Dealing With In-laws

November 21, 2008

I deem myself experienced enough to hold forth on the subject.  So if you are looking for help, let me know if the following works.

1. Your spouse/parents/sister/brother may be an angel to you.  But not necessarily as an in-law.  So you cannot force love when there is none deserved.

2. Just getting married into a family does not make you part of the family.  You have to work towards it.  Even after working on it, if you are not allowed to belong, do not worry.  The family does not deserve you.

3. You may have known someone all your life.  But their spouse may know them better than you do.  So live with it.

4. Crying does not make you an innocent and snapping back does not make you a villain.  So try not to provoke and try not to offend.

5. If you feel you were treated unfairly, then do not give them another chance to treat you unfairly again.  Keep your distance.  But be polite and kind.  Being sarcastic and waiting for opportunities to retaliate will not make you any more endearing.

6. If you are visiting on a holiday, please respect and understand that it is a holiday for your host also.  Or you may be on vacation while your host may be working.  Do not take them, their time, place or generosity for granted.

7. Respect one’s home.  You may be asked to feel at home.  But it does not make it your home.

8. A home is a place where one de-stresses.  So if you are a guest, try not to stress out your host.

9. When you want to use something of your host’s, it is only polite to ask to use the same.  The host is going to say yes even if they did not want to.  But they will be happy doing it because you respected them enough to ask.

10. Do not jump, rush and try to show yourself in a better light by intruding in a couple’s life.

11. If you have an agenda, there is nothing wrong.  But do not manipulate and pretend that the agenda was made for the other’s benefit.

12. After you have forced somebody to spend a lot of money for your amusement, do not call them close-fisted.

13. After you have spent somebody else’s money, do not call yourself generous.

14. If you want to run a home, run your own home.

15. If one has idiosyncrasies about one’s own home and space, respect that it is their right and wish to do whatever in their own home.  If you have idiosyncrasies of own, your are welcome to indulge in those, in their home, only if you do not trespass on their space.

16. Your advise is invaluable.  But it may not be wanted.  So please refrain yourself.

So I will refrain myself, for now.  But before I sign-off, just think about it.  I started off about dealing with in-laws in specific.  But it broadened into treating people in general.  After all in-laws, me and you included, are people.  It does not take a genius to figure it out.  Just treat them as you would a stranger in this civilized world.  Distant, polite, kind and with a smile.  No more, no less.

Is that too much to ask?

***UPDATE  While on the topic, here is an article that hits the nail right on the head:

Things That Ring Me Off

November 21, 2008

Here is a list of things that tick me off when it comes to phone conversations.

1. You call.  I am busy.  I make time for you.  I make a conversation and you do not listen to a word I say.

2. I call.  You are busy.  But you make time for me anyway.  I make a conversation.  You do not listen to a word I say.

3. I call.  You are not busy.  I make a conversation.  You are carrying on a conversation with somebody at your end.  I realise I should get off the phone.  I say maybe I should let you go.  You say, no, no.  You make a conversation.  I respond and you continue the conversation with somebody at your end.

4. I call or you call.  We have a conversation going.  You say something out of the context.  I am puzzled.  I realize you are introducing something unrelated so that whoever is listening to your side of the conversation at your end is going to be pleased with you for having said that.  I understand and I would like to help.  I try to stay on the subject that you just introduced, but you do not encourage it.  I am not amused.

To my credit, I never make calls for the sake of formalty or just because I have time to kill.  I call because I want to connect.  If you do not, then please do disconnect.  : )

And to all those I have ticked off by answering the phone but not keeping up my end of the conversation, inadvertantly or otherwise, I apologize.

I have learnt my lesson.

Chettinad Dinner

November 13, 2008

I am back.  With no vengeance!  To cooking, reading and blogging.
An aquaintance from Chettinad said there is no such thing as the Chettinad style that we taste in restaurants specializing in that particular cuisine.  I personally associate Chettinad only with cooking and that too a certain, authentic or not, kind of taste, look and style, especially of chicken curry.  It has been years since I actually had an opportunity to enjoy this dish.  Until I came across this recipe at, I had not hoped to enjoy it ever again!
Chettinad chicken curry goes best with Dosa, Idli or Biriyani; so we decided to have all the three!  For biriyani, I settled for a non-Chettinad style, though very tasty, recipe that my aunt had given me, which I would like to share.
Egg Dum Biriyani
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 medium sized onions (sliced lengthwise)
  • 4 green chillies (slit lengthwise)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock
  • Coriander leaves and mint leaves for garnish
Whole Garam Masala Ingredients
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (1 inch each)
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 pieces mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon black cumin
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 cardomoms
  • 2 bay leaves
Cook the rice with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons oil, and spread on a plate to cool.
In a frying pan, heat the oil and saute the whole garam masala ingredients for a minute.  Add onions, chillies and saute till the onions turn light brown.  Add ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.  Saute for a few more minutes.  Add tomatoes, boiled eggs and one cup of water or chicken stock.  Cover and cook for five minutes or until the oil seperates.  Keep this curry aside.
Smear the bottom and sides of a thick-bottomed vessel (you may use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker) with butter.  Layer rice and the curry alternately (about 4 layers in all).  Garnish with coriander and mint leaves.  Cover with a heavy lid and cook on low flame for 45 minutes.

Egg Dum Biriyani








Chicken Chettinad Curry

We cook only once a day, so there is still a lot of time to spare.  So I thought I should get back to the list I had made long time back.  I was looking for “By The Time You Read This” by Giles Blunt but could find only “Forty Words of Sorrow”.  And I have no word of complaint!  There are many things going for the book but what I liked best was the way the detective figures out the link and eventually finds the killer.  It may seem like there was nothing great about it, but in real life, that is how it works.  If you have solved puzzles that have no formula, you would know.  It is like, one domino tilts, and everything else falls – into place.
Now I am trying to get hold of “Tell No One” by Harlan Coben.