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.
continue here...

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...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mouthpiece #31


एक श्रद्धांजलि (a tribute…)

बैठी हूँ चिंतन में एक और समय के पड़ाव पर,
देख रही हूँ उम्र के एक और सावन को बीतते हुए |
अब की बार तपते मन को शीतल नहीं कर पाया है ये
सूने मन को अपनेपन से सराबोर नहीं कर पाया है ये |

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Mouthpiece #30

Being an Indian
There is an online magazine to which I have contributed my book reviews some 2-3 times. I keep getting their mail inviting contributions on the next month’s theme and sharing the link of the published issue. In the recent mail, they are inviting writings on the theme ‘My India’. Though I did not send them my entry but it made me think what does India mean to me actually? 
What does being an Indian mean to me? What is Indian-ness? Never gave a thought to it. Is it hard to describe because it is an abstract noun or is it an emotion which is actually unknown to me? I cannot really answer this myself. Sometimes when we are in a certain place all our lives and that is the only sample space that we have seen, it is hard to think of anything beyond that. Moreover, we do not spare much thought to what is already ours, perhaps this is what permanence does to our mind. Our being and identity get ingrained and integrated with the thing, here, it is the country.
continue here...

Nothing new in Kitchen but still very special...
To celebrate the 30th mouthpiece, here is a special recipe that, I can say, got refined with every single iteration(preparation)of it. Rajmah is supposed to be a part of Sunday ritual in many of the Punjabi homes, but I think it comes out a little different in every kitchen. There is not much difference in the style of cooking in my parental and my marital home yet some changes are inevitable and as I started cooking independently, how my recipe of rajmah evolved, it feels as if it is an assimilation of the taste of those two kitchens.
continue here...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review : The World Outside My Window

Title : The World Outside My Window
Author : Ruskin Bond
Publisher : Rupa
ISBN : 978-81-291-4179-8

No one does it better than Ruskin Bond - yes, here I am talking about the way he discusses and writes about nature. His knowledge about insects, birds, trees and flowers is not acquired through any biology book rather this is what he has garnered over the years by being an inseparable component of nature. 'The World Outside My Window' is yet another of his creations which actually opens a small window for the readers into the world that he enjoys to be a part of.

Through different sections on small insects, winged creatures and flora, he delightfully explains their unique characteristics and his personal interaction with some of them. One can find some lifecycles, adaptations, singing notes, viciousness, tenderness and much more in this book. A great book for students as a convenient guide for easily noticeable living creatures. A wonderful gift to those who love to understand the language that nature converses in.
The essence of his writing is beautifully conveyed through the concluding verse 'All is Life'.

Whether by accident or design,
We are here,
Let's make the most of it, my friend.
Make happiness our pursuit,
Spread a little sunshine here and there.
Enjoy the flowers, the breeze,
Rivers, sea and sky,
Mountains and tall waving trees.
Greet the children passing by,
Talk to the old folk. Be kind, my friend.
Hold on, in times of pain and strife:
Until death comes, all is life.

After reading his books on nature, many things cross one's mind - how most of us lead our lives unaware of so many of the living creatures that co-exist with us in the same domain; how the author is blessed with an eye, a heart and a pen to notice-acknowledge-appreciate-chronicle his connection with flora and fauna; and how his writings work wonderfully in alluring the readers towards natural environs.

Personally I enjoy reading Ruskin Bond is an understatement because his description of nature strums those chords deep inside me which rejoice with the rhythm that the divine musician creates.

Available on Amazon


Monday, July 4, 2016

Mouthpiece #28

24 Gurus of Dattatreya 
(continued from the previous issue)
Snake 
Snake teaches one the great lesson of detachment - one, how a snake easily discards its cloak and gets into another and second, through the way it stays away from gatherings and crowds. Dattatreya observed that familiarity not only creates tangles of attachment but clouds one’s reasoning and awareness. The attachment is not only on the physical plane but on the mental surface too. One needs to learn the art to shake away the clutter and crowd from the mind - of unnecessary and harmful thoughts so that there is space to prepare for the state of consciousness. 
continue here...

What's brewing? 
With temperature soaring high, it becomes a challenge to work in the kitchen. Here is a simple, easy to prepare salad for those muggy evenings. 
Lettuce : 4 (leaves) 
American corn : 1 cup (boiled)
Moog dal sprouts : ½ cup
Cucumber : 1 
Tomato : 1 (medium)
Onion : 1 (medium)
Celery leaves : 5-6 (optional)
Salt : to taste
Black pepper : 1/3 tsp
Olive oil : 1 tsp
Vinegar : ¼ tsp
Mayonnaise : 2 tsp
recipe here...
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Mouthpiece #27

Insightful
I was reading something when I came across the story of Dattatreya, the son of Maharishi Atri and Anasyuya. While there are many stories related to his birth, what fascinated me the most is his conversation with King Yadu in which he says that he is a student of as many as twenty-four gurus and goes on the explain these gurus who happen to be a part of this grand creation. The list includes Earth, Air, Water, Sky, Fire, Moon, Sun, Ocean, Pigeon, Python, Firefly, Bee, Elephant, Honey-gatherer, Fish, Deer, Pingala, Sparrow, Child, Girl, Archer, Snake, Spider and Wasp. I would like to start from some of the most surprising ones here.
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What's new in the kitchen? 
Although monsoons have not made their ceremonious entry, yet the expectation is in the air. The traditional punjabi dish to celebrate rains happens to be kheer-puda(crepe). 
Kheer
Milk - 1.5 l
Rice - ¼ cup
Condensed milk - ½ tin (milkmaid)
Desiccated coconut - 2 tbsp
Almonds - 20 (soaked, peeled and sliced into thin slivers)
Cardamom powder : 1/4tsp
recipe here...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mouthpiece #26

Reflections
When I look back, I feel, the childhood days were much simpler. I guess every individual says that about the years gone by. They often appear to me as either black&white or sepia tinted images surfacing from the past. School days followed a set rhythm which continued for twelve years from the same institute at a stretch without any surprises. Long stretch of summer holidays were usually spent studying too. Since both sets of grandparents had already left for the next world, our holidays were sans any expected visit to meet grandparents. 
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What's sizzling? Tawa Mushrooms
Mushroom : 1 packet (cleaned and cut in halves)
Onions : 2 medium sized (thickly sliced)
Tomatoes : 2 (chopped in big chunks)
Garlic : 2-4 pods (pound)
Red chilli powder : ¼ tsp
Kitchen King Masala : ½ tsp
Salt : to taste
Oil : 2 tsp
Coriander leaves : 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
recipe here...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reviews : Rupa Books

Title : Ganesh
Author : Subhadra Sen Gupta
Illustrated by : Tapas Guha

Publisher : Red Turtle (Rupa)
ISBN : 978-81-291-4029-6

Thanks for beautifully illustrated children's books and movies on Ganesh, the Lord has become the most endearing and much loved friendly God for children. The stories behind his unique physical characteristics like pot-belly, elephant's head and a broken tusk - keep the children engaged to no end. While we all know the most popular stories associated with Ganesh, they are being retold by Subhadra Sen Gupta with a slight twist.

Though acclaimed as the most learned and witty divine being, yet the antics of Ganesh bridge the gap that a devotee feels with the divine. He is the adorable and friendly God for all, and the one who can be made happy by pure innocent love.

The book Ganesh has four stories - How Ganesh Lost his Head, Ganesh Loses a Trunk, Ganesh versus Kartik and Ganesh Curses the Moon. Each of the stories are beautifully accentuated by colourful illustrations by Tapas Guha.  A perfect gift to children of age group 5 to 8 years.

Available on flipkart


Title : The Story of Hanuman
Author : Mala Dayal
Illustrated by : Taposhi Choshal
Publisher : Red Turtle (Rupa)
ISBN : 978-81-291-3717-3

And who is the other God that incites the same feelings as Ganesh, none other than the monkey God Hanuman. Known for his unflinching devoutness towards his deity Sri Ram, the stories associated with Hanuman are equally amusing and awe-inspiring. When he was a child, he thought the shining Sun is some big juicy fruit in the sky and so leapt into the sky to pluck it. This led to a lot of chaos and many Gods had to intervene which made Hanuman's father the Vayu God very angry. The other Gods had to appease the Vayu God by bestowing special blessings and powers to Hanuman. When the time came to seek knowledge, Hanuman approached Surya to be his guru and in return Surya asked Hanuman to look after his son, the monkey prince Sugreev. Hanuman facilitated the bond of friendship between Sri Ram and Sugreev. He was entrusted with the task of searching for Sita in the south direction where Lanka is situated. He crossed the great ocean, met mother Sita, set Lanka on fire, brought the news of Sita to Ram. Soon after, the great battle began between Sri Ram and Ravan. Hanuman remained by the side of his Lord all through.

His devotion to Lord Ram is unparalleled. The whole story from the childhood of Hanuman to Ram-rajya has been retold by Mala Dayal in 'The Story of Hanuman'. While everyone is well versed with these mythological stories from the epic Ramayana, it is always interesting to read the same through the words of different authors. The added bonus that this book offers is extra trivia about names of different trees, and some activities like puzzles, mazes and games.

Available on flipkart


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