Wednesday, March 10, 2010
For Two Young Adults---Our Daughters
You have pervaded our Lives,
With the lingering scents of Spring,
You have enriched our Lives,
With the very essence of your Being.
We are proud to be your Parents,
And hope that you're proud of us too,
You're the best Gifts God could give us
Cliched---but very very true!!!
Today you both are independent Adults,
That's a bit hard to swallow,
We'll have to teach ourselves not to interfere,
So---make no promises we may not follow!!!
However old you may be---no matter the years passing by,
We'll always feel this responsibility.
We'll always worry---and question "why???"
We in no way will relinquish all our authority,
So learn to be patient with us---him and me!!!.
So Darlings, step forward confidently into this New World,
Spread your Wings--- and Create your own Identity!!!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
This beautiful deep Emerald Lake is named after a Goddess--Naina Devi and is in the State of Uttaraanchal in the North of India.We last visited it in May,1993 which is when I penned this poem.That day too I'd woken early and the view of the Lake was truly a mesmerising sight from our balcony-----some sights are unforgettable and the camera in one's mind retains the beauty of the moment as a clear and sharp memory!!!
"Ribbons of Moonlight stream from Indigo Sky,
Silvering the Waters of the Lake nearby.
No sound breaks the silent calm of the Night,
Dappled by rippling Shadows--Dark and Light.
No whispering Breezes move to stir,
The stiff branches of Spruce and Fir.
The heady perfume of Wild Flowers does pervade,
The stillness of this Beautiful Magic Glade.
Craggy Rocks like Sentinels stand,
Circling the Lake and surrounding Land.
The scented Air is clear and chill,
While Nature sleeps---quiet and still.
As the Night wears on---pearly Dew drops,
Fall and glisten like Diamonds on the Grass and Treetops.
Indigo,Blue,Violet and a pale Rosy Blush,
Dawn sweeps in with a Golden flush!!!
Bands of Colour tint the Sky,
Mirrored in the still Waters of the Lake nearby.
In the branches of the Spruce and Fir,
Animals,Birds and Bees begin to stir.
The picturesque contrast of Night has gone,
As with gentle persistence---in sweeps the Dawn!!!"
Spring cleaning has some great rewards--I found this poem on a sheet of paper inside a notebook----I'd forgotten about it totally.The memories it brought back were so lovely and restful that I felt like sharing it here.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
That I love Food---is by now well known and well established to my Spark Friends---that the fact I used to live to eat---another well known and well established fact----also that all that has landed me in this mess---the ULTIMATE fact of all facts!!!
My cravings were at the peak during my preganncies----for specific types of Food---from particular Culinary outlets-----in different geographical locations of Mumbai.In India we love spicy Stuff called "Chaat" which is a mixture of various Ingredients---each type has a different taste and uses variety of Fried and roasted Food.For example "Bhel" is a spicy mix of roasted Peanuts,roasted Chick Peas , finely chopped Shallots,Fresh Coriander Leaves,finely chopped raw Green Mango or Tomatoes, Puffed Rice(Kurmura/Murmura) and "Sev"(spicy fried Chick Pea flour Vermicelli) crushed Fried "Papdies"(crisp flat and thick Flour Discs) all mixed together with Hot Green Chutney,Sweet Date and Tamarind Chutney and Spicy garlic Chutney.All of this is tossed well together to mix well and served with a squeeze of Lemon in "Dronas"or Cups made from dried Leaves----simply YUUUMMMMMY to eat!!!
During both my preganancies I would get an uncontrollable urge to eat this ----poor Sudhir would drive me across the length and breadth of Bombay just to satisfy this craving---one day it could be Girgaum Chowpatty Beach---another day Juhu Beach!!!The other favourites were "Dahi Bhalley"("Dahi Vadey"in Mumbai) these are soft,soggy balls of Black Gram(Urad Dal) in a whipped Yoghurt Sauce.These are made from Black Gram(Urad)Dal--------washed and soaked for 3-5 hours and then seasoned with certain spices and ground to a thick batter.Spoonfuls of this batter are deep fried in Oil and soaked in Water seasoned with Asafoetida Powder to remove the excess Oil.These are then squeezed to remove the excess Water and covered in whipped spiced Yoghurt---topped with the Chutneys---a favourite Summer cooler in India!!!There was "Dahi Batata Puri" too as it is called in Mumbai-----is puffed deep fried crisp Flour Balls---hollow in the centers----- these are then stuffed with lightly spiced boiled mashed Potatoes and Sprouted Mung Beans in the centers and coated with smooth well blended Yoghurt with the Chutneys added on top---ohhhhh they taste soooo gooood!!!Then "Sev Puri" too was a favourite--- deep fried crisp flat discs of Flour topped with spiced boiled mashed Potatoes,finely chopped Shallots and fine "Sev" and the spicy Chutneys----the spicier the better!!!Each Cart has a unique flavour--and each area it's different type of Spices.These make the tongue dance with pleasure---spicy hot,sweet and crisp----in some cases the cool smothness of Yoghurt too------you've got to taste these to know what it's like----just addictive!!!
If I had stopped at this it still would have passed off after the birth of my daughters but by then the craving had grown even stronger---new varieties were added as I became more familiar with these type of Food joints in Mumbai--------"Ragda Patties","Chholey Bhaturey","Paav Bhaji" swimming in Butter and Cheese---dear God---what a glutton I was!!!Today the very thought of the quantities I used to consume makes me sick---wish it had then!!!
We had by now shifted to our own flat---and I had joined the "Kitty Party" round in our Condominium Complex.Each month on a certain day about 15-20 of us women would meet for Tea and Snacks in the afternoon----we'd collect a certain pre-decided sum of money----and cast Chits.One person's name would be called out---that lady would get the sum----and the next party would be held in her home---this was the format.Those were fun days----we'd discuss our kids and husbands and generally bond as friends---clean wholesome fun---accompanied by a large variety of fantastic home cooked Snacks.Each one of us wanted to outdo the earlier parties-----and so we'd cook a variety of dishes---otherwise how would our culinary expertise be showcased????The question of eating Dinner that day after the gargantuan Feasts didn't arise---at all!!!That day we all ensured great Dinners---the husbands were very particular about the Food served at home that day----and would taunt us if it wasn't up to scratch!!!Those were truly fun days and I remained a member of our Kitty Party till 2002 December when a bout of Dengue put paid to some of my most enjoyable moments!!!
Thanks to the Liver problems that developed post Dengue,I had to cut down on my eating habits and a new cycle began.The stomach doesn't have a brain--it just has needs and feeds programmed into it's micro-chip---that causes the worst problems.Now I'd eat the prescribed Food---stomach would be full---but----no satisfaction in being full!!!It took me a long time to come to terms with the diet I eat today-----and looking back I feel that a little moderation could have saved me a lot of pain.However,today I take heart in the wave of awareness being shown by people all over the World in eating halthier Food and enjoying a much Healthier life style!!!Amen!!!
Saturday, March 06, 2010
The name may sound strange to those who aren't aware of it----those who are will connect instantly-----it is Mumbai's Prime Bohemian Identity----for the past fifty years and more it has been the Meeting Point for who's who in Mumbai's Art Circle----many famous names have graced it with their presence-----for folks like me it is an integral part of my married life----my daughters love it too!!!It is not a posh place---it's very ambience is laid back and very casual but there is a certain something about it that catches your attention----and your fancy!!!
It was started in the Verandah of Jehangir Art gallery in 1965 or 66 by Mrs.Usha Khanna------it was a Tea joint--serving initially Tea and Biscuits to the artists who exhibited their Paintings in the two huge halls there-----B.Vithal,Prabha Vithal, Anjolie Ela Menon,M.F. Husain to name just a few,From this modest beginning it gradually developed and grew to a small informal Eaterie-----home cooked type Food became it's main signature.Recipes were typical of home Cuisine----different people gave different Recipes which Mrs.Khanna incorporated into her menu----and the informal atmosphere of the Samovar caught the fancy of everyone----it was the favourite haunt of students from the nearby Colleges,Artists,Actors,Ad-men and women------even the Advocates frequented it from the Courts across the road.
Sudhir and his brother Milind were one of it's regular customers-----Samovar's Fish Curry was excellent---the Mutton Biryani,Rogan Josh,Hydrabadi Mutton----the Boti Roti rolls---the tiny Tea Time Kababs---in fact it soon became our favourite haunt in the early year of our marriage!!!It later became our favourite place to take the kids to for Lunch or Tea during their Vacations or on Saturdays---it would remain closed on Sundays---it was not much of a Dinner place because it closed comparitively early.Slowly it became a part of Mumbaiya heritage---Mrs.Khanna also opened Bankura in Delhi---but did not match the popularity of the Samovar.
Mrs. Khanna is a beautiful,poised and dignified lady---tall with an imposing presence---she stands out amongst a crowd---and she has aged beautifully---with both grace and dignity!!!!We have been honoured with her love each time we run into her in Mumbai----in Delhi too she would treat us the same affection if she was present in Bankura each time we visited it .Today the Jehangir Art Gallery wants thatVerandah back----and the matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court---I hope the Samovar wins the case-----or a beautiful landmark of Mumbai may have to fade away!!!
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