Thursday, 27 June 2013

10 life lessons

1. Life is too short to waste it by hating someone. 
2. Every problem has a solution.
3. You will cross the bridge when you come to it.
4. If there is something to crib about, it has to change.
5. Eat. Delete.
6. Don't compare yourself to others."Why would you compare how tangy an orange is compared to a beach? They’re not similar things."
7. Simplify your life, relationships, expectations and possessions.
8. Change is the only constant.
9. What other people think of you is none of your business.
10. You can love unconditionally.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Singapore Haze

Smoke from forest fire in Indonesia has shrouded Singapore with Pollutant Standard Index(PSI) hitting all time high at 401. Anything above PSI 100 is unhealthy and 300 is just hazardous.
PSI Value Air Quality Descriptor 0 - 50 Good 51 - 100 Moderate 101 - 200 Unhealthy 201 - 300 Very unhealthy Above 300 Hazardous - See more at:
View of Singapore eye at PSI 401- Yahoo photos.
It is an yearly event for Indonesian farmers to burn their plantation just before mansoon. But this time the fire is intense because of extreme dry weather. Even Indonesian oil companies have participated in annual burning of farms by burning their palm oil plantation. This has escalated the situation in Singapore and southern Malaysia with PSI hitting hazardous levels.

Yahoo photo

In an otherwise safe Singapore we have major drama ensuing because of haze.

 - Politicians are blaming and pressurising Indonesia (rightfully) for the haze situation.

 - Indonesia in response has chided Singapore for behaving like a child. It has responded positively too, by deploying fire fighting planes as haze worsens in Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia has also released names of 8 companies which may be involved in starting forest fires.

NASA Photo

 - Malaysia shut down schools when the PSI hit 300. This has caused anxiety and frustration among Singapore residents. Singapore PM Lee has maintained that there will be no closing down of businesses in Singapore and that life must go on. Assessing the situation there might be reduced work hours and outdoor exposure but that is as far as what we can expect.

 - Amidst all these there is panic among residents for getting respiratory masks.
People queuing up at hospitals for N95 masks. Yahoo photo
A colleague of mine had purchased masks at 20$(original price 10$) on 20th June. When some of us from office went to purchase masks from the same shop on 21st afternoon the guy had run out of masks but was ready to take advance orders at 75$ per pack!! He claimed that he has to hand carry masks from Australia!! Simple theory of Demand and Supply!!

We haven't opened doors and windows in house for the past 4 days. Its very stuffy to stay indoors. Haze visibility has improved today but the smell and pollution still persists. PSI was high even today morning at 322. This is expected to continue for another month or so but may be not at high PSI. Thank god for air conditioner at homes that life is going easy despite haze.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Austrailian food

Australia is a foodie's paradise. With people and culture so diverse, one can imagine the diversity in food, its range and quality. There is Greek precinct with an array of Greek cafes and restaurants, Chinatown precinct for Chinese delicacies, Lygon street for Italian and so on.

Being a vegetarian is not at all difficult in Australia. Every food place has quite a few vegetarian options. As I was in budget mode I couldn't explore restaurants in Australia but here are some of the things that I tried in food courts and mid range cafes.

Mine and your favorite Coffee:
Australians love their coffee to the point of obsession. They take their coffee as seriously as their beer. Australians whose families migrated from Greek and Italy introduced coffee culture in Australia. Australia can be considered one of the world's great coffee lovers.

Vegemite, Concentrated yeast extract:
Source: Wikimedia
This is one of Australia's very own, most widely eaten as breakfast. It is a thick black gooey "spread" eaten with cheese crackers and bread. This is a byproduct of beer brewing, a concentrated yeast extract. This is more of an acquired taste, like Durian of Malaysia/Singapore. It has a bitter and sour taste that shocks you on your first bite.

Greek - Veg Souvlaki:
This is a traditional greek food. Souvlaki is Pita sandwich of crispy vegetable(/chicken) kebabs in a bed of crunchy lettuce and onions with tzatziki(creamy cucumber yoghurt) sauce. This sandwich was so filling that I could only finish half of it. I have nothing to compare this to. This was my first taste of any kind of Greek cuisine. I will watch out for this one. Love.

Italian: Pasta, one of my comfort food.
Penne pasta with roasted cauliflower, red onion and garlic breadcrumbs, spiced with chilli flakes.

Asian: Asian food is popular in Melbourne. I could find more vegetarian options in Melbourne than in any Asian countries.
 Thai food - Sweet and spicy vegetarian fried rice and crunchy fried sinful spring rolls complete with sweet dipping sauce.

Stir fried vegetables in fiery Thai red curry and rice. 

 Creamy Alu-matar-palak(Potato, peas and spinach) and spicy, tangy chole (chick peas) with yellow rice. Cooling thick Mango lassi to go with. Wish they had soft rotis to go with all the yummy side dishes.

Gado gado is an indonesian salad that had many levels of texture to it which was what I loved about this dish. There was stir fried crunchy vegetables, fried tofu, boiled cauliflower and raw lettuce. This was served with rice and strong flavorful peanut sauce.

One thing that I regretted:
This was served as stir fried noodles. Utter disappointment.
The noodles were slimy, the sauce sour and vegetables overcooked.This was a confused dish. It seemed like the cook started with pasta in mind but midway he decided to change it to stir friend noodles!! *Shudder*

Finally for Austrailian dessert - Lamington cakes.
Vanilla cake in a generous coating of chocolate ganache and rolled over dessicated coconut.
I remember eating 2 pieces of this simple yet delicious cake.

Licorice Raspberry bullets:
A friend of mine recommended these chocolates to me and I thank him for that. These are nothing like I have eaten before. It has a soft melting outer layer with Raspberry jelly at the core. I bought a big packet to share with colleagues and friends but everyone loved it at home so much that we finished it all by ourselves :-)

These are just a few things that I tried. Some of the food that is associated with Australia are non-vegetarian like Fish and Chips and kangaroo meat delicacies. And off course there is Australian beer & wine. I didn't get a chance to try Australia's pavlovas.

Food sets my mood and I have enjoyed eating in Australia. Melbourne will remain in my memory as a city with mouth watering, wide variety of food.