A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for May, 2011

Stories from my kitchen

Posted by Pepper on May 26, 2011

The first one speaks of all the wounds I’ve earned in the battle field, or the kitchen. At any given point in time, I have a bare minimum of 3 cuts, bruises or burns on my hands. And it is not nice. They are constantly there. If one is healing, I seem to be in a rush to add to my collection. I have a talent when it comes to slicing my finger along with the onion or forgetting the pan is hot and then touching it with my bare hands or puncturing my finger pad with the knife or having hot splinters of oil splash on me or, okay, you get it. I know this happens to all of us, but doesn’t it suck? The worst part is, we as adults are not really permitted to show any indication of pain. I mean, I see it happening to my mom and most others and they all brush it off saying ‘Oh, it is nothing..’  Surely I can’t be the only one who screams? Because it is not nothing! It hurts! Why should I pretend that it doesn’t?


I had neatly arranged the potato peels in the sink and had them ready to be washed. When I walked over and peeped in with all my senses in place, I realised what I had really done. I paused for a moment to think about it. If I unknowingly put the peels in the sink thinking they need to be washed, do I also unknowingly do other things? Perhaps the ghost who makes random kitchen paraphernalia mysteriously disappear from our lives is actually me. Me who unknowingly dumps the objects in the bin and then blames the ghost. Perhaps the house is not haunted after all…


It has been quite a while since I am using the Indian pressure cooker. Yet, each time I happen to be close to it when it, err, blows its top, I shriek and run out of the kitchen. Most of the times, I know the moment is going to occur and I distance myself and make sure I am not standing too close. At those times it is okay. There is no shrieking involved. But a lot of times, I forget to keep check and am busy chopping something or doing something else around it. And the sudden explosion of steam along with the startling sound makes me shriek and run away. I have no idea for how long I will fear the hissing monster, yet I can’t seem to do without it.


I thought I had to do something extraordinary to prove my brilliance to the world. So I did this – I was in a hurry as I was loading the dishwasher. I placed all the dishes inside, poured in the gel, locked the thing in place, set my preferences and turned the knob to set it in motion. I go back to the kitchen after a while, only to see that the kitchen has turned into a mini swimming pool. White, frothy lather is covering the entire floor and some stray pieces seem to be merrily floating in it. Good Lord! I instantly get to work and start cleaning up before the water enters the carpeted area. It takes me a while to clean and dry the place. Then I start examining the cause of the flood. Is the dish washer acting up? Some amount of investigation and I know. The results reveal the usage of fabric detergent instead of dish washing gel. Damn it! I understand I put the wrong thing inside, but couldn’t it adjust for a day? Sigh, I know. I should give up.

Posted in Slices of life | 42 Comments »

I wait with bated breath..

Posted by Pepper on May 24, 2011

for my mom’s arrival. It is finally happening. She is going to be here in around 2 weeks. I can’t believe it.

I’d been asking her to plan a trip here for ages. Each time, the excuses given were different. Sometimes she said the journey would be too tiring, sometimes she said the weather here wouldn’t suit her, sometimes she said dad and sis didn’t have any time off and she couldn’t leave them and come alone, it just went on.

And then my mom’s sister who lives in Chicago, announced the engagement of her daughter. She put added pressure on my mom to come for the wedding, which would be in July. After almost a month of contemplation, she agreed to come. This would be my mom’s first trip to USA and I waited anxiously for her visa to get approved. On the day of her interview, I was beyond nervous. I had to keep asking myself to calm down. Finally, it all got done and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Her travel dates were finalised and then began the war between us. She said she was coming here just for a month, out of which she’d be spending about 10 -12 days in Chicago. That means she wouldn’t be with me even for a full 3 weeks. I blew my top. Every time I see parents of friends come here for at least 2-3 months. Her 3 weeks sounded so ridiculous to me. Bur I had to given in to her plans ultimately. Well, never mind.

Once I made peace with her decision, the excitement of having her here has been taking over me. I told BFF#2 about it while we were talking on phone, and she squealed in delight. “That is so awesome! It must feel so great. She was the one who brought you up, you lived in a house run by her, and now she is going to be visiting your home, a home run by you. How does it feel to have your mother at your place?” Those were her exact words.

A home run by me? I don’t think that is how I looked at it. A while ago while talking to mom, she told me she can’t wait to come so that she can cook for me. She’s asked me to keep a ready list of things I want to eat while she is there. I don’t understand how selfless mothers can be, but that is how it is most of the times. Knowing mom, and knowing myself, the home will be run only by her while she is here. Of course, I plan to give her a tour of the house when she comes – this is where the spices are, this is where you dispose trash, this is how you turn the shower knobs. And then hand over the reigns to her. I do know that it will give her joy and I also know that she sees it no other way. I am this ‘messy. unorganished’ girl of hers. She knows she will come and shout at me and then straighten things up. She knows she’ll feel happy feeding me  She knows I am going to ask her to cook all that my heart desires. Am I selfish? Perhaps. But if there is one person who has given me the right to demand like that without feeling guilty, it is my mother.

So yes, the countdown has begun. I can’t wait to be a spoilt brat again.  I can’t wait to spend all those hours chatting with her. I can’t wait to go out shopping with her. I can’t wait for our upcoming Chicago trip, the wedding celebrations and everything else that comes with it. I am ecstatic. I really wish the sister and dad were coming too, but I’ll try and not be too greedy. For now, I wait with bated breath for my mama’s arrival.

Posted in Meet the family | 61 Comments »

And it is birthday time!

Posted by Pepper on May 22, 2011

Dear Mint,

You turn a year older today. I know you’re not the one to get excited about your birthday or even like any kind of loud celebration, and that is fine. But today is special nevertheless. Today is the day you were born. I smile when I think of it – A couple welcoming their first born, a little baby boy, a small town, your growing up years, all of it. Today is the day you began your journey, more than two and half decades ago, so yes, today is special. If not for you, then for me. Because your very presence has made my life special.

Sometime ago, a friend asked me how different my life would be if you didn’t exist. That question jolted me. How different would my life be really? I would probably never have been able to free myself of the clutches of pessimism the ex had chained me with. Skepticism would still be blurring my vision. I would never have found such a true companion. There is no way I would have considered marriage at 23. Most probably I’d be just wading through life at this point, perhaps working in an unknown city, fighting the pressure to get married, feeling that undefined mild pain on seeing couples snuggle. Perhaps I’d never experience the joy of being so thoroughly pampered by my partner. I may never have gotten the opportunity to experience so many new places. I may have never experienced this sense of happiness and security. When I try to imagine life without you, I can’t imagine much..

I feel thankful you came into this world. I feel thankful I met you. I feel thankful I have you. Beyond thankful. So today is celebrated. With red velvet cup cakes, a chocolate cake, good food and a good movie. Happy Birthday to my permanently charged massage kit, my calculator, my GPS, my roti-maker, my hot water bottle, my pillow, my comforter, my feet warmer and my home. I think the last word sums it up perfectly. You are my home.

Your mom tells me how much of climbing and jumping you would do as a child. I can see that has not changed much.

I hope you continue taking such fearless leaps, all along.

Lots of love,


Posted in Splashes of Mint | 70 Comments »

The snoring sounds.

Posted by Pepper on May 19, 2011

Every single night, I feel the kind of irritation and agitation that makes me wanna scream and slap someone. The constant sound of someone snoring seeps through our walls and annoys the hell out of me. Don’t ask me how it happens. But somebody on the floor above us starts snoring to glory everyday once the clock strikes 11. And since we are late sleepers, and since the night is usually silent, and since our floors and walls seem to be hollow, we are subjected to those mini explosions that occur every 3 seconds. Mint and I often discuss how easily sound travels around our place and how enthusiastically the neighbours must be tuning in every time we raise our voices. I don’t care about that. At least they get free drama. But what do I get? The sound of rumbling thunder every night? The other day, Mint said it’s probably not the sound of someone snoring. What the hell are those noises then? Alien mating calls?

Posted in Slices of life | 54 Comments »

For the love of Maggi..

Posted by Pepper on May 18, 2011

‘Maggi noodles’ is a household name, especially in India. Most people love it and for some, it is actually comfort food. Even now, each time I visit the Indian grocery story, packs of Maggi are always piled on to my cart. The noodles are so good by themselves, I hardly ever add any veggies. Nutrition be damned. I do however, experiment a lot and give the flavours a different twist. I am sure a lot of us do that. For fellow Maggi lovers, I am jotting down some versions I have come up with. In all these variations, the regular seasoning has to be added at all times. The listed ingredients have to be added along side.

– The very basic one: just add a dollop of butter and sprinkle some pepper. The butter and spice enhance the flavour.

– While adding the regular seasoning, also add some amount of mustard sauce. When it is fully cooked, stir in some shredded cheese and 2 tbsp of wine. The mix of molten cheese and mustard, along with the seasoning is so awesome!

– Boil the noodles in clear tomato or vegetable soup instead of boiling them in water. Add the seasoning and cook it the regular way. I used to enjoy this a lot at home in Bombay, especially on a rainy evening. Now clear vegetable soup is rarely available at the right time, so I just pour in the powder from the instant soup packs to boiling water and then add the noodles.

– Finely chop at least half a bunch of cilantro/coriander. Stir it in when the noodles are getting cooked. Add a big pinch of red chilli powder. Squeeze in some lime after turning off the heat.

– Saute garlic in olive oil. Add this mix to the boiling water and cook maggi the regular way. Once done, sprinkle in all the herbs you have – basil, oregano, parsley, etc. If you want to indulge, then top it with a layer of mozzarella and dunk it in the microwave for 2 mins or until the cheese melts. You have to make sure you eat this hot though.

– To add some new flavours, I often mix other masalas along with the seasoning – Pav bhaji masala, chole masala, biryani masala, sambar powder, etc. The taste varies each time and they all taste really good.

– Break in an egg and make scrambled egg in your maggi noodles. Add other masalas for added flavour.

– Add any left over item you have at home. Rasam goes really well, so do other kinds of unfinished tomatoe purees and masalas you have at hand.

– Just add Maggi Hot & Sweet sauce to a bowl of hot noodles.

There are so many things you can do to add a twist. It is so versatile. I doubt I’ll ever be really fed up of Maggi, even if I eat it just like that.

Posted in Uncategorized | 73 Comments »

My ego massage..

Posted by Pepper on May 17, 2011

Some days ago, Mint and I had a fight. Now I don’t even remember what exactly it was about. Must’ve been one of the usual things. Most of the times the reasons are quite lame. For example, we were once getting ready to leave for dinner. Mint told me to make sure I carry my handbag. Because a lot of times I am stupid enough to walk out without my cell phone, wallet, etc. I told him I was carrying my bag. We left the house and shut the door. Two steps ahead and we realised we needed to get back home and get something we had forgotten to carry. I told him to open the door for me since I didn’t have my keys in my hand bag. He looked at me in alarm and told me he didn’t have the keys either! It was night time, we don’t have the concept of keeping any spare keys with the neighbours. We were truly locked outside. He said he told me to carry my hand bag specifically because he was not carrying his keys. He started yelling at me for not having my keys in my hand bag. I told him the keys are usually in there, but since I changed my bag, I forgot to put in the keys. Since he was yelling at me, I got mad and started yelling back. If he wanted me to have the keys, then why should he have assumed they were there in my hand bag? I know they usually are, but why not be more clear? Why not ask me to carry the keys instead of asking me to carry my hand bag? Since we were outside the house and in the midst of our apartment complex, we tried our best to scream in hushed tones, but I am not sure how successful we were. Finally we had to call the managers, ask them to open the door with the keys they had. Of course we ended up paying a big fine for that. We were both quite pissed off and continued blaming each other for what had happened. This was about a month ago. I am writing this one down for you to see that that boy can be quite an ass at times.


Anyway, so a few days ago, we fought and as I said, I don’t remember the reason now. I am sure it was quite lame. This time, instead of yelling and screaming too much, I walked out of the house. I am quite the drama queen. I stormed out and continued walking. It was a little cold and I headed towards Starbucks. I was walking outside when I saw a desi aunty checking me out. She struck up a conversation. We started talking and decided to sit together. Despite all my resistance, she insisted and paid for the chocolate brownie I got. I couldn’t really believe it. A free brownie for me? As per the rules of my life, I never win any free stuff. Heck I don’t win anything. Not even a game of Uno. This must be my lucky day.

The Indian aunty only kept throwing questions my way. Where in India are you from? You eat meat? Etc, etc. I got a lil suspicious, but she seemed friendly and harmless, so I answered her questions. She then started telling me about her son and his achievements, what he studied, where he works. The bell rang. So she was trying to sell her son to me? Viewing me as a prospective daughter in law? I wasn’t sure if I was on the right track, but I cut her off and told her I was married already. And just like that, without a word, she got up and walked away! I am only thankful she didn’t snatch away my brownie after I said that.

I didn’t know what to make of it. I giggled and felt secretly pleased. A random lady I saw on the road wanted her son married to me? It doesn’t make sense of course. But I don’t care. For me, it was just an ego massage. I got back home and told Mint all about it. And then I told him how eager I was to narrate this episode to my mother in law. She should know how fortunate she is to have bagged me. * Evil laugh *

Posted in Slices of life | 40 Comments »

Shooting random bullets your way.

Posted by Pepper on May 16, 2011

Since so many of you seem to be doing random updates using bullets, I will too.

– I’ve been feeling quite lazy to post. I am never out of ideas, but these days I hardly ever feel like typing out a post. Whatever.

– The weather has been actin up. The weekend was kind of cold and rainy. We snuggled in bed, went out for meals, ate some great food and went to watch ‘Thor’. The movie has great reviews almost everywhere, but I thought it was just about okay.

– I’ve discovered a new fondness for Mongolian BBQ. We usually go to the Great Mall,  pile on the food in the box and load it with all the chilli sauces they have. Yesterday it was shut by the time we got there. I am still sulking.

– Mint’s colleague came home for dinner with his family on Friday. We made spicy, garlic mushrooms and laid out some chips for starters. For main course we had dal tadka, chicken curry using the recipe given to us by the expert cook, aloo gobhi, cucumber and mint raita, rice and rotis. Dessert was cake and ice cream. Since I don’t really consider myself to be much of a cook, cooking all of that makes me feel like I have arrived.

– We have a big decision to make on Thursday. Or in a few days after Thursday. It’s been scaring me, though I can’t seem to figure out what it is that I fear.

– To overcome my lazy spell, I am going to try posting every day this week.

– Almost everyday I wake up with such a start. Courtesy the stupid, loud, startling wail of Mint’s alarm clock. He says a soft and sane tune is not good enough to wake him up. He might be right, but the sound of his current alarm makes me jump out of my skin. I then feel my heart whirring noisily inside my chest, like a rickety old machine.

– All the book stores around us seem to be shutting down. First it was Barnes & Noble that shut down. Then Borders said they were closing. And last week we discovered another outlet of Borders that was closing. Like Mint says, the emergence of the kindle, e-books, etc has been a blow to the bookstores and they seem to be suffering huge loses. That makes me very sad. But on the bright side, Borders had a 70% sale and we picked up about 20 new books. What a delight!

– Kettle cooked chips are so damn addictive.

– Most of the search engine terms people seem to use to get to this blog are related to Mint. ‘Microwave Mint lazy’. ‘Mint flavoured cuddles’, ‘ Mint from dash of pepper blog’. I mean, shouldn’t it be me people search for?

Posted in Slices of life | 54 Comments »

Dialogue in the dark

Posted by Pepper on May 10, 2011

Two days ago, I was traveling by train when I noticed a blind man enter the compartment. He used his cane, but confidently walked to an empty seat in front of me and sat down. All along, I kept wondering, how does he move around so effortlessly? A lady entered at another station and took the seat next to him. They started talking. Since I was all alone and had nothing else to do and since I was quite curious about that man, I started straining myself to listen to their conversation. The man told her he was completely blind. And at one point, he told her, “I can see things you can’t”. I knew exactly what he meant. It took me back in time.

Some time last year, we were visiting Mint’s friend in Atlanta. While discussing ideas on how to spend our limited time there, he suggested we go for an exhibition called ‘Dialogue in the dark’. What is that, I asked? He told us it was a guided tour, but we would be made blind by the darkness! The tour would take us through a market, a park, a grocery store, a busy street, etc. All of it artificially built, all of it in pitch darkness. The tour would be led by the blind! It would give us a deep understanding of the visually impaired and would make us value our sense of sight a lot more. It sounded incredibly interesting and I couldn’t wait to get there.

We reached the venue and got the tickets. The tour was to begin in 5 minutes. I couldn’t help feeling a little scared. Thick, black darkness scares me. What if I get separated and lost? What if I am left behind somewhere and nobody knows? How will I know what direction to move in if I can’t see a thing? What if I run into a wall or fall? I had too many questions.

It was time to enter and we were all given a cane, just like the ones the visually impaired move about with. “Trust your cane, use it to make sure there are no obstacles in your path before taking a step. You’ll be okay’ That is what we were told by one of the volunteers who handed us the cane. We were asked to be seated on the stools present in the room and were told the lights would fade soon. I held Mint’s hand nervously. Very soon, the lights started fading. In no time after that, it was pitch dark. And when I say pitch dark, I really mean pitch dark. The world seemed like nothing more than a black canvas.

The leaders of the tour entered, and cheerfully introduced themselves. They, the visually impaired would be leading us today. For they had learnt a way to navigate through the darkness that was their life. I was amazed! Really. I have no idea how they knew where we were heading. They knew exactly where to turn, where the wall was, what direction we were facing, everything! All along, I was using my cane and fumbling in the darkness. And I had no idea where Mint was.

We reached a place and they asked us to guess where we were. I think it was the first time I really felt my surrounding. What I touched seemed to be something like a bench. I could feel the wind blowing. They asked us to bend down and feel the surface of the ground we were walking on. I felt sand. I guessed we were in a park. It was amazing. We had to use every sense of our being and connect the dots to form a mental image of the place we were in.

We moved on. I figured we were in a grocery store now. They asked us to feel the objects around us and guess what they were. I moved across racks. I felt the shape of different bottles and knew one of them was ketchup. It has a distinctive shape. There was a pile of fruits in one corner and I started to feel the texture, the shape and the smell. I made guesses. Some were right, some weren’t.

I kept wishing Mint and I hadn’t been separated. And just around that time I heard a cough, and I knew it was him. I tried following the direction of that sound and finally bumped into somebody. ‘Sorry’, I said. ‘Baby, it’s me.’, I heard Mint’s voice. The euphoria and joy of finding him in the dark is hard to put in words. We held hands so that we don’t get separated again.

We went through a busy street. And I paid attention to the noise caused by the traffic. I touched and felt the railing on the road. We even went to a store where some visitors bought a drink. People who purchased things had to hand over the money to the volunteers. A very difficult task when you are surrounded by nothing but darkness. But the visually impaired volunteers knew exactly what amount they were given the moment they touched the money and even returned the right amount of change the next instant!

I think the whole experience of the tour was an eye opener in the literal sense. I realised how we take our sight for granted, how we live such a mechanical existence,  how we’ve stopped using our other senses to feel the environment. Do we really listen, smell, taste and feel as much as we should? We might know we are on a beach just because the visual images around us may tell us so. But very few people will really listen to the sound of the waves, taste the salty air, feel the sand and the wind.

Dialogue in the dark did awaken my senses. And when I see blind people, I connect with them in a different way now. I highly recommend this to anybody who lives in Atlanta. If you’re in India, I think they hold the exhibition in Hyderabad. It is an extraordinary experience indeed.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 60 Comments »

Celebrating the years..

Posted by Pepper on May 7, 2011

Today, my mama and my papa celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. That seems like a very big number to me. I have so much to say about them, but for a change, I will restrain. Here’s a toast, celebrating the wonderful years they’ve had and hoping they’ll have many more!

I think they’ve been the best parents ever. In my eyes, they’re ideal. Parenting is tough. You never know the outcome of your effort until your children are grown up individuals. You might be rewarded by their love or they might hate you for your ways. Worse still, they might turn out very detached. It’s a complicated journey. I think my parents have been perfect. They’ve given me a brilliant childhood. They’ve given me all their support. At the same time they’ve set limits. And now they’re my best friends. If their 25 year old daughter is this crazy about them, this devoted to them, then I know they’ve certainly done somethings right. I hope to have kids sometime in the future, and it scares me. I only hope my 25 year old feels for me, what I feel for my parents.

Posted in Meet the family | 61 Comments »

Lots in a name!

Posted by Pepper on May 4, 2011

Yes, that is what I believe. There are a lot of invisible elements woven into your name. It contains a little bit of your identity, a little bit of your personality, a little bit of nostalgia, a little bit of your history, all of that rolled into a package that is your full name. I know a lot of people might disagree and think a name is devoid of all that I mentioned. But for me, a name holds a lot.

Which is why I chose to not change my last name after I got married. I didn’t even add on Mint’s name at the end. Apart from what I mentioned, I had several reasons:

* Changing my name would mean a lot of additional paper work. All my documents, certificates, degrees and passport say a particular name. Getting supporting documents to prove the name change, and applying for new documents in some cases seemed like a huge hassle.

* Mint, like most South Indians does not have a family name. He uses his father’s name as his last name. If I were to change my name, I would have to use his first name as my last name, which sounded quite ridiculous to me. Also, with that we wouldn’t have a common last name anyway.

* I find this practice quite sexist. Enough said.

Having said all that, I do not judge people who do change their last name after marriage. My mom did it, and in fact, most people of their generation did it without much thought. Even today, people continue to do it. They have their reasons and beliefs. I have mine. I thought it was normal to be left to make your own choice. But I suppose, that works only if the choice you make does not deviate from the norm. For people who do make unconventional choices, the road is always difficult.

This is actually an age old discussion that I used to follow on mommy blogs years ago. But at that time, I was not more than 20 years old. I could not relate to the things they said at a very deep level. Now I am married. I haven’t changed my name and I live through those situations they spoke about. It does get maddening.

When we moved into this apartment, the manager put up Mint’s last name next to our apartment number at the entrance of the complex. My last name was no where to be seen. Mint told me to go and talk to her about it, but I chose to ignore it. Honestly, I don’t really care if my name is missing from that place. We later noticed that she had put up only Mint’s name even on our mail box. This time, Mint insisted I go and ask her to put my name there. Because I receive mails too and we don’t want them getting lost, considering there is a different name present on the mail box. When I told her to add my name there, she was quite taken aback and said ‘But you are married’. I retained my cool and told her we were, but we had different last names, so could she put my name there? She continued arguing and telling me how married couples have a common last name and they don’t usually put up two names on the mail box if the apartment is being shared by a married couple. They do it only if two unmarried people are living together. WTF? She was beginning to get on my nerves. We argued for a bit and after a verbal tussle she agreed to put my name on the mail box. The whole episode left a bad taste in my mouth.

Every now and then, my dad questions this decision of mine when we talk on phone. Are you sure you’ve done the right thing by not changing your name, he asks. I start getting mad at him. Why the doubts? He tells me about my cousin, who like me, did not change her last name after marriage. She and her husband bought some joint property together, and how she had a lot of ‘problems because of a different last name’. I don’t quite understand it. Isn’t the marriage certificate good enough proof of your marital status? That is how Mint and I usually get by. So far, the different names haven’t caused too many legal hurdles, but I don’t really know how the road ahead will be.

Mint is one person who really supports this decision of mine. He doesn’t think we should encounter too many problems. I only hope he is right. Because even these small nuisances can be a big pain.

Posted in A penny for my thoughts | 62 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on May 2, 2011

Now that she has written about it. I will too. The whole thing was too extraordinary to let it pass without mentioning it on my blog..

Both Mint and I love being outdoor. Being close to nature is always a thrilling experience for most people, I suppose. It is so much more enjoyable than going to a theatre to watch a movie, or being cooped up in a mall, or spending obscene amounts going to pricey restaurants. But the last few months, we were doing just that every weekend. Being indoor in a restaurant or a mall. Reason? The weather. The cold would not allow it to be an enjoyable experience for me. What is the point in being outdoor if I keep running back to the car every time the wind roars? I know I can bundle myself up in layers, but despite that, I am in constant discomfort if it is chilly.

A few weeks ago, the weather started improving. The sun was out during the day. Even if the temperature would dip, the presence of sun light would bestow a blanket of warmth. So we started being outdoors on weekends. Long drives on scenic high ways where we would pull up to admire the beauty of nature, driving to small little beach towns to spend the day, driving to places where we could capture the sun set, going downtown and hanging out at the popular spots, going to parks and lake sides, that kind of stuff. Good fun. Yosemite was one of the places we drove to a few weeks ago.

Accompanied by two friends, we started out at 6:30 am on a Sunday. The drive was a little over 4 hours. None of us are early morning people,  but the lure of the beautiful national park along with the fact that we had to return the same day gave us the required boost to have an early start. I was getting drowsy in the car until I caught a glimpse of the remaining snow from my window.

The landscapes bordering the winding roads were gorgeous. We started discussing the idea of camping there. At that point I remembered a conversation I had had with AHK. While chatting on gmail, she had told me they camp there often and that she would be there this weekend. I said that to Mint and he told me the next time we plan a trip, we should consult them and get all the tips and advice possible. AHK is one blogger I was dying to meet. Because I’ve always admired the honesty in her writing and also because she has the most adorable little girl. If I really like a post, I force Mint to read it and harass him until he does. As a result, he knows most of the bloggers I like. So he obviously knew AHK and had been made to read some posts written by her in the past. I actually considered calling her and letting her know that we were around. Perhaps we could possibly meet? But then I didn’t have her number saved in my phone. And also, the idea didn’t make much sense. We were with our friends and I assumed she would be with hers. Beside, the chances of meeting seemed very slim. The place is huge, covering an expanse of 7,61,268 acres! It is equivalent to an entire town. It would be hard to coordinate and meet at a point convenient to both of us. So I gave up the idea.

We reached and stopped at the base of some waterfall. The friends we were with walked towards the restrooms. Mint and I stepped out of the car and were stretching. He noticed the car parked opposite and asked me, ‘What if that is AHK in that car?’. I laughed it off. This boy does the same thing every time. He plays around like that. So I knew better than to take him seriously. He then told me that car even had a baby and a stroller. So it could be her. ‘Right’, I smirked. The next thing I see, there is this girl waving to us and excitedly walking over. She came up and said a cheerful, ‘Hiii! This is AHK’.

I think I was too dumbfounded in that instant to react like a sane person. It was as though Mint just waved his magic wand to prove his point and that girl appeared out of nowhere. I am pretty sure Mint was quite taken aback himself. Ha! I asked her how she was so sure it was me? She said it was my eyes that gave me away. Pretty cool? Once it hit me, I couldn’t stop grinning. This was too good to be true! We hugged, grinned,  chatted, and I finally had the chance to see the little doll I have been longing to see. Paapu is so tiny! I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

We walked to the breathtaking water fall together, thrilled and chatting like excited little girls. Bumping into her like that was the most unbelievable coincidence ever. I am still unable to get over it. How totally awesome! This was clearly the highlight of my trip. If you haven’t already, hop over to her place to read her version now.

The rest of the trip was beautiful too. The gushing waterfalls there leave you mesmerised and completely awestruck. We did not have enough time to do any full fledged hikes, but we did do a lot of trails. We walked all the way to Mirror Lake, we played around with twigs, watched clear streams of shining water merrily flowing past us, we sit in the midst of hills, followed green paths, breathed into the fresh, clean air and generally had a wonderful time.

Doesn’t it all seem gorgeous? Unfortunately, pictures can never do true justice to the beauty of a place. But without them, the post doesn’t seem complete. The last one is my favourite. I love the way Mint is pointing out the far away peak and the waterfall to me. It is kind of symbolic. I even saved the twig he used there. At this rate, I don’t know the amount of junk I’ll end up accumulating over the years.

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