Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mouthpiece #41

Walking without...
While the human world is clearly and visibly divided based on gender, possession of resources and similar such criteria, there is another factor which very subtly divides humans...
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Shabari's Devotion
It is said that the devotion of Shabari was absolute and complete. What is it that makes any devotion complete? 
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What's new in the kitchen? Gud Seviyan
Wheat flour seviyan (available in Khaadi ashrams) : 1 cup
In case it is hard to find these seviyan, use roasted bambino : 1 cup
Jaggery/gud : 1 cup
Cloves : 3
Cinnamon : 2 cm long
Black cardamom : 1 (crushed)
Ghee : 1 tbsp
Water : 2 cups (if using seviyan) or 1-½ cups (for roasted bambino)
Almonds/Cashews : ½ cup (crushed)
recipe here...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mouthpiece #40

The ultimate quest...
Recently I happened to be a part of the conversation, rather I should say, I was listening to the exchange of ideas that was going on at home. The topic was on the quest for what is next from here. Are we doing enough, if we consider progress of soul as the aim of our birth? Do we have sufficient time to work towards that goal? How do we know if what we think we should do is actually what should be done? Don't the mundane things sap our time and energy leaving not enough to think about what is required for the subsequent journey? While the discussion swayed from mere guesses, observations, experiences to complete obscurity (not in that order though), it came up that perhaps there is nothing beyond this life.
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Homo Deus
Recently started reading a book, every word of which is like fresh air gushing in through mind's windows and the credit goes to Yuval Noah Harari's second book Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow. While his first book Homo Sapiens was a brief History of Human beings, this one is projecting the future of human race.
continue reading here...
What's cooking? Some winter delight...
I have always preferred closed cozy interiors during winters than fiery summers. After having spent fourteen years away from the extreme climate of North, it took me a while to get readjusted to this variation once we came back to Chandigarh. But I can say that a chilly day still attracts all my votes over heat blazing days of summer. It somehow gives a feeling that I am hibernating in the cosy confines of the home.
continue reading here...

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mouthpiece #39


On your 75th Birthday, with love...

झुक गईं हैं थोड़ी और वे बूढ़ी अम्मा गली की
ज़िक्र तुम्हारा आते ही चमक उठती हैं आँखें उनकी
दिख जाता है तैरता पानी उनकी आँखों में कहीं
जैसे सैलाब छुपाये बैठी हैं मन में अपने कोई
साथ था तुम्हारा उन्हें जो खो गया है अब कहीं
अपने अतीत में झाँक कर टटोलती हैं जैसे यूँही |

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What's cooking?
Since I am celebrating my mother's 75th birthday here, the special occasion calls for some sweets. Last week on Diwali, I tried making peanut burfi at home and it came out really well. 
So here sharing its recipe:
Raw peanuts : 1 cup
Powdered sugar : 1 cup 2 tbsp (I used icing sugar for the fine powdery texture of the final product)
Cardamom powder : 1/4 tsp
Milk : 4 tbsp
Oil : to grease the tray
Melon seeds : 2 tbsp (for garnishing)  

recipe here...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mouthpiece #38

Festivities in the air...
It is that time of the year again. If any other period comes close to my most favoured monsoon, then it has to be this transitioning time when short piercing rays of the sun lose their edge and morph into slanting beams, when tree tops bask in that faint golden radiance a little longer, when slight nip in the early morning air makes one fall in love with that hot cup of tea over again, when a whiff of roasted peanuts fills one with nostalgia of carefree bygone times, when streaming light through thin fog appears like divine guiding illumination and when everything in nature turns to wear a mysterious misty cloak. Palpable festivities and religious fervour adorn the days and nights further. Faint chants of Ramayana verses, street enactments of Ramlila, recitals of Durga Stuti, dhak (dhol beats) emanating from Puja pandaals and the temple bells add to the charm of the revelry.
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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Mouthpiece #37

In the world of written words...
I have mentioned earlier that the world to general reading or reading for fun opened its gates for me quite unhurriedly when I was already in my late teens. Until then, for me, books meant - course books, supplementary books, reference books and similar such which primarily taught and tested (and not subtly at all). Written words could work as relaxing pursuit or a strong medium to unwind was completely unknown to me. I am happy that the journey in the literary world began from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one after another, I read all her works in quick succession. Once I had my fill (not exactly) of Austen, I moved on to Thomas Hardy picking Tess of the d'urbervilles first and the pattern that I followed for Austen continued with Hardy too. I literally devoured his complete works. Reading quickly escalated from being a hobby to a passion and I was reading almost with vengeance as if to make up for all the time I lost during early years.
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mouthpiece #36

Skill of doing nothing...
Recently I was advised to do nothing for sometime to give complete rest to my elbows which quite surprisingly got inflicted with tennis elbow, in spite of not having played this sport ever in my life. As I tried desperately to do nothing, I seriously wondered how hard it is to practice, more so, when it comes as an instruction. While I forced myself into this complete rest regimen for a few days, I appreciated the idea behind training oneself to doing nothing from time to time.
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अनोखा समन्वय
कल-कल बहता पानी आज का संगीत गुनगुनाए
सन-सन बहती हवा चाल मद्धम कर जाए
डाल से टूटी पाती नवजीवन का संकेत बन जाए
चुरमुराते सूखे पत्ते शांत भाव जगाएँ
शीतल बूँदें मन में गर्माहट भर जाएँ 
अटल खड़े परबत क्षणभुंगरता को दर्शाएँ
सागर की गहराइयाँ ऊंचाई का बोध कराए

यह है विरोधाभास या एक समन्वय
एक के रहते दूसरा दूर कहाँ रह पाए ?
Kitchen tales ... in anticipation of winters
I have always preferred closed cozy interiors during winters than fiery summers. After having spent fourteen years away from the extreme climate of North, it took me a while to get readjusted to this variation once we came back to Chandigarh. But I can say that a chilly day still attracts all my votes over heat blazing days of summer. It somehow gives a feeling that I am hibernating in the cosy confines of the home. 
I used to look forward to winters for many things. One of Gulzar’s songs just keeps coming to my mind when I picture a perfect winter day - जाड़ों की सर्द धुप और आँगन में लेट कर… (jaadon ki sard dhoop aur aangan mein late kar…)
continue here...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mouthpiece #35


मैं और बादलों की दुनिया...

बादलों में बसती है एक अनोखी दुनिया दूर आसमान में,
खुलता है एक झरोखा कभी, कहीं, किसी एक बादल में! 

कभी कहीं पहुँचने की जल्दी में गतिमान लगते हैं,
मालूम होता है कहते हों- अभी लौट कर मिलते हैं|
और कभी समय की गति को जैसे भुला ही देते हैं,
इत्मिनान कैसा होता है जैसे अभिनय कर के बताते हैं|
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Shhhhhhh....

It is quite an interesting observation that when we wake up in the morning, we feel like sitting quietly for some time and if possible in an open place, closer to nature. While I read it somewhere, it made me introspect, why does it happen? Perhaps, this is what our natural instinct is - to remain calm and to be at peace. But as the day’s activities take us in their fold, the noise around us keeps increasing, so does the din inside us and they work mysteriously together to drown our innate peaceful self which doesn’t get to make its presence felt any time soon after that. 
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What's baking in the kitchen? 
Banana Bread
All purpose flour (maida) : 1 ½ cups
Cinnamon powder : 1 tsp
Baking Soda : ½ tsp
Salt : ½ tsp
Nutmeg : ½ tsp
Baking powder : ¼ tsp
Powdered sugar : 1 cup
Ripe Banana : 1 cup (mashed with a fork)
Egg : 1
Oil : ¼ cup
Walnuts : 1/ cup (chopped)

recipe here...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mouthpiece #34

Possessiveness
Possessions beget possessiveness. We tend to get possessive about the things that we believe we possess or have control over or the things that we feel are ours. From inanimate things to our near and dear ones, nothing escapes the tightening grip of our possessiveness.
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What's Brewing?
Chocolate-Chips Cake

Ingredients
All purpose flour (maida) : 1 cup
Sugar (ground) : 1-¼ cups
Cocoa powder : ½ cup
Choco chips : ½ cup
Baking soda : ½ tsp
Butter : 5 tbsp
Oil : 3 tbsp
Eggs : 2 
Vanilla essence : ¼ tsp
Salt : a pinch
Water : ½ cup
recipe here...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mouthpiece #33


Non-working professional?

My professional life has not seen much of daylight, it has been in fits and starts and the stints have been so short that no effort is required to miss them when compared to the non-working periods. Going back in time, just a couple of years short of two decades, I was a regular computer graduate with twinkling stars in her eyes ready to begin my corporate journey, so much so, that when I wasn’t shortlisted for the first campus placement, I was devastated. 
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What's new in the kitchen?
Mushroom do-pyaaza
Mushroom - 2 packets
Capsicum - 2 (cut in big pieces)
Onions (medium)- 2 (chopped)
Bulb onions - 4
Tomatoes(big) - 2 (chopped)
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 2
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Red chilli powder - ¼ tsp
Coriander powder - ½ tsp
Garam masala - 1/3 tsp
Coriander leaves - ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Oil : 2 tbsp
Salt : to taste

recipe here...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mouthpiece #32


Food and I

Food and I - the relationship that we share, has undergone tremendous change over my life of four decades. 
Food during childhood was quite an insignificant and inconsequential part of the routine. I don’t remember having registered much during that time. A big reason for that was my lack of interest in eating. I would not call myself a picky eater because that was absolutely not allowed at home, but we all (siblings) never picked any sweet to put in our mouths. None of us had even an iota of what is normally called a sweet tooth, even to the extent that we hardly had any biscuits either. Sweets did enter our home but that was more as a ritual and we kids almost had to endure partaking a bite which could be as tiny as a pea. Overall snacking was almost absent in our home.
continue here...
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