Category Archives: Journal

Pomegranate

I have something to confess: I’ve never deseeded a pomegranate. Some say it’s the easiest thing ever, others advise to make yourself comfortable as it will take a while.

So I decided to give it a try.

For those equally uninitiated into the ways of the pomegranate as me, it’s a fruit with a thick reddish skin and contains seeds. The seeds are in clusters, separated by membranes. The tricky part with peeling or deseeding a pomegranate is to do it without breaking the seeds, as they are quite juicy and will just make a red mess of everything. Don’t wear white.

One popular way of peeling or deseeding a pomegranate is to start by dividing the fruit into four sections. The cuts should go just a tad below the surface. After that, slice off the hat. It doesn’t contain seeds and will grant you easy access to the inside of the fruit. Then, using your fingers, lightly bend out the four sections. The cluster membranes should make sure that everything stays intact. After that it’s just a matter of picking out the seeds and separating them from the membranes in whichever way you see fit – some use a spoon, others pick by hand.

Enjoy.

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Update: I’ve been informed that there are at least these alternative ways of deseeding a pomegranate:

  • Slice it in half, put the halves on a plate with the inside down, and tap with a wooden spoon on the outside – the seeds will fall out
  • Just tear it open and pick out the seeds

Suit Up – Part 2: The Grey Classic

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Some time ago I decided to improve the formal section of my wardrobe by having a custom tailored suit made. So, after a session of having measures taken and selecting the fabric, all I had to do was wait for the goods.

A few weeks later they called me and asked me to come down to the store; it was ready.

It’s an exciting moment when they bring out the suit. I was a bit anxious about whether the fabric I selected – based on that small swatch – would match that inner vision I had. But as they opened up the carry bag it all went away – it looked really good. The texture and slight shine of polyester worked just as well as I had hoped.

The fit is as good as a made by measure suit should be. The pants and vest sit perfectly, and after a tiny adjustment of the shoulder padding even the jacket was exactly as I wanted it. The shirts – one white and one textured light blue – were also tailored so they hug the body without constricting. Finally a shirt with long enough sleeves and a collar that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to slowly strangle you! The cuffs – French one-buttons – are embroidered with a monogram, next to which I added a pair of cufflinks by Arrow.

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I needed a pair of good shoes to go with this, and opted for a pair of brown ones by Aldo.

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Now I just need to get myself invited to formal occasions where I can flaunt this shamelessly.

I was so happy with the results I decided to order another suit – this time a black mandarin one!

Props to Sajjad for the photos.

What’s Eating Markus Meyer?

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I think it’s time for me to slow down and muse a bit. This week has been a strange one, and part of the time I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve had this generally introspective, unhappy vibe. Something is bubbling underneath and I want to figure out what it is.

I’ve been here for five months now, experienced a lot and seen amazing places. Last week I was on the East India Express, the last planned adventure so far. After returning I had a confirmation waiting in my inbox: I’ll be moving back to Finland on April 17th. As part of the arrangements with my visa, this requires me to leave the country for a few days, so naturally I got flight tickets to Hong Kong – great! Also, I’m finally registered at the FRO, so things are coming together quite nicely.

Still, something is giving me mixed emotions. Is it that my homecoming has now concretized, and there is now a definite expiry date for this journey? If I think about the previous months – December and January for example – there was no beginning or end; both my arrival in early October and the inevitable return felt like events too distant to be taken into consideration. There was, quite simply, only the now; the present and how to make the most of it. Now my thoughts are divided between what I still want to do here in India, and what I’m going to do when I return home. The focus has begun to shift, and with it a growing anticipation of finally returning home.

I feel this is a natural thing, and a fitting ending to a progression that has taken me through an exotic and complex foreign landscape. After last week’s trip I began to form the opinion that perhaps I’ve seen most of the key places that India has to offer. Still barely a scratch on the surface, but the big picture is beginning to take shape – and with it the mystery of this distant subcontinent begins to dissolve.

Is that it? Have I seen all India has to offer? Surely not. Still, with the exception of the desert areas in Rajasthan, I find it difficult to come up with other places that I should visit. Places that would add to the sum. Of course there is a myriad of small areas and nuances in local subcultures to be explored, just like anywhere else, but where is that next grand journey?

On the other hand the last trip was an active one; maybe I just need to recharge my batteries in order to fall back to my center of gravity. Or maybe it’s work stress – a lot has been going on lately. Maybe I’m worried about getting used to home again – after all, this routine that I’m used to now is a very different one.

Have I been invoked with the traveller’s curse?

I’m sure everything will be fine regardless, but these are the thoughts of someone about to enter that limbo again, that non-place between home and “home”. When it comes to this chapter in my life, it’s the beginning of the end.

Yoga

I’ve been doing Mysore Ashtanga yoga for some years now, and one of the things I was looking forward to when moving here was to get some serious in-depth lessons, straight from the source. Think Miyagi-san in Karate Kid, the whole trimming the Bonsai tree and doing some “wax on, wax off”, inner enlightenment thing.

But no. This might come as a surprise, but yoga is not a big thing here. It’s not a national sport – that would be cricket – or even a common hobby.

In Helsinki I would see people carrying yoga mats quite often. The gyms would be crowded to the point of every class being a hot yoga class. And that’s good, people taking care of themselves is a very positive thing.

But here the only time I’ve seen anyone, ever, carry a yoga mat has been by some foreigners down in Goa or Kerala. In Varanasi, the birthplace of sun salutations, the only people doing them in the light of the rising sun were westerners.

So that’s one myth busted.

Oh well, at least the Chinese still do Tai-Chi every morning. Right?

Right?

Return Plan

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Originally, and according to my contract, I was supposed to return to Finland at the end of March. However, due to some bureaucratic details my employment visa was handed to me with an expiry date of March 17th – half a month earlier than planned.

This poses the question: do I leave on the 17th, or do I attempt to extend my stay? Both Sidd and me felt that March could be a tad too early, so we went through some options. The most obvious one is to apply for a visa extension, but considering my recent troubles with the FRO and yet again the amount of red tape involved, we came to the conclusion that that wouldn’t work.

So, what I’m going to do, is I’m going to do a visa run: I’m going to leave the country, let the visa expire during my absence, return a few days later and apply for an on-arrival tourist visa. This should give me an additional 30 days, which sets my final return date to April 17th.

I’m thinking Hong Kong sounds like a good destination.