[Photographed by Jr.H, in late 2010]
I am Harini. This is how I became a food blogger, food writer and photographer.
When I was five I was sure I would be a cowherd. At nine I knew I would be a detective. When I was twelve I was debating whether I would grow up to be an artist or remain a detective. At 13 I was enlightened by the fact that I was born to be a scuba diver and explore marine life (that was the phase when I was hooked to Jacques Cousteau). At 15 I realized I was cut out to be a nurse or a nun. I loved children and I could keep them entertained for hours with stories and games so that was another option I had lined up to fall back on incase I was told that I laughed too much to be a nun or a nurse.
I took up science in high school at 17 thinking the ‘nun’ thing was just a phase and for the longest time after that I wanted to be a scuba diver. The only hitch was I did not know swimming and would not learn because I did not want to wear a swim suit. I was sure no one would object if I wore a body suit to learn swimming as I was to become a scuba diver and would anyhow wear a body suit with flippers on my feet. When I was old enough to choose a subject of my liking at 18, I realized I loved writing. I was good with words and I loved literature. Science was the last thing on my mind. The family however felt I might end up a teacher and looking at my natural inclination pursued me to take up Physics. It was a subject I learned to love, thanks to Mr. Richard Feynman. Had it not been for his non-academic works, I would not have known that Physics is fun to learn. I shifted from Madras to Bombay in the final year of my graduation and in the process upset my strong academic record which resulted in not being able to do my masters.
At 21 I ended up a teacher. At 22 I dabbled with law and a secretarial course for a whole year before I joined the bandwagon of 9-5 workers. In my mind I was always a detective, a scuba diver and a student of literature. At 24 I got married and had my daughter at 25. Between 25 and 30 I learnt and loved cooking, and swimming. I read out stories, enacted characters, taught my children, played with them, grew up with them, read a lot, wrote a lot, and discovered Harry Potter. Now, at 42 (in 2013), I still dream of becoming a detective (which explains why I am hooked to foxcrime), a scuba diver, and a witch at Hogwarts.
In reality however, I became a blogger six years back and realized at the end of one month of blogging that food is a lot about visual appeal. I started working on my photography and a year later acquired my first second hand DSLR.
This is me now.
By day I work for the Government. By night, and on Holidays I am Sunshinemom - vegan blogger, food photographer, recipe developer and food writer. I have been moonlighting thus for four years, and I love my two avatars. By day I study laws, help people know excise, and see myself as a public servant. At nightfall as Sunshinemom, I share stories, recipes that I would love you to try, and a way of life that needs to be considered for the longevity and good of mankind, of animals, and of the planet.
You know what makes me do my best all day long, at home and at work? It is knowing that I can come home and take over as Sunshinemom. I feel like a combination of Spiderman and ‘dancing queen’. I absolutely know what ABBA meant. I am often asked in my work place why I am upbeat and gung-ho. You know my little secret! Not many who know me do.
I remember being told to focus on a goal, strive towards it and all that when I was a student. In truth one should know that sometimes the best plans can go awry. All you need to do is breathe deeply, shift to the new paradigm and redefine your path with new focal points to reach those goals after studying the agents that brought about the change. In the meanwhile, enjoy the journey, cherish the happy moments and do not let the unexpected experience go waste.
Some know me as an officer, others as a food writer, photographer and blogger. If I were a detective, do you think I would tell you?
I chose the moniker Sunshinemom when my kids were really young and I have always loved and had a way with children. It was easy being Sunshinemom. Six years thence, I am often frazzled – combating the constant surprises, questions and inanities life throws at a mom whose kids are young adults. The girl in fact, is now mostly under her pink umbrella, and the boy, a super-energetic tween. But I cling on to the moniker. Seriously, I am enjoying this phase of life, as much as the time when they were kids.
my third baby, was born in January 2008. TT records my journey from being a lacto-ovo-vegetarian to becoming a vegetarian, and then a vegan. It is an anecdotal journal of memories and incidents that stir me, and mould my personality, all the time. Incidentally, I found that many of my readers visit me to relive their memories! I am grateful for the connection we have.
Food is a need for the mind before the body. This makes eating itself an addiction. At TT, I try to achieve a balance by offering healthy recipes that are nevertheless very delicious and satiating. I have been a vegan for close to four years and find that vegan food is by no means difficult to cook and offers wide variety for the palate.
I use local ingredients, do things from scratch, do not use processed foods, colours or additives. I believe in living close to Nature by procuring organic ingredients as far as possible. I do not believe in brands but I believe that fine ingredients go on to making fine products. I include whole grains in my cooking as much as possible, but give in to urges of trying refined products too, mostly in the process of making a healthier version.
Tongue Ticklers offers
healthy, nutritious, vegan and vegetarian recipes (from my pre-vegan days), and the
occasional, nay essential rant. Since my daughter is lactose intolerant, allergic to gluten and nuts I also serve up quite a few allergy-friendly recipes.
The recipes on Tongue ticklers are meant for novice as well as seasoned cooks. I love Indian food and relate best to Indian Cooking as I have been enjoying it all my life. I like experimenting with global cuisine so you will find a smattering of recipes from all over the globe, mostly Middle Eastern and Italian. The way I love Italian food I believe I must have had an Italian connection in a previous birth!
My photography gear
I began with a point and shoot Canon A630 and later shifted to a Canon 350D. I shot with my 70-300 sigma lens for a long time till a little accident rendered it irreparably damaged. I was also using a 50mm 1.4f prime lens, which till date remains my favourite. Since late 2011 I have been using Canon 7D. Sometimes I use a 24-105mm lens too.
Styling and props
I am an eager student and my learning is through the internet highway. Most of the ethnic cutlery/props used on this site have a story, as they have been lovingly handed over by friends, relatives, mostly my mum. They trust me with their valuables, and know I will share their stories. Others have been sourced during sales as individual pieces, from nondescript shops during my travels, from thrift shops at Crawford Market or here in Thane. I also store remains of cloth pieces from dresses I get tailored as they make good napkins.
The much admired wooden benches used in my pictures were gifted by a benevolent neighbour, now long gone. Some of the boards have been hand painted by me.
Prints and photographs
You can find all my photography work on flickr. An online portfolio site is on the cards.
Receiving updates from this site
You can subscribe to the RSS feed, using a reader of your choice or you can fill the email subscription facility offered on the sidebar. Your email id is safe with me, and will not be displayed or shared with any third person. You will receive full updates whenever I publish a new post. I would really like it even better if you could visit my blog and offer your comments. You know, the site does look so much prettier than the feed!
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Book, restaurant and product reviews
I am open to reviewing books as long as they are vegan cookbooks or food photography books. Same goes for restaurants and products. Both need to be content relevant, i.e., in keeping with my lifestyle, diet and sensibilities. I reserve the right to be frank, fair and honest to my readers. Shipping a product to me does not guarantee that a review will be published.
Note: Products have to be eco-friendly, organic, bio-degradable and vegan. I do not do paid reviews.
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sunshinemomsblog [at] gmail [dot] com
harini [at] tongueticklers [dot] com.
I am a working mom and my ‘net’ time is limited. I usually attend to mails every evening and replies can be expected within a fortnight.
When you comment, link to your site is automatically updated. I entertain kind comments and criticism, and constructive suggestions. Healthy discussions are encouraged but I do not tolerate personal attacks on me or any commenter(s). Comments that use vulgar language, made with an intent to promote brands, products or sites will be deleted at once.
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No part of the content, logo or design may be duplicated, copied, or reproduced including photographs, articles, or material, without the express permission of the owner (that’s me). Links to my articles are welcome provided my name and the title of the article is mentioned explicitly along with a hyperlink. All material in this blog is copyright protected. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, modification, republishing, duplicating, uploading, posting, or transmitting any material on this blog through print or electronic media is prohibited and legal action will be initiated if such activity is noticed. All rights reserved.
That said, I am a friendly person. You can write to me if you need something and I might share!
I am not a qualified nutritionist and cannot offer professional advise on the subject.
As the author/owner I reserve the right to modify, change, or add to these policies at any time.
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