Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mouthpiece #49

What's in the routine?

‘Routine’, the word sounds even more mundane than what it stands for. What can possibly be so special about routine because it is what everyone has to engage in anyway. Moreover, one can never outgrow it no matter how revolutionary one tends to become. But is that really so? Here I am not talking about the regular ablutions that every new day expects from us. I categorise those along with food, under the very basics, which are absolutely required to maintain the bodily machine. 

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What's cooking?
Potatoes and pooris - can anyone ever go wrong with this combination? This particular duo has immense capability of being anything that one wants it to be. From being part of religious bhojs, travel item, tiffin option to being a comfort food - aloo and poori can work best at all times and for all occasions or no occasion. Now when these two can come as a real saviour for all seasons and reasons, it is but natural that these can be prepared in a variety of ways too. So here are a few ways how I prepare aloo-sabzi. 

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Mouthpiece #48

Remembering you...
It was 24th of February, three years back. I got a call early in the morning from my mother that she is going to see a doctor for her persistent stomach pain. She had mentioned this pain to me earlier but would also tell me the possible reasons - must be some indigestion because of something that she ate the previous night or because of her being sedentary the whole day and not having gone for a walk. In the same breath she would stress upon the fact that currently she was feeling alright and nothing to worry about. I think this continued for a few months, but that day, the phone call did ring some strange bells in my mind - she was going to hospital willingly and was calling up to inform me, this itself was pretty strange. After a brief thought, I just pushed it like how I treat many other worrying things and then the normal chores do the rest. A phone call again jolted me out of my stupor of being on autopilot mode of time. This time it was my brother who wanted me to come over as he had some disturbing news to share with me.

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Mouthpiece #47

To you, with love and reverence...

I am a fiercely emotional person, erring on the side of being temperamental many times. While we all aim to bring in that elusive tranquility in our disposition, yet, I feel, experiencing the waves of emotions is equally important to live every moment to the fullest. I have likes, dislikes, passions and aversions and feel no qualms expressing them whenever emotions get the better of me.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mouthpiece #46

To New Beginnings...
“Inertia sets in with age”, I often hear it and myself am guilty of saying it many times on various occasions, and I don’t say it casually, I believe it and say it with full conviction whenever I do. As we keep adding years to our lives, the innate adventurous streak in our personality keeps getting more blunt because with experience we tend to weigh the pros and cons more and sometimes the analysis part itself tires us out and then one can just forget about taking it further.

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What's cooking? Besan ka puda/cheela
Ingredients:
Chana besan : 1 cup
Onion : 1 big (finely chopped)
Ginger : 1 Inch (grated)
Coriander leaves : ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Green chillies : 2 (finely chopped)
Salt : to taste
Red chilli powder : ¼ tsp
Garam masala : 1 tsp
MDH Chana masala : 1 tsp
Coriander powder : 1 tsp
Oil : to grease the pan for shallow frying the pooda

recipe here...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mouthpiece #45

फ़िर मिलेंगे !!!

ले रही है अंगड़ाई प्रकृति आज कल,
उठ रही है थोड़ी सुस्ताई सी हर पल |
सर्दी के तीर अब थोड़े कुंद हुए हैं,
बंद हुए किवाड़ अब फिर खुल रहे हैं |

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What's new in the kitchen?
It was बसंत पंचमी (Basant Panchami) on 1st of February and to mark the occasion I prepared sweet rice that day. Sharing the recipe here:
Basmati rice: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Ghee: 1 tbsp
Cloves: 3-4
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch long
Yellow food colour: just a pinch
Water: 2-¼ cups (use 1-¼ for cooking the rice and remaining 1 cup for sugar syrup)
Nuts: ½ cup (chopped almonds, chopped cashews and raisins)
Grated coconut: 2 tbsp (optional)

recipe here...

Mouthpiece #44

An art...
It is hard not to have come across any written/audio-visual piece on how the bygone eras, which were sans technological gadgets, felt like. Such pieces often trigger a nostalgic chain of thought. While I was watching a hilarious one on the subject recently, one thing led to another and in no time I was on the trail thinking about all those things that have just disappeared from our lives or are dying a slow death. 
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Gajar ka Halwa...
After having tried many recipes, I think I am most satisfied with this one, so sharing it here:

Carrots (red and juicy) : 1 kg
Milk (full cream) : 1 litre
Milkmaid : ¾ tin
Ghee : ¼ cup
Cardamom : pounded seeds of 4-5
Almonds, cashews, raisins : ½ cup

recipe here...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mouthpiece #43

Gratitude...
It is that time again when one’s mind invariably goes over the happenings and highlights of another year that has bid us farewell. As one surveys the whole year spent from a little distance which time naturally brings in, the moments get themselves housed into various categories that the mind keeps forming - good, bad, challenging and many others. As I was about to pen this newsletter down, a very strong emotion captured me - that of gratitude and this time it is for those two individuals who chose me to begin their worldly journey. It has been close to fifteen years since I was entrusted with the role of being a mother. I guess, in all these years I have ridden all possible waves of emotions through them and for them. The point here, however, is not this, in fact, what made me feel grateful about is how while being associated with them, somehow I kept finding my paths to move forward. While looking back it seems quite amusing right from the time when they were infants.

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Books that gave me company over 2016

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review : Subcontinental Drift

Title : Subcontinental Drift
Author : Murray Laurence
Publisher : Aleph
ISBN : 978-93-83064-25-0

A book on India by a foreigner. Actually so many books have been written by awestruck foreigners on India that it has almost become a genre of books in itself.
An Australian travel writer found his life changed post his first overseas trip to Indonesia where his tryst with Asia began.
He first travelled through the country in 1970s but the 'weird' land strangely and mysteriously hypnotised him into returning to India over and over again as his fascination for the strange land never left him.

The book 'Subcontinental Drift' is actually a collection of his travel stories which are almost like his adventures in a wonderland where nothing is unexpected. He has segregated his stories on the basic of timeline under three categories - a) Young and At Large in India (The 1970s) b) Drifting (The 1980s to the end of the 20th century) c) Condemned to India (The 21st Century). As he travelled extensively through India, he could fathom deep to appreciate the uniqueness and the basis of the age old beliefs which are reflected in his writings. The fluidity with which he narrates his experiences is a pleasurable experience in itself. His wonderful play with words keep the readers engaged till the last page.


Having read many such similar books, I just want to comment that what these authors present is still just what appears on the surface because as our religious scriptures describe the supreme power by - (Neti, neti) this is not it, this is not it!, so is true about India too. It is no exaggeration to say that  if there is any possible adjective for a place, it may very well be true for India.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Mouthpiece #42

Parenting perils...
A father and daughter duo waiting for the school bus early in the morning, daughter sporting a smile on her face looking attentively at the small screen of the smartphone almost oblivious of the surroundings. Father is carrying the school bag (obviously of the daughter and a big cup in his hand, which I assumed to have his morning tea until the daughter asked for it, took a sip from the cup and shoved it back in the father’s direction).
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The Greatest Devotee
In one of the interviews Sudha Murthy mentioned about a book - Conversation between God of Death and Nachiketa. Since then I have been looking for that book but as she did not mention the author name, I was not sure which particular book was that. Still I ordered one and came across this anecdote which I found worth sharing here.
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Hurdles, are they real?
Title : Anywhere but Home
Author : Anu Vaidyanathan
A Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from US Canterbury and founder of PatNMarks - an intellectual property consulting firm, Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian woman to have completed the Ultraman Canada and Ironman Canada (for the uninitiated, Ultraman entails 10 km swim, 425.6 km Bike and 84.4 km Run and Ironman includes 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike 26.2 mile run).
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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...

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