Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mouthpiece #26

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

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mouthpiece #25

A pat on the back
I often used to wonder, if destiny is supposed to have the final say then what is my role in the whole scheme of things and what impact can I make in doing what I choose to do. Gradually I rationalized it by understanding that perhaps the ‘where’, 'how’ and 'when’ part of my situation is determined by the chain of events which are mostly not in my control, yet there is the 'what I do’ part that is surely where I can make the difference. While a big portion of 'what’ is being constituted by our external interface with the world, a bigger fraction of the same is what we are towards ourselves.

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What's brewing? Cheesecake
1 big packet Marie biscuit (around 20 biscuits)
100 g salted butter
1 tin sweet condensed milk (Amul Mithai Mate 400g)
Curd measured in the condensed milk tin
Topping - Blackcurrent, Strawberry 

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Mouthpiece #24

Snowball Effect
Though I am still a little far from the stage when I could officially be called senile, I do sense senility knocking at my door already. If not all the time, I am sure it is teasing me through my inconsistent memory these days. While reading a certain passage, sometimes I dare make some mental notes thinking - oh, this is so interesting, I must come back to it later, but how and when those notes disappear from the mental surface, just prove the fragile state of my memory cells. It just doesn’t end here, rather it leaves me frustrated and restless when I want to know what note had I made and my memory just refuses to divulge any cues whatsoever. Anyway, the ruing is perhaps to be left for some other time and for some other place, but why I mentioned the failing faculties here is simply because I read somewhere something about the power of thought and wanted to quote the passage to be shared here, but no reward for guessing why I can’t do it now.
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Book Review : Incarnations - India in 50 Lives
Title : Incarnations - India in 50 Lives
Author : Sunil Khilnani
The book was recommended by a well respected book aficionado. After having read the book, I am quite intrigued by the lives that the author has picked as representatives of Indian voices on diverse fronts. Some of the lives picked are absolutely pride of the nation who within their lifetimes, managed to gift the world a new or different philosophy while there are some which I felt are quite unworthy of this honour.
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What's Brewing? Chole (Kabuli chane) with kulche
Kabuli Chana (Chole) - 1 cup
Onion - ½ cup (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - ½ cup (finely chopped)
Ginger - 2 inch piece (grated)
Coriander leaves - 1/3 cup (finely chopped)
Green chillies - 2 (finely chopped)
Lemon juice - 3 tsp
Red chilli powder - ¼ tsp
Chana masala - ½ tsp
Tamarind chutney - 1 tsp 
Mint chutney - 1 tsp 
Salt - to taste

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mouthpiece #23

Vyadha-Gita Analysed (continued from previous issue)
After having read about Vyadha Gita, my mind kept hovering over the same anecdote and this is what impressed me the most:
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Magic of rains...
Rains, though is a natural phenomenon, yet always manage to do wonders to my spirits. This time when it rained, I wanted to write something but while sifting through my writings, I came across this piece which exactly conveyed my current state of mind, hence sharing it here. 
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Malai Paneer
Cottage cheese - 250 gm
Ginger : 1 inch (grated)
Tomatoes : 3 medium (pureed)
Red chilli powder : ½ tsp
Kasoori methi : 1 tsp (crushed with hands)
Garam masala : ¼ tsp
Fresh cream : 2 tbsp (I use Amul’s)
Coriander leaves : 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Salt : to taste
Oil : 2 tbsp

recipe here...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mouthpiece #22


Vyadha Gita - I had heard about it (not sure when and where) but never tried exploring the history behind it. In Swami Vivekanand’s lectures on Karma Yoga, he talks about this Gita which is part of Vana-Parva in the epic Mahabharata. This was told to Yudhishthir by the sage Markandeya.
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An epitaph for the physical bookstores...
I belong to a generation that was born in 70s and general reading beyond the books prescribed in the school curriculum was a rare phenomenon. Literature for kids was practically unheard of. Tintin, Chacha Chaudhary, Champak, Chandamama and some similar such were a few periodicals that represented the kidlit category in bookstores or on newspaper stands. Hardy Boys, Famous Five and Nancy Drew series were a few series which were available to young adults of those times. Written words could be beyond the ‘ABC of Physics’ or Lakhmir Singh and Manjeet Kaur came as a realisation to me when I completed my schooling years.
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What's brewing? Potato curry 
Potatoes : 4-5 (boiled, peeled and cut in small cubes)
Asafoetida : 1/8th of a tsp
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
Turmeric powder : ½ tsp
Red chilli powder : ¼ tsp
Salt : to taste
Green chillies : 2 (slit)
Kadhi leaves : 8-10
Coriander leaves : 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Garam masala : ¼ tsp
Oil : 2 tbsp
recipe here...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mouthpiece #21

For Love's Sake...
While the Pandavas were in their exile along with their queen Draupadi, once Draupadi asked Yudhishthir, how it was that he, the most virtuous of men and a disciple of Lord Krishna should suffer in so much misery? To this Yudhishthir answered, ‘The Himalayas, how grand and beautiful they are; I love them. They do not give me anything, but my nature is to love the grand, the beautiful, therefore I love them. Similarly, I love the Lord. He is the source of all beauty, of all sublimity. He is the only object to be loved; my nature is to love Him and therefore I love. I do not pray for anything, I do not ask for anything. Let Him place me wherever He likes. I must love Him for love’s sake. I cannot trade in love.’
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Magic in Kitchen (to stay cool...)
Aam Panna (Mango summer cooler)
This drink is supposed to be ideal for peak summer noons.
Raw mangoes : 4
Jaggery/powdered jaggery : as much as the pulp of the mangoes
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp (roasted and powdered)
Black salt : 1 1/2tsp
Black pepper : ½ tsp
Mint leaves : 8-10

recipe here...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mouthpiece #20

Not all who wander are lost…

The World Beckons
Vacation, time to look for ways to unwind and recharge the batteries for next span of routine. With travelling on the upswing these days, the question is, which type of locations offers the maximum succour to the exhausted nerves (physically and mentally). Some find the much required and much deserved relaxation in locations that are bustling with activity - heart of the cities, while others just want to stay put nestled in the lap of mother nature. Whether within the country or on foreign locales, once this basic decision is made, the options are aplenty.
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What's Brewing ? Rice Idli
Rice (Sona masoori) : 3 cupsUrad dal : 1 cupPoha : ½ cupSalt : to tasteOil : to grease the idli moulds

recipe here...

Saturday, May 7, 2016

श्रद्धा सुमन

कभी अकेला पा घेर लेता है यादों का मेला मुझे
सोचती हूँ कैसा होता आज अगर होता तुम्हारा साथ साथ में
देती हूँ मन को दिलासा यह कह फिर, जितना मिला, मिला तो
एक उदाहरण है उस ऊँचाई का और उस-से जनित एक उद्देश्य भी

ढूँढती हूँ वो सुकून वो अपनापन कुछ छोटी बड़ी चीज़ों में
कुछ साथ बिताए लम्हों में और छोटी छोटी बातों में
शायद हो पाये उस स्पर्श की थोड़ी अनुभूति फिर से
शायद पा सकूँ तुम्हारे आशीर्वादों की लड़ी फ़िर से एक बार

बेसन के वो लड्डू जो तुमसे बेहतर कोई बना न सका
सबसे छुपा कर चार और डाल देती थीं तुम उस डिब्बे में
तुम्हारे प्यार और आशीर्वाद की अभिव्यक्ति ही तो थी
पहुँच जाती थी जो मुझ तक बिना कुछ कहे सुने भी

एक अनुपम सुख का अनुभव करतीं थीं तुम शायद
तभी तो अपने हिस्से की खीर भी हमें खिला देतीं थीं
बादाम की वो कुछ गिरियाँ जो तुम प्यार से देतीं थीं
वो चंद गिरियाँ ही बहुत थीं तृप्त कर देने को हम सब को

अनेकों बेड़ियों से बद्ध रहा तुम्हारा सम्पूर्ण जीवन
पर अपनी सादगी सरलता से कर दिया नतमस्तक उन्हें भी
अपने कर्म और धर्म के प्रति सदा तत्पर और सजग रहीं तुम
रिश्तों को इतना सींचा कि हो गए परिभाषित वे भी फ़िर

नहीं हैं मोहताज मन के भाव और उदगार शब्दों के
कैसे सिमट सकता है कुछ असीम, शब्दों की सीमाओं में
मन से कुछ श्रद्धा सुमन समर्पित कर रही हूँ तुम्हें
शायद पहुँच जाएँ तुम तक, हो हवा के किसी झोंके पे सवार

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mouthpiece #19

त्रि-ताप (Tri-Taap or Three Pains)
I have been having two volumes of Bhagwat Katha with me for more than a decade now but never got the chance to read them. Last week I began reading the first volume of the same. After the customary obeisance to all Gods, it begins with how humans in Kaliyug are afflicted with Tri-taap or trividh-taap (the three kinds of pains) - आध्यात्मिक (Aadhyaatmik - from one’s own body and mind in the form of some physical discomfort or disease), आधिभौतिक (Aadhi-bhautik - from people and other creatures around us) and आधिदैविक (Aadhi-daivik - from natural calamities like flood, storm, drought, earthquakes and so on). 
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What's Brewing? Milk Toast
Bread slices (brown or white) : 6Milkmaid : ¼ cupMilk : ½ cupAlmonds : 5-6 (soaked, peeled and sliced)Cardamom powder : ¼ tspOil : for deep frying
recipe here...
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