A Stone’s Throw Away

“Find the perfect stone”

I say, as the sun meets us

halfway. It glitters,

still unknown to us, unaware

that in a moment, it will be hurtling

towards the water — skimming,

and skipping along,

one, two, three times!

and then a fourth,

until it hits the stillness,

dislodged —

yet victorious.

Joining the others

that too, have come this far.

Peonies

This morning as I was sipping my tea and typing away on my laptop at the kitchen table, my Mom walked in and we took a break to enjoy the garden. I inhaled the gorgeous scent of our beautiful bright pink peony that had just bloomed. I wish there was a poem that could describe this scent – more intense than a rose, sweeter than the best perfume, and more potent than the sultriest bottle of wine. I searched for a poem that would capture my sentiment and found one, by one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, as well as these pictures of the peonies (bloomed, in bloom, and soon to be bloomed) in my garden.

Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

— Mary Oliver

A Fun-Filled Day

Yesterday was a super packed day!! I spent the day downtown Ottawa, where I attended the Ottawa Art Gallery’s grand opening, strolled through the streets, enjoyed my tea and reading time at Chapters, met up with my friends Hetal and Manasa for a yummy dinner at Aroma Meze, and then went to a session at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival. Phew!! By the time I got home at around 11 PM, I was exhausted.

Here are a few pics/videos from the day:

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New Ottawa Art Gallery, $38 million project

 

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Ottawa art gallery, sari display

 

 

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Music speaks louder than words, Elgin Street

 

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Reading our latest book club pick, Chapters

 

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Dinner with two amazing ladies, Aroma Meze restaurant

 

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Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks Street

 

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Books for Borders & Belonging session

 

I loved listening to Sharon Bala read from her new book, The Boat People. There is something about being read to that is so soothing. A nice end to a busy day!

M is for Makita

This past Saturday I went to Makita Kitchen & Bar in downtown Ottawa with my friends Hetal and Manasa. One of my New Years Resolutions for 2018 was to visit 10 Ottawa hotspots (but as my cousin Hiten said – “Isn’t ‘Ottawa’ and ‘hot spots’ an oxymoron?!”). I am venturing to prove him wrong.

Makita was recommended to me by my brother Raju, who went last month and said it was excellent. The restaurant is easy to miss, but you can spot it by the fancy “M” jutting outside of the roof’s shingles.

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Makita Kitchen & Bar, The Glebe, Ottawa

The name “Makita” means “Due North”, and the restaurant is located in the North end of the Glebe. The cuisine is “Pan Asian” or “New Asian”, and they successfully combine elements of Asian cuisine with dishes such as gnocchi, steam buns, and falafel.

Manasa and I arrived a little late (due to the snowy weather) and we found Hetal comfortably seated, enjoying a glass of white wine. She looked amazing in her pink sweater, dangling earings, and bright smile. We soon joined her and each ordered a Cab Sauvignon.

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A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to start the evening

For appetizers, we shared the Fried Tofu, Steam Buns, and the Sesame Tuna. I absolutely loved the Sesame Tuna, it might’ve been my favourite dish of the evening.

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Fried Tofu
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Sesame Tuna

The steam buns are the restaurant’s specialty – freshly baked doughy bread with a tasty filling. Initially we weren’t going to get them, but then we thought that we couldn’t get the full experience without them, so we changed our minds. Hetal and Manasa had the shrimp shui mai flavour, which was inside a squid-ink bun, and I had the falafel vegetarian version, sans squid.

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Sticky buns, a Makita specialty

For the main course, Hetal and I shared the Thai Gnocchi and Manasa had the Ramen noodle dish (not your $2 grocery store kind, but a sophisticated blend of pickled shiitake mushrooms, nori, pork belly, soy egg, scallion, and togarashi).

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Enjoying our meal and the company

We had a blast laughing and catching up, discussing life in general, networking events, and politics.

Our waiter James was super nice, and even danced for us. And of course we had to take a few fun selfies!

The ambience was great – not too loud, cozy, trendy, and outside was beautiful with the snow falling gently.

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View of Bank Street, Ottawa, from Makita Restaurant & Bar

Hetal joked that the restaurant would get full points for its bathroom, which had a small men’s room, and a larger women’s one (makes so much sense).

My bill came to $52 (not including tax and tip), which is not bad at all considering the amount and quality of food, and the two glasses of wine.

Overall I would rate the restaurant 8.5/10, and I would definitely go back! Can’t wait for Hot Spot #2!

Keep Calm and Skate On

Yesterday afternoon I went skating near my house at the Kanata Beaver Pond. There is something about the motion of skating that is meditative, going around in circles, over and over and for some reason never wanting to stop. I even played with the hockey stick and puck that were left there by some kids, pretending I was Wayne Gretzky, racing across the ice, hoping to score that big goal.

The sun hits the ice
My skates glide smoothly along
Oops! – Was that a bump?

Here is a video of my first skate. (There is also another one of me spinning but watching it makes me dizzy!).

Later I went for a walk and basked in the beautiful weather.  A little chipmunk put on a show for me while I snapped a few photos:

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Scurrying away to gather some nuts:

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I encountered a mother and her daughter walking their dog across the frozen pond:

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The woods near my house always make me reflect, and have a haunting effect as the sun rays peek through the treetops:

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A beautiful afternoon in solitude, nature, and surrounded by beauty. When life gets a little overwhelming, keep calm and skate on!