Tag Archives: summer

Here comes the King

Last week the vegetable vendor brought raw mangoes. Mango is called the king of fruits. It is a seasonal fruit and is available during summer only. If there is anything which makes us look forward to summers it is mangoes. This tasty yummy fruit just makes everything pleasant.

Mango is consumed in a number of ways. As soon as raw mangoes appear in the market, the terrace of the houses are full of jars. Raw mangoes are cut and marinated with spices and oil. They are then dried in the sun in jars to make pickles. This way mango is consumed the whole year. Raw mango is sour in taste. I would cut raw mangoes, tomatoes and cucumber into small pieces, sprinkle rock salt and squeeze a lemon. This salad just makes my day. We even add it in pulses/lentils to make mango dal. This seasonal fruit reminds us, nothing is permanent in life, be it good times or bad times. Today we all are going through a challenging phase. Tomorrow is Holi the festival of colors. Normally we would go to everyone’s house with colors and wish them but this year due to rising Covid cases, community functions are not happening. So no socializing during Holi. I believe this bad phase will also pass and we will be able to come together again one day. We should make the most of the situation. Stay at home, spend time with your family and have lots of mangoes as long as they are available fresh.

Introduction to Chicago

Views on the Cruise

There are two ways of touring a city. One is to view it and the other is to know it through its history. I went for the latter. One can either go for a guided tour through land or by river. I woke up to a beautiful clear morning. After a hearty breakfast, I decided to walk till Shoreline Sightseeing stop. This was my first trail, the Lakefront trail. Its a beautiful walk along the lake. One gets to see different kinds of boats, yatchs, etc. By the time I reached there it was 10:45 am. I went to the ticket counter and requested a ticket for the 11:15 Architecture tour. The person at counter said, the 10:45 tour has a few minutes to start. So I was booked for the 10:45 Architecture tour. It was an brilliant experience. We got to see all the landmarks of the city.

Sights at the trail

The guide started with the history of Chicago and then went on to describe each landmark. It was as if we were getting introduced to Chicago. For the first time, there were restaurants with not only car parking but also boat parking. We came accross many bridges. There were buildings with European Architecture as well as Modern glass buildings. People sitting on restaurants, bridges and steps waved at us as we passed them. I was so engrossed that I did not even realize how 75 minutes passed. Then I went to Navy Pier. It was a children’s world. There were rides, food, toys, museum, everything. The next time you visit Chicago, try meeting the city through the cruise.

Navy Pier

An event for Readers

Have you ever felt an event was organized for your hobby. I enjoy reading. Every summer book exhibitions are conducted but this year I had the fortune to enjoy an event for Reading. The Summer Reading Extravaganza was held on 9th July 2019 at the Carnegie Mellon Library. There were different events like voting for favorite author, chess competition, library tour, food trucks, etc. The best was the puppet show which had 5 stories each with a unique message. Although there were chairs in the room, the kids were overjoyed when it was announced that they can sit on the carpet just in front of the stage. One cannot miss the excitement in their eyes. It was so infectious that it brought out the child in me.

We used to spend the afternoons at home during summer vacations. I would end up with sun stroke every time I went out during afternoons. So I would spend hours reading different kinds of books and children magazines. The library also organized a Summer Reading 2019, where one can register and enter the books they read. There are targets and prizes for readers. I too registered for this activity. Personally I felt as if my hobby had become a person and was inviting me to pursue it. Incase I slow down there are reminders on buses, library walls, etc. Many of my friends enjoy reading but were not aware of this event. These are the events where the kids should be taken as they meet books in a different way. I thank the library and the city for organizing such an extraordinary event.

An evening with Musical Fountain

Summer is the time to be outdoors. An evening with a cool breeze is the best time to spend with family and friends. Most of us go out for dinner but the dinner becomes memorable when we have it outdoors. On a nice summer day, after cruising on the three rivers of Pittsburgh, me and my friends decided to have dinner at the station square.

The rhythm of the station square fountain with the music has always impressed me. Whenever I went there, it was always soft music. That night the fountain was dancing on rock music. I had never seen it before. The water came out in different colors. It was majestic. The place was full of kids. Each time the water came out, they would clap. We looked for a restaurant with a view of the fountain. Although we were hungry, we waited till a table on the patio was available. Once seated we ordered our food. The best part of eating outdoors is no one bothers about being loud. Dinner with a fountain dancing on rock music along with the cheerful laughter of kids, is simply mesmerizing.

When we look back, the time spent with family and friends brings that warm smile on our faces. We often wonder about special locations to be with our dear ones but its the company which makes the place special. The best place would be a location where one can speak and laugh as loudly as one wants. A simple meal with the loved ones on a moonlit sky or a garden with cool breeze is all one needs to create those special moments which become treasures of memories.

First Bicycle Ride

It is May, the month of summer vacations in India. I am still moved by the Bicycle Museum. I was remembering my 9th birthday when my father gifted me a bicycle. I was expecting a kid’s cycle with training wheels but I got a regular bicycle for grown-ups. I was not even tall enough to ride that bicycle. For the first two days, it was a big challenge to be able to pedal. My father tried to help me for one week. He would never let go the cycle. I was unable to learn. After that he had to leave the city for work.

The day after he left, I tried and tried but was barely able to pedal. Everytime I mounted the seat, the cycle would tilt on one side and I had to get down. Those were summer vacations, we would cycle till late night until our mother would call out for dinner. A few days later, on a late evening, I thought about staying on the seat and trying to balance the cycle instead of stepping down. I put my feet on the pedals, positioned myself on the seat and tried to put my weight on the other side when the cycle began to tilt. The cycle was steady for 2 seconds and then it happened. I fell down and immidiately felt the ache in my knees and elbows. But I didnt have the time to pay attention to it because I had discovered the trick to balance myself on the seat and that after balancing one must continue pedalling to keep the cycle steady. I was so anxious to confirm this discovery that I forgot the pain, again mounted the seat and balanced my weight. I started pedalling as soon as the cycle was steady. My mother was just about to call out for dinner when she heard me shouting “Mom!! Look I can ride a bicycle!!”. She saw an excited me cycle towards the house with bleeding knees, scratched elbows, torn frock and a triumphant smile. She congratulated me and then started tending my wounds.

That day I learnt the first ever lesson of life. Our parents, siblings and near ones would always be there for us. They would support us but to achieve our dreams and aspirations, it is we who have to put in the effort. In the process, even if we fall, they would tend our wounds but to learn if need be we have to fall. One has to leave the fear of fall to achieve their goals.

World of Bicycles

Colorful bikes

Summer always reminds me of vacations. We used to cycle around our neighborhood in groups until we were called for dinner. With the sunny days coming around, it was high time to explore the city. This year, I began with the bicycle museum of Pittsburgh. It is the largest bicycle museum located at a quiet neighborhood. You are greeted with rows and rows of colorful bicycles as soon as you enter the museum. There are bikes everywhere, on the floor, the walls and even at the ceiling. Its not just the regular cycles but the earliest of them. It is fascinating to see how the bicycles have evolved over the years. There are bicycles used for special races. Some of them even have the trophies along with them. Each one is tagged with the year and make. Few of them reminded me of Charlie Chaplin movies.

A historic cycle

A Harley-Davidson bike

There are miniature models of cycles on the walls. I was so engrossed reading through the labels and history at one point that I almost lost the way. Over the years, bicycles have been used for bringing awareness and marketing in addition to sports and transportation. There is a bicycle made by Harley-Davidson. Bicycles have a special place in childhood for most of us. I am glad there is a museum dedicated to them. So the next time you plan to explore Pittsburgh, do ensure to visit Bicycle Heaven and be mesmerized by the world of Bicycles.

Frozen Treats with a Twist

Everyone waits for the arrival of Summers especially the children. The lovely carefree Summer Vacations for which we used to plan from February. In my hometown Baroda, the Summer was flagged by the presence of yummy bright yellow and orange mangoes. All the terraces used to be full of jars containing spicy pickles. All the roads were full of ice cream shops. I still remember tugging my Father’s hand the moment we passed the ice cream shop. These memorable events of life create an evergreen combination of ice cream and summer. Even today the very mention of Summer brings forth a sight of mango and ice cream. This has also encouraged creativity.

The first breakfast introduced to me after coming to the USA was Waffles and I immediately liked it. I have always had it with strawberry syrup but this year I was surprised. While wandering around the library I came across a nice shop called Waffallonia when I went to the library in downtown. There was a genuine smile on all the faces around that shop. They serve Waffles with Ice cream. I had the outstanding combination of Waffles, peanut butter and cinnamon ice cream.

Waffle with Peanut butter and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Summer is also the time for juicy fruits like watermelon, grapes, etc. My mother always made sure, we have lots of fruits. One of her favorite ways to make us eat fruits was through fruit custard. She was really fast at that. Anytime we made a request and it would be present as a dessert. Last week, I went to the local library. It was really hot so I searched for frozen treats around library and came across The Meadows. There I came across different varieties of Frozen custard. This time it was frozen custard with crunchies.

Custard with Crunchies

Waffles, cream, crunchies are mostly available but it never occurs to us they could create such amazing desserts. This shows creativity has no limits, one can do so even with day to day things. Both Ice cream, waffles and custard are part of my list of favorite dishes but this year I had them with a twist. The trip to library definitely helped me discover these in addition to books. Next time you go for Ice Cream, do ensure you look around for something new in your regular favorite.

Mastani summers

Yummy Pista Mastani

Yummy Pista Mastani

There is one thing which makes me long for summers. It is the cold delicacies like icecream, lassi, etc. They not only provide respite from the scorching heat but also lighten up my mood with their sweet taste. They seem to flock the markets as soon as the summers begin.

Pune has a special dish called “Mastani”. It is a mix of cold milk shake and icecream. The cold milk cools down the thirst and the icecream provides the much needed sweetness. It comes in different flavours ranging from pista to strawberry to orange to chocolate. In summers you also get a mango flavour. Not only the taste but the mode of serving is also unique. It is served in a long glass with a straw and a long spoon. For some flavours like pista it is also decorated with nuts. After a sumptuous dinner its just the right thing to have with your family.

The restaurants serving mastani have a pleasant sight. They are generally filled with families with children excited over their mastani. It is served in different parts of pune. This is one of the things one should have. So the next time you are in pune, you know what to have for dessert.