taste. 

Hmmm salty as the tears of 1000 abandoned babies. 
Ooh dank as an unused groin.
Mmmm sweet as the flaky flakes of icing on a pecan slice. 

For now I shall stick with paratha even though I regularly eat so much that I can't sleep.

Sour grapes(fruit)

I feel ever so sick from too much saying hello to people. All the locals here are very friendly and I just love saying hello with a wide smile as we saunter past. I imagine it brightens up their day before they're off to the fields, and I'm off to the pool (sorry). But we pass about five people a minute. I get so high on the smiles, and my own so painfully wide, that I shoot up and up and up in mood until as an apple thrown by Einstein, I can't help but tumble down into a terrible malaise.
I was ever so grateful the other day when an old lady sifting sand by the side of the road stopped for her break and decided to feed me her grapefruit. She stuffed so much in my mouth that I couldn't smile for quite a while. But I still got all the smiles in return, as i assume, passers by thought I was quite charming sampling the local fruit.
Finding this tactic very useful I've stocked up on other fruit. So far I'm a fan of the local baby bananas, and the inside of a palm nut once some nice man has axed it open for me.