Sunday, March 18, 2012

So when was the last time you visited a Tea Factory?!

So, when was the last time you visited a Tea Factory?!

Recently I went to a Tea Factory which was also promoted as "Tea Museum" during my trip to Ooty. A museum that is dedicated to Tea with a capital T if I may. If you have been to Nilgiris you wont be surprised with this, as Tea is indeed such an intrinsic part of the people, livelihood, culture and history there.

This museum/ factory in question sits admist enchanting scenic beauty on on the way to the the highest cliff within Ooty called Doddabekal- the sunset view from where will be so break taking that all your hushing and pushing to reach up there will seem like a neat bargain.

Well, actually this 'museum" is more of an old over run tea 'factory' that has undergone a desperate overhauling and turned into a popular 'tourist spot' by the government for obvious reasons. There are a passages built around the even currently functioning factory for tourists to walk around, elbow each other, take pictures or plain stand in someone's way! You can take a stroll around and actually witness the different stages of Tea production all happening live right here.

The trip starts with a series of huge pictorial boards that gives you many fascinating facts about Tea. Did you know that India is the largest producer AND consumer of Tea in the world? Did you know Tea was brought to the Nilgiris by the British in the 1800s? Did you know a number of factories were built around the time to expand and commercialize the Tea production in the area by the great lords?

Neither did I. Or atleast hadn't given enough thought.

A large variety of tea is available all over the local market in Ooty ranging in price, quality, flavour, fancy packaging, authenticity and what have you. A great treat for a true Tea Connoisseur for sure.

The freshly plucked leaves go through huge conveyor belts and reach a a grinder. The leaves are shredded and made into finer pieces there.

The shredded leaves are passed further through the rolling belts to dried and grounded..

The leaves leaves goes though a hot air drier, which wit further remove all the mositure..

The shredded, dried leaves then pass though the final stage where the final addition of flavour is done.

Last but not the least, the leaves are then passed through a sieve to segregate different qualities
of the leaves.

Th leaves are collected separately according to the grain size to be packaged accordingly.

Now here is the best part of the trip.
At the end of the little excursion, everyone is given a hot cup of tea to sample. Now inst that sweet?! Different varieties of tea is available for one to take home too.

Do try to drop by if you happen to be in that area and want a nice cup of hot tea!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dumped and how!

The idea was first proposed by my husband, and it was met with a very strong protest. My argument was that the idea is great, noble and all that. But nope. It aint gonna happen in OUR house. Hmph!

Ok ok..

I'll start from the beginning!

We (me and my husband) often have pondered over the waste that gets produced in a household each day. Waste- that ranges from vegetable peels, broken glass, plastic, paper, left over food and what not. Usually we dump it all in one place. It gets picked up and further gets dumped all together in one bigger place again.. And so on and on.. What will be the state of 'that place' a few years from now? A perfect cocktail of the toxic and the organic that will float around for a while and then get into the eco system- and the eventually emerge back out of our taps, our nostrils, food etc.

That's not good is it? What do we do then?
Daily Dump, a revolutionary project that was initiated by Poonam Bir Kasturi, in Bangalore had the answer! She is an NID graduate btw.Trust the NIDians to come up with such remarkable ideas! :-).

The idea was simple- sort the waste intelligently. "Use" the organic waste and help it break down to become a nutritious manure or compost, that can go back to the earth to enrich it instead of it becoming a congealed mass of plastic and paper, mixed with Sambar and vegetables, garnished with glass!!

Daily Dump, offers very practical and simple solutions to the problem of waste management. They have devised a variety of products to enable people to compost right at home, garden, terrace or balconies. Have a look here.

When my husband proposed to get such a composter going in our house, I had my doubts and plenty of that too. Staying in an apartment on the 1st floor, I was not sure if having a "smelly", "gooey", "maggots infested", "germs" haven was such a good idea! But much against by protests and shooting down all my "practical" arguments, he went right ahead and bought one home! No. TWO home!

I must say, that I had to (gladly) eat my own words, as all my doubts and fears fell flat!! The apparatus is rather easy to maintain. There is no smell, maggots and the like.Well, so far at least!

For starters, you have to start chucking the bio-degradable and non bio- degradable waste separately. Then deposit the bio-degradable waste it into the 'khamba' (thats the name of the model we bought!) The khamba essentially is unit of 3 earthen pots stacked one top of the other. It has tiny holes on the surface and also had a lid.

First the waste has to be put into the topmost/ 1st pot. When that pot gets full, you have interchange it with the 2nd pot. When that also, gets full, you have to dump the 1st pot contents (which would already be half way with the disintegration process) into the third pot, and start using it to fill the waste now. That is pretty much the cycle. People from Daily Dump can also come for a demo, and also for "service" upon request. Here is what the khamba looks like.

Of course, there are you few things that you have to be careful with, but nothing that you will need to call a Fire Brigade for! It can easily be done by anybody.

I think the product is very well designed, well networked and most importantly, the company and the people behind it have their heart in the right place. All we need to do is give it a try. Do visit their web site:- This mall step will definitely go a long long way.

I have to do something about the smirk on my husband's face!!!! ;-)

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Oh! How I love vintage anything!
Check out the new Lee window at Phoenix mall.

Wish I could have them when they discarded it!

Bottle art

So I have grown up!
Gone are the aerated drinks (Coke) days. Im into hard hard liquor now!!

Hic! No! Im talking about some more bottle art! Have a look and let me know what you think...

First, an attempt at some Indian kitsch stuff. How about Lalita? :-)


Prayer flags.

Lalita :-)

Now for some decoupage with newspaper print over Teacher's bottle. 
Les Fleurs.

Les Miserables.


And finally, here is the line up! :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tree house

I dont know who this house belongs to. But look at it! There is a TREE growing through it! When building the house, instead of taking the tree down, to suit one's convenience, the owners accommodated the tree and built around the tree. Incredible! Really respect that!

Have a look..

P.S:- Sorry to the owners for snooping around! :-P

Do you see the tree going through and through the ceiling?!

Not to miss, the house has 2floors+ terrace!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vintage Masala

Back into action after a long time!

This time, I am back with a project of vintage-fying a few spice containers in my kitchen. The steel containers already growing old, dirty and boring needed some desperate overhauling (as you will see below)!

On a different note, I think Cathe Holden is god!

While I was at it, I attempted a few more...
It doesn't quite make sense to label transparent bottles, but.. what the hell!

And finally, here is now the babies look inside tucked inside the cabinet. :-)

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Mother Pious Lady by Santhosh Desai is a FANTASTIC read! Its so warm, true and funny. And you cant help smiling and enjoying through each page of the book. It is about the Great Indian middle class's quirkiness, habits, lifestyle, values and sensibilities. Well observed and very well written.

Reading Lolita in Trehan. This one by by Azar Nafisi. It is a little intense, depressing and goes on and on. It is how a bunch of girls and their professor take to English novels group- reading set in a very orthodox and strict Islamic backdrop. It goes on and on is what I can say!

Maps for lost lovers by Nadeem Aslam was about very on sensitive issue or an incident that happened amongst a small Paksitani community in England. Talking about the mysterious death of a young couple as well as the immigrant's feelings as they adapt from staunch Islamic ideals to a life in a progressive county, makes one  relate to each character in the book easily.

The swan Thieves by Elizebeth Korsova is a very intriguing mystery about how a psychiatric builds together a case of a painter who is disillusioned and tried to attack a famous painting in a museum. It was not like edge of the chair kind of mystery, but yeah it was interesting.

Jaya by Dendutt Patnaik. Oh! How I loved this book! I think every Indian at last every hindu should read this one. It retells the story of Mahabharata in a completely broken down, simple, methodical, condensed fashion complete with diagrams and flow charts! I actually ended up taking notes in my diary for quick reference.Super!

On Beauty by Zadie Smith, was another of the feel good book I read. It was about family of a mixed race couple- A white English husband and his African wife.Good.

Myth= Mithya another by Devdutt Patnaik. After Jaya, I realized this subject comes very naturally to the author. This book also explores the a few of the 200 billion different Indian gods, devas asuras, rishes, their stories, why thy did what they did and what resulted of that etc etc! :-P Interesting but tiring!.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


 Never Ever!

Something wrong with the "E" here.

Hotel Prem Pavitr anyone?

Towering Eles! 

Dr. Ambedkar's head in Buddha's lap! 

I dont know what it means but I'm sure its something important!

Counselling anyone? 


Ok! So I have been away from posting anything for sometime.
First, a quick round up of what I have been reading (no details or pics of books this time!):-
  • Great Indian Novel :-Ahh! How I love Shashi Tharoor! Despite questioning his taste in general and womenkind in particular, I simply love what and the way he writes! 'Great Indian Novel' is simply a must- read.
  •  Eat Pray Love :-What can I say? I shouldn't have bothered and just seen the movie instead! Read it if you really want to but please the book borrow or something.. and like- definitely not pay for it. Please!!
  • Dork:- I had stumbled upon a blog- Domain Maximus and found it rather quiet funny. The same author had written 'Dork' and I thought it would be a great read too. Sigh.. only if life was that simple and predictable!
  • The Simoqin Prophecies :- I finally caught hold of this and kicked myself for not having done it earlier! Samit Basu writes like no other ever has. The book is 4 dimensional. It picks you up, spins you around and turns ya inside out. The visuals in front of your eyes zip past so furiously fast, that you'd be skeptical of  your otherwise real surroundings! 
  • The Manticores Secret:- This is a sequel to 'The Simoquin Prophecies' and the author promises  you a bigger treat this time right from the word go. You cannot keep it down easily. Thats the least and the best I can say about this.
  • The Remains of the Day:- A Booker Prize Winner of 1989. Written by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was a very light, feel- good, warm kinda novel. The kind that one can never say anything bad about!
  • Freakonomics:- Read it if you.. how should I put it..are like my husband?! It oscillates between being intriguing to a little boring to little interesting to being completely off- tangent! Atleast thats how I can best put my experience
  • Blink:- Again, a gift from my husband. If you are not the self- help book kind of a person, you may skip this one too.
  • Oryx and Crake:- OH- MY- GOD! Margaret Atwood is a magician. No. A wizard! No wait. God! I think this is the best book I have ever read in my life! (Take that with a pinch of salt!) You have to experience this one to understand what creative writing can be
  • Namesake:- If you want to let out a deep sigh, curl up and feel happiness then this Jhumpa Lahiri classic can be one of the options!