Pain in the landing gear! ( google translation)

Route: Solihull to Warwick

Distance: 40 miles circular

Ride 2 : 26.05.13

Back on the saddle for another gruelling 40 miles on the road.  Decided to take the Solihull to Leamington spa usual, I was a bit apprehensive as we had never been on that route before.


The combinations in the group were different too. This time, we had 2 newbies in out toon town- Prashant and Nishant. P had been gearing for this trip for days and was the first to arrive home, with his bike in tow , but with no air…..lesson 1: to reach Paris, you need to learn how to fill air. The others reached sooner or later and we set off, once again through brueton park. Ram, Nishant and me reached the park but the others were no where to be seen. thanks to the wonders of modern technology, realised that they were further ahead, having taken t he ‘short-cut’

Lesson 5:  stick to the map!!!!guys, there is nothing more annoying than waiting for someone 🙂

I wouldn’t complain though…gave me time to get some nice clicks.

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Went along brueton avenue and up the bridge crossing the M42 into Knowle….thats where my backpack started feeling heavy ( who asked me to carry the big camera!!! Moi, of course) and who would be the first one to point it out- the hubby, of course….my ‘I told you so’ man snapped but eventually gave in and carried it for the rest of the ride , awwwww.

The ride was brilliant with some lovely views. Kept worrying about N and P but they were doing great. Nishant’s cheeks started turning red in varying shades and you could tell that we were increasing our efforts by the deepening beetroot colour he had acquired in the next 20 minutes.

Came across fellow cyclists who waved and cheered everytime they passed ( except for P, who felt that he was ignored bc he was not in proper cycle gear- now who told you to wear jogging bottoms and tshirt. Mahesh reckons they feel that he is out to buy milk and eggs from the local grocer 😉

Reached Warwick ( no idea how leamington route converted to warwick) and past a steep incline in town, reached a welcoming pub.

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It was a great feeling and loved every minute soaking in the sun and beer.

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Was interesting to see the look on M’s face when he got a whole fish, grilled….scales galore, the whole works….( now, for those who dont know,  us indians, have a habit of destroying all resemblance and  flavours of any type of food with the strongest of spices and fish is no exception, hence it was a surprise when an identifiable object like a fish was on the table 🙂

Anyway, it was not M’s day as he was the butt of all jokes ( pun intended 🙂 but he didnt mind at all and all was in good spirits…..

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Met Louis, a cute dog, who mainly understood french and very little english. Did try to converse with him in moi french, but like most males, all he cared was being pampered and stroked…..and thats just what i did 🙂

The return journey was a blur, the aim was to keep going on and on. Was immensely proud of P and N, both excelled and cycled back safely, considering that this was a 40 mile ride and not easy even for relatively senior riders….. reached home, tired but victorious, 40 mile veterans , and of course with the excuse of ‘i am too tired’ for the rest  of the night!

Lessons learnt:

1. Never underestimate the beginners…..enthusiasm and pride always wins ( cheers to N and P )

2. Wear the ‘proper’ gear if you want to be taken seriously by fellow cyclists ( read as if you want to get the cursory nods and whassups!! )

3. Stick to path, stick to path and stick to path.

4. assess hills and lower gears in anticipation, slowly increasing the resistance.


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Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein



Ride 1: 25.05.13

The idea of the next ride always emerges and solidifies during a charity ride and that was exactly the same old way that the L2P ride was conceived. The  enthusiasm and booming confidence of the coast2coast cycling trip spurred the idea of L2P which soon took shape. I was happy being the secretary of the group, booking hotel rooms, reading up various reviews of food ( ah…and wine too), sorting out travel arrangements. The weather too played host and deterred the ‘would love to cycle but…..’ cyclists from going out on their bikes ever since we returned from the C2C.

However,  months of cajoling coaxing threatening and bribing ( hot pub food followed by chilled beer!! Told you , food always works with me ;), the day finally arrived when the British weather also parted ways with my meandering mind and decided to shine through. There was no excuse to dig deeper into the duvet and I knew that I had run out of excuses. Ram had already decided and spread the word amongst the group so we knew that the ride was on, come rain or storm !

On day 1, we  were joined by the usual suspects: Raja and Subhash and soon we set off through BruetonPark.


DISTANCE: 25 miles

It was a great ride and I was happily clicking away. 6 miles down the road, there was a beautiful bluebell wood and I longed for a peek.

Viola!!! It was as if God heard my prayers and Bang! A puncture.

Obviously the guys got started on it straight away ( I think they feel very much the alpha male when they repair punctures etc, just like a bbq ) while I escaped into the bluebell woods.

The ride continued through a forest trail from where 3 horse riders emerged, a beautiful sight framed by the golden glow of the morning sun. There is something so majestic about horses,the way they trot, head held up high, proud and snooty, but equally deserving.

The rest of the ride continued happily clicking away and then catching up with the guys. Spotted a horse and its pony in a perfect setting….enjoy. It was mother nature at its best that day. had to climb over a hedge to take this shot and cursed myself for not bringing my Canon with me.

Lessons learnt:

1. if you are cycling anywhere in temperatures less than 10 degrees, please layer up. We wore 3 thin layers with winter cycling gloves and a neck scarf ( wish there was a nose clip- nothing is more embarrassing than runny noses during a cycle ride.

2. always keep a good quality tissue on the back of your gloves where the velcro straps to the wrist, useful in dabbing those unglamorous noses.

3. Always carry a spare tube in your bag and puncture repair kit.

4. Do take a good quality camera with you, reagrdless of weight….you never know what you might see around the corner.

The best things in life are free…and around you always

Its easy to take it all for granted.

The uneventful days that begin with trying to get the kids up for school and end with a kiss and a snuggle. Interspersed are the weekends in the park, a small bunch of wild flowers and the attack by the swans by the lake. Days of watching teletubbies and feeding the totally impalatable weetabix, repeated over and over again. Finishing the snowman in winter because Rhea was too cold to finish it and defrosting the little cold hands when they come back from school. Finishing off leftovers from their plates, playing in the bath with the kids till their skins wrinkle like a washer woman. Being the tooth fairy and being the secret santa.

Of course I worried about lots of things too. I worried that if varun didnt share his toys, he would never be able to get on with anyone in his life. If Rhea was not docile, she would end up being a bully or being bullied i school. Also worried if she would ever grow hair, what if Varun stammered…..luckily none of that happened.

Life moved at its own pace and before we knew it, the mornings were replaced by the well rehearsed rituals of good byes and see you in the evenings. They no longer needed the weetabix or teletubbies. soon replaced by the big bang theory and beans on toast. The hand that i used to clutch while crossing the road was no longer there. instead, my 12 year old was always 2 steps behind me. The little girl , who adored my sense of hair styling, now makes her own hair as well as faces in the mirror, which i fail to comprehend. Life in now a routine of taxi service and cheque signing. I soon learnt that it was important to keep up with them rather than make them listen to us. Gone were those days of teaching them ‘mary had a little lamb’, rather it was time for me to learn ‘ titanium’ and ‘little wings’. I have learnt to be invisible but available when their friends come around.

Slowly they stopped smuggling into our room at night. There were no longer fights to use our bathroom and no one to steal the last piece of cake in the fridge. The bedroom door which had always been open, now remains closed. The boy who was always clutching my leg, now clutches his phone 24/7. It hit me then that i have reached a new phase in our lives: the teenage era. a difficult phase, turning my cute chubby angel into a sulky grown up  alien, who was totally foreign to me. That was a moment of reflection, as to where has he disappeared to…..the moment, alone in bed, when a tear rolls down my cheek, replaying the last argument i had with him, asking myself how and where i went wrong. How did i change from being the apple of the eye of the most adorable baby in  he world to someone not desired at all….i try now to take each day on its own, to dance with the moment, faster and faster. Sometimes i slip, sometimes i glide…..i try all i can to keep up, i cook, fill the fridge with goodies they like, keep out of their conversations with friends, try and act cool…..

in the last few days, i have realised that very soon, my son will fly the nest and i have to start now by letting him go. Another 6 years and rhea will also be ready to take flight. That will be dawn of a new era. The house will be quiet. Rooms that looked bombed at the moment will have an ethereal feel to them. There will be so much of choice on which tv programmes to watch. No acting as a referee or a taxi driver. The most perfect gift in my life will soon cease to exist in its intensity. Of course, love will always be there, the family being stronger and more united. but living int heir own capsules.

Hence i have decided to savour each and every moment now. the simple everyday things in life…..the lazy weekend mornings, family dinners, the kids and us all slumped in a couch, fighting over the duvet and watching a movie, the last minute rush to the stores to buy a pen, the reluctant kiss at night…..i try to look for any sign of the chubby obese child that varun once was. I long for his cheeks to turn red when he would laugh, like it did when he was little. i dread thaT my little princess would soon turn into a young woman and be whisked away to her fairyland by her prince charming.

Nobody told me that the most precious moments were not the ones i had on my holidays abroad, or during special occasions. The most precious moments were those which quietly passed away. I would do anything to hold my baby in my arms again, to feel his soft skin against mine. To bake a cake with rhea and clean the kitchen for hours after that.  To see the pride in her eyes when we would bake a fancy ‘ in her eyes only though’ cake for her birthday… but i know those days will never come again. but i can definitely extend my present!

So i finally learnt to cherish the gift i have, the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days……the gift of my perfectly perfect family 🙂



Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake!!!!

And being born with a sweet tooth, i intend to do exactly that, on diet or not!!!!

A few weeks ago, while going through innumerable food blogs, i stumbled upon this wonderful recipe. The icing on the cake ( pun intended ) was that it fits exactly with the requirements of a food cheat like me……no, its NOT a low fat cake or an eggless cake!!! Its just a no-fuss cake, hence already goes way ahead in my priority list 🙂

There is always some chocolate fudge icing hidden deep inside the cake cupboard, waiting to be used and cookies n cream ice-cream is always welcome in our house. Oreo biscuits , of late, because of clever advertising, has become a ‘must have’ amongst kids, so getting the ingredients together is not an issue at all.

Hence, Rhea decided to make this for mama and of course, with the ever so dutiful helper, aka, me!!!! ( Now i realise all my mum had gone through years ago!!! )

OK, so here goes….


Collect all ingredients…..


The main cook mixes it all 🙂 ( mix brownie mix, oil, egg, ice-cream and chocolate icing)


Layer oreo biscuits over a layer of batter and top it with the remaining batter. ITs so difficult to keep your hands off , even at this stage!!!! Go ahead, you can definitely lick the bowl clean 🙂

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked…. mmmmm, it so delicious……



Serve hot with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream……The kids and me finished half of ours within minutes of getting it out of the oven!!!

The Reward: 

Rhea- mum, you are the best!

Varun- uh huh….mmm, its good.

Me: flying high in blissful motherly delight 🙂


1 pack brownie cake mix

eggs and oil according to the recipe in the cake mix

3 heaped scoops chocolate fudge icing

1/2 cup cookies and cream ice-cream

1 packet oreos biscuits


Combine eggs and oil with the brownie mix as instructed at the back of the box.

add ice-cream and fudge instead of the water.

Preheat oven and spray an 8″ square pan with cooking oil.

add a layer of batter, then a layer of oreos and then cover with a final layer of batter on top.

Place in the oven and cook till done ( takes approximately 40-50 minutes )

Serve hot with a generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream.


Whats a fake noodle: an Impasta ;)


Staying in a family with 3 generations, food is never an issue in our house. There is always food in abundance, so it a matter of choice for me whether to cook or not! Well, it may sound perfect to some of you, but mind you….its not Jespecially when your motherly instinct kicks in , you make something special for your kids and they say ‘oh, Grandpa just gave me beans on toast!!!’ grrrrrrrr there goes all the maternal affection and the background Bollywood style soft sentimental music.

Last evening was one such evening. I rushed home from work with images of my kids coming bounding to the door, screaming ‘mum, I am hungry, what are you gonna make tonight?!’ and always in my imagination, the first word that comes to mind is ‘pasta’. Anyway, none of that happened, as you would have guessed by now but I still went ahead and made pasta ( the kids , of course, promised to eat it after giving me curious looks aka why is she so excited about pasta?! Its just pasta, for goodness sake!!! )

I just love pasta in all shapes and forms… gives you a warm, satisfying feel ( carbs, of course J ) one of the most versatile dishes, can be made in a jiffy, can be modified according to your wishes ( we Indians find it difficult to resist adding a green chilly in the end, even though there is no place for it in the original recipe 😉


Firstly heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a thick bottom pan.

Add sausages and cook till golden brown on all sides.

Remove and drain the oil from the sausages on kitchen towel.

Cut it into pieces and keep aside.

Keep water to boil in a large saucepan, add 1 tsp salt

Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta to the boiling water.

Keep a colander ready for draining the pasta when it is nearly done.


Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic to the remaining oil in the pan.

Add 2 cups of chopped vegetables ( courgettes, baby tomatoes, sweet pepper, onions, sweet corn, beetroot, in fact add any veg that you fancy….)

Mix well with a large spoon till vegetables are nearly done.

Add the cooked pasta, canned mixed beans and tomato puree.

Add chicken stock ( 1 heaped tbsp of chicken stock granules to one cup of boiling water: I use the leftover water from the pasta )

Mix well with sausage chunks.


Season with salt and pepper to taste, perhaps some chopped green chillies too for those who cant do without it ( I definitely need it in everything J )


Serve steaming hot with a dollop of crème fraiche or 2 tbsp double cream.


Now just sit back, relax and enjoy this heart warming meal.