29 October 2021

What is the English word for this tool?

After the “last” post of the cobbler from India, this is yet another tool that I remembered from early childhood in India. Before winter, these folks would come with this tool that can be best described to look somewhat like a big safety pin – made mostly of wood except it had a thick string on one side. And the guy would have a wooden thing in his other hand that looked like a dumbbell that he would hit the string with. This whole contraption was used to fluff up the cotton that would have invariably flattened out in the mattresses and quilts after many years of use.

People who grew up in India will definitely remember this. Did any other country use a similar looking tool?

In any case, do you know what is the English word for it? After a lot of research, I am still struggling. I have found at least what the guys who are in this profession are called. Want to take a guess?

26 October 2021

A beautiful poem

I had not read this one before. But it touched a chord in me as I find myself more and more absorbed in thoughts of my own mortality, impending empty nesting and a minimalism impulse to shed off things and break free…

“The Moment”
by Margaret Atwood

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

23 October 2021

From the bartender’s corner – Alaska cocktail

This is a fairly old cocktail (very early 1900s). Although, in those days, Old Tom Gin was used. Today, it is your normal London dry gin. Quite close to a martini, this is made from gin, yellow chartreuse and orange bitters. A bit complex in the nose and the finish (the yellow chartreuse plays a dominant role), it is somewhat citrusy to the palate and leaves a strong impression on you.