Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Hoskote after 30 years

 The beauty of a graft

I had stopped going to Hoskote after the case on the property had reached the High Court. It was disheartening that such a wasteland, which I had unwittingly bought, which was turned by us into a beautiful garden of Eden, was being grabbed back by the greedy original owners. No wonder people are fed up with the shenanigans displayed by so-called SC/ST’s. I was definitely not willing to give up what I had sunk all my savings into. PLUS, it had a piece of my entire family in it, including my Dad and Mum who used to visit in the initial years.

The Bangkok sweet tamarind

When we first bought it, it was literally what the word ‘kharaab’ means. Wasteland, fit for nothing. The previous owners had just planted eucalyptus on it and left it to prevent squatters on the land. The previous owner was an Anglo Indian gentleman who ran a vegetable service from Hoskote to Mysore. He bought the farmers produce in our village and ran trucks carrying the vegetables to Mysore. The 2 acres he bought off one of them.

The double scented Quis Qualis from Mangalore.

His sister sold me the land in a terrible state and it has taken 30 years of hard work from all of us, to get it to the condition it is now. Like I was telling a sustainable gardener in Goa, redoing her badly eroded garden. “ I had to work on the two acres like you have to patiently work with a little child. There is no silver bullet. You need to give time and energy to revitalise the land and mainly to control and retain the rain runoff. I used gut feel as at the time, I was not educated in sustainability yet. I worked along with my young son's sweat, to start the process, as we did not have money then to hire labour.

Planting theTabibuea on Sunday

I began by buying a truck load of granite stones, which we carried ourselves and laid across where we saw the rain runoff flowing. There we built a long check dam. It was so exciting to see with the first rain after that, the soil carried by the water all stood up against the dam and so did the water, slowly percolating into the soil. We dug trenches horizontally in other parts of the land to hold back the water that ran down from right to left and slowly over the years the slope righted itself with the collection of soil.

The trees have grown to maturity

Then, in the heat of the noonday sun, I put down three cement concrete circular wells into which I emptied tankers and began my first round of planting our graft mango trees. They were bought ONLY from Lalbagh. Dad and Grandpa believed in that nursery and so did I. The grafts were Raspuris and a new breed called Mallika with delicious orangey flesh and a slim, thin seed. The trees are over 10 years old now and have grown sideways and not upwards.

Cow bought for the family. We cant stand unpasteurised milk!

I can just stand and pick the fruit. And Narsimappa has to hold up the fruit with V Forked branches of other trees. Over the years we have planted pomegranate and more mango, over 30 chickoos and roseapple. And ofcourse I got two star fruit trees from Lalbagh which are now 4 feet tall and we get a few fruit occasionally, as the kids on the farm finish them.

The mallika graft lifts my spirits

The Jamuns and Jacks are massive and fruit every alternate year and the lichie too.No luck with guavas so we will give them a try once more. I want only the Allahabad variety which I enjoyed when I worked for a year in Lucknow. And then, on my trips to Bangkok on conferences, I brought home a kg of sweet tamarind for 100 bhat each time and planted the seeds. THREE, yes THREE trees have grown and have begun to fruit -- SWEET expensive tamarind to my utter joy, besides the Salem sour variety.

Almost time to pick

The chickoos are of two types -- the cricket ball and the oval with pinkish flesh. They are so delicious I have friends beg me for some every time we bring home a bag of them. The Butter fruit or avocado fruit and Narsimappa takes them off when they are very young. Really needs a kock on his head to learn when they are ripe to remove.

With a loaded Raspuri tree

This Sunday we planted 10 Tabibuea Rosea I rescued from D’souza road, left there to die by some fool. We fussed them for a month and they threw out fresh leaves in no time. Then we went and put them down in Hoskote with a generous sprinkle of dried cow dung. The older ones we planted bloom during this season and were quite spectacular according to Narsimappa.

The tame peacock

And ofcourse now with COVID 19 we have a pet peacock come in to be fed from the wilds. It’s wonderful to see it scuttle about foraging in the leaves and sitting in the shade quite tamely waiting for food.


Friday, April 16, 2021

Vada diplomacy works!!

The house

 Meet Leenika Jacob, said my fellow Pilerenekar Julia Jones virtually on Whatsapp. “ I have just bought a house in Moikovaddo,” volunteered Jacob. It’s a beautiful house from the picture she has sent though all that’s  of it, is the outer frame.

We chat cursorily on whatsapp and I get to know Leenika is going to turn the house into a sustainable living showcase of sorts, besides living there with her family. They are going to wind up living in Delhi and come to Goa, to breathe the fresh air and live, like many Delhites are doing.

Leenika and her lawyer husband met the young Parish Priest of our church even though they are not Christian and she appraised him of the fact that I was one of the original Furtado’s of Furtavaddo in Volvaddo. Ofcourse she gave him a sizeable gift of funds to repair the church.  Promptly Fr Derrick contacted me on Whatsapp and convinced me to write a piece on my Dad -- Wing Commander Anthony Michael Furtado. I did not need much convincing as writing about my inspirational father just flows.

Poles to cordon off our property

After writing the piece I had young father Derrick ring me to come and bless the house!! Have not had it blessed for decades. RING AND COME?? Unheard of, but my writing has opened new flood gates in the village. Reading about Dad the villagers realise that he was an engineer from one of Karnataka's best Engineering colleges, during an era, when no one really did their engineering degree, in our families. And their respect for him has grown a thousand fold.

The chapel built by grandpa

Then the neighbours -- one from Mumbai who has built and living in the village, has taken to visiting and asking if we need help. We knew your Dad, he loved Pilerne, they say. The greedy lady next door who cut down five of our teak trees saying they were hers, is very careful. She smiles and wishes even though she is in her 70’s. We got hold of the government surveyor -- Mr Gonsalves -- and enclosed our strips of property and squeezed her in. So her big head has reduced and she realises that we know and are not fools. She is pumping water out of our well and destroyed the walls with the shuddering of the pump. 

Poles demarcating our property

Once repaired, I will fence the well and lock her out.No more largesse for greedy fingers who have no respect. Poor Dad how they harassed him and he just did not know how to deal with them.Now with the poles in place she is very careful and does not come in our way.

The cousin on top used our frontage to unload his rice and stones. All sorts of people used the valuable plot as a through fare. Enough, I went to the Panchayat and complained with my ownership form 1x14 and fixed a gate to close our boundaries. Stay out if you cannot respect, is my motto. No more lorries and tippers now in our frontage. The plots above the house he told the village all belonged to him. Well with Gonsalves surveyors and all his equipment we spent a day plotting our property and enclosing it. Again with poles. Cost us a lot but I wanted the village to know they could not overstep their boundaries.

Unloading the poles

Now to get our chapel back. I told Fr Derrick that the chapel was built by grandpa on our land and I wanted it back. Yes! I can see the chapel matches your house, said Fr Derrick. Keep the chapel, but the land behind is all ours is what I am agreeable to.Everything takes time and I need to get it done. Meanwhile the village is aware now of our ownership and a new found respect has been erected also, by giving a gift of cash to the church.

The neighbours mango tree near the kitchen of the old house, gave Dad grief. Mangoes fell in the season, breaking numerous tiles and there was no compensation. I got a man to shin up the tree one early morning, and shave the tree of the branches over our house. Dad really suffered and I won’t, sorry! The shaved tree now offers no complications. It still stands, it still fruits and it does not give us any trouble any more.

Bonny supervises

 This time I did what that one person I heard does -- it's called Vada diplomacy! Hot hot vadas he will say and give them to a tenant and get around them. I gave many of the village, beautiful plants and fresh tamarind from my farm. Last time I carried chickoos from our farm and that excited them all. Small gifts like the hot, hot vadas and there is a new found respect, that people have, knowing we cannot be cheated any more. 

AND knowing our history, that we are an erudite and cultured family, has sidelined the cheat of a cousin and he will step back and be careful. Got to wall him out next. 


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Repairing the roof in Goa


As always snap decisions are made by us, to drive down to Goa. Whenever we get a string of days, approx a week, that’s plenty to work on the house. We can never take a ‘holiday’ in the complete sense of the word in Goa, though I plan to do that sometime in my life. A promise made to my Dad and a sense of responsibility keeps us going.And anyway, Covid made sure we could not even visit the beach. 

When we drive down, it’s to repair something in the house that needs to be done, as the house is over 300 years old and can fall if not looked after. So twice a year we go, Bonny and myself and sometimes with Steve and manage doing something substantial with the money generated between three siblings. The fourth wants a share by sitting on her hands and doing nothing but we are used to her behaviour. The fifth with the greediest spouse, thankfully Dad cut out and I registered in court.

This time we had to repair the last three rooms and bathroom in the house. Bhujang had told us that it HAD to be done BEFORE the annual rains. So, at the beginning of April we got our stuff together overnight and drove down, alerting him of our arrival and to get the roofer ready.

Bonny’s brother who lives in Goa now, told us about a much shorter route via Ponda and it cut our travel tie by 2 ½ hours which is amazing. Ofcourse there are awful stretches of no road in our beloved Karnataka jungles. Quite frightening really, but we navigate and somehow get over them, struggling along with massive trucks.

We did try air travel a couple of times but the cars for hire are the pits and work out crazily expensive. If one leaves at 5am and one is sure to reach Goa by lunch time, with one pit stop. 

The jungle in the Karnataka side was dry and pretty lifeless. We humans have probably siphoned out all the groundwater in Karnataka. BUT on the Goa side is lovely and green and we reach the homestead in record time. That same evening, Jagganath arrives and  goes around the house with us. Like us he has aged and so manages a team, rather than climb on the roof himself. He, like the other workers we employ, have been with us since the time we took over looking after the house.  But for all his talk, I saw him climb right up and supervise the work so well.

They began at 8am before the heat of the day hit them. Working on the roof in Goa is a killer. I like working with our local Pilernekars, not the Biharis. He tells Bonny how much wood to buy and gets me to record his number on my phone. The next day Bonny goes off and buys the wood in Verem and it is stacked in the garden. I marvel at Bonny’s genuine love for the house, which he has inherited from my Dad like me.

The wood is offloaded into the garden and we go off to have lunch with my Pilernekar friend Julia Jones who lives in her flat in Porvorim. No more outings after that, with Covid everywhere except in the village. The shack we go to on Candolim beach is off the beaten track and we enjoy rechardo prawns and fish fingers, while Bonny his prawn curry rice, all washed down with watermelon juice.

The next day the wood is lathered down with a liquid called Wood Guard. Before we used Cashew deek and last time spent engine oil! I cant stand the strong smell of cashew  deek and so we plump for the modern Wood Guard. Living in the house and repairing it is a nightmare. But our flat in Pilerne is not ready and so beggars can't be choosers.

“ Two days it will take to repair three rooms and the bathroom,” says Jagganath. But he arrives with his team by 8 am and by 6 pm he was done. What a grand job, every tile removed, every reaper checked and our caretaker worked hard alongside him.

“ I need 50 tiles,” he said to Bonny as they break as he works. About 20 tiles remain in the house to be used if others break. Bonny drives to Verem and buys the 50 tiles in his car to save on the transport. We have a very slim budget to work with as only three of us pay in 25 k each year. 

That has to include Bhujangs wage and the electric and water bill. So it's pretty obvious who is really paying for a lot. I go to make cups of chai for them all and send it up with a poi. They take a well earned rest, sitting on the roof and sipping the chai.

Bonny is smart. He makes them check every single room before they leave. Every single tile in every room and every reaper so I feel safe. Later this year, we will return to do the main roof which had been done 10 or more years ago when we took over. That is a massive job and will take time and I definitely cannot live in the house when that is opened.



Saturday, April 3, 2021

Can a man cook? Ofcourse he can!


All the men in my life have been useless at cooking. There is basically no interest and it has been left to the women to handle. Yes my son in the UK cooks now through sheer need, but he does not enjoy it. The Pakistani cook he employed made such rich food the whole family could not eat it in a week. So having men who cook in the building is a new experience for me - - and a very happy one too.

Our ground floor tenant is the CEO of a big bank. And yet he finds a lot of time to cook once he gets home and on holidays. Infact the best gift which I gave him was not the cakes and sweets of a festival, the pickles and chudas from different outlets. Instead he is thrilled with a new packet of masala from Goa and I am rewarded with a packet of masala from Hyderabad.

A year ago I gave him a pot with a lovely big curry leaf plant. Every time I tried to grow it in the garden, some oaf broke it. BIL is the cheap fiddly hands here, who has never lived in a home like this. So, I just took the plant, potted it and the ‘cook’ is thrilled to be able to use fresh kadipatta whenever he cooks.

Every once in a while the door bell rings and there he is with a bag, looking embarrassed, thrusting it into my hands saying -- “ ghee roast prawns and puliagore I made!” With glee the bag is taken into the kitchen and three of us swoop down and polish it off. The ghee roast prawns are divine!

Ginger is definitely his favourite so I get the most yum ginger pickles and ginger chicken dishes, given to us at least twice a month. As his wife says -- I feel wasted! But that's not true. She keeps a spotless house. And she loves my brinjal pickle which is Mums recipe.

A previous Danish tenant gave me half a loaf of his rugbrod ( ragi bread) twice a month. Thankfully he loved our Indian curries and so I fixed up a lady who made Mangalorean curries and roasts and he enjoyed his two years here. Johnny loved living here and sunned himself over the weekend on the terrace, but never tanned much to his annoyance!

His kitchen was like out of a picture book and my help at the time-- Pushpa -- who has retired after 35 years, after breaking her leg -- absolutely adored him. Obviously ‘cause she got 7 k for doing nothing really. He was smart enough to sell all his white goods and cute Pepper Fry furniture, through Siemens for 50% after using it for 2 years. He would have sold his stuff to me if our apartment was ready in Goa, but it was not.

If the best chefs in the world are men, then ALL men can cook. It’s just our Indian men are basically lazy and dont make the effort, unless faced with it. While doing my second Masters in Amsterdam /Copenhagen and Wales, we enjoyed the Thai cooking of our male Thai classmates. Every week we had potluck in one of our apartments and the best dishes were made by Bamrung and Al. Finger licking stuff.

So, is it just the Indian male who is lazy and taught to believe he has to be waited upon?? Well my youngest is learning and fast cause I dont believe in rearing male chauvinists in my home. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Shopping the Big Basket way!


Throughout my married life, right upto the striking of Covid, all the groceries were bought by my husband. I saw that a list was made and food was on the table. He did the buying of all the groceries-- which included meat, toiletries, cleaning agents and fruit. In typical fashion he went with his list to Royal Mart or Food World and did all the household purchases.

Then Covid struck and put paid to all his visiting of stores and bringing home the bacon so to speak. I started by ordering from Naamdharis, but soon after a few months, I moved to Big Basket, which my classmate who has come home to retire in Bangalore from Dubai, suggested.

Her husband still prefers going to the SBI store in that huge campus, but I lazily prefer Big Basket. If you list up all your needs and it mounts to Rs 1200 and over, you get FREE delivery. That’s all I was looking for and all the brands I was used to using all my life. I know the brand I like and no shortchanging there.  Over time I have come to realise that Big Basket is definitely the cheapest online store in the city. 

The best part since I am checking what’s on sale I stumble on great stuff that we have forgotten to enjoy for years --- Mum used to make us Weikfield jellies. Ah ha! One could get it in Mango,  Strawberry and Orange. Trying it out after years one does not have to solidify it in the fridge any more. They have a setting agent which sets it outside the fridge really well. So the guys are enjoying a couple of bowls of Aunty Sheela as we called it, cause of a very obese Aunt.

I like their chicken cause I have taken over the cooking. The men were complaining about too much oil and the veggies tasted awful. If the chicken is cleaned and sold as chillie chicken bits, --no cleaning and cutting for me. My chicken dish is done in 20 minutes or less. The men enjoy the drumsticks too, so those I pressurise for them to enjoy a well cooked dish. Before the chicken had to be cleaned and cut. Three cheers to Fresho and Big Basket.

I can choose the trays of eggs I want that come safely and unbroken-- unlike those from Royal Mart in a plastic bag. Invariably one or two would be broken. Now the egg tray can be returned and reused and the same with the Fresho Banana. Return the box, they reuse it. And the best part, there are two types of bananas -- the small or baby Robusta and the regular. We prefer the small Robustas and ofcourse the Yellakis.

Water melons, grapes, oranges, the prices are all comparable with the market and one does not get short changed if the item is bad or raw. Just send off a mail to customer care and they replace it or put the cash into your wallet. I have much more control of what’s being bought and nothing is getting wasted since I order only what we require.


When it comes to mixtures or snacks -- I have only liked the Halidram’s quality. They have a great variety like the Aloo Bhujia and the Khatta Meetha which we enjoy and ofcourse I love the salted peanuts. Just plain, none of that crappy masala on them. Usually I had to buy bags of them from the US on my return, no more. They are available in a great brand called Jabsons.

Paneer is another favourite and one can get all varieties. I order the Amul creamy ( malai) one or even the Milky Mist is not bad in contrast to the hard and tough Nandini paneer. Reminds me of the great stuff we used to eat in Gupta market as kids. Soft and springy cubes in a gravy of spinach and cream. The spinach comes fresh from the farm in Hoskote.

And my North Indian delights like dried mango and Amla which I have not eaten in years. Bags of the stuff come in and I chomp away in delight. Elaichi rusk, Fat brinjals for pickle, big cauliflowers for hardly anything. Infact it's tough to bring up the bill to 1200 as everything is so cheap.

And for the building I get great deals when ordering the cleaning stuff. In Royal, we just were stuck with one or two brands. Here there is so much which can be ordered in a clump to  get a better deal. The cleaning women are happier with the floral scents in the floor sanitizers and they get to choose what makes them happy. Everything can be ordered and we don’t have to drive down to get it for free. 




Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Wing Commander from Pilerne

Written for the Pilerne Church journal being published this month-----


My Dad-- Wing Commander Anthony Michael Furtado was the second youngest of seven Furtado siblings born to Hipolitho Joaon Furtado and Maria Augusta Furtado. My grandfather went from Pilerne as most young men did in those days to Nairobi, Kenya and carved out a comfortable life for himself there. He married the stunningly beautiful Maria Augusta Furtado, whose Father according to what relatives have told me was called Bwana and built the Cathedral in Mombasa, Africa.

They settled in Bangalore, South India, because it was closest in climate quality to Nairobi. But my grandfather never forgot Pilerne and the family was always taken ‘home’ to the village for their holidays.


In Spite of being the youngest boy, Tony as he was affectionately called, was very focussed and was the apple of his parents eye. After finishing his schooling from St. Joseph’s European Boys’ High School as it was called in those days, he went on to Loyola College Madras to do his pre-University. After which he came back to Bangalore and did his Mechanical Engineering from the oldest (1917) and most renowned Engineering College in Karnataka --- UVCE which has world-wide recognition. 


A sportsman through all his school and college life, Dad was remembered by many of his peers as being a great sportsman, besides scoring well in academics. In fact for as long as I can remember, the cupboards in my grandparents’ home were filled with gleaming trophies and medals, all belonging to him, made of pure silver as was the tradition in the day. 


Once he graduated, he joined the Indian Air Force as an aeronautical engineer and was posted in his early years to New Delhi and Ambala. After a short return stint in Bangalore, he was then posted to New Delhi, where he remained for most of his career. We, his children, were lucky to have studied in two of the most prestigious schools in New Delhi -- The Convent of Jesus and Mary for us girls and, St. Columba’s for my brothers.


Just before his final posting, Dad was posted to Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong. Those were two of his happiest years in the beautiful North East of India, which was quite unspoiled in the early 70’s. He was part of the group of officers who planted hundreds of cherry blossom trees in the Air Force Station in Upper Shillong. He would pile us all into his Standard Herald car and drive up and down the hills to Kurseong and Darjeeling, Bhutan and the tea gardens of Jorhat. But he never forgot coming home to Pilerne at least once every year.


My sister Christine who lives in Perth, West Australia remembers -- “We’d go to Pilerne with Dad and Mum for our holidays. One room had ripening mangoes kept on hay and we could eat as many as we liked. We would stand in line near the well and Dad would pour ‘corsos’ of water over our heads and we had our baths in the open. Then we sat under the mango tree and sang, “Underneath the mango tree my honey and me ----” Dad took us to the fields where Vishnu climbed a coconut tree and gave each of us a tender coconut. We walked down for Mass to the church and the other way to the spring to fill bottles of pure, spring drinking water. At night we caught fire flies in a jar and waited to go running to stop the poi man at least three times a day.”


My brother Mark who also lives in Australia says -- “he remembers eating mangoes with Dad and his walks with him from Candolim to Sinquerim beach!”

Dad retired as a Wing Commander commanding 5 Ground Training School in Jalahalli, Bangalore. We all have memories of his complete support of his parents in their old age and his eldest brother, who had a large family. I remember him flying down from Delhi to help his brother who was in trouble, always the responsible one.


Once he retired Dad spent months at a time in Pilerne, which most of the village folk tell me about. Often he came to Pilerne with my sons and their friends and inspite of being a tough serving officer Dad, he was a kind and generous grandfather, paying off my second son’s Medical college bond in St. John’s Medical College Bangalore. He said, “Give the boy wings and let him go and achieve his dreams.” His granddaughter Valerie says it was her grandfather who inspired her to become a Civil Engineer in Perth W Australia.


It was through his persistence that I wrote my first book with Pilerne as my muse -- “Above the Ricefields of Pilerne.” The book can be bought off Amazon or Flipkart and hopefully many a Pilernekaar can enjoy it. For now the baton has been passed to me, to come to Pilerne twice a year, to keep the old homestead standing. Soon we hope to make Pilerne a more permanent abode to enjoy in our retired life.


Dr Marianne Furtado de Nazareth





Thursday, March 18, 2021

A podiatist is extremely important for a diabetic


Having been diabetic since the age of 40, my endocrinologist who was also my son’s lecturer in St. John’s Medical College -- Dr Jyothi Idiculla has taken care of controlling my sugars over the decades.

However diabetes is a disease that tests your will power and it is difficult to control even if you are a semi controlled person. Complete control is necessary or a regimen of tough exercise. This fact has been drummed into my head by my cardiologist son, who checks on my Fitbit every single day and he lives in Tennessee! The guy in the UK too -- that’s the thumbtacks in me.

However my sons and I have seen how badly my father suffered in his final years and literally his toes fell off as he lay on the hospital bed in the Military Hospital.I was aghast when I breezed into his room with his request for cheese twists from Durga Bakery.

“Dad!” I said, “ here are your cheese twists,” and looked down under the bed at a small brown object. I pushed it with my foot thinking it could be something missed by the cleaners when my Mum in a shocked tone said, “ It’s Dads toe!”

The bile rose in my throat and I realised my Dad was dying and fast. The image has NEVER left me and gave me nightmares for years. I harassed my endocrinologist about ways to look after my feet and also bought a foot spa when someone was selling it second hand from abroad.

I never, ever, wear open shoes. Always closed and with socks and get my feet done at a salon every month. You cannot have their inexperience cause a problem for you.Ofcourse I tell them I am diabetic and to be careful.  Which they have been over the years.

However a friend introduced me to the podiatrist in Batas when I was really young in my early 20s and just married. That guy did the feet of the owner of Woodlands who then poached him from Batas and set him up in Woodlands with his own ‘clinic’. He has been there over the decades. In the same little room with its two chairs on which they work diligently -- doing a really professional job on your feet.

Over the years I got lazy and kept going only to the salon, but suddenly I remembered them when my feet began to get painful corns. I run everyday on the Tender -Sure Pavements and so painful corns had started to sprout. I never use a corn cap as it moves as we walk and hurts the wrong area of the foot. A professional podiatrist is the only way forward.

My husband had never had his feet done so I insisted he come. Will drag him there every three months as it is expensive @ Rs 800 a trip BUT it saves you much more expensive trips to the doc. If you look after your feet right?  Feet are important, never forget that.

I have a really old friend who has lost his leg. It was a horrific situation but either chop off his leg or he would die. He is managing but one can see he is not the same man we knew. Diabetes is a slow and debilitating disease. It eats at your immune system and kills you faster than a normal person. My son has warned me that if I want to be there for my grand girls weddings I have to take my diet and lifestyle in hand.

It’s hard -- who does not want to sleep in?? Who  wants to be pounding the pavement before pollution sets in at the ungodly hour of 6am? Who wants to eat and be cool with everything available? Who has to switch off all sweets and chocolates and maybe eat a sugar free thinggie once in a while, when someone takes pity and sends you some? I can eat fruit rather than food and even that -- drat-- is bad for me.

Piles of organic chickoos from the farm ripening and smelling divine. Jackfruit that my friends say are delicious, also from the farm. Mangos by the bucket full, also delicious and from the farm and the endocrinologist says -- ah! Ah! No no no! Oranges from Nagpur and watermelons from all over. Grapes which I could kill for. None of them allowed.

BUT I want my eyes and my feet so I look the other way. Thank God vadas are fine and anything with chickpeas especially humus or peanut butter with my chappatie. Life is tough as a diabetic, so get those feet seen to, every month, every single month. I can assure you Dad probably did it for a reason -- to teach me to be prudent and the only way which works with me -- he shocked me by dropping his toes.

As my son said, don't feel sorry for yourself. There are a lot of worse things you could get and suffer debilitatingly with it all your life.