Whose rice is it anyway? : Tomato rice & other rice tales….

Whose rice is it anyway?  : Tomato rice & other rice tales....

The beauty of my country lies in its variety of rice …..in the way it treats the rice and what it does with its humungous variety of rice. What an incredibly edible item is rice.
Living in the south of the country truly makes you want more and more of each item. Warning though : the following items are all addictive in nature and i only live by example…..as soon as the desire to dig into one of these wells up within me, i remove all my inhibitions and dig deep into my rice cooker….however, i try to eat it only once or twice a week, so that i can do justice to my appetite and have no need of exercising any control whatsoever. So in a manner of speaking- i control my addiction! ahaa!

Today i wish to expound the number of dishes that have emerged to satisfy a variety of tastes :
Lemon rice – its ubiquitousness is legendary and seems to be loved by adults and kids alike;
Puli-rice (Tamarind rice) – even as i write the name, my mouth drools at the thought of its all-pervasive taste. It tingles, its tangy sweetness and the last morsel, coated with spice….mmmm, just leaves you wanting more. Eaten as is, or with a bowl of yoghurt, its king of spiced rice items;
Curry-leaf rice – made with love, when there’s an excess of curry leaves available, they are browned and roasted, some tamarind, some powdered spice, and the green leaves are a near-paste…cooked & curried, but never in a hurry. It is supposed to be the best cure for many a tummy ailment and unhurried desires that turn into passion when ingested with warm rice and some sesame oil, heaven at your fingertips i say!
Sambar-rice – some leftover sambar, some leftover rice and you have a delicious concoction freshly put together with dollops of ghee (clarified butter) and your tastebuds are tickled pink till your fingers are dowsed in this wonderful rice preparation, which is not quite a rice dish, and yet it’s what a lot of us would love to have just-like-that. If there be some crisp popadums (papads) to accompany it, why not!

Turmeric rice : as the name suggests, its yellow colour, and the accompanying spice- turmeric- that yellow colour that seems to reign supreme in every kitchen- it can be nicknamed the Kitchen God…it’s dominating presence can turn any dull dish into a fine-looking specimen, then why should rice be left behind. One could sputter some mustard seeds in oil, add a little red chilly powder and few pinches of turmeric (haldi) into the oil itself- watch the perfume go up in the air, as your nostrils are pervaded with its raw smell…dump in any leftover rice with a little salt to taste. swish the rice and there till all grains are yellowed- serve with a generous helping of ghee. With no accompaniments- this rice will give you intense joy….just as it is.

Chilly Red Rice : healthy and fiery- can’t go wrong can we now! Boiled red rice on one hand, and fiery red chillies on another- can be exchanged for green chillies as well, some handpound fresh root ginger, and we’re good to go. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice before serving or eating, and mmmmm, there’s heaven to be had.  You do need some yoghurt on the side in case the chillies are overwhelming…

Zeera Rice : cumin – the most wonderful whole spice there is. They are all special, but cumin remains my ever-favorite. Rice tempered with cumin, a little pepper powder, some coriander powder and then topped with fresh cilantro- yummy is the word. Let it rest a little before you grab spoonfuls of it. One can always add a little red chilly powder too, but pepper should do the trick. The tempering is best done in a little mustard oil…if you have the stomach for it.  This particular preparation was one that i created  for my kids’ lunch boxes with leftovers…so i would even end up adding bits of veggies into the rice, which they happily wolfed down, treating this preparation as their mom’s Veg Biryani! Both parties were delighted!

to be continued……

Love Shack

Love Shack

Sunset – Sunrise- Love has a language all its own…
it lives on, for itself, thru us, thru every element on earth.
Here i am –
Here you are-
Here we are
and do we care,
sure we do….through each one
And never are we done,
Beyond the skies, and the sun and moon,
Do we croon
Under the stark skies
Always, always
Ready to fly
Across the skies, the earth and beyond,
Between and around
Above and below.
Sunset or sunrise
High and Low,
Here and now
Forever,
Tis a love Shack,
Our home
Love has no name, needs no fame.
It is there for itself….
Love Shack….
Come, join me…

The Good Husband

The Good Husband

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer….
Certain prerequisites: my grief-his grief; my achievements- equally his; my desires-his too; my needs- his interest in fulfilling them; my interests-his need in understanding them and participating enthusiastically (overt exhibition of dynamic involvement); my kids – his, completely so.
My good husband pretty much fits this description. What i have consciously omitted from the attributes – and nigh imperative to a sane partnership, is the fact that there ought to be a continuous flow of wealth…well-being. I don’t believe that it is the sole responsibility of the male member of this stronghold, unique as it is, to bring in the lolly as it were, therefore the  deliberate omission. The colour and smell of money is important to us both since it opens up the world to us….and we are both wedded to travel. In this case, and there are very few, our needs match: having promised each other six breaks a year- 3 short, and 3 long- we long to get into long discussions on the where, how and when of it.  The buck stops here because the ultimate time-money manager is the smart Husband. The wife has her own agenda in such cases, and best left to her own devices when the going is going….
A good husband, and in this particular case, mine, is a tad fussy about the wrinkle-free shirt on his back, which suits me fine since he does his own ironing and packing, as the case may be; he is totally unfussy however about the spaces needed by me for my ever-increasing wardrobe. That is also absolutely acceptable to me, since he not only keeps up with this growth, but equally so with the inconsistent need of mine for inner space (short sojourns hither & thither, all by myself while the motherly husband cares for the offspring)- for sometimes i want no space at all; i wish to be stiffled by his affection, by an aching and urgent need to be needed and to be crushed under familial ties and dollops of love. He keeps up with all these nuances that may dominate my mood. He also vacillates with my swinging wants. He dances to the tune of the moments, the conductor being me. However, with advancing years, he has acquired the knack of quietly wielding the baton and surprising me with new melodies. These melodies are not modern in nature, but they gravitate toward octaves all his own, and it delights me to let go and sway along. Play on, say i.
My attentive husband is a good man above all. He is sensitive enough to not talk too loud when he returns late from work, as he slips under the covers and whispers to a soporific me, “i am back!” “humph, oh are you! eaten, have left some grub for you…” “Shush” says he. “I’ve put it all away, will eat tomorrow. Ok, now that am back, can i share something with you from work?” And i hear, “Neeeed to talk, may I!” and of course i listen up…gently roused from a delicious near-slumber. This may not happen often, and it’s my part in being the Good wife, as is my wont.

My affectionate husband is a supergood dad! Yes, he is firm, he is kind and he is good to them. His terms of endearment are visible, tangible and audibly sensible. I love the father in him. He matches interest for interest, and arouses their interest in what impassions him, i.e martial arts and old pop songs- in Hindi and English. He may have failed miserably to instil any kind of fire in his son’s loins for his first love, the game of cricket (surprise, surprise!) but the kids are sporty- that will have to do then and so it has.

My filially-tied husband, is a son, who is wonderfully understanding.. He listens like a quiet cat, and coos like a Dove at all information and advice doled out by his parents. His own son is no match to his dad’s filial piety.

All-in-all- the good husband lives both in my heart, mind and home. That’s the only way it works- when i need a friend, the friend appears, when i need tolerance and patience- it is more often than not offered. There is irritation, there is anger- i am a healthy button-pusher, and know all the right colours that need pushing. The timing could be off every once in a while, which is when the Good Husband discards his good robes and dons the ones  i would want to hide from, not surprisingly so. SO then the return of the kind husband  is deeply appreciated. There has to be interesting change within the very same man otherwise this wife will complain and how! There is no stagnation, no dearth of variety, no time to stand and stare and wonder when did we get this far- from two strangers to friends to lovers – to a married couple and then parents. Today we hold each others’ hands and smile into the distance both behind us, and the one yet to be covered and say, “We done good pardner!”

Cheers to a long innings! signing off  : the good wife…

The morning Fix

The morning Fix

Loving you, o cup magnifique, empty or full- you are my morning, my evening…without you am a lost soul

A sip here, and a sip there,

Am sorted for at least an hour

Don’t ever betray me- coz you are the key

Unfolding, unravelling, unbinding

mysteries untold, yet unknown

That the heart has sown…..

Day after day, night after night,

Into its fine sanguine fabric,

Maybe just out of habit…

Or perhaps it’s just a trick!

I reach out to you, you reach out to me

Together we meet the world head on…

O cup Magnifique, you, my DAWN, the play is on!

Ganesha & me

Am dedicating this Post to all the symbols of God almighty- the Power that be, Who i see in everyone, and everything…around in this world, insofar as i know and understand it. It’s a great place to be 🙂

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I love the elephant God but am unable to associate all the hullaballoo that’s happening around my home- the lake district, namely Ulsoor and the loud drumbeats with HIM!

Why does man create a God from an elephant- then deify him, and kudos to him for that, and then proceed to create a ruckus and drown him body and soul? It is a question worthy of consideration, is it not! I do not remember ever being inundated with SO MANY Watsapp msgs congratulating me on making it this far in my life to have encountered another Ganesh Chaturthi….and sending me varied colourful images of the Lord Ganesh himself. When i did get so lucky, and how!

I love people- i love their fervour especially when it’s crowd-driven- like to watch the milling crowds shouting out praises of Ganapathi, but at a safe distance – i.e from my balcony- a higher and cleaner perspective on how an idea can push, prod, egg and literally drown out one’s thoughts as everyone’s thoughts are united in a colossal movement toward one single end- Ganesh Visarjan….. It’s quite a phenomenon! Am not even certain if most of the folk i saw thronging the gates of the lake today, even know the significance of Lord Ganesha’s Visarjan- his ultimate union with His water bed…what i rudely call drowning, and kindly do not hold it against me. I can’t for the life of me see my God in an idol- i find, at the most, a very cute elephant person in the idol of the Lord Ganesha…and i am completely at ease & entirely comfortable with everyone else seeing their Lord in Him.

Never were any ideas thrust upon me by my parents- never by my peer and my society, as much as one can call a community one,  was steeped in seeking a higher life thru’ any means available; learning was everywhere- thru’ every person and books and movies and music….so Gods were there, and i took them for granted- they were part of the air i breathed, not apart from me, to be revered and idolised and trapped in stone. God breathed thru’ living beings- plants and animals alike. However, i was also taught to respect others’ need and wish to perform rituals and such like, and i enjoyed watching folk doing what they did to bring peace to their hearts and a strong sense of hope and self-belief.

Reading the stuff written about the actual visarjan made me leave it be- and accept the How and the Why of the ceremony 🙂  It’s logical and it’s beautiful….do read on.

What i read about the Vinayak/Ganesh Chaturthi i like, so am sharing it here- after all Hinduism is all about symbolism- and here’s one significant significance:

Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations end with the immersion or Visarjan of clay Ganapati idol in water. Hindus worship Brahman or the Supreme Soul present in all animate and inanimate. But for majority of the people it is not possible to worship this formlessness. They need a form to pray to, to seek help, to cry and to take blessings. Ganesha is ‘OM’ the primordial sound or the first ‘Vaak.’ Nirguna Para Brahman takes the form of Ganesha.

 Clay and water is mixed to give form to the formlessness. Each person brings Ganesha in clay idol form into the home. This is the Supreme Being arriving at home. After the celebrations, it is time to accept the eternal cosmic law that which took form has to become formless again. It is a never ending cycle (Chakra).

 The formlessness giving way to form and then moving again towards formlessness. Each year Ganesha arrives to teach us that forms change but the Supreme Truth remains the same. Body perishes but Brahman residing in it remains constant. This body becomes energy for another but the source of energy is the same. Bliss is achieved when we realize this.

 The act also symbolizes the concept of Moksha, or liberation, in Hinduism. Osho says – ‘Absolute unclinging. That is what is meant by Moksha – freedom – no clinging, not even to gods.’ Thus we create Ganesha out of clay, worship it and later it is submerged (Visarjan).

So Ganapati Bappa Maurya (O  father Ganesha, hailing thy Name)

Up with the Lark – an Arangetram…

DSCN2063Waking up to the body clock is not a bad thing in itself- but 5.25 on a Saturday morning! I must be getting old…..and unable to turn in again, oh am definitely either ageing or getting to where i want to get to 10 years hence! Well, nothing like a headstart eh!

My ‘misery’ is compounded by the number of honks i am able to distill…and the birds have flown the coop too, so no chirps either…i hear a bike, in a tearing hurry, passing trucks with their creakingly heavy movements, and smooth and not-so-smooth cars. Life continues unabated. I also hear some workers in delightful conversations in Kannada and Tamil- not clear but there’s humour and joy in their tones. The language of contentment is delightfully pleasing, in any language. How do i know they are workers!? Oh, aren’t we all? I feel happy to be leaning back on my pillows, unable to catch a few winks before the day catches me, and i fling myself into daily chores, lesson preparations and what-have-you. The joy doesn’t last though…since i do so wish to close my eyes and just wander off into the land beyond the physical body. We shall see.

I felt thrilled to attend a young girl’s Arangetram last night- Ananya Suresh- a superb rendition and what amazed me was her stamina. SHe danced away- minute after minute, almost hour after hour. I had to hold my breath- cause she didn’t. Her eye-movements (Abhinaya) were stunning- and the neck so delicately moving from point to point. It was all an exercise in moving art-form- one of many our country boasts of. She was a perfect statuette- such a pretty picture, and then she was a goddess- a person, a local, a God, and so many other beings that i failed to grasp. I was completely taken in by her renditions- her portrayals of varied personas…it was the same Ananya, and she held her own, flowing seamlessly from one character to another, transforming and transformed. What a wonderful enterprise, when a young girl – thru grit, determination and discipline is made to learn an art form that’ll be all hers for the keeping- forever and ever more. I have learnt Bharatnatyam myself- many, many moons ago, and i realise that i also wanted to dance with her….i remembered each movement taught to me- i could easily have matched a few steps and that itself was heavenly, the thought that i could identify and feel from within, the abhinaya. Her mother Vidya is a wonderful collegue of mine and the hall was full of the community of teachers of French and such like. Everyone was delighted to be there, as were Raja and i.  We all blessed the child and hope that she morphs into a professional dancer…realising that she has what it takes. However, life has so much to offer her, as she stands at the threshold of university life. God Bless!

Mirror mirror ……and the love of Thoms!

Unbelievable but i am unfazed. Today- this day, this afternoon- i am driving, gently, the most absurdly rocking music from Bollywood blaring on my radio- 94.3 radio FM, and pure joy is flowing thru’ my veins, when i observe a rickety, old mode of transport, going by the name of mini-truck, swerving dangerously close to my already grazed car. I halt. He proceeds…continuing to inch is way closer to my Baby- my VW, my Jetta. The poor baby…under my control, pushes its way closer to the middle of the road. We are steady. Then i move forward, ever so tentatively. I move forward just a bit more….and voilà! The mean son-of-a-gun has PUSHED and SURGED and GRUNGED and GROUND his way thru’ my side-mirror. There it was – its spirit, its body- all cracked- the cover, sore and shattered from the impact!

I dash out from within a very joyous moment, being jostled and shunted into sheer action (so many onlookers, i had to react)! “Could you not wait Misterrrr!” i shout out, and i know i mean not a word, cause i am acutely aware of an entire line of vehicles behind me, watching me closely, as also knowing very well, that he saw and he had deliberately hit me! The other side of the road is chocabloc with vehicles too, and there are sneers, smiles, empathy and sympathy.  At that moment in time i am seized with a wish to start dancing….have no clue where that came from- was it a sense of triumph!? I don’t really know- my awareness shifts me to my physical world, and i try and and look very, very annoyed. I suppose i succeeded because i saw some faces hanging outside their car windows immediately look at me with pity and some sort of compassion i suppose. I almost feel sorry for them, because i am no mood to flap my arms in mock anger, or give them more drama to write home about. I slide into my seat and slip away nonchalantly, grinning to myself. I do, every once in a while, look at my side mirror, dangling by a thin wire…for dear life. I doubt very much that it’ll survive this day, but i will always cherish its time with me. It has served me well and for many years…it’s also a step-mirror i recall, the original having met a similar fate on impact with a far larger truck on our way to Jaipur. Guess who was driving!?DSCN2568

As for me, I was excited by the fact that the actual impact upon my car did not extend itself to my psyche. I was actually not remotely affected- the wish to dance had emerged from this sentiment of -“so i can remain unfazed and can see things as they are without them impacting my emotional being!”

Today is a very special day….i can. Today is a very special day…..i love my time in Thoms supermarket- no clue why. I watch people, after i am hit by a mini-truck and wonder if they know how proud of me i feel. They all look very busy, and i also appear very busy buying veggies, cheese, tomato purée, lots of goodies and end up paying the largest bill i have ever paid out at Thoms. But i love shopping alone at Thoms. I can be quiet and removed, while being all out there and very with it. It’s messy sometimes, but i love Thoms!

That’ll be all till i fall from the Grace of Angels, or i meet another triumph, through another external means.