Dont fall sick on a Friday

At least not in the middle east.

For there’s every chance that you may end up not getting treated at all.

Why? Because, Friday being a weekend while you may still find coffee-shops and grocery stores open at the weest of hours here, and even petrol stations that are open 24/7 but NOT a clinic or a pharmacy. No way.

I realized that only today, when Namnam suddenly developed an ear pain and started bawling uncontrollably. The pain was so unbearable that no hot-pack treatment or ear-drops were soothing enough for her. So the next obvious step was to take her to a clinic. I tried to call the clinic to check if the doctor was in but there was no response. Thinking the phones may be out of order we decided to head straight to the clinic anyway, only to reach there and find it closed!

It was annoying to say the least to find a fairly reputed and recently upgraded clinic closed on a weekend. I mean arent health care providers supposed to serve the people through the day? What if there had been an emergency? With the phone lines off, how do they expect to be of any help to those in need of health care? Of what use is the state of the art facilities and stylishly updated websites when the patients cant access the clinic for their basic health care at any point of time?

Anyway we found out that the clinic was to open at 4PM. It was 330 already. But since Namnam’s pain wasnt subsiding we decided to go to another clinic a couple of minutes drive away. This time too I tried to call the clinic hoping against hope to get my call answered and an appointment fixed. But to no avail. Here at least the clinic was wee bit better off than the previous one…this one at least had a voice-mail activated informing its callers that it was closed during the day and was to open at 4PM! WOW, what a service!

As a last resort we were left with either going to a pharmacy and buy an over the counter medicine to relieve the pain or go to the government-run emergency ward and get her admitted.

Now since Namnam’s condition was not so serious that it called for an emergency admission yet not so slight that it could be neglected we thought of going to a pharmacy.

But.

As expected the pharmacy that we came across first while on our way had its shutter down! Thankfully a few blocks further down the road there was one store which was open and we got Namnam the required medicine. She gulped it down while in the car, without a whimper.

The pharmacist adviced us to wait for 2 hours within which time the pain would subside. If it didnt then we were to go to the emergency.

The pain subsided after one hour and Namnam was back to her active self.

However this whole experience left a very disturbing mark in my mind with respect to the health care system here. I am still wondering about the purpose of such healthcare facilities in the first place when they cant ensure the basic service to people!

Sometimes all it takes is a dig through your old photos..

To make you reminisce about some of the moments that gave you so much of happiness! So much so that that they never fail to bring a smile on your face even today.

And in my case the digging through old photographs happens every now and then :). It doesnt matter if the photos are thirty years old or three years or even three days old. I love to look at them and go on a nostalgic ride of my own.

It could be a photo taken a few decades ago of my then-4year old brother flaunting his newly-shaven head and flashing the cutest smile in the world :). Or it could be a picture of my father all dressed up to go to work, having his breakfast while my brother and I plant a kiss on his cheeks and our mother looking on adoringly. Or it could be a picture of my child being held in the arms of her father, both of them smiling at each other.

Oh there are times when I click photographs and immediately rewind them to have a look at them again. No.. not just to check if they have come out well but to simply think of those moments again and relive them.

And sometimes I find worthy company in Namnam who keeps insisting that I narrate the stories behind the pictures.

And it makes the ride even more enjoyable πŸ™‚

Today was one such day when old photographs beckoned me and I went browsing through them.

I had started looking for a suitable photograph for the Thursday Challenge, but instead came across this particular one which had me laughing thinking about that moment when Namnam had found digging into her father’s ear amusing and majorly indulging. I had a clicked a sequence of shots which had her digging and poking till she emerged thoroughly satisfied after her foraging.

Let me share one of the shots from that moment and step into the weekend with a wide grin and happy heart πŸ™‚

Have a lovely weekend ahead, people!

The lights that travelled from Smits’ abode to adorn Deeps’ garden

Smitha, who I fondly call Smits, had this picture of beautiful solar string lights up on her blog a few weeks back.

One look at the picture and I was pleading with her to visit me on her way to India next, with a huge carton full of these lights :).

But the darling that she is, she didnt want to wait till she’d made that trip, instead offered to send them to me the very next day. I jumped at the idea!

She mailed in details with other designs on offer so I could choose the one I liked. I ended up choosing the one that Smitha had on her blog, though. Anyway a couple of mail exchanges later, here I was calculating the amount I would have to pay to her for the packet along with the shipping cost, etc. and there she had already shipped them to my address!

Not just that, when the courier reached me, I discovered to my utter delight that she had sent not one but two packs of garden lights as a gift!

And also, a beautiful D-I-Y art & craft kit for Namnam, which she was so thrilled to get that the few hours that followed were truly peaceful, sans any pestering, any nagging to play with her, to watch TV or go out..for all she cared was to open the kit and make the butterfly wands that were in it :).

Smits, she loves the wands and they have already been placed by her in the favorite space of her room- her art corner :).

Coming back to my solar lights, after about two weeks of pondering on where to adorn them, which angle to position them so they get enough sunlight to get charged- hah as though sunlight is in dearth here πŸ™„ – I finally got around to hanging them in my backyard where the sun shone the most.

Here are a few pics of the lights taken during the day and some taken in the evening when the lights were fully charged and ready to glow into the night.

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Unfortunately because of my dokku camera-settings the images havent come out that sharp. Hence inviting you to my abode to see for yourself how the garden looks when adorned with these beautiful lights! πŸ™‚

Serving Banana Chocolate Walnut Cake

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While the recipe is being drafted, anyone wants to stake claim on a piece? πŸ™‚

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Edited to add the recipe…assuming that you must have tasted the cake, and burped too by now… πŸ™‚

Even though I have made Banana Walnut bread before and loved it all the same but it was after visiting a friend recently, where she treated us all to a super-yummy Banana Chocolate Walnut Cake that I realized how much more delicious it could be when chocolate and cinnamon were added in. Hmmmm..the very thought of taking a bite at the cake, chocolate chunks crunching in my mouth, cinnamon flavour tinging in with the banana and walnuts, is so lip-smacking!

Needless to say, a bunch of us were pouncing on the cake as though there’s no tomorrow and nagging my friend to share the recipe. And before we knew she had forwarded this recipe by epicurous to our group-chatting box on our mobiles! Yep she is a sweetheart that way and yep yep we are a crazy bunch to have a group dedicated just for yapping! πŸ˜€

So here goes the recipe…

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (3 1/2- to 4-ounce) bar 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts (3 ounces), toasted , cooled, and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375Β°F with rack in middle. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan.

2. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Beat together softened butter (1 stick) and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in eggs 1 at a time until blended. Beat in bananas, yogurt, and vanilla (mixture will look curdled).

4. With mixer at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

5. Toss together chocolate, nuts, cinnamon, melted butter, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Spread half of banana batter in cake pan and sprinkle with half of chocolate mixture. Spread remaining batter evenly over filling and sprinkle remaining chocolate mixture on top.

6. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, right side up.

Read More at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Banana-Chocolate-Walnut-Cake