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Saying farewell too soon…

Saying farewell is never easy. And when it is too soon, even more so.


We said farewell to a friend. We celebrated his life. We remembered first moments, great moments, mad moments and more. We were reminded how life takes us on many journeys with twists and turns.

Farewell my friend, may your journey continue…



Spinach head + pissing milk

A sometimes amusing thing about having a smattering of more than one language is how what you hear pops something completely different into your head courtesy of another language!

It can result in some rather odd brain combinations…

The 1st time I was asked if I wanted ‘susu’ in my coffee in Indonesia… had a quite gross image of a kid pissing into my sacred morning ritual with a heavily caffeinated brew!

Cus ‘susu‘ in my Hindi-colonised brain now means… well… taking an erm…. leak.

Whereas in Bahasa it means milk!

Last trip to Jakarta during my stay-cation massage, I thought the girl asked if I wanted a palak massage too.

Now palak to me means spinach…. So I instantly had bizarre cartoon images of spinach dancing in my head!

Turns out she was actually saying kepala i.e. head but obvious my ear was wired to food!

I wonder if others have this strange experience of hearing (or mis-hearing) one thing which bears zero relationship to what is ACTUALLY being said?

BTW… if you haven’t yet checked out Simone (Lady of the Cakes) new blog on Multilingual by Choice yet, do….

Related posts:

Zoe Moonlit Zapa’s 1st Birthday

So we don’t actually know when Zoe’s first birthday really is. The vet’s estimate post rescue was likely October…. sometime…

Me?? I would NEVER get into trouble!

Baby Zoe…

See our precious little princess was a stray. Initially brought home by one person, then adopted by another before prancing and pouncing into our home as a gangly pre-teen on Boxing Day aka 26 Dec 2015.

We adore her to bits… and there is little doubt when she comes to curl up for a cuddle, Zoe kinda likes us too.

What we've dubbed the Zoe "look"

Dubbed the Zoe “look”

We survived her escape artist phase, lived through her hilarious heat stage, and her drugged out recovery from a little operation to ensure there would be no baby Zoes.

We’ve weened her off her whisky and beer habit. Don’t ask.

We’ve come to accept that paper bags and cardboard boxes will be destroyed.

Did you want this box?

Did you want this box? (see… the ‘look’)

We even forgave the water mishap that led to the demise of my much beloved Macbook Air. Oh that was an expensive frustrating accident that derailed many things!

In turn, she lives with being picked up and being put in front of her scratching post when attempting to shred the ironing board or chair.

She does her daily duty gently tapping her lazy humans to get up in the morning. No alarms required, no siree! Not on Zoe’s watch!

She puts up with our occasional absences where another human pops over to say hello, dump a little food and leave… or seems to quite like her ‘cat sitter’ companion because she plays with her!

And gives her ‘fan club’ of various delivery men the gift of her haughty door greetings… or occasionally climbing up the door railing to their astonished eyes at her acrobatics (show off!).

Like most felines, she enjoys watching her world from ‘on high’ and decided a basket with spare clean kitchen cloths on top of the fridge would be her throne. She particularly enjoys avidly watching play rehearsals from her perch.

Watching on high

“Try that line again…”

She has no interest in people food, so a crazy thing like a birthday cake is nonsense.

However today we say thanks for our little fur ball. We share a home and daily routines. She’s our little munchkin. We are her pet humans. It works.

Related posts:

Whisky Lady – Speedy September

My Whisky Lady posts kept speed with lots of activities in September… including celebrating the 300th post!

The month was supposed to welcome the return of all three tasting groups… However my Jakarta trip derailed our Bombay Malt & Cigar night… oops!


The Whisky Ladies of Mumbai enjoyed a delightful trio of contrasting whiskies:


Our original tasting group returned after a two-month hiatus to explore:

Nordic Whisky Set

Our Nordic Whiskies – Explorers Edition began its journey with:

  1. Sweden’s Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year 57.3% – Superb and left us wanting more!
  2. Sweden’s Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2% – An interesting experiment with Sherry…
  3. Sweden’s Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5% –
  4. Sweden’s Box Whisky Shareholders 2016, 3 year 52% – Privelege to partake

Which prompted publishing a new European whiskies page…


These lovelies were followed by tasting notes from another miniatures session featuring:

Plus I shared insight behind how we organize our tasting groups – “Whisky clubs revealed!” And a wee prattle on “Whisky nosing…” plus a revisit of a yummy Paul John Single Cask Peated.

Whisky Ladies 1st Anniversary - Padmini

With all my travel and work focus in the next couple of months, behind the scenes had a flurry of advance informal tastings with more miniatures plus made a dent into the Canadian collection. Notes on these experiences will hopefully keep Whisky Lady moderately active!

Curious to know more? Check out recent Whisky Lady’s monthly missives:

You can also find my Whisky Lady in India avatar on:

“Please take pictures during our show” in Mumbai

Normally when you see a play, there are stern reminders to “Turn your phone off!”

Ignore at your peril. That annoying @$$hole who thinks he’s more important than everyone else not only leaves his phone ringer on… but even answers a call while others shoot visual daggers at the perpetrator.

And photos? Often also a strict ‘no no’ with ushers rushing to admonish stealth photographers from the audience.

However the approach at a recent musical on the life of Gandhi went against such warnings.

Instead their stance was “We welcome your taking pictures… just as a courtesy to the actors and audience, please no flash and keep your phone on silent.”

Transforming the taboo into a viral marketing campaign.

2016-08-20 Gandhi

Now, while my photos may be crap, I did indeed snap a few… hence this one makes it into this week’s Sunday Snaps!

What do you think about taking photographs or videos of live performances? Artist infringement or an optimal way to advertise?

Related ‘Sunday Snaps’ posts:

3rd year + 13th Quarter – Belated update

After a bit of a hiatus, time to bring back a quarterly summary of what’s been happening.

In real life, there have been a few fairly momentus changes in the last few months. Most are ones I don’t tend to talk about. Bottom line is I had to leave India to change my visa… thankfully was successful!

There were many hopeful moments of a return to Indonesia or Malaysia or other opportunities that have finally materialized with a project in Jakarta starting later this month!

I also had my first article published on Scroll.in :

A foreign woman’s response to Mahesh Sharma: It’s got nothing to do with dressing modestly

Featured Image -- 12787

Gimli Manitoba harbour sunset

While there wasn’t much travel, there were a couple of trips:

  • April was back to Delhi to finally finalize my divorce
  • June brought a jaunt to London, Toronto and Winnipeg with a new Indian visa quest
  • My Winnipeg time included joining a 50th wedding anniversary, friend’s 60th birthday and side-trip to Gimli, Manitoba where we even had a tour of the Crown Royal distillery!
  • August had a terrific week-long marriage marathon in Singapore

2016-04-18 Delhi Fashion Mural

Top views for the year?

  1. Obsessions… playing with piano keys about my partner transforming old piano keys into art
  2. Fringes of fame aka star selfie ‘autograph’ featuring flirting with fame!
  3. India Memory Project – Partner’s Story… just read it… a very sweet story
  4. Irrational moments – Innocent question triggering an emotional minefield
  5. When did it become rude to call? Musings on no longer just picking up the phone to call… with some terrific comments


What’s in store this quarter? Hopefully work, work and more work!

  • Fingers crossed nothing derails the newly signed international project in Jakarta!! I can’t wait to get back there…
  • Even bigger hope that after massive efforts, can finally start to harvest some  crops from all the seeds planted, weeded and watered over the last year for enterprise solution contracts
  • There are a few other bits and bobs that may also lead to something interesting…

Related posts:

Sunday solo salmon in Mumbai

Just after I booked my flight and stay for Jakarta, my attention turned to what needs to get done around the house before I take off for 3 weeks…

Did a little fridge digging and freezer check, discovering a frozen Atlantic salmon fillet just begging to be consumed with some assorted veggies….

My partner was on tour so it was just me, but one of the things about work travel is you learn to revel in the occasional ‘proper’ solo dinner…

So why not get into practice at home?

There you have it… found myself cooking up a storm to produce a scrumptious yet reasonably healthy Sunday dinner just for me, myself and I!

  • Poached salmon with a crazy yum citrus dill reduction sauce
  • Steamed cauliflower with a dash of tumeric
  • Toasted roasted beans with sesame, sunflower, yellow mustard and cumin seeds
  • Carrots with cumin and dill
  • Potatoes sautéed with onions a special home-made olive oil my partner picked up in Beirut, cracked black pepper and seasalt

What a pleasure… a good proper home cooked meal, at our own table, with a little music in the background. Yup… think I have my ‘home fix’ and easing beautifully into solo meals!


Related posts:

Watch out Jakarta!!

I’m coming back!!! To say that I missed being in Jakarta is putting it rather mildly…

After a nearly two year hiatus, I finally have another project back in Indonesia. (insert image of mad happy dancing)

Can’t wait to be re-united with the guys and dig into the work!

No wasting time apartment hunting – chose a serviced apartment walking (hopefully not stumbling!) distance from the project office in Kuningan. Almost booked at my last Jakarta ‘stay-cation‘ spot, however bagged a slightly better deal nearby.

How fab is it to have a pool ALL to myself!!

Where I’m not staying this trip…

I also can’t wait to see a couple crazy friends… earlier trips resulted in an ad voice over (“Can you drop the Indian accent!“), overnight drive just for 1am dinner at a hill station, joined family time in Bandung and a slightly random road trip in Java.

I expect there will be an art amble, some Friday night fun with gal pals, malls can’t be avoided so will use to stock up on a years supply of told angan!

And the food – OMG!! There will be feasting fit into all the focused work…


Related posts:

Holiday headaches – competing cacophony

You must be kidding!? There is yet another religious celebration to be fetted at full volume!

2013-04-Goat1This time it happens to be Ganapathi and the clanking of bells, thrum of drums hasn’t relented for hours. And soon it will be joined by the Bandra Fair celebrations (aka Mount Mary feast) with folks walking down our lane with kazoos at 2am. Seriously… Plus Eid with all the goats that have been trotted around for their walks now trotting to a different destination…

During a different festival, there was a hilarious moment on a Skype call to get the background on a project. My buddy could hear the ever increasing decibel level. And this after all the windows, doors were firmly shut, curtains drawn and extra ‘sound proofing’ added! I was even using my noise cancellation headset so I could hear clearly…

My partner has railed against religions blasting music at ear bleeding levels. More than once he has burst out in exasperation with “Does louder equal a bigger d#@k?”

Let me hasten to add it is not one particular religion – it is a universal phenomenon here. Noise by-laws are quite ineffective as, at best, the 10 pm cut-off is adhered to except, naturally, on certain religious holidays where this can be ignored completely with full permission of the powers that be!?

One of the joys and delights of India is its heterogeneity! The way many faiths and cultural traditions co-exist.

Yet it is remarkable how peaceful bhajans and melodious calls to prayer have somehow been transmogrified into trance?! Accompanied by innumerable firecrackers!?

Yet that my friend is how we ‘do it’ festival-wise here in urban India.

So crank up the volume and get down… cos its festival time and we are about the paaaartay here!

Diwali lights at our building

Diwali lights at our building

PS Don’t get me started on the pollution aspect either… but do check out what these folks have to say about “God, Faith & Bullshit”

Related post:

Rooftop Views in Mumbai

During monsoon, going out for walks along the Bandra sealink promenade is less than appealing.

On days when sitting at the computer working at home, I try to take a break to run up and down the stairs in my building just to get the blood pumping for a few minutes.

As a reward, sometimes when the rain abates slightly, I step out to our rooftop…

The air may be polluted but there is something about seeing the cityscape and sealink in the distance that makes one breath a little deeper. Looking up, I can sometimes spot kites spread their powerful wings and soar above the crows.

2016-08-05 Monsoon Cityscape

Then I head over to the other side for a completely different view. A tarp town… impossible to see the narrow winding lanes between the homes of the old village, covered with blue tarps and old plastic signs pined down with rocks.

2016-08-05 Tarp town

Two different perspectives… one city, one village from one rooftop.

Related ‘Sunday Snaps’ posts:


Carissa Hickling

Carissa Hickling

Originally from Winnipeg, Canada, has called India home since 2003, working in Asia Pacific and traveling all over! She's also a bit of a 'Whisky Lady' too!

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