November 12, 2010

ROSE is a rOsE is a RoSe is a rose


I am loving it! Yes I am in love with the spring esp with the blooming roses in our garden, the fragrance from them very time I walk along the driveway, the very welcoming sight when I get back home from work. Much to my whinging in the last post, I am happy that the real spring is here! Thanks to the house owner, who must for sure be loving gardening and ROSES (when I am saying this I am also referring to all sorts of garden tools, fertilizers, potting mix, lawn mower etc placed in orderly fashion in the car shed)! 

No doubt I have seen many flower shows and hill stations, but this is the first time I got to see so many roses, in so many colours grown in a household garden. In fact I see so many houses here in Melbourne blooming with flowers esp ROSES. Not just one colour, but in colours and sizes you might have not seen before!

Ok let me just stop talking and let you enjoy this visual treat!


November 3, 2010

Quarter century and so...

Yes I turned 25 on 28th Oct. I am happy that I am now officially old enough to have just 3 months of learner's permit for obtaining drivers license! I no longer need to pay additional car insurance for being under 25. Also it's kind of cool to say 25 because, in your early 20's you are considered YOUNG, also in your late 20's you are categorised as NEARING 30. So 25 is chic and safe..lol..;)


We are having a gala time with my MIL for the past 1 week. Sadly she will be leaving this coming weekend. Also with the outings we did, made my birthday exxxxsssshtra special!!!
 
Entrance of Dandenong National Park
  
Though our plan to visit the Lakes Entrance got cancelled due to bad weather (I know but it's supposed to be the beautiful spring season), we did have a plan B. So on thursday morning after a sumptuous lunch, we started for the Dandenong mountain ranges. This place is about an hour drive from our place. Thankfully the weather was superb (25 deg and bright blue sky)! We reached the national park at around 2 and planned to do the Living Bush walk which was moderately steep trail walk out of the many mentioned in the map there.



Tall green eucalyptus trees
 The first part of the walk was plain ground with little ups and downs. We walked through gigantic eucalyptus trees and huge fern plants. Surprisingly we saw a lot of people doing the walks though it was a weekday. Some were even running all the way till the top. My attire didn't allow that since I didn't want to sweat in my new birthday dress. But I am sure I shall be running there sometime in near future. It's a very good work out since it's not a monotonous route of plains to the top of the ranges.




That's me..:-)



After we reached the start of 1000 steps walk, we delibrated little bit about continuing further since it said that the route is steeper. But we wanted to fulfill the whole purpose of visiting there and so WE DID "THE 1000 STEPS". These stretch of steps were built in the memory of those killed in Kokoda Trail. Along the way there were plaques depicting the lives of the men who fought and died on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea during World War II. After reaching the top, we got a beautiful view of the city and the walk was worth it! The walk still continued from there but we wanted to return back since we didn't want to get late for the evening plans.

After resting for a while, we climbed down the steps and reached the foot at around 4:30. We drove back home and freshned up for our temple visit in the evening.

The Shiva Vishnu temple that we usually go is huge and gives me immense pleasure and peace everytime I go there. After offering our prayers to the God, we drove to The Madras Banyan Tree for our dinner. I don't need to say much about this restaurant since the food speaks for itself. We had a fantastic dinner and were quite FULL after that. We returned home and called it a day.

Melbourians enjoying their sunbathe
 
The next day we didn't want to make the best use of gorgeous weather (because it rains in between) and so went to enjoy the sea breeze. We drove to one of the famous beaches in Melbourne city, the Elwood beach and it was the first time I went there and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Wetting the legs in cold clear water in warm weather was such a treat!




The couple
 

There were quite a few who enjoyed their sunbathe, walked along with their dogs, swam etc. We strolled along the shore for a while and did the very traditional thing of eating ice creams in the end. I loved my gelato..yummy!
And so these outing were like icing on top of my birthday cake..:-)
The next big festival Deepavali is kocking at the doors and we are looking forward for a dhamaka!




Advance happy deepavali to you all. Have a wonderful time with your family wearing new dress, bursting crackers, eating good food, watching newly released movies, catching up with friends and relatives!
Cheers :-)

October 19, 2010

Is it really SPRING season now?

Yup we are in the southern hemisphere (sounds like some alien) and it is spring here..but not really ;( Spring is one of those ideal getaway times when you just go on long drives, enjoy the beach walks, do trekking and mountain climbing, stroll along the park. Between how do you describe spring season? Temperature around mid 20s, blooming trees and plants, bright and longer days, early sunrise etc etc. I can hardly find any of these indicators here :( May not be us but our lawn is in full spring mood. It needs mowing every week...uffff. You might think I am kidding when I say that the average temperature since the start of oct has been 15 deg C. To make it even better it rains almost everyday and we are still wearing sweaters to keep us warm for the most part of the day!!! Ok ok no more whimping about the climate for hopefully it would get warmer in coming days...
October is special for me for many reasons. My hubby successfully completed his 2nd full marathon (Melbourne marathon) on 10th. Yes it's full 42.6 km and yes it's a very BIG deal!!! My appa celebrates his birthday on 20th, yours truly on 28th. By the way I am going to hit the quarter century milestone this year..;-)

My hubby's mom is planning to visit us for 2 weeks from coming saturday. We are super excited to have her with us. We are planning to do some sightseeing during this time and have good fun. Also this Deepavali will be all the more special! We shall make sure to see the fireworks at Federation Square which we missed last year.

Anyway I shall keep you posted about the proceedings. Meanwhile happy shopping for Deepavali..;)

September 21, 2010

Licensed Memories!

Driving like all other skills needs regular practising. Once you lose touch, it takes a while to get back on track. Last Saturday evening, my dear hubby offered to refresh my driving skills after which I realised that I needed to start from scratch! Though I have the Indian driving license, it turned out out to be just for namesake..;( Partly because since I didn't drive car after I passed the test (which is after I passed out of college and started working), so I hardly drove and also our college driving instructor ("Anna" as we call) was too naive to help me passing the driving test without much driving actually!!! I bet ya getting license here in Australia is real hard. One needs to get L, pass the test and then drive with P for 3 years, have a clean record before getting the full license!

We bought our own car last weekend (Toyota Camry - Sedan) and from now on the real ordeal starts. My lovable hubby has agreed to teach me driving during the evening. So hopefully I should be able to drive soon.

That evening when I was trying to drive after a LONG time, I was reminded of those days when we girls in final year in college enrolled for driving class in the mechanical dept in our own institute. Apart from getting good campus placement, we wanted to achieve something more! Our college is fundoo ya..has a driving school too unlike other colleges. "Jia ho NITT" and best part is they made sure most of us got our license!!! They had quite a few batches during both morning and evening. Morning means eeeeaaaarrrrlllllyyyy around 4-5 since there used to be 2-3 sessions then and each needed around 30-45 minutes. So we girls according to the slots available enrolled for both morning and evening sessions. If it were the morning session, we girls made sure that the rest of the goup got up early and were in time for the class. It used to be pitch dark outside then and also cold (talk about climate in Trichy).

Opalites correct me if I am wrong, the practising route started from the sports club or civil dept - left at library - along the other entrance road along SC/Compsci - till the boys hostel intersection - left at Pearl (not sure though, but some boys hostel) - drive till other end - left again at Chemical eng dept - straight to the Mech dept - practise reverse gear near the T.P building/Meta dept. We drove Maruti 800 (white colour, manual car) and a jeep. Many among us felt driving Maruti was easier but I personally felt the jeep was easier. Anyway apart from the car, we were taught to drive 2 wheeler too. We practised on a old Luna like moped on the sports ground near the main entrance.

The driving sessions used to be quite fun. I must admit that the Annas were quite patient and instructed us every time we stopped the car while leaving the clutch or speeded when we were not supposed to! While driving near the boys hostel, the guys walking on the corridor or playing cricket on the backyard would yell out our names. We used to get bit nervous during that part of the drive. We didn't want to drive to the ditch with the guys watching us (insulting ya!!)

With many days of such training, we girls (around 10) appeared for the license test at the RTO, Trichy with our beloved Anna. The RTO office is situated in the outskirts of the city. After finishing the paper work and paying the fee, we proceeded to the actually driving track which was further from the RTO. We girls formed small groups and hopped on to the jeep which we were supposed to drive. The procedure was like each of us took turns are drive the jeep a short distance with the Brake Inspector sitting beside us, Anna and other girls sitting behind. The Brake Inspector must have been in his BEST mood that day, because he let Anna prompt us while changing gears (manual jeep again), applying brake or speeding. Come on ya, we were tensed, don't think we were so dumb! We kept our fingers, toes and everything possible crossed till all our girls did a decent show. Thankfully I was just asked to drive around few turns and not asked to take reverse in which I suck!!!

After we girls test drove, we were asked to wait under shade for a while. Meanwhile Anna collected Rs.100 from each of us and drove the jeep with the Brake Inspector alone leaving us behind under the tree. We all had butterflies in our stomach. Atleast all these days practise should be worth it. GOK what happened, but Anna came smiling saying "You all got your license!" What more could we ask for then! You won't believe but Anna said that he was not so scared before for any other group for getting their license. May be the Rs.100 helped in sanctioning our license! We had to wait for long to get our photos taken and license made. WHATEVER..we all got our license for next 10 years! Yuppy..;-)

On the way back to the college, Anna was kind enough to take photocopies of the license and make duplicate license for general purpose. After returning to the college, we stopped at the Mechanical dept and you won't believe, we all took photos with our Anna for we were so happy that we got our LICENSE!

Hopefully I pass the test here and get the Aussie license too. Watch out for this space for more of my driving adventures!

Have a great week ahead :-)

P.S: Anna: Elder brother

September 2, 2010

Sweet Memories of Gokulashtami

அப்பம், வடை, வெண்ணை, முறுக்கு, சீடை,தேரட்டிபால், பாயசம்...Yes it's about my memories associated with Gokulashtami. It's the festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. This was not a holiday during school days. But conveniently it is celebrated in the evening.

Amma is an expert in cooking and needless to say she makes numerous sweets and savouries during such occasions. She usually makes appam, ulundu vadai, seedai (uppu and vellam), murukku, payasam, uppu avil, vellam avil, therattipal (yeah the list is long!). Being a school teacher, she used to come home a bit early on this day and start preparing the dishes. When I get back from school the whole house would be filled with aroma of butter...Ummmm yumm! Akka and I used to lend our hands in preparing for the pooja. The job I liked the best was to keep footprints of Lord Krishna from our house entrance till the pooja room. This is made mixing crushed rice with water. At homes where there are small kids, people would make the kid to step on the rice mixture and walk on the floor. These footprints symbolises baby Krishna entering the devotee's house. They also dress up their children like baby Krishna.

The next part was to make the idol of baby Krishna out of clay. Usually it is made in a crawling posture. Amma did this since I didn't have much skills to do that. The clay idol was then decorated with peacock feather and kept in a small craddle stand.

Tulsi leaves are very special offering to Lord Krishna and so are used to do the prayers. Since we have a huge garden at home, we had abundant flowers and leaves to offer. We chantted Vishnu Sahasranamam praying God and offered all the dishes. Once the pooja was done, came the best part..eating the sweets and savouries..he he..;-) This way we used to have fun celebrating Gokulashtami every year.

On Right: My parents were so thoughful to send me the photos of Gokulashtami they celebrated yesterday. Felt so nostalgic...
Many thanks to them..:-)


While I was preparing for the pooja here yesterday, I was reminded of those days at home with parents and sister. After getting guidance from Amma I tried making vadai and appam. Vadai dough was a bit watery so could not make hole in the centre, but appam was a success! Anyway both tasted good...:-) My hubby and I prayed God and offered all the dishes.

Those leaving away from your parents shall very well understand the homesickness especially during occasions or festivals. Nevertheless the technologies nowadays help you overcome that.
(To the technocrats in India, please for God sake don't ban SKYPE too!!!)

I hope you readers also celebrated Gokulashtami and had fun with your family.

P.S: appam, ulundu vadai, seedai (uppu and vellam), murukku, payasam, uppu avil, vellam avil, therattipal: Hard to explain each of them but they are sweets and savouries
Pooja: Prayer
Amma: Mother
Akka: Elder sister
Vishnu Sahasranamam : Holy mantra

July 28, 2010

My sins against gender stereotypes

I know that it has been quite sometime since Banu tagged me. Not that it has vanished from my memory, but I have been waiting for the right-feel-moment to write this post, for I find it pretty interesting. Meanwhile this unknown guilt factor has made me write this post and delay no further. 
( Note to self: Need to post a sequel for the housewarming party after taking pictures of the house. )      

As per this tag - I need to list at least 10 things that I have ever wanted or done which my gender is not supposed to.

First of all, I am not very comfortable with not-supposed-to-do logic. I feel that this kind of notion is affected and determined by society for the most part of it. Any child by birth doesn't know what he/she is entitled to do and not. It's the people around them who form the boundaries and they need to follow them to lead a hassle free life. I am no feminist and at the same time can't stand male chauvinism. There has always been times when the ques WHYs and WHY NOTs have arisen in my mind and where else other than my blog can be an ideal place to pen them down!

1. Is it possible to practise payyan paakum padalam ?!? he..he..;)

2. Always wanted to stroll alone along the streets late in the night counting the stars, listening to the nocturnal birds and admire night life!

3.  Want it to be less-a-burden and more-a-fun opening the wardrobe and choosing clothes to wear in the morning

4. Happy to have inculcated more interest in soccer and F1 car race 

5. Wondered how men have conquered the skill of shrinking shopping time to just few min where I end up spending days...please please don't mistake, I still love shopping ;)

6. Wish had more interest in electronic gadgets and politics

7. When I was in school, it was considered not-a-lakshanam for girls to stand near the street corners and talk with friends

8. Wished to get back to hostel well after roll call time (say 10 pm), walk right-royally through the entrance and smirk at the guard

9. Tempted to slap those perverts who lean-pull-push you in the bus under the pretense of over crowd or jolter of the bus

10. If I could give good (in fact massive) piece of my mind to those "Street Romeos" who utter and do all nonsense just to attract you

Well having said all these, I am not unsatisfied even a bit for how I have been brought up and living till this day of my life. Kudos to my family!!!

Now for the fun part - tagging! I am more than eager to read the versions of you guys.

My hubby
Sary
Saandy
Subbu
Saranya 
Meenu
Vivek Raj

See you soon :)


P.S: lakshanam: characteristics
payyan paakum padalam: boy seeing/watching ritual instead of the usual girl seeing/watching process when looking for alliance

July 8, 2010

Housewarming Party

After a great ordeal my hubby and I have setup the house and it's now fit to visit. On that note we are organising a small house warming party for our friends here this coming Saturday(10th July) from 4 pm onwards. It's basically a potluck and I am very much looking forward to it since this shall be the first potluck we are organising here.

We have kind of sorted out dishes that we shall be serving. I am keeping my fingers, toes everything crossed so that they all come out well. Usually my hubby as been the scapegoat for the dishes I make, but I cannot take that risk with the guests...;) Anyway I shall update you with the photos after the party.

I cordially invite you all for the same and looking forward to see you on Saturday at my place.

Have a nice rest of the week!

June 22, 2010

Gruhapravesam

What a weekend was it!!! We both were busy as bee. As you can guess from the title we have shifted to a new rental house from the previous apartment (I get your point..Gruhapravesam is mostly done for once own house, but still we are looking at this as one more step nearer to that!!!). While living in the apartment, we felt the need of a bigger and quieter house and hence the shift.

For those who have shifted before might know how tedious this job is. It needs so much of planning and time management. We had organised the moving for yesterday (Monday) since the movers charged ridiculously lot for the weekends. We were not able to do much of packing during weekdays so we did the major part of it last Saturday and Sunday. Music and football entertained us mainly then.

Yesterday (21st June '10) morning we vacated our earlier apartment and moved to the new house. It has been painted all over and cleaned very well. It's a very spacious and well maintained house. We are in the process of unpacking and have almost finished setting up the kitchen and bathroom stuff. Remaining shall be done gradually.

We are very happy in our new place and cordially invite you all for the gruhapravesam for which the date and time shall be informed very soon. Watch out for this space!

I shall also upload photos of the house once we get rid of the cardboard boxes and butcher papers...lol..;)

Have a nice week.
Cya..:)

June 18, 2010

WE, the couple turn 1

Anything which occurs for the first time is quite special like 1st birthday, 1st day at school/college/work etc etc. One such red letter day is 1st wedding anniversary. My hubby and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary on 14th last week.


Mangalya dharanam (an year ago)


Being a special day we wanted to make it memorable. Since 14th fell on monday and poor hubby had to work due to unavoidable circumstances, we planned to celebrate in advance during the weekend. To start with on Saturday morning we went to Vakrathunda Vinayaka temple to give a religious start. We hadn't been to this temple before since it's quite far and it proved worth the visit.

 
After lunch, we left for city were we had planned to spend the rest of the day. Crown Casino was the first pit stop. Wow what do I say, how do I describe, visiting a casino for the first time, I was enthralled by the crowd, activity and craziness. It was buzzing!!! Majority of games played were slots machine, poker, blackjack, wheel of fortune, roulette, baccarat and casino war. Apart from the games, there were 5 star restaurants, pro poker, free live entertainment, branded shops, cafes, cinema theatres etc etc.


Having come to a casino, I wanted to try my hands on few simple games which didn't need much of thinking and strategy. So I bet a small amount on the wheel of fortune. Not much to my surprise, I lost..;-) But it was real fun to see how people were crazy and spending money like they were worthless!!! To my surprise most of those crazy people were 50+ (esp asians!!!), GOK from where they get to spend SO much money! Anyway I am no way unsatisfied because I have so common-sense and self control. We we just stopped with few tries. We walked through the entire complex and nice time seeing a place so eventful!!!

From there we went to the Langham hotel were we had booked table for a buffet dinner. OMG it was food and food and only food everywhere. I am not exaggerating but the food was so tasty and delicious that we didn't know what to eat and which to leave. Thankfully being a vegetarian I was not disappointed because I made it to the money we paid! After a gluttonous meal, we managed ourselves to get back to the car park and drove home. It was a feast for the senses!!!

On Sunday, as you might guess we woke up a bit late after a godly dinner. We then left for our usual temple, Shiva Vishnu which was quite pleasant. From there we drove to Madras Banyan Tree, an exotic South Indian restaurant for dinner. Needless to say we had a wonderful dinner and called it a day.


On 14th, the hubby went to office and I wanted to surprise him by the time he returns. So I made his favourite Pal payasam and also baked a Chocolate Swirl cake. The cake is not too fancy since I used a cake mix. I made him cut the cake and it came out so tasty and moist that both of us could not stop eating..;) 
He being the expert of Pal payasam certified my preparation was up to the mark. Hurray!

For dinner I prepared the Stir-fried eggplant with home-made chilli sauce which my hubby asked me to prepare for quite sometime. For me who is not much comfortable cooking non-Indian dishes, it was a success as well.

Thus we had a quite relaxing and also eventful anniversary and needless to say I enjoyed every moment of it. It's a day to remember throughout my lifetime and I shall cherish every moment of it.  

Note: Mangalya dharanam: Tying of the nuptial

June 3, 2010

Jam packed June!!!

We have a lot of things coming up this June.

The most important is our 1st Anniversary! It's quite hard for us to believe that we are going to complete our 1st year of married life..hurray..;) Lot of my friends who got married more or less the same time say that 1st year just flies and its TRUE!!! It just feels like I bid good bye to my parents with tears filled eyes at the airport and flew to Melbourne and in a blink it's going to be 1 year..OMG!
Touch wood, we celebrate many more such anniversaries happily...:)
We are in the process of planning our anniversary celebrations and look for a blog once its over.
By the way its on 14th June..;)

Another important task is shifting to a new rental house. We shall be moving to a bigger unit in few weeks time. The house shall be in the same locality, a bit to the south. But it's still near to work, station and market. Needless to say how much of planning goes into this task. Thankfully we haven't gone to that stage which would need 3-4 shuttling of the truck. We have managed to control things we have been buying all this while and hope it's not that tough a job. We are in the process of contacting mini movers and deciding upon buying appliances for our new house (since our present house came with all appliances). All these stuff needs to be done in next 3 weeks.

Besides all this it's FOOTBALL time!!! We need to somehow make time to watch the World Cup matches.
Any guesses who will be this year's champion???

Ufff...this month is gonna be quite eventful and I shall update you guys as and when possible. You all are invited for our House warming function for which I shall drop the details soon..:)

May 21, 2010

Our Kitchen Rules - 1

Of late, my hubby and I have been a lot into cooking new recipes, thanks to Masterchef Australia. Unlike the reality show, we are neither time bound nor bothered about any elimination. Come on ya..we are cooking for our own fun! I have found cooking lot more fun with a company and music played in background.


2 weeks back, on saturday morning we both decided upon the dishes we were planning to try our hands on and shopped the necessary things. A lot of planning goes into preparing not-so-common dishes. Believe me or not, if the fridge had eyes, it would have burst into tears!


We first split the dishes into 2 each. I was to prepare Kofta Noor Jahani (Courtesy:  http://madhuthecooker.blogspot.com.html)/,Vegetable Pulao and Tomato-Parsley-Celery soup. My hubby is more enthusiatic in trying challenging recipes (I know it should be other way round but..have you heard of exceptions?), hence his share was to cook Lasagne and Capsicum stuffed Mexican rice with mint+yoghurt sauce. By this time it was 5 PM, so we planned to carry over the preparation to the next day if we didn't finish everything that evening.


We, the chefs sprang into action! My first job was to prepare the koftas. It's bit more elaborate compared to the ordinary koftas involving boiling potatos, carrots and onions and shredding the same on cooling. The stuffing consisted of shredded carrot+ raisins, the sauce onion + cashewnut paste and fresh cream. I know you are pointing to your waistline, but you can indulge once in a while ;-)

Meanwhile hubby was busy preparing the various layers for lasagne. He used zucchini and eggplant as main veggies. He made the tomato-onion pasta sauce from scratch!

OMG he has so much of patience when it comes to complexities (exception no. 2). Thanks to little distractions in between, my preparation got delayed by when the betterhalf had put the lasagne into the oven.

My first attempt of frying the kofta balls were an utter disaster..;( The balls got stuck to the frying pan and started crumbling into pieces. I was this close to tears and hardly had anytime to think of alternatives. That is when I remembered that Amma used to roll these balls in flour before frying. That tip proved handy and I did the same.The remaining balls came out into perfect golden brown koftas! Phew..my effort didn't go wasted. 


I set the koftas aside and made the sauce which was my cup of tea. By the time I finished my recipe 1, the buzzer in the oven went on and lasagne was ready! Hubby's ordeal was a great success except for one layer bit uncooked. We decided to feed our tired bodies some delicious lasagne. Oops we we so much into eating that we forgot to take photos of lasagne..;)


With this ended our mission for day 1.


I started my cooking for Day 2 (Sunday) making Vegetable Pulao. It's nothing fancy but traditional using carrot, potato, cauliflower, beans, capsicum and required spices. So we had Vegetable Pulao and Kofta Noor Jahani for Sunday brunch. It was a good effort except for a bit strong garlic smell from the kofta sauce. Otherwise we enjoyed it.

                                                        Above is the pulao with koftas and stuffed celery sticks around them.



After rested for a while, we started our final lap of cooking for the weekend. It was hubby's turn to prepare Capsicum stuffed mexican rice with mint+yoghurt sauce. I made the celery+parsley+tomato soup which was quite simple. Hubby meticolously followed the recipe and we enjoyed the mexican dinner thoroughly.






Capsicum stuffed with Mexican rice and soup


We enjoyed every bit of cooking. We are planning to have more such weekends dedicated for cooking innovative recipes leisurely. Here are some findings I learnt from this cooking spree:

Cooking is like any other art and needs to be performed with all due respect. Its not something magical, on the other hand depends on our sincerity and dedication.
Cultinary skills are governed by simple rules -
  • Proper ingredients/if not suitable substitutes
  • Follow recipe closely
  • Correct measurement
  • Sensible shortcuts
  • Stick to timing
  • Most importantly "Cook happily and serve with all love!"
Bon appetit

April 19, 2010

MM's Ramblings 1

This is what happens if one becomes lazy in blogging. Lot of happenings/thoughts, which I had to pen down, got insignificant now either because it's too late now or I don't have that vigour. Nevertheless, I need to record them, so that later at some point of time in my life, I can read through them and feel nostalgic!
Here they go...

1. My hubby and I had been to the Melbourne International Flower Show on 27th March. I was very eager to go to this flower show. This was the first time I had been to a really HUGE flower show. It was arranged at the Carlton Gardens in the city. As we went along the various shops and exhibits, my urge to buy a plant grew. Since this was the first time that we planned to buy one, we wanted to buy the kind which needed least care, like once-in-a-week watering, and one that could be grown in a pot.

So, after much deliberation, we bought 3 asiatic lily bulbs and a carnation plant sapling. Our lily bulbs on blooming shall look like this.



There were flowers of all kinds from roses to orchids, from herbs to chinese bamboo, from strawberries to a fruit salad tree (a single tree which can bear 8 types of fruits!).


 

There were also flower exhibits by various universities and florists on display in the Royal Exhibition Building behind the garden.




My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the different shops and exhibits. It was a pleasure to the eyes to see the beautiful and exotic plants. This is the best flower show I have seen till now.

I should say that my hubby cares more for the plants than me. He is more regular in watering them and putting fertilisers. Now I needn't fear and can go ahead and buy more plants at the next flower show..;-)

You can find more photos of the flower show here.

2. This Easter break was for 5 days. My hubby and I had been talking about doing some sightseeing since it was good enough for a getaway. I had wanted to go to the Great Ocean Road (GOR) and Phillip Island (PI) since I moved to Melbourne. Thanks to this break we had a wonderful road trip for 3 days. Poor hubby drove almost 1000 kms in just 3 days. Thanks honey...:-)

This time I rendered help to my hubby in planning the trip, which he usually takes care of. Thankfully, we managed to get accommodation at Apollo Bay because motels were quite full during this break.
So our 3 days plan was as follows:

Day 1 (Friday 2nd April, 2010):     Bells Beach (in Torquay), Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay (spend the night here)
Day 2 (Saturday 3rd April 2010):  Proceed further from Apollo Bay to Cape Otway, 12 Apostles and near by attractions, Port Campbell
Day 3 (Sunday 4th April 2010):     Phillip Island (4 attractions)

We started on Friday morning at 8:15 after my hubby got the rental car. We had enough Google maps and directions to help us in navigation and some music CDs to entertain us during the drive. Luckily we escaped the morning traffic in city and managed to reach our first halt, Torquay, to grab some detailed maps at the Information Centre. Here is one thing I was really impressed about the Information Centres here. There are so many volunteers to assist us, wonderful maps and guides to help plan our travel, good restrooms and lot of eateries near by.

The volunteers gave us maps, explained in detail the attractions near by and said that the International surfing competition was going on then in Bells Beach and it was worth a visit.  

So we headed to Bells Beach after a quick lunch at Subway. Bells Beach in Torquay is officially from where the GOR starts. Since we had to buy visitors ticket for seeing the surfing competition and didn't have enough time, we drove past the beach.


Words fall short to describe the beauty of GOR. On one side of the road is high mountain/rock structure, and on the other is the ocean (Bass Strait and Southern Ocean) just 2 metres from you. We travelled 300 km of this along the blue ocean enjoying the cool sea breeze. Mind you, the roads are not straight all the way. There are all kinds of hair pin bends, turns, steep cuts along the route.


On the way we stopped at many scenic lookouts to take pictures of the breathtaking ocean and surroundings!






After seeing the Split Point Lighthouse near Airey's Inlet, we went to see this beautiful Erskine waterfalls which is approx 8 km inland at Lorne.

We drove past Lorne and reached Apollo Bay, our halt for day 1. After refreshing in our accomodation, we drove to the Marriners Point. It was a trail walk to a hill from were hand gliding was done. After returning we had our dinner at the town centre and called it a day. 

We vacated our room the next day and continued our journey from Apollo Bay to a rain forest called Maits Rest. OMG..it was wonderful to walk through the green foliage with trees as high as 60 m and as old as 100 years. The next stop was at Cape Otway Lighthouse in which we could walk to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the scenic lookout of the ocean from there.



Next we drove to the Magic belt, 12 Apostles and near by attractions. This was the highlight of our trip. We were enthralled by the limestone structures and our eyes were not enough to capture their beauty!

We could count upto 10 of them though there were 11 in total (yup not 12 since one got destroyed by the waves recently).There were helicopter tours also to see these which we shall cover in our next trip.









We stopped at Port Campbell for lunch and continued our final lap of the tour to see more remarkable limestone structures like Loch Ard Gorge, Thunder Cave, The Arch, and London bridge.



It was around 4 when we finished seeing all the above and decided to return back since it would take atleast 3:30 hrs from there to reach home. The inland route was not anywhere close to the GOR yet it was the shorter one and we called it a day after reaching home at about 10 pm.

On the whole it was a fantastic trip to GOR and you will agree with me after you see these photos.

As planned previously, we headed to Phillip Island on day 3 which was fairly closer, about 2 hours drive from our place. We started at around 8:30 and reached the Information centre at Phillip Island at 11. Since the Penguin Parade happens late in the evening, we had to finish seeing other attractions by then.

After buying the 3 Parks pass (Churchill Island, Koala Conservation Centre and Penguin Parade), we headed to Churchill Island first, which didn't fascinate us much since it was mainly for kids. This is mainly famous for the basalt residue along the coast due to the volcanic eruptions long ago.

My aim was to see the KKPs...Koala, Kangaroo and Penguin which got fulfilled in the following tours.

Koala Conservation was where we went next. We took all 3 trail walks and spotted about 10-15 cute koalas blissfully sleeping in the branches of eucalyptus trees. We learnt that since they feed on eucalyptus which is difficult for them to digest, they spend most of their time sleeping (Lucky Koalas!!!). After accomplishing my first goal ('Koala'), we went to the town centre for some food. 




We next went to the Wild Life Conservation Center. Here I not only accomplised my second goal ('Kangaroo'), I fed them too...yuppy!!! It was simply wonderful to see so many animals and birds left free to roam about. Yes you read that right..FREE RANGE ZOO. We saw kangaroos and wallabys jumping and running all over the place.


Along with the entrance tickets, we were given food packets to feed the animals. Initially, I was bit hesitant in feeding them, but after looking at other tourists feeding and making sure they didn't bite them, I fed the kangaroos, wallabies, cuckatoos, cassowary and swans..;-)
Unlike me, my hubby was more outgoing in feeding the kangaroos!
After being there to my heart's content, we started for the Nobbies Centre where we could supposedly see and hear the seals that live ~1.5 km off the coast. Unfortunately, we were not able to spot any seals but enjoyed the trail walk and the scenic look out from there.
The last pit stop of our entire road trip was the most awaited Penguin Parade. We were asked to be there by 5:45 pm (due to daylight savings) by when the penguins would walk back to the shore from the ocean. Wanting to get a good view from the stadium, we reached there well ahead of time around 4:45 pm. Then came the worst part..WAITING!!!

It was about 7 pm when few penguins gradually appeared from the sea and walked towards the shore. We were told beforehand about their size (30-33cm) and so I was not disheartened by seeing their tiny structure. Their wacky-wacky walk, shaking their butt was so cute to watch! A pelican bird which flew to the shore from somewhere caused the penguins to panic since the former were their predators. The volunteers too wanted us to witness a cinematic climax and so didn't bother to shoo away the bird.
Hence after a small drama, the penguins (a group of ~8) gathered courage and walked fast to the shore to their respective burrows. Photography was strictly prohibited since the flash light could blind the penguins. So sorry readers I don't have any photos of the actual parade. But I have put up a photo which can give you a rough idea about the stadium. On the whole we saw some 10-15 penguins till then. (The previous day there were about 67) I suppose the best season for the parade is during December. So plan your trip accordingly..;-) It was around 7:30 by the time this drama ended and I started getting little impatient and hungry. So we had our dinner and headed towards home. We reached home by 10 pm and hit the bed.

You can find our Phillip Island trip photos here.

Poor hubby was given complete rest for the next 2 days to regain energy and get back to schedule the following Tuesday.
Thus our Easter holiday was fun packed!!!

Sorry guys for the lengthy blog, but I would not be doing justice if I didn't describe atleast "briefly" about the trip since it needed one.

Look for the MM's Ramblings 2 in next few days. Ciao..:-)






March 17, 2010

CSKs have opened their account!

In continuation to the previous post, my Shivaratri was fruitful yesterday. What a spectacular match by CSK (hey CSKs, you heard me very disappointed yesterday..right?) against the Khan's KKRs. I didn't even doze off for a single ball in the whole match (without a cup of hot coffee..yey)!!!

I always marvel at Dhoni's captaincy be it a winning or a losing match, perhaps one of the best captaincies in cricket. He is such a stable batsman and skipper. Badri's 43 was quite valuable. Initially the way Murali Vijay was batting seemed like a test match. Thank God Dhoni- Badri partnership did wonders on the field. They put up a total near to impossible. I was thrilled when the whole Eden garden crowd went spellbound by our batting and fielding. KKRs..relax people..you needed a break!


I am very happy that my Shivaratri was worth it. Hope it doesn't cause any inconvenience today. Mr.Dhoni and co I expect lot more such spectacular cricket from you in the coming matches. All the best!


Chennai Super Kings ku oru 'O' podunga pa!!!

P.S: Chennai Super Kings ku oru 'O' podunga pa: A way of cheering for CSK in Tamil






March 16, 2010

IPL means Shivaratri for me !

Yeah you read it right..IPL means Shivaratri for me. IPL, the most awaited cricket matches have begun. I am lucky to watch the matches on the free local TV channel here.


I enjoyed watching the last year IPL matches at home in Chennai. It was during the time I resigned my job and stayed with my parents till my marriage. I used to message my hubby(fiance then) in Melbourne to watch CSK matches (Luckily both of us are supporters of CSK though his all time favourite Sachin plays for Mumbai Indians), but due to the time difference of 5:30 hours ( it is quite annoying at times), he was not able to watch most of them except during the weekends. Imagine you work all day, come back home, wait till the match to begin at an ungodly time like 1:30 A.M, watch the match till 5 or so, sleep again (which is out of question) till 6:30-7, go back to office by 8:30. I felt sorry for me. Now he has a company!


Being true supporters of CSK, we both didnt mind the time difference to watch the first match of CSK against DC. So we planned to have dinner by 7:30, sleep by 9 so that we can sleep atleast for 3-4 hours before the match starts. Thanks to the alaram, we got up dozzing, switched on the TV, laid on the couch and managed to watch the match with atmost concentration. A cup of hot coffee helped my eyes from closing. (hope the Shivaratri point is clear)

I don't want to discuss about the way CSK lost pathetically to their neighbours. I was on my nerves watching Mr.Tyagi generously giving way valubles runs to the opponent (21.27..whatttttaaaa economy!). Anyway we were still hoping that 191 is not an unachievable total for CSK and hence continued to watch the second innings with a brave heart! Hmmm disaster ke ooper disaster. We were still hoping that Dhoni would make some miracle happen, but after the 5th wicket down at 3:30 AM, we both unanimously decided that it was high time we switched off the TV and went back to bed to give our poor soul some sleep! I was left with a headache the whole of yesterday, prize for my faithfulness..;(

I still checked www.cricinfo.com  yesterday with a small ray of hope, but alas..;(

Today it is CSK vs KKR. We are still deliberating whether to watch the live telecast at 1:30 EST or the delayed telecast tomorrow evening at a very convenient time of 5:30 EST. But the madrasi within me will not let me sleep today without seeing the match. Hmmm lets see.

I am keeping my fingers, toes and everything crossed for a decent game by CSKs. KKRs are playing like the world is coming to an end tomorrow winning all 2 games played as of now (FYI: KKR was down below in the league table in the last 2 IPLs).

Mr.Dhoni and co please don't wipe off the hope in me.

Good luck CSK!

P.S:
disaster ke ooper disaster: Its English+Hindi meaning extreme ruin
madrasi: A person from Madras (now Chennai)

February 20, 2010

"Rose day 2010"

I apologize for delaying our "This day this year" V-day blog since I was simultaneously working on this blog too.  

So without any further delay, I'll tell you in short about our wonderful V-day eve experience since my hubby has done the laborious part of it, writing the same in detail in  his blog..hehe..;) 

Everybody likes surprises, don't you? I am no exception and my husband gave me one for the Valentine's Day! He didn't give me even a single clue till that Friday (12th Feb) when he gave me a copy of our travel plan.



Guess what??? He planned for a road trip on Saturday (13th Feb) to the Cape Paterson - Inverloch Coast Beach for our first V-day after marriage. Australia is very famous for its clear and beautiful surfing beaches. I was super excited, not that I was going to surf or swim but to go on a long romantic drive to the beach with my hubby on a clear, mildly warm day!
 
We had earlier exchanged gifts for V-day. He gave me a long, sleeveless dress (of course, I went with him to shop). I just loved it. I gave him our wedding photo framed, a greeting card and his favourite Ferrero Rocher chocolate box. 









I gave this to my hubby.










 This is the dress my hubby gifted me.










We thoroughly enjoyed the road trip. Thank you sweetheart for the wonderful surprise. Plz note I welcome many such surprises in future too..;-)


You can read about our road trip in detail here and see all the photos here.