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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This is my story.Once upon a time long,long ago there was a small girl named Komal.She had a strong and flexible body and though thin and wiry,possessed plenty of physical strength and stamina.Used to regular excercise and having learnt Classical Indian Dance since the age of 4 years she could bend her body whichever way she wanted-----with one exception---she couldn't sit crosslegged on the floor!!!Though she grew up and turned from thin and wiry into rotund and fat,she retained all of this till 2007-----when Radiation happened!!!!Radiation was followed by Ischeamia in 2009 and these two together turned her body into what it is today----limited flexibility with little strength and stamina!!!Now into the picture enters the Hero who will restore all the former glory----Yoga!!!
I started Yoga as I start everything these days---each day is God's Grace----and loosening a stiff body is hell!!!2 months back it was pretty bad----add to that our friend Mitra's admonition"whenever you feel even a pinch of Pain---stop"!!!The occasions to stop were more than those of working through the routine----agreed the routine wasn't strenous but inactive muscles aren't THAT understanding---they do complain long and loud!!!!Day by day things improved----so far so good.
My biggest problem was sitting crosslegged on the ground.Since childhood that is one position I could never use---no matter how otherwise flexible my body was---- I don't know why!!!Mitra told me to sit on a chair---the rest of the class used to be squatting comfortably---in the horrendous crosslegged position-------while I sat like some bloody Queen on my throne!!!After a month of this I decided to join the commoners---and abdicated my throne totally.
Now began another problem----keeping my spine erect and retaining my balance on my hips----I found myself to be a "bin paindey kaa lota" or a baseless vessel---I was all over the place during certain excercises!!!I never thought that squatting---actually trying to squat crosslegged with the spine erect on the mat was such a pesky problem!!!!Thankfully each one of us has some difficulty or the other---so nobody laughs---but I'm sure the sight of me constantly trying to balance my weight on my bum must be a hilarious sight!!!The stretching excercises, those done lying down also are getting easier----even the cycling of my legs in the air---my cycle punctures much lesser these days!!!The Pranayaam is going great----if I can maintain my position for the time needed----
that is the ONE thing that I have to master---till then I guess I'll continue shifting----but no going back to my throne again!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EACHDAYAGIFT 3/3/2010 5:40PM

Wear this on the mat so people will know you are still the yoga queen, even without your throne!

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MILLISMA 3/3/2010 5:14PM

    Hi Komal,

I love your honesty and humor. I am so proud of you for trying. You can only do what is comfortable for you but you are doing great. I have only done a few yoga moves and I do like them. I have been doing pilates with some yoga tossed in. The more you work at doing something.....you will finally reach the point of success.

I thought of you when I was at the flower show yesterday. There was an entire exhibit that was dedicated to India.

You can do it, my friend.

Mary Anne emoticon emoticon

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ANITAS66 3/3/2010 2:42PM

way to go. I love the way you write.

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*MADHU* 3/3/2010 8:54AM

    emoticonblog !

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SONPARI1 3/3/2010 8:12AM

    emoticon I like the way you put it...i am sure you can get over the pbms.

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ZANNACHAN 3/3/2010 3:37AM

    I hope that you never need your throne again either!

I never thought I would like it but I really enjoy yoga (even when I feel like I'm going to die, hee. And can I say that having a competitive edge is not at all advantageous while doing yoga? Our class is a mix of skill/experience levels--from never having done yoga before to people who have been doing it for years, and so the yoga teacher gives us some basic form and then adds "for more challenge, you can try doing this" or "if this is too hard, try this instead." Invariably I always try to do the harder version. It doesn't always go smoothly.) But I think it not only helps my hip a lot and is helping both build core muscles and with general flexibility, but also is very calming.

We had a new student recently who had to sit in the chair for a number of the moves as well. I swear no one thought anything bad about that. We all have different bodies, different limitations. My husband often comes with me to the yoga classes as well, but he often sits out on moves, because he has to be careful of his bad knees. I can fold my legs six ways from Sunday, and always have (my yoga teacher was surprised that I have a hip problem and can still do that, but I actually prefer to sit cross legged or with my legs folded to one side than with my feet on the floor) but I have never, even as a child, been able to touch my toes--until last fall. I remember going to a Tai Chi class with my Mom-in-law several years ago where most of the women taking the class were her age or older--and I was not only the only one who couldn't touch the floor, I didn't even come close. And many of the women could lay their hands flat on the floor. I was so embarrassed--but I have realized since then, it doesn't really matter. We each do what we can. There are other students there who struggle to do stretches I find very easy--especially the runners, who get really tight hips as a result of running. But I bet they'd run circles around me in race.

But you know what, if you treat your body kindly and slowly but consistently stretch and do yoga--you'll regain that flexibility. Maybe even flexibility that you didn't have before. After all, I can touch my toes now. On good days, I can even touch the floor with my finger tips. So it can be done.

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    Hi Komal,
Your blog instantly struck a chord with me.
Congratulations on your progress and Good Luck.
May you never need your throne again.


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Puran Polis-----and Ritu!!!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Puran Polis and I have a love-hate relationship----I love eating them but hate making them----because I make "Puran Tukdas"(Puran Pieces) instead of soft,thin,silky Polis!!!Ritu just dropped off a batch of Puran Polis----she made them herself------and her association with them came to mind!!
Ritu has always loved Food-----Puran Polis is something that she adores----one of her very,very dear favourites!!!Mummy's Puran Polis were exquisite---to date I 've never eaten any that can even match hers----and so it was a red letter day for all of when these were cooked---more so for Ritu.She was the greatest consumer of these since she was allowed to eat solid food----and when just a few would remain---she'd quarrel with Mikki and me each time we wanted to eat one-----there used to be tears and tantrums galore!!!
As a way out Daddy suggested that Mummy make these regularly---exclusively for Ritu only---- till she tired of eating these----she was to eat them daily till then!!!So poor Mummy'd make dozens of these twice a week----Ritu'd empty the container before the next batch!!!This went on for at least a year---practice made Mummy's Polis even more delicious than before and Ritu became more addicted to these than ever-----while the rest of us lost interest in the Polis somewhat!!!!Ritu used to eat these for Breakfast,Lunch,Tea and Dinner DAILY and still ask for more!!!!
Mummy was getting tired of churning out Polis----her Marathi friends too were getting irritated---all her classmates who were Maharashtrian had begun throwing tantrums over the contents of their Lunch Boxes---"if Ritu's mother gives her Polis daily why can't you????"used to be their righteously plaintive grouse!!!
Like all good things this too had to end------Mummy firmly told Daddy that enough was enough-----tears or tantrums----whatever came from Ritu----Polis would be made ONLY on festive occasions and not otherwise!!!!Ritu was heart broken for sometime---precisely a day---because she was easily distracted by Mummy with another favourite Food---and the "Puran Poli Parva"or the "Puran Poli Chapter" in our home ended!!!
Today I can make the perfect Filling, knead the perfect Dough-----even assemble the two together into the perfectly stuffed ball---only while rolling these out,somewhere along the way,these break into pieces!!!Others make perfectly thin and round finished products from the balls I stuff----this aspect has perplexed me for so many years now----what exactly and where exactly do things go wrong????Poor Mummy tried so many times to teach me but somehow it just didn't work out!!Today Ritu does the best job of making these amongst us three---Mikki's okay too----but I'm a total non starter!!!
Today luckily making these has developed into a full scale Cottage Industry and is providing a good source of income to many needy women who excel in this art.These are supplied to various Shops and are sold in these Shops throughout the year---special orders too are taken by these people!!!It is definitely a boon for the younger generation---and old folks like me!!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASHLESHA1 3/2/2010 11:11AM


Belated Happy Holi.

I totally agree with you. Mine becomes stiff so I call it puran parathas since I avoid soaking the dough in lots of oil.
The trick is practice, practice and practice...I guess we should take the efforts and make them more often (but not as often as your mom made them...) emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 3/2/2010 2:00AM

    Hmm, yum. I imagine that there's a knack to making them--perhaps something that's in the feel, hard to teach. My mom's pies are like that--she still makes the crusts from scratch (a lot of women don't any more) and they are wonderful. I haven't mastered that knack yet. Some day.....

Though maybe it's a good thing I haven't mastered any of the family pie recipes because they are seriously loaded in calories....

The food you describe always sounds so good. I thought of you and some of my other Indian Sparks friends this weekend--the birthday party was at an Indian restaurant I hadn't been to before and the food was sooooo good. It was served family style, which was great for trying new things, though I don't even know the names of half of the dishes I tried! So I have no idea how to even begin to enter it into sparks. But very very tasty.

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Colourful Nostalgia----Holi Past!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

The sight of children playing Holi with a joyous abandon always transports me back in time----a really looooong way back!!!It reminds me of all the various pleasures that each Holi has imparted----makes me nostalgic for the days that were!!!
My earliest memories of Holi are of Holi in Chandigarh-----Mummy would rise early in the morning,wash her hair, bathe and start cooking the Puran Polis------the Traditional Sweet made in Maharashtra on this day.Her Polis were to die for---no one can make her type of Polis---soft,stuffed to the limit and melting in the mouth Polis!!!She'd be at it since dawn-----because people would start arriving at 7.30 a.m. onwards---everyone would be greeted with hot,soft Puran Polis---with lashings of home made fresh Ghee!!!Not just that--------she'd get smeared with handfuls of Powder Colours,soaked in coloured Water each year----but since it was Tradition, her early morning bath was a must--------each year she washed her thick long hair and bathed twice on that day!!!!We'd have wonderful time-------Daddy would sing beautiful old K.L.Saigal songs,Thumris by Begum Akhtar to the beat of the "Dholak"(Drum) and the atmosphere would be very vibrant and alive.We children would join the gang and go door to door----smearing handful of colours on people and spraying coloured Water through our "Pichkaaries"as the Water Guns were called(still are)!!!This went on till late afternoon-----food was no problem-----every house we went to would feed us their Holi special!!!Dahi Bhalley,Dahi Gujhiyas,Khoya stuffed sweet Gujhiyas,Ras Gullas,Gulaab Jaamuns,Jalebies with Rabri,Samosas,Kachories,Luchies and Aaloo Posto-----those names still make my mouth water!!!!
After I came to Mumbai in 1970 I began enjoying the" Mumbaiya" style of Holi----Traditional Pujas and food---laidback and graceful but deeply moving and lively---with Musical Concerts and Plays---Maharashtrians worship the art of "Naataks"as plays are called----the musical ones---"Sangeet Naataks"------are our Marathi Operas----with many revered Singing Legends!!!!In 1975 May, we shifted here---to our present home.This is a Cosmopolitan Condominium------Hindus----Marathis,Sindhi
s,Gujaratis,Marwaris,Punjabis---Muslims ,Parsis,Christians and Jews-------we became a mini India!!!As we came closer as friends our children too formed lasting friendships---and once again Holi became a boisterous event!!!
My two daughters were regular Holi revelers---coming home soaked to the skin and stained with different colours-----their faces would retain their different colours for at least two days after Holi----no matter how hard I scrubbed.Slowly the girls grew up,married and moved away----but the boisterous revelry continues.The children of their childhood friends--------my "courtesy" grandkids--------continue to play Holi in the same Garden with happy enthusiasm each year.
The Garden has a fountain in one corner----each generation of children uses that as a pool----they fill it with Water and dunk each new comer in it---the entrances and the entire ground get multi-hued and need a week to wash clean!!!!Not just that they shriek and shout at the top of their voices----the commotion is deafening!!!I love watching them playing Holi---their innocencent pleasure is writ large on their faces----simple and uncomplicated-----childhood is the best time of a human being's life!!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 3/1/2010 12:30PM

    Sounds like fun *grin*

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*MADHU* 3/1/2010 11:04AM

    I agree..."Childhood is the best time of a human being's life emoticon

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MAIA2011 3/1/2010 2:30AM

    What a cool blog!

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Holi---Colourful India!!!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

India is the land of Festivals-----we are blessed with many------but this one is one of the most popular------the vibrant splash of Colours and the Joyousness of Life make it a celebration and so very alive!!!Today is Holi------the last Hindu Festival of the year------tonight we will consign all the Evil and Inauspiscious Events of the past year to the flames and 15 days later welcome the New year---Chaitri Pratipada(called Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra) a celebration marked with Piety.
The story of Holi is simple.Hindus too have a Holy Trinity-----Brahma,The Creator(A)------Vishnu,the Sustainer(U) and Maheshwara(Shiva),The Destroyer(M).These three together symbolise and manifest their joint Power in the word form as "AUM"the eternal "Mantra" or Chant.The first letter is uttered of medium length,the second one long drawn out and the third one short---Birth should not be too difficult,Life should be long and Death should come as a blessing---hence the end should be short----this is the Philosophy behind it.
Prahlad,the son of the Demon Hirayakasyapu,was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and despite repeated efforts by his father, would not stop worshipping Him.This enraged Hiranyakasyapu and he asked his sister,Holika's help in killing Prahlad.The demoness Holika had a special ability----she was impervious to Fire-----she did not suffer burns.
So to teach Prahlad a lesson,Holika was seated on a pyre with Prahlad on her lap-----and the pyre was set ablaze.When the flames were reduced to cinders,it was Prahlad who emerged from the smouldering cinders----Holika had been burnt to ashes!!!Since then Hindus burn the ceremonial Fire on the full moon night of the last month of the Hindu calender----Phalgun/Phagun.Coconuts,Puffed Rice,Dates and in Maharashtra a sweet called Puran Poli is offered to the flames.Many people observe a fast on this day and at night Vegetarian Food is served as "Prasaad"or Blessing.
The next day the revelry begins------since early morning people step out to apply Colours on each other.They visit Relatives and Friends with Traditional Sweets,Colours and enjoy the occasion----the atmosphere is filled with the joy and bonhomie of Life-----one has to be a part of it to realise how positively charged the entire scene is!!!!!
As a child I enjoyed this Festival immensely-----though after my marriage I didn't play---Maharashtrians don't indulge in colour playing revelry---it is the earlier day which has greater importance in our community.Now these boundaries are non-existent----playing Holi is enjoyed by all communities!!!These days all the children take part in this revelry----playing with dry colours,water colours-----it is fun to watch all the children of our Complex enjoying the festivities!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 3/1/2010 12:26PM

    That sounds like a lovely holiday. I hope you had a great Holi!

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*MADHU* 3/1/2010 1:33AM

    emoticonHAPPY HOLI emoticon

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ANITAS66 2/28/2010 2:04PM

    Happy Holi emoticon

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PAM1864 2/28/2010 12:15PM

    emoticon emoticon for this reminder. I really miss our country and its festivals. Her my younger son is having final exam this month(March) so we cannot even visit India. I will send wishes to my elder son,parents & bros, friends& relatives.

Happy Holi to you too.


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MILLISMA 2/28/2010 10:39AM

    Komal, thank you for sharing. I am learning so much from you. On Tuesday, I am going to the flower show with a neighbor/friend. There is on section that is all about India and its flowers. I can't wait to see it!

Mary Anne emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/28/2010 9:01AM

    Do people paint decorations on each other's skin, or just splash paint on each other? Is it like a sneak atack like playing paintball, or more like a ceremonial gift, like the Hawaiians giving people leis in greeting. I'm tryng to picture the day, and it sounds very fun, but I'm a little unclear how you do it. Anyway, I'm glad you have children around to watch enjoying the fun. Hope it stirs up fond memories!

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MESSENE 2/28/2010 7:47AM

    emoticonI love your blog! emoticonI will need to read the ones I missed. The festivities sound emoticon emoticonBest wishes!!!! emoticon emoticon

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Unsung Hero---Karna--5

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The day of Karna's appointment as Commander in Chief dawned cloudy and sullen---his father,Surya the Sun God, was showing his displeasure for Karna's disobedience----or was it apprenhension for the safety of his son????As the battle progressed Karna encountered all his brothers turn by turn-----giving them Life when he could have made a clean sweep of them---to their confusion and humiliation at being treated thus by him.Finally Karna and Arjuna came face to face----and the battle began in earnest!!!!!!Each was Master of his craft and all those around stopped to watch---so over-awed were they by the ferocity and the prowess of both the Warriors.While Krishna's dexterity as a charioteer saved Arjuna many a time,Karna lost his charioteer to an arrow struck by Arjuna.The thick muddy slush of the Battlefield created by the ferocious destruction of Man and Animal held Karna's chariot captive.Karna jumped out to free his chariot------but it was badly stuck and was sinking deeper and deeper in the muddy slush----it was then Krishna asked Arjuna to continue the battle.Karna remembered the curse of the Brahmana---he like the dying Cow was rooted in the muddy slush!!!He realised that the end was approaching and continued fighting on foot-----when his mind blanked out----Lord Parashurama's Curse took effect----he forgot all his craft!!!Arjuna's arrow flew true to it's mark----and valiant Karna fell---fatally wounded!!!!
Krishna immediately stopped the chariot and jumped out------and cradled Karna's head on his lap.He asked about Karna's dying wishes-------there was only one.Karna asked that his last rites be performed on barren land----so that all his unfulfilled wishes and dreams should not come back to haunt any future generations----and that his cursed soul should attain "Moksha"(Salvation).
That evening after Sunset,Karna's pyre was lit by his cousin,Krishna.In the meantime a grieving Kunti told her other sons about Karna----and the Pandavas rushed to the pyre to ask forgiveness and pay their last respects to their eldest brother-------whom they had always spurned in life!!!!Kunti was devastated----but it was his mother Radha who suffered the most----her son was gone!!!To this day in India the synonym"Kaunteya"---son of Kunti---does not include Karna---because he chose to remain"Radheya"---son of Radha----whom he considered his true mother.
Till today I have been haunted by how a mother---who sees her son every day---be so emotionless about her child?I understand the necessity of giving up her child due to social pressures---what I don't understand is the expectations from the abandoned child that he should be the one to make all the adjustments----could not the reverse----asking her other 5 sons to capitulate and accept their oldest sibling been equally possible???Finally the birth of all the Pandavas by "Niyoga"------the process of the woman being impregnated by a Sperm Donor---was an open secret---so why did she not accept her oldest son------till his death????What use was the revelation after he was gone---no one would have been any wiser-------had she still held her peace!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 3/1/2010 12:23PM

    Thank you for sharing this story!

I agree--Karna seems to have gotten the short end of the stick, all along. As far as why his mother would wait until his death to claim him as her son--could have been guilt, grief....both....

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