Thursday, June 24, 2010
Two things happened which accentuated the heading of this Blog----but I'll relate both turn by turn---in due process!!!My father's youngest brother my Sharukaka went to England and settled there in the late 1950s.My Aunt Mavis was British and we met them whenever they'd come to Mumbai with their children Amanda and Nigel---the last time being in 1982 when Sharukaka and Aunt Mavis had come down without the kids.Unfortunately Sharukaka fell sick soon after this and passed away on June 23,1984.We lost touch soon after.Except for a brief contact with them when my sister Mikki visited London in 1992,things just drifted and time just passed.Vaiju(Daddy's younger sister Kusumatya's daughter),who lives in Paris,would carry news of this branch whenever she came down as Nigel was Guardian of her son Sanjay who was studying in England.Sanjay too grew up and we all sort of drifted apart.Earlier this year however Ritu recieved a query on her Facebook Profile-----a question from Amanda---asking if both were related to each other????
Imagine our excitement as Ritu wrote back in affirmation---giving details of the entire clan---AND their e-mail IDs.On this last Sunday I recieved a mail from Amanda asking for updates and news-----and Kolhapuri Recipes!!!Sent her the links to my Cook Books on Spark Recipes and recieved a mail in return---she was printing these out--would cook them later and let me know which ones were the ones Sharukaka cooked for them when they were kids!!!!Not just that----she also found an Indian Supermarket in Perth where she lives with her husband Tom and son Auram---and came back laden withAgarbattis(Incense Sticks), Indian Spices,Mysore Sandal Soap and Amrutanjan Pain Balm!!!!I can understand and empathise with her----this feeling of getting in touch with one's childhood through a common link---these were the things Sharukaka would carry home each time he visited------I felt as if both of us had touched each other's hands in mutual understanding----bonding again!!!
Sudhir and his siblings---there are 9 children between the four of them of which5 live in the United States, 1 in London , 1 in Singapore and only 2 in India.Aamod-Gitu and Sonal-Mahesh in New Jersey,Sharmila- Prasanna in Atlanta,Alpana-Abhay in Phoenix and my Lotta-Mehul in L.A,my Sayali-Kartik are in London and Shilpa- Priyadarshan in Singapore.All these children are closely bonded to each other but thanks to the distances keep in touch via the Telephone and E-Mail.All our grandchildren are in regular touch with each other through Facebook and pretty familiar with each other thanks to it too---though they meet face to face rarely.Just this Sunday Shilpa's husband Priyadarshan and older son Aseem spent 2 nights and 3 days with Lotta in L.A. flying in from Singapore across the Pacific.They all met face to face for the first time in 11 years------thanks to Global distances!!!!Aseem just completed his High School and is there to inquire about the various courses and Universities to apply for----for further Education----yesterday they have now proceeded to the East Coast and from there will be flying back home next Thursday after spending some time with each of the East Coast siblings!!!That Aseem and The Raavan knew each other quite well and would get along was a given thing---but it makes one feel really good to be told first hand how well both my grandchildren actually got on!!!!
Blood IS thicker than Water----and instances like these touch your heart---and the wave of feeling that sweeps across one just emphasises the old Adage!!!!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The wet coolness of the Monsoons reminds me of some dred Fish dishes of the past-----today taboo thanks to their Calorie content!!!!Not just that most of these things are not available readily anymore-----thanks to over fishing through Trawling the wealth of the Sea is getting more and more depleted daily!!!Living so far inland we did not get a steady supply of Fresh Sea Fish---depending thus on the River and Dried Variety----we loved and enjoyed both!!!
My maternal Grandma,Aaji used to send us two large parcels---actually huge Wooden chests---the first in early March and the second in late June.The first one contained an yearly supply of Dried Fish, home made and cleaned Split Pigeon Peas(Toor/Toovar/Arhar Dal),dried Mangosteen Skins(Kokum/Soley),Balls of dried,salted Tamarinds cured in the Sun,Parched beaten Rice Flakes(Pohey/Chidwaa) pounded at home by hand ,bottles of Amrut Kokum and Sweet Aamlaa Murabba----all pure and made at home with great Love and Care.The latter Parcel contained a yearly supply of a dry roasted spicy Dal Powder called "Methkoot", a variety of Pickles,Papads,Spice Powders(Masalas),Red Chilli and Turmeric Powders as well as Sweet Murabbas of Mangoes,Pineapples and Bael.All these goodies used to be stored in the Larder--each in a huge Ceramic Jar(Barnis) to protect the product from the vagaries of the Weather!!!
Those days the greatest tension till the Parcels arrived safely was the possibility of losing the liquid products------as these were shipped in fragile Glass Bottles and Jars--easily breakable stuff!!!Thus to prevent breakage and loss of the Products my Aaji would pack these individually wrapped in pieces of her old nine yard Saries---expressly saved for such exigencies!!!Luckily such accidents were rare----Indian Railways have always been an effecient lot and I'm extremely proud of them---Parcels marked "Handle with Care" WERE handled with care!!!
The dried Fish was cooked twice a week----Mummy cooking it personally for she prized this as much as Gold-----and those Curries and other Dishes simply tasted YUMMY!!!Mostly made for Dinner our favourites were Soday,Sukat and Zawalaa( Dried Shrimp),Bombil Kaadyaa(Dried Bombay Duck ),Surmaichey Khaarey(Dried King Fish )and Sukey Baangadey( Dried Mackerel).These Bombills and Baangadey would be roasted on the hot coals and would be served with a dash of Coconut Oil and Lemon Juice sprinkled over them----simply divine with a simple hot Dal and plain steamed Rice!!!If a few spoonfuls of melted Ghee were added it turned into a heavenly Feast!!!!The dried Shrimp,Bombay Ducks and Mackerel also lent their taste to various Vegetable dishes---adding flavour and aroma to them.These bond well with Red Pumpkin,White Gourd,Cabbage,Egg Plants,Potatoes,Bell Peppers and Ivy Gourds-----transforming these into Gourmet Dishes!!!!
Later this became a rarity--eating Dry Fish became occasional after I shifted to Mumbai and later to this Complex-----it has a strong smell while cooking and we live with Vegetarian neighbours------it would be unfair to subject them to these strong smells regularly!!!We all practice a "Live and Live" policy and so we indulge ourselves twice or thrice a month----mostly in the Monsoon when fresh Fish is scarce since the Fishing Boats are pulled up on the shore thanks to the gusty Winds!!!I made one of my favourites today with Dried Shrimp---a very simple but extremely tasty dish---and have posted the recipe on Spark Recipes.I am posting the link to all my Recipe Books online in case any of you would like to try out the relatively unknown Maharashtrian Style of Cooking------these are mostly traditional Recipes so please feel free to modify these to suit your tastes!!!!
.asp?cookbook=110459 (Pure Pooja Vegetarian Food)
.asp?cookbook=134148 (Various Spice Powders)
Friday, June 18, 2010
Reading Manasa's Blog this morning brought home certain aspects about our lives and the Communities we belong to.Here having experienced only the Indian outlook I'll just assume that other Societies too are the same----and all this goes under the heading "Humour"!!!Bah and Nah to this Classification!!!
I don't know why most of us see only others as being either overweight or fat----don't we look into a mirror and see ourselves?Maybe we need Mirrors like the one Snow White's Step Mother had----one when asked "Mirror,Mirror on the Wall---who is the FATTEST of us all?"-----pat would reply "You"!!!!I am at a total loss to understand the root cause of these malevolent tendencies---petty Jealousies,Inferiority Complexes or just plain Maliciousness???Whatever it is----it hurts one somewhere deep inside---acknowledge it or not and more often shakes one's basic Security and Confidence----creating unnecessary complexes.
I have seen both sides of the Picture---I was very thin and scrawny before my Marriage and at that time I was labelled as a "Stick" or worse" a Starving Specimen from the Drought ridden area"-------later after both my daughters were born and I gained oodles of weight---touched 105kgs. in fact in 1989-----every adjective that defined being Fat was thrown at me---by people maybe slightly trimmer than me but otherwise falling in the same category!!!
My sister Ritu is another one who's had to live with this well meaning "humorous" jibes.She's 5'9" tall and weighs around 85 kgs.now---she used to be 105kgs.too---was a big baby with a broad, heavy bone structure giving the impression of being "huge" ----compared to the average petite sizes of Indian women. She was ribbed all the time being at the recieving end of such jibes from all and sundry all through her babyhood, childhood,adolescence and adulthood.After my father's death my mother and sisters stayed with me for 2 years till the Flat Mummy'd bought was ready.There were these boys in our Compound---a year or so older than Ritu---who'd tease her with catcalls and snide jibes in the Compound as well as on the Street.One fine day Ritu just stood squarely in front of them,looked them in the eyes and asked them whether they were supplying her her meals?If not,they had no right to talk-----next time she warned them--she'd slap them hard---and seeing their puny physical attributes---they'd definitely be licking the dust if she did that!!!!That done she sailed home majestically wih her head held high---leaving them gaping open mouthed after her!!!Needless to say--that was that!!!!That the experience was humiliating and painful is understood.
Most of us thanks to this---- focus too much on the Physical appearances and attributes----your Intelligence,your Knowledge,your Education----all gets trashed under this heading of "Good Humoured Ridicule" and "Loving Familiarity" and only those so called Minus points get highlighted instead!!!!We begin to concentrate on "Appearances" and develope problems like Anorexia and Bulemia----instead of concentrating on Healthy Food underline the Unhealthy tendencies instead.We become obsessed with various Dieting techniques and harm ourselves unnecessarily.Some learn to live and come to terms with this from early life like Ritu----while some who are just marginally chubby are targetted too by such people---I have come to the conclusion that this in itself is a Compliment----because it underlines the fact that despite our "Weight" we have that special illusive Charisma and can still give those who consider themselves "God's Gift to the Human Race" a run for everything they have---and still come out the WINNERS!!!
So 3 Cheers for all of us who have been treated thus
"HIP HIP HOORAY"!!!!
Get An Email Alert Each Time KOMAL53 Posts