Thursday, 4 August 2011

Back to Black - Amy Winehouse

                                                        Suddenly wished to make such post.
Amy Winehouse... I have never been her fan, never listened to her songs... But I knew she was a great singer, with a wonderful unique voice. It took me more than week to finally download the track of "Back to Black" and I would not like to forget it.
Let's remember.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Monsoon-My Sun

     I must admit that days in India are not always "sunny". Though it doesn't mean you can't enjoy them.We are having monsoon season here, in Chandigarh. That is what makes life here better.
    I adore rainy season! First of all, the temperature decreases slightly from +37 to +30! Evenings are pleasant, sometimes a bit humid, but mostly cool and fresh. Morning is the best time of the day. It may rain around 5 o'clock in the morning; today it rained later. You wake up, go out at the backyard, see cloudy sky, smell rain... I love it.  We have several plants which, I'm sure, enjoying water drops from the sky too.
     Sometimes I like to walk in the pools under the rain, it gives you a wonderful feeling of being close to the  nature, it relaxes...
     One fact that I'm missing our dacha in my country more now... I remember how we were staying there during rainy days, in a cozy house, drinking tea, looking out of the window, watching our garden being blessed by the rain... Then towards the evening all nature around was sharing its' richness of the fragrances: wet ground, grass... Smells that you couldn't  sometimes describe, but just perceive and think how much happy you are!
     This is the reason I think, that rainy season is my favorite - it reminds of my home...


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Recipe 1.Delight for a "hungry lion"

 This is a delicious story of our yesterday homemade dinner. We don't have a microwave yet, as well as an oven, but we have an electric oven and things come out tasty when prepared in it. So, I experimented as usual. 
 Ingredients needed for this dish are available in indian markets, you just have to find them. 

Main products:
Chicken (chest and leg) - 1 kg
Potato                        - 4 items of a medium size
Onion                         - 3-4 items of a medium size

For marinade:
1-2 tomatoes
1 lemon (indian small lemon, size of a lime)

2 garlic cloves
salt to your taste (better not to make marinade too salty)
spices - such as black pepper and any kind of herbs you can get in the market

 The main flavor of the marinade will be given from garlic and lemon with tomatoes.
When I made this marinade  and smelled it I already knew dinner was going to be yummy!!!
Preparation won't take much time as long as you are passionate about delicious food yourself and want to please your hungry lion - husband :)
 Wash chicken pieces very well  and let water flow off it, you can even squeeze pieces a bit to remove spare liquid. It will prevent chicken being steamed rather than baked.
  Take a bowl, put chicken in it. Cut tomatoes into small pieces. Garlic has to be cut as tiny as possible. Add tomato and garlic to chicken. Cut lemon into two halves and squeeze juice out of it in the bowl with chicken. Add salt, spices to your taste. Mix chicken in the bowl with all added ingredients and let it stay covered for at least 30 min.
  While chicken is being marinated you can prepare potato and onion. Here you can let yourself create: cut potato round or like for french fries, or may be make small squares. Make sure pieces will be thin enough to be cooked in the oven. Same with onion. 
  Oh, time has passed like a shot! Our chicken is very well marinated and we can start cooking itself. I adjusted the temperature on our home electric oven at the maximum 220. But you can cook even at 200 degrees.
  Put marinated chicken in the form (mine was made from aluminum), arrange pieces so that all of them will be cooked well. Spread cut potato and then onion on the top. Put a bit of salt, some spices to give vegetables better taste. There was a small piece of mozzarella left in our fridge - I used it too by rasping on the top.
  Now you have to keep the form with chicken in the oven, cover it and count the time. Approximately 30-40 min. 
 You can also check the readiness of your dish from time to time by piercing chicken with a toothpick. My mum does
like this.
 When dish is ready you will see it. Sprinkle a pinch of oregano before serving.
 My hungry lion was happy and grateful! "Grrrrr" turned to "Mrrrrr" :)

    P.S.  We have this kind of an oven . It was popular during Soviet Union and was called "chudopechka" (чудопечка) literally "miracle oven".

Imagine - Indian ocean coast

This picture I made one and a half month back. Just imagined how Indian ocean coast might look like ;)

Delhi Days - 2 - Karol Bagh

    My husband left to the office located in Noida - his last deal in that business trip. I can't say much about Noida because I didn't go with my D. and stayed in the hotel again. I was happy that I wasn't lazy and took my laptop with me in our trip. At least I could watch some movies on it and use internet to chat with my husband when he was away. 
   One of the things we were delighted with was food. Our three day package included free breakfast - buffet type. We were offered vegetable cutlets, paranthas, sweet beans, sandwiches, potato mix, juice or hot milk. Besides this the hotel had it's own coffee shop. So that we didn't suffer from hunger, neither me when I was alone in the hotel room. 
    The same day we finally went out in the evening to explore surroundings. We were residing in the place called Karol Bagh famous for it's various markets. It represents a long street on the sides of which are numerous shops. 
   Mainly you can purchase clothes and accessories there at a very low cost. So we did. Some of the shops are even not shops: they consist of two-three stands with different goods placed outside. You will definitely buy something for yourself, your family and friends. At times you are followed by guys offering small stuff like handkerchiefs or socks from their hands - kind of a mobile shop! If you are bored with cheap purchases then there are proper showrooms too. That evening we spent in a lazy, but pleasant way - no hurry, just walking and stopping from time to time to see the goods.
   However the ensuing day was going to be rather hectic because we were going to see one of the sight seeings of Delhi before we left for home. My husband noticed this attraction while going by metro and thought that we had to visit. This was how we saw great Akshardham.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Delhi Days - 1 - Connaught Place and India Gate

   Delhi days are not similar to days in Chandigarh. And I like it. 
  My husband had been requested to do a business trip to Delhi, and we decided to go there together because we didn't want to stay without each other.Moreover that was really a small trip for both of us and we were enjoying it a lot. 
  That was our fourth visit to the capital together after the day we were here for dropping my parents two weeks ago.We arrived to Delhi on the 4th of July, threw our bags to the hotel we had booked in advance, and my dear husband left for his deals, when I stayed at the hotel waiting for him to be back. 

  The very first impression after you arrive to Delhi is that it is very humid here, not even hot. The only way to avoid this not much pleasant "sauna-like" sweating is to travel by metro of course. It takes about less than 10 minutes to reach nearest to the bus stand metro station, and then you are free to go anywhere you want or anywhere you need.
  Metro is a huge advantage for such cities like Delhi, with loads of population and as the consequence with loads of traffic on the roads. And the practice shows it is rather easy to use metro if you are able to read the names of the stations and if you know what place you have to go to.
 This is "Karol Bagh" metro station we were staying in the hotel near by.
Karol Bagh Delhi metro station. (c) Hindustanka
 Delhi metro pleasantly surprises me once again with it's cleanliness on the stations and inside the trains as well. My husband doesn't like metro much cause of it's load and mess especially on the change stations and in peak hours, but he admits that metro is very useful for people. That's why even he has spent a few hours in metro already to reach the offices of the company he works for.
 But Delhi is not only about metro and rush. I believe that Delhi is one of the cities in the world where you feel life's pulse. It is not easy to adjust in this city, quiet difficult to get used to it's rhythm, but once you overcome all this, you will enjoy living here for sure.  
 I had a great opportunity to go with my husband to the office situated in Gurgaon  on the second day of our abode in Delhi. We spent the entire day together! First, Gurgaon is not Delhi already, it is a separate city though you won't see any boarder of it as seems like Delhi passes into it. Gurgaon is a very fast growing city, modern and ambitious, with many posh multistoried apartment buildings as well as foreign companies' franchises in it.
Connaught place, Delhi.  (c) Hindustanka
 Delhi in my opinion is modern too, of course, but old at the same time. For example, we were going on metro, in a speedy train supplied with the latest metro technologies, and could see out of the train window Qutub Minar, the monument which is more than 700 years old! Such combination creates what is called culture.
 The capital of India besides modern technologies and ancient sight seeings has things just for enjoyment such as cafes, restaurants, fashionable shops, different markets. We visited one of such places called Connaught Place.  We met my husband's friends there, went for a short evening walk and proceeded...
India Gate, Delhi.  (c) Hindustanka
 Our next destination that evening was India Gate. 
We were at India Gate last year too, but in the afternoon. It was very hot. This time we saw this sight seeing in the night with all the illumination and I liked it. It was rather crowded over there, so we just stopped somewhere not far from India Gate itself to take a few pictures and then  headed to the hotel.



Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Taj Mahal and We

  Having chocolate which my parents got from home...Deep bittersweet taste of my country is spreading over my tongue and disappears, leaving memories...
   After 2 week visit of my parents to Chandigarh I dive into routine again but with sweet thoughts about our trips done in that short time. 
   I shall say that trip to India was the first one done by parents in the last 20 years!!! I was really happy they were brave and mobile to do it. They were arriving on the 11th of June, their flight was not direct, with one plane change: Astana-Almaty-Delhi. Me and my husband were planning to pick them up from Indira Gandhi International Airport, stay night in Delhi and then go to Agra. But plans had changed and we decided to go to Agra straight from the airport! Mum and Dad didn't know anything about our intentions :).
  When we reached Delhi airport we got to know that the flight had already arrived!!! We were hurrying so much towards the waiting area doors. I was looking for my parents's faces and was getting excited and couldn't believe they were going to appear before my eyes..soon... when my husband said: "They are there!!!" 
Then I saw my father in a bright shirt and a cap and then my mum in a colorful blouse. Father was pulling a trolley with the luggage. In a few moments we all were hugging each other. Happy memories...
 I asked my parents  on the way to the parking if it was fine for them to continue their journey right now. They said: "Yes, it's fine." This is how we started way to Agra, to see one of the most famous, one of the new wonders of the world - Taj Mahal! !
 We had to cover 200 km from Delhi to Agra. It was already late night; everyone was tired, but happy to be with each other. Road to Agra wasn't very easy because of the traffic and loads of trucks with goods for the  different parts of India. We didn't see much out of the window because it was dark. Somehow we could notice small towns along the road, houses without lights. At one  moment we noticed - something was burning vigorously, throwing bright flashes of the orange light in the air. When we came closer to that object we saw a long tube going high in the sky, and there was a fire on the top of it, burning constantly. It was oil refining factory. It looked creepy as its' construction  reminded us scary iron machines from the movies about Terminator.

We arrived to Agra late night or, you can say, early morning of 12th of June. We stopped near the first hotel we saw near the road, and to our great pleasure there were rooms available. We booked last two of them, and after some time we fell fast asleep on the beds, not realizing completely how much happened in the last 24 hours.

***                 ***                      ***                            

 Morning in Agra. You can see open roofs of the nearest houses from the hotel window. People, women and even children,  are working on one of the roofs, carrying bowls with cement on their heads. Labor. My father is shocked. 
Later we check out and heading for... Taj Mahal!!! Through the crowded, messed up streets of the city...Closer and closer... and we see it! Far away, that wonder made of white marble with 4 minarets on the corners. Symmetry of Love. 

 When we arrive to the special tourist office and get out of the car we can feel that it is very hot! Sun is burning mercilessly at this time of the year, but no way back!  We buy tickets in the tourist office: 20 rupees for Indian nationals and 750 rupees for foreigners. I'm still a foreigner here though married to an Indian, so even I can  use some of the benefits:  along with the tickets foreigners receive a paper bag with a bottle of water and special shoes covers in it.
Then our small company (me, my husband, my parents and husband's sister) sits inside the battery pulled buses and start approaching Taj Mahal. It takes about 10 minutes.We step out of the cab and we are suddenly surrounded by local sellers saying us in Russian (wonder how they recognize us) to buy this and that from their shops. We are saying English ''No" or Hindi "Nahin" and finally cross the gates and enter exterior of Taj Mahal.  

I still don't know what is that red fort kind of, but it is beautiful too and we click a few pictures with it on the background. 
Then we are hurrying towards Taj Mahal itself.  There are loads of people on the way so you have to lay the path for yourself through them. We come out on the big square where, as I understand now, photos are usually taken. We do the same, trying to take pictures avoiding unnecessary persons to be on them. 
  In spite of the heat we enjoy the views of Taj Mahal. And we enjoy seeing it together
 Parents are happy too.
After photo session at that point we are going to see Taj Mahal inside. We are walking along the ancient paths, looking here and there at the beautiful scenery. I want to take "jumping" picture with Taj Mahal. What I've finally got:
You have to wear special shoe covers to enter Taj Mahal. As I've mentioned already, they are given new to foreigners in their paper bags, but Indians share them with each other. We all wear shoe covers too and going to see Taj inside. When you are trying to enter Taj Mahal you face one inconvenience: people are intentionally kicking you with their elbows in order to be the first. It disappoints but this feeling goes away as soon as you are inside Taj. You are passing by round sections with high ceilings which are similar to each other. But in the very first of them are the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. They are resting in peace under heavy and cold plates of marble.
Marble is reflecting the flashes of the camera, so pictures won't be good inside Taj.
Many people are sitting on the marble floors of Taj Mahal, as rightly noticed, this material remains cool even in the hot weather.
 We stay under the high shelter for sometime too and continue to explore the place. It is better outside - we are catching the streams of the  wind and relaxing in the shadow of the marble giant.
  On the way back we are still taking pictures of Taj Mahal and a lovely nature around it. My mum is fascinated with the blossoming trees and plants, with the beautiful alleys of Taj Mahal. We are walking in the galleries   just like people did four centuries ago... 
Visit to Taj Mahal can't be completed if you don't do a little shopping too. As soon as we come out of the gates to the street the sellers "attack" us again. We follow one of them who "speaks" Russian :).In his shop we find a variety of marble craft: small Taj Mahals, elephants, jewelry boxes, pictures, candle stands and many more items. This is not marble, this is Persian marble, this is white marble...What to choose? Of course, my mum is ready to buy the whole shop. The seller offers more and more and we try to buy just  few things and get away from the shop. 
   We search for a battery pulled bus, sit in it and finally have to say "Good bye, Taj Mahal". Or may be "See you"? 
 That was an amazing experience for each of us connecting you to the ancient times! You may not understand the architecture but  you can certainly understand the greatness of  what your ancestors have created!

Friday, 10 June 2011

How the story began - removing the distances

    I think I should have done this post in the very beginning as it's actually explains why I'm here in India. 
   It started in the spring a little more than two years ago, when I was still doing my graduation in Moscow, Russia. I was using well known social network to keep in touch with my cousins, who all live abroad. I had already enough people in my friend list when I got one more friend request which I accepted. One click changed whole my life later.
    The friend whom I added was a boy from India. We began exchanging messages. A long line, or better, column of our chatting then followed. The boy was very communicative and wanted to know more about me.  He used to call me “Friend” in all our talks, I in turn was not sounding very interested in our conversations, that time I was too occupied with my diploma project and state examination.
  Once, when we were chatting for almost one month, I deleted him from a friend list. I had a reason which appeared to be so silly later on. Some voice inside me said that time: "Come on, send him a friend request back. May be you offended him with your sudden decision". I followed the advice my inner voice gave. I guess that The Indian boy listened to his inner voice too when he accepted my request, though this situation could put an end to our then-friendship.
   When my graduation was done and I had a diploma in my hands, I could dedicate more time to our talks, and indeed, we started having longer chats filled with cheerful, happy messages, with smiles representing our moods. We got to know a lot more about each other.
 He asked my mobile number and called me once. That was I guess the first time I was talking to someone over the phone in English. As far as I remember that day I couldn't say much because my heart started beating so vigorously when I got a call. I said the boy about it, he was surprised. After that he kept calling me for a few more times, sometimes when I was in the company of my friends and I wasn’t comfortable to talk in front of them. 
 I understood that I meant something to him when he expressed a concern. He was afraid that when I would be back to my country I would forget him and we would never chat again. He was so wrong about it! My entire existence was already full of him that throwing him out of my thoughts was not possible at all. 
 I became really crazy for him so much that I started learning Hindi language, I didn't really know for what purpose, but I was doing it with so much passion which I could never expect from myself.

Waiting for parents

   Hot days in India, in Chandigarh, city where I live. When i came out of the room in the morning I saw water pools on the backyard and I felt very happy because... it was raining last night!!! 
BUT... I was not going to tell about the weather, this we can leave for later.
    Tomorrow is going to be a very happy, rather hectic, but happy day of my life... My parents are coming to India!!! We are planning few trips, roam around Chandigarh, have fun and so on. They have only two weeks but I think they will like being here. That's it about it for now, later I'm going to tell everything in details about what we were doing here. And today.. one more day of preparations for  the meeting with them.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


  Writing a blog is a new experience for me and I hope it's gonna be good!

    Many people are writing about India... They have different reasons for this. Then...What new can I bring to all that amount of blogs on this topic ever existed up to now? Can be unique and interesting? Yes, I can.
    It started in the spring, continued whole summer and then autumn and winter of the same year... I still couldn't believe that my life would be ever linked to India...when I finally came here one winter day of 2009 and stayed... who knows forever or not. But right now I've been a part of this wonderful country for one and a half of a year.
     The story began and let it continue! 
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