Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mouthpiece #58

Precarious first steps...
The first couple of pencil marks on a blank paper, in an attempt to begin a sketch; the first few stitches of an embroidery on a fabric laying the foundation of a beautiful tapestry someday; the first sparse strokes of a loaded brush hoping to give shape to a beautiful image on canvas; the first few disjoint sentences jotted down to build a fluid story over a period of time, the first few jerky steps taken, hoping to get in a rhythm of running and many similar such - all begin with a mixed feelings of unsureness and an optimism of seeing something getting created sooner or later.

continue here...

Psychological impact...
I feel, psychological influence is quite underrated. Sometimes, in very mysterious ways, logic and reasoning don’t seem to work at all. However, what can work as magic is the confidence that one seeks from the loved one in the time of personal crisis. I remember the time when I was coping with grief a few years back, dragging of days and nights during that phase is nothing more than a blur to me now. 

continue here...

What's cooking? Wheat-flour halwa
This dish has a very special place in my heart for many reasons. How can I forget that this was the first dessert that I attempted to cook independently and can still recollect those doubts that were creeping up almost at every stage of halwa preparation. It was the day when I was to remove my auspicious chuda (a set of red and white bangles that are traditionally worn in a Punjabi wedding and are taken off after minimum of 40 days) in US. I was advised by the family back home that I should prepare some sweet dish to offer to the Gods and to mark this occasion. In my parental home, Suji halwa was a regular but not the wheat flour halwa so I had not seen it being cooked from close quarters. But my fascination for wheat halwa had started long back when I partook it in one of the Gurudwaras in Chandigarh and later many times in Dukh Niwaaran Gurudwara, Patiala.

recipe here...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mouthpiece #57

I am who I am
I think I chose to let go of my “identity” when I quit the job to be a stay at home mom. Because usually what we do, forms our identity, especially in our society where the work is tightly associated with certain designations outside, monthly pay checks, growth in any organisation and climbing the ladder towards zenith.

continue here...

What's cooking? Vegetable pakoras
I very vividly remember those wintry and/or rainy evenings when the dinner used to be ‘something different’, different from the regular affair of dal-roti or sabzi-roti. Why not rice-dal or rice-sabzi because rice at night was quite unheard of, especially in traditional Punjabi households. But those evenings, followed by those dinners were, well, DIFFERENT because vegetable pakoras adorned the menu for those nights. The preparation for pakoras used to begin pretty early - vegetables were cut in specific shapes and sizes, besan (chana flour) was mixed in water well in advance, the batter was infused with multitude of flavors of - grated garlic-garlic, finely chopped green chillies and coriander leaves; and the mustard oil was heated up in a big wok. The whiff of flavours emanating from the kitchen used to be just too irresistible. I clearly remember how those minutes waiting for the dinner call were so killing. Now when I look back, I really wonder, how big and special were those little joys of life.

continue here...

Mouthpiece #56

Paradoxical or what?
न बाँधो इस अनवरत उन्मुक्त उड़ान को
समय की बेड़ी से इसे सरोकार ही क्यों हो ?
आंतरिक संयम को बाहरी चर्या क्यों,
मन के भावों को शब्दों का बाना क्यों ?

शायद कभी क्षितिज को न छू पाऊँ,
शायद कभी सबसे ऊँचा न उड़ पाऊँ,
शायद क्षमता की सीमा में बंध जाऊं,
पर मन की स्वछंदता को क्यों न पाऊँ |

लौट कर आऊँगी अपने घरोंदे पर फिर भी,
विस्तृत आसमान अधिक अपना सा लगे तो भी |
मन की एक तार काया के बंधनों से है जुडी,
चाहे बाकी सब अपने आशियाँ में हैं सिमटी |

This verse that I wrote a couple of years back, often comes to my mind whenever I introspect or rather open my eyes inwards. I do see myself as a free spirit that soars beyond all borders and boundaries, that cruises in a trans like peaceful state and to whom all restraints, whatsoever, are unknown.

continue here...

On Raksha-Bandhan
Came across this beautifully written poem by Prasoon Joshi, so sharing it here:
बेहेन अक्सर तुमसे बड़ी होती है,
उम्र में चाहे छोटी हो,
पर एक बड़ा सा एहसास लेकर खड़ी होती है,
बेहेन अक्सर तुमसे बड़ी होती है,
उसे मालूम होता है तुम देर रात लौटोगे,
तभी चुपकेसे से दरवाज़ा खुला छोड़ देती है,
उसे पता होता है की तुम झूट बोल रहे हो,
और बस मुस्कुरा कर उसे ढक देती है,
वो तुमसे लड़ती है पर लड़ती नहीं,
वो अक्सर हार कर जीतती रही तुमसे,
जिससे कभी चोट नहीं लगती ऐसी एक छड़ी है,
पर राखी के दिन जब एक पतला सा धागा बांधती है कलाई पे ,
मैं कोशिश करता हूँ बड़ा होने की,
धागों के इसरार पर ही सही ,
कुछ पल के लिए मैं बड़ा होता हूँ,
एक मीठा सा रिश्ता निभाने के लिए खड़ा होता हूँ,
नहीं तो अक्सर बेहेन ही तुमसे बड़ी होती है,
उम्र में चाहे छोटी हो, पर एक बड़ा सा एहसास लेकर खड़ी होती है |

Mouthpiece #55

बहुत याद करती हूँ

माँ तुम्हें मैं बहुत याद करती हूँ,
असीमित प्यार के भण्डार को याद करती हूँ |

तुम्हारे हाथों की गर्माहट को याद करती हूँ,
तुम्हारी आँखों के भावों को याद करती हूँ,
तुम्हारी प्यारी मुस्कुराहट को याद करती हूँ,
मुझे ‘बेटी’ कह कर पुकारने को याद करती हूँ,
मेरे अनकहे बोलों को समझने को याद करती हूँ |

मेरी गलतियों को भूल जाने को याद करती हूँ,
मेरी हर बात को मान देने को याद करती हूँ,
मुझे जानने के एहसास को याद करती हूँ,
मेरे साथ होने के संतोष को याद करती हूँ,
तुम सब जानती हो, उस भरोसे को याद करती हूँ |

तुम्हारे साये में बैठने को याद करती हूँ,
तुम्हारे किस्से कहानियों को याद करती हूँ,
तुम्हारे सुझावों सलाहों को याद करती हूँ,
बात-बात में बात कह देने को याद करती हूँ,
तुम्हारी सरल जीवनशैली को याद करती हूँ |

सालों ही बीत गए तुम्हें देखे हुए,
तुम्हारे होने की अनुभूति को याद करती हूँ |
माँ मैं तुम्हें बहुत याद करती हूँ |

Reading time...
Read ‘Same Soul, Many Bodies’ by Dr. Brian Weiss. His books dispel almost all doubts about soul being immortal and take up different bodies at the right time. His cases highlight the fact that what we are experiencing has explanation in our previous births. In this particular book, he is even able to make use of his progression theory on some of his patients to heal their present. An interesting read. Have ordered another book by the same author.

What's cooking? Rava idli
‘जैसा देस वैसा भेस’ - When in Rome, do as Romans do. I would rather modify it to ’जैसा देस वैसा खाना’ - When in Rome, eat what Romans eat. I don’t know about Rome but happily adopted this when we were in Bangalore. It is in fact a great way to make use of the local produce as well. Coming to Rava idli now. Idli’s various avtaars were absolutely unknown to me before Bangalore became our home for almost seven years. I especially liked a good number of options for healthy, light and not very expensive breakfast options that are available at almost every other corner throughout the city. I think this is true about most of the South Indian cities as well. There in one of the Darshini hotels we ordered Rava idli for the first time and there was no looking back post that. It immediately got an entry in my 'to try dishes’ that day itself. I checked with some of my friends for the exact proportions and ingredients. After many iterations over the years, I have come up with the following recipe which gives consistent results every single time. This usually works as a handy option when nothing else comes to mind. Moreover, it can be prepared quickly as one is spared of soaking and grinding part of the regular rice idlis.

recipe here...

Mouthpiece #54

काश...
काश…
आज फिर वही छोटी सी बच्ची बन जाऊँ,

जिसे प्यार से बुलाने के अनेकों ही नाम थे,
स्कूल में लिखवाए नाम को कम ही जानते थे |

जिसे झालर वाली फ्रॉक पहनने का शौक था,
फ्रॉक पर बने फ़ूलों से भी ज़्यादा खिला चेहरा था |

जिसे खूब ज़िद करना आता था और मनवाना भी,
जिसकी आँखों में ही बसते थे अनगिनत सपने भी |

continue here...

What's cooking in the kitchen? Classic Aloo-parantha
Nothing beats a good aloo parantha as a breakfast delicacy in Punjabi homes and the good part is, it can be prepared all through the year, as the main ingredients - potatoes and onions are always available.

continue here...

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mouthpiece #53

My elixir of life...
Over the years I have realised that nature inspires me in many more ways than one and I feel at peace just soaking the outdoors with an aware mind. It brings in me the realisation and the perspective of being a tiny part of something so grand, so magnificent. 

continue here...

Reading time...
I can hardly remember the last time I laid my hands on a seriously ‘unputdowanble’ book. Just happened to pick 'The kicking the bucket list’ while browsing the displayed books in a bookstore. Memory of those summer holidays came rushing back to me when reading unstoppably had become the routine for those two months. 

continue here...

Kitchen tales...
Garlic-pepper rasam
Over the years, I have seriously worked on perfecting this simple yet integral accompaniment of a South Indian meal. I do feel that now I can freeze this recipe for posterity.

continue here...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mouthpiece #52

When we covered Shimla...
As sun is shining almost ruthlessly on us these days, the other day I was trying to divert my mind to another extreme experience - of bitter cold. Yeah, I know, it wasn’t Arctic or similar such, but going by the range that I have seen in my lifespan, those few nights do qualify to be in this category.

continue here...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mouthpiece #51

Me and My Kindle...
It has been over a year since Kindle came into my life. Initially I was super excited about it as it instantly became an epitome of instant gratification of the desire to read a particular book. Just a few clicks and one can get the pleasure of seeing the book downloading within a few seconds. It also gave me the privilege to switch among various books, which, of course, is possible with print books too but then one needs to make the effort to look where one left that book after the last reading. For people like me who are already knocking at the door of senility since long ago (or vice versa), sometimes this becomes a big challenge in itself and the urge to pick that book just fades away without leaving any remembrance even.

continue here...

What's brewing (err.... frying) in the kitchen?
Vada
Ingredients - 
Urad dhuli : 1 cup
Rice flour : 2 tbsp
Onion : 1 medium (finely chopped)
Green chillies : 2 (finely chopped)
Curry leaves : 10-12 (coarsely torn)
Asafoetida : ¼ tsp
Red chilli powder : ¼ tsp
Coriander powder : ½ tsp (chopped into thin slivers)
Cocounut : 2 inch
Salt : to taste

recipe here...

Mouthpiece #50

Have a nice day ???
I was about to write the very customary ‘Have a nice day’ before signing off while writing a mail when a thought just flashed through my mind. The intensity of it was so strong that I had to erase the 'Have a nice day’ sentence and then I just pondered over it for a little while. Why do we wish that our dear ones should have a nice day? Any day is a day and will bring with it what it has to bring, what it is destined to bring. By wishing, that the day that comes to them should be good, we are actually underestimating the prowess of our dear ones. 

continue here...

A milestone of sorts...
I enjoy celebrating festivals, special days and significant milestones (in fact sometimes the milestones need not be that significant even). As I began composing this mouthpiece, I realised this is the 50th edition of this newsletter. Though a very humble one but still a milestone which gladdens my heart. Hope to keep sculpting my thoughts through this medium. 
What's cooking in the kitchen? Classic Bread Rolls
There are many dishes that I have carried forward without any variation, from my childhood days. Bread rolls is one of the fancy breakfast options, which goes with any weather and any mood. It is a great snack time dish too. Being a person who has special liking for traditional Punjabi snacks like samosa, aloo-tikki and chaat, bread rolls is the home made version to satisfy that craving whenever it arises.

recipe here...

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. 

continue here...


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. 

continue here...
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails