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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Like I said in an earlier Blog---I blinked and Summer rushed in pell mell!!!All the trappings arrived in full force too---the Heat,the flowers and ------The Alphonso(Haapus) Mangoes!!!
My association with these Mangoes(Aambey/Aam) is full of fond memories---each year my maternal Grandfather(Aazoba) would send us huge wooden Boxes of Mangoes---each carefully packed in paper and nestling on a bed of Straw---to protect it from bruising.There would be about 6 dozen Mangoes per Box-----it was heaven to see these laid out in the shade in the upstairs Verandah on thick layers of Straw-----the first Parcel would arrive by mid March----Chandigarh still used to be balmy and cool then.The last lot would arrive before the end of May-----once it began raining in the Konkan Mangoes lost their taste----or so it was thought.
The entire Summer in Bombay and Poona during our Vacations was full of fabulous "Aam Ras" with crisp puffy Puries( deep fried Indian bread)----for this a strain of Mangoes known as "Paieeri" was used extensively.There was also the "Balsar Alphonso(Haapus)" harvested just before the Monsoon in early June and available throughtout the month of June---but this is considered inferior to the "Devgarh Alphonso " considered to be the original Variety---and the King of Indian Mangoes!!!
End of May and in the beginning of June and July the markets would be overflowing with many beautiful varieties of Mangoes--- The Kesar,The Dussehri,The Langda,The Chausa and the Totapuri.One variety that was cheaply available in abundance was the "Raaeeval or Choopney Waala Aam".These used to be available freely and we never counted how many we ate---there used to be tubfuls of Water containing these to keep these cool----they tasted so heavenly!!!My Grandmas---Akka and Aaji used these to make Curries---Saasam,Ansaa-Phansaachi Bhaaji and Aamba Poli.The last mentioned was a Sweet ---dried Mango Pulp layer upon sundried layer till it reached 1" in height.This was then cut and stored to eat as Sweets as long as it lasted!!!Yhis used to last us for the coming six months!!!
Today the Devgarh Mangoes are very expensive----they are widely exported and many times the vagaries of nature in the form of unseasonal Rain destroys the crop.The cheapest variety of Mangoes too are rarely available---we have to request the Fruit sellers to get us specific quantities of these if we want to cook Saasam or Ansaa-Phansaachi Bhaaji----just washing and sucking the Mangoes is a thing of the past---we cut each Fruit before making Mango Pulp(Aam Ras) for fear of the Mango turning out spoilt!!!In my childhood this never happened---Mangoes were washed and the Juice squeezed out---maybe because they were allowed to ripen till the maximum period on the Tree itself!!
When my daughters were still in Mumbai----the crates would start arriving from mid-March till the end of May.My daughters literally gorged dozens of these during their Vacation-----for which I'm glad today!!!Living abroad as they do,now they rarely get to taste the Fruit!!!After Lotta's marriage we'd gift a 4 dozen Crate to her family as a Traditional gift for "Gudhi Paadwaa"----the Hindu New Year.They would return the compliment with a similar crate of "Kesar"---- the "Haapus" of Gujarat as they are Gujaratis!!!
Still the sight and smell of this luscious and juicy Fruit is enough to drive me mad---only these days we buy by the Dozen as there are just the two of us at home----- and I eat a slice sometimes if my Sugar is low---otherwise these days for me Mangoes are the stuff my dreams are made of -----in Summer!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 3/14/2010 1:48AM

    Hmmm.. Yum... I've had Indian mangoes before, but I 'm more familiar with the Mexican varieties.

Fruit is definitely one of the things I associate with summer--though our fruit varieties are very different (and still a long, long way off. But at least the snow has melted!)--strawberries in the spring, raspberries, watermelon, blue berries, cherries, blackberries, etc. through the summer, and apples and fresh apple and cider in the fall....

Comment edited on: 3/14/2010 1:48:31 AM

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SAASHA17 3/13/2010 12:14PM

    OMG...aam ras...Komal..moo me paani agaya....

this was my breakfast with poori and dinner with roti..I can eat it forever and ever...and guess what was for lunch....andhra style....banginpalli mangoes cut into slices with curd rice....yum!!!!

thanks for reminding me...have to search for mangoes hopefully i get good ones here in california..

but cant forget those days when 4 generations (great grandma,grandma, her sisters, my aunts, us kids ) would sit and help making the spicy mango pickle....i would always get more of the slightly sweet and spicy pickle....Yum and then also mango picking with dad...aah..those were the days:)

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ANITAS66 3/13/2010 10:47AM

    Hmmmmm Mangoes, One of of my many favorite summer fruits. I also love guavas and watermelon. Love to make garhamba out of the mangoes. sweet and sour chutney. I remember my father putting them in a tub of cold water after bringing them home. Usually we would just grab one and squeeze the juice in our mouth. My mother telling us to make sure we washed our mouths well after eating, otherwise our skin will break out. I have just blindly follow that precaution and taught it my kids also. I recently bought some frozen yogurt that was mango flvor. But it was nothing compared to eating an actual mango.

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SRITHI97 3/13/2010 9:49AM

    yeah aam ras and puri hmmmmmmmmm yum, you have made us long for those mangoes now. we dont get those varieties here. aaaaaaaaaa missing india, and the summer. we used to have a big mango tree in our yard and we used to enjoy the mangoes thro' the season. missing , missing it. but thank u for bringing back lovely memories. enjoy my share of mangoes also. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SATURN2002 3/13/2010 9:03AM

    I am from the Caribbean and also love Mango's, and when Mango seasons arrives there are so many Mango's to eat. I feel your passion.

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MESSENE 3/13/2010 8:25AM

    emoticonJust love mango's! emoticon emoticonfor mango's! emoticon emoticonBlog always! emoticon emoticon

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CHATERJOY 3/13/2010 7:37AM

    What a wonderful story! I don't understand it all but I understand that you love Mangoes.. emoticon

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ASHLESHA1 3/13/2010 7:30AM


I have to stop reading your blog ( Just kidding.......) because you write about all my favorite things and here in scandinavia it is hard to get hold of the Indian grocery , forget about Mangoes.

Enjoy the Aamras.

Wish you a Happy New Year.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Ancient Science Ayurveda and Daily Life

Friday, March 12, 2010

We had arranged a Lecture in our Condominium Complex on the benefits of Ayurveda--the Ancient Medical Science of India in our Condominium Garden.The Lecture was given by Medha Tai,herself a Yoga teacher and a disciple of Ayurvedic lifestyle.She gave us a lot of tips of which I'm sharing a few here.
Like Quinoa,Amaranth(Rajgira/Rajagra/Bathua)gra
ins are used often in Indian diets.These are predominantly eaten during the Fasts that we observe---these are considered to be a part of certain "Pure" Foods---hence these provide nourishment during the 24 hour Fasting period---midnight to midnight.Some fasts like Nav ratri(Nine Nights)last for 9 nights at a stretch---these again provide the sustenance and energy needed.Rich in Calcium,Potassium and protein for a diabetic like me they are a boon.Amaranth Grains or Flakes eaten with Milk and a Banana or a few chopped Dates are very nutritious as well as a rich source of certain minerals our body needs.
Secondly she advised the use of Horse MilletNaachani/Raagi)used extensively in Maharashtra and the Southern States of India.This grain is a very rich source of Iron and Calcium and including this in our daily diets can work wonders. Grinding this to a coarse flour and making it into thick unleavened Indian Bread(Bhakris) and eating it with any meal gives on a dose of nutrition and Fibre in it's natural form.
Flax(Alshi/Ulsi) Seeds combined with Carrom SeedsOavaa/ajma/Ajwain),Fennel Seeds(Badishep/Saunf),Licorice(Jyeshtimadh
/Mulethi)Powder and Black Rock Salt(Paadey Loann/Kaala Namak) lightly roasted and ground together to a fine powder make a tasty "Supaari"or Mouth Freshner to be eaten after meals as well as helping in Digestion and Heart health!!! all these components are readily available in India and in Indian stores abroad.
There are many more such tips which she has promised us Xeroxed copies of---will be sharing those as well when I get them.I was unaware that my Kitchen was such a great source of Medicinal Herbs---Knowledge has now spread the Light!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MESSENE 3/15/2010 9:29AM

    Wow! So much to learn, I'll write a few of this down and look them up. emoticonfor the info... emoticon emoticon

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SAASHA17 3/12/2010 5:38PM

    i love amaranth and ragi rotis...hard to make...but u get them ready made in some indian stores..but i love to drink ragi java with milk or buttermilk at night..yum..

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SRITHI97 3/12/2010 4:59PM

    thanks for the info. yeah can make ragi dosas also rich in iron, especially very good for ladies. thanks komalji. very informative blog.

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ANITAS66 3/12/2010 10:41AM

    Thanks for all the wonderful information.

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MILLISMA 3/12/2010 10:00AM


Thanks for sharing. I already use flax and have been looking for Quinoa. You are teaching us so much through your blogs and I appreciate it all.

I also want to thank you for all your support my friend.

Hugs to you and your family

Mary Anne emoticon emoticon

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CHARU_MATHURIA 3/12/2010 9:42AM


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ZANNACHAN 3/12/2010 9:41AM

    I've read that as a result of the modern global economy, the majority of people eat a very tiny percentage of the variety of foods available, especially when it comes to grains, and that's really unfortunate because there are so many healthy grains and other foods out there. I'm not familiar with amarinth, though I am a little bit with quinoa.

Flax seeds are supposed to be a good source of fiber and omega 3's--my husband and I have started taking flax seed oil supplements, which don't have the fiber but have the omega-3's. It's not as good a source as fish oil, but he's extremely allergic to fish and he can have the flax. We have to be careful though because a lot of the flax seed/omega-3's fortified foods (such as bread) often have fish oil added now as well. Licorice is supposed to help settle the stomach, too, like ginger does.

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ASHLESHA1 3/12/2010 4:41AM

    Very true......We have a great 'Khazana' of Ayurveda and we need to pass it on to our kids.

One more question.... is quinoa and rajgira one and the same ?

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My four legged Babies!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mary Anne's Blog reminded me of my two little Babies---- Ming and Tina.I was lucky to blessed with their presence in our Family for 11 and 12 years---unfortunately they both passed on to Doggie Heaven---and I am left with happy and beautiful memories!!!
Ming was born on 23rd.December 1981 and came to us on the 14th.February1982------he was a miniature Lhasa Apso who could fit in my outstretched palms as a puppy!!!Black with dirty White muzzle, paws and ears,he had a very curly tail-----totally circular!!!Sudhir is no Dog lover---but against the combined pressure from the girls and me---he was totally isolated and Ming or Mingu as he came to be known---arrived in style!!!The next day after Mingu's arrival the deliriously joyous greeting Sudhir recieved on his arrival home after a hard day at Court----forced him to recapitulate his misgivings and Mingu became Daddy's boy!!!In June 1982 Sudhir brought home Tina---a part of the same litter---as companion for Mingu-----we felt he needed some company.Tina became our Darling---all five of us---the 2 girls,Mingu, Sudhir and me were totally captivated by her---she was a beautiful Strawberry blonde with very thick long hair,a plumy tail and Kohl rimmed melting brown eyes-----was a true Beauty!!!Was she aware of it---you bet------she used those eyes to the maximum for effect!!!!
Mingu was strong and wiry---Tina was a ball of fat---it was a sight to watch her waddle around----but she ran like the Wind when I had to chase her to feed her things she hated---Medicines!!!Both the kids were very attached to me as we spent almost all 24 hours together----I had to suffer their howling and yapping each time I went out leaving them behind.I'd get a a truly boistrous welcome--accompanied by Tina's singing and pulling my hair out of my bun in rebuke!!!
These two slept with Sudhir and me---Mingu in between the pillows near our heads and Tina stretched out like a boneless piece of warm hairy dead weight rug---with her head on my stomach!!!The girls were prone to eating midnight feasts----and would quietly steal these two into their room to share the spread----Bacon,Ham or Sausages and Eggs-----the four of them would gorge themselves silly in the middle of the night!!!
There was a new rule established by "Da Tuna"( as I called Tina) on the third day of her arrival home.She was to get the first choice when the feeding bowls were kept at each meal---she'd carefully survey each bowl---giving it due deliberation---and then decide on one to eat from.All this while my poor little Mingooli waited patiently till she made her choice!!!Things didn't stop there----if she felt he was eating with relish---she'd shove him away from the other bowl too!!!I agree---sometimes she behaved like a total bitch(pun intended)!!!!
They travelled all over India with us on various Vacations----literally Kashmir to Ooty(Ootacamund)---it cost us more to take them with us than the girls----we had to get permission of the Captain before we flew---they travelled with us--totally frozen with fear!!!Theybecame veterans of road travel---specially to Kolhapur---which was a home away from home--and there too they were immensely popular!!!!
The bane of my life those days was bathing these two---the commotion they made---one would think I was beating them black and blue!!!They had lovely thick long hair----being a Tibetan breed----and mornings were spent combing and brushing out all the tangles from their hair---removing the knots was a truly knotty affair---I kept a pair of Scissors nearby to cut the more tangled ones---and recieved reproachful glances from Da Tuna each time I did that!!!
Sayali had named Tina "The Nude by Picasso" thanks to the way she'd spread herself out---boneless and heavy!!!By now they were an integral part of our life---their antics filling our days with loads of Love and Laughter!!!
Then came May 1987----we were going on a Pilgrimage high into the Himalayas and couldn't take these two---so made arrangements with a reputed kennel Keeper and left them with him in his care.What a shock we got when we came back---my babies were in a terrible state!!!Mingu was just skin and bone and fat little Da tuna was thin and mangy----they stank to high heaven!!!Mingu required prolonged treatment at the Vet.'s and to Tina's greatest regret----her beautiful hair was shorn off--the tangles were impossible to remove otherwise!!!
After this we never left them behind again.Mingu died of a relapse of Jaundice in October 1992-------my heart broke but I still had Tina to console me.By now the girls had grown up----- Lotta was married and Sayali in college----Da Tuna became my constant companion----she'd pad along after me----following me around the house.In early 1994 she was diagonosed with a cancerous growth in her jaw---and the situation deteriorated rapidly till finally the Vet.s decided to release her in early April1994.I was broken hearted---and missed her silent companionship tremendously.I still feel her presence near me sometimes---the feeling is so strong that I turn back to see if she's there!!!
There was good news round the corner----Lotta announced her preganancy---and Life assumed colour again.My Raavana was born on 23rd.December 1994---on my babies' 13th.birthday!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAASHA17 3/11/2010 10:39AM

    minguuu..do post pix Komal....da tuna...lol...i miss my puppy too...he was a cross between a german sheperd and a pom..i know...weird...hehehe...we got him from our neighbor so the whole family lived in the apts...he wud go down to meet his mom and dad everyday....:(....

nice blog..love ur descriptions..


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ZANNACHAN 3/11/2010 10:16AM

    What lovely memories. Have you ever considered getting another dog or two? Not that you can replace Ming and Tina, but with your children grown up and moved out I would think you would enjoy the companionship.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 3/11/2010 8:46AM

    "The Nude by Picasso"!!! Too funny, and, having dogs, I can totally picture the pose! Not surprising that the dog melted your husbands reserve and became his baby. I've only known a few men who don't lapse into baby talk and coddling with their dogs. Maybe that's why we have the saying that a dog is "Man's Best Friend"...it brings out their gentle, affectionate side without making them feel vulnerable. It is so cool that Raavana was born exactly on the dogs birthday.

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Chaitali and Sayali, 11th.October,1992

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!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAASHA17 3/11/2010 1:01AM

    beautiful...i want my mommy......:(

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SRITHI97 3/10/2010 10:25PM

    beautiful. just emoticon. emoticon

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RAIN454 3/10/2010 11:38AM

    OMG, I literally teared up on this...you are soooo awesome!! You are a beautiful person, Komal, inside and out! As blessed as you are to have these beautiful girls in your life, they are even more blessed to have you in theirs! Here's to a lifetime of memories with your family! Take care and God Bless...


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ZANNACHAN 3/10/2010 11:24AM

    That's really sweet.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 3/10/2010 8:48AM

    So well put. I've been trying to explain to my 30 year old son that the parenting reflex doesn't turn off when the kids reach a certain age. He'll be 50 and I'll still be saying, "Are you sure you don't need a hat?" I'll even do it to my friends, siblings, anyone I feel close to and want to protect. Once a parent, you just get that strong mothering thing and for me, it doesn't go away. It's a part of me I love. At least I have dogs to expend some of it on so I don't get too annoying!

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ANITAS66 3/10/2010 8:45AM

    Well said. I also have two growing girls.

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A Poem to Naini Taal

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 10/22/2010 3:33PM

    Beautiful! Never been to Nainital...but, could be anywhere creation is as beautiful! Glad you're sharing your poems with us, Komal:) Thank You! emoticon

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CHARU_MATHURIA 3/11/2010 10:45AM

    what a lovely poem. could almost picture the beauty..

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ZANNACHAN 3/10/2010 12:09AM

    That is lovely! I'm so glad that you found it while spring cleaning and chose to share it with us.

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MILLISMA 3/9/2010 9:38AM

    Beautiful and right from the heart. I can picture the scene - the water, trees, the smells in the air. You are very talented and I enjoy learning from you. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Annne emoticon emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 3/9/2010 8:55AM

    Ahh! Coffee with Komal! Clean some more, please... maybe you'll find more poetry like this. I was an English Literature Major in college, and I did all I could to avoid poetry classes and still earn my degree. I love metaphors and picturesque language as much as the next English major, but I don't like to get to the end of something I read (or a movie, for that matte) and be left wondering what the author was trying to convey, what did it mean. It makes me feel stupid and frustrated. I've always thought good writing COMMUNICATES ideas and images using language in a novel and pleasing way. If the end result is not a clear conveying of the idea to any reader, not just the intellectual, in my mind it's not good writing, no matter how clever.

All this to say, this is why I loved this poem. It wasn't something just anyone could write, but it was one that anyone could enjoy. I particularly liked "craggy rocks like sentinals stand", because it gave it a sort of magical feel, like the area was not just inanimate objects but they were sentient. The other thing I really liked was the way, with a parade of colors, " in sweeps the dawn!" So much was said with that for me. You conveyed the miraculous and exciting aspect of the everyday in nature... I often feel this swell of delight and excitement and wonder in amazement how it never gets old hat to me. You gave this quiet event of night changing to day it's due. I also loved the choice of "sweeps" as it also conveyed the movement of the new whisking out the status quo, ready or not!

You need to write a book of poetry so I can buy it and finally become the poetry lover English majors are supposed to be!

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MESSENE 3/9/2010 7:59AM

    emoticonThat is a wonderful poem! emoticonI feel like I'm in a different world when I read your blogs. emoticonThey are all so emoticon emoticon

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GOINGWYLDE 3/9/2010 4:17AM

    Wow! What a great way to capture the moment. Much better memory than any picture evr could be.

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