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Blood IS Thicker Than Water!!!

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!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MESSENE 6/25/2010 10:45AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DRASADAF 6/25/2010 3:13AM

    quite heart touching .....

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BOVEY63 6/24/2010 12:51PM

    So happy that you have been able to reconnect with family through Facebook. I recently reconnected with several old friends through the site too. It's so amazing what we have been able to do via the internet - and SP is one of the tops on my list.

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RAJASHREE108 6/24/2010 11:21AM

    It makes it even wonderful that through facebook we can keep in touch (and see them) even when we are spread out all over the world.


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Monsoon Nostalgia----Dry Fish!!!

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=111946 (Fish)
.asp?cookbook=89905 (Meat)
.asp?cookbook=111646 (Vegetarian)
.asp?cookbook=110459 (Pure Pooja Vegetarian Food)
.asp?cookbook=134148 (Various Spice Powders)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAJASHREE108 6/21/2010 5:53PM

    I am with Manasa.. tondaalaa paani sutley.. In fact, I have not seen a dried bombil in years! let alone eat! emoticon

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SAASHA17 6/20/2010 1:43PM


u are killing me...i love love dried fish..i am definitely coming to ur place when I come to India...Or When u plan a trip to the US, I am sending u an invitation to come stay with me for some time....i would love to spend time talking with you over some chai and pakoda...:)...


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ATMANI 6/20/2010 11:55AM


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MESSENE 6/20/2010 7:29AM

    emoticon emoticonNever tried dry fish, but sure sounds yummy! emoticonI have tried dried shrimp powder in eggs, and then mixed with cactus and a chili sauce, it's a Mexican dish. Love Indian food! emoticon emoticon

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Magnificent Tableau!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

To me Nature is the greatest gift bestowed on us by The Almighty--------the expanse of this Canvas is immeasurable!!!I just realised this Truth again last evening on the Terrace of our Building Complex!!!!!
Since it was a sunny day our Yoga group met up to do our regular 90 minutes of Yoga on the Terrace----the fresh Air and unrestricted open Space up there makes it an enjoyable and satisfying session------and all of us were looking forward to having a good satisfying time.Just as we unrolled the Yoga mats, one of us happenned to glance at the Horizon-----deeply Grey Clouds were rolling in----Lightning forking in and out of them when suddenly the Wind picked up speed and began blowing in mighty gusts----scattering our spread out Mats!!!!
We just stood and watched the Display with avidly greedy eyes--drinking in every nuance of the scene being played out before our eyes when suddenly Thunder rolled it's drums with a resounding crash-------the Lightning alternately forking out like tongues of Fire or flashing like a Wall of Silver----there was an ample display of both Forked and Sheet Lightning in the deep dark Lavender Grey Clouds---transforming these into luminously flouroscent shades with dramatic effects!!!!Nature danced around us-----unleashing a primeval and raw Energy------and in all it's magnificently glorious Fury!!!!!I wish I could find the words to string together our re-actions and the wonderstruck expressions we all wore----somehow one of us sang out a beautiful old Hindi Film Song couplet regarding the Weather----and we all just burst out in a full throated din--each trying to drown the other out!!!
That we were indulging in "unseemly" behaviour at our ages---we range from 50 years to 57 years----- was totally forgotten by all of us------and if anyone were to see us just then--they would have had a very hard time reconcilling this unbridled,childish and juvenile behaviour with our usual sedately dignified faces!!!!We had regressed into our childhoods---so while all around us Thunder crashed,Lightning flashed,Wind gusted and the Coconut Trees tossed their fronds around with wild abandon----we joined in with a carefree childish glee---literally throwing all decorum and caution to the Winds!!!!This went on for 15 minutes before the Rain came pelting down----all the Umbrellas opened in a flash------not wanting to get wet as we each rushed to the entrances of our respective buildings------promising to meet in 5 minutes in the Compound below!!!
The Watchman had placed our chairs in an empty Garage and all of us sat there watching the Rain rocket down with a vengeance---and enjoying the cool touch of it's sprays on our bodies!!!!This experience left all of us exhiliarated and enthused----after a long time we again felt the rush of Adrenalin pumping through our veins----we felt wide awake and ALIVE!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRASADAF 6/21/2010 2:02AM

    gr8 ...really nice one...

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RATIONAL_EATER 6/19/2010 4:00PM

    You must be tired of hearing this now ..but I love to read your blogs..seriously!!You know its like time travel ..I feel like I witnessed it personally.Beautiful.. emoticon

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RAJASHREE108 6/19/2010 1:57PM

    What was the song you all sang? JUst want to know all the details!

Reading your blog felt I was in your group on the terrace running around in the rain too.. just like how I used to when the first rain came.. valvaachaa paoos. emoticon

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ATMANI 6/19/2010 12:22PM

    Wow, what a beautiful feeling!

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MESSENE 6/19/2010 7:05AM

    emoticonWow! Hope you get more rain soon! With lightning and mighty Thunder! emoticon emoticon emoticonWe just had one early this morning. Have a emoticonweekend! emoticon emoticon

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MARYJOANNA 6/19/2010 5:30AM

  It was like a re-awakening for all of you! What a thrill!

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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

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RATIONAL_EATER 6/18/2010 6:09PM

    My personal experiences have led me to believe that people often make fun of us because it reminds them of something ,we have which they would love to have ,not necessarily the thing they are making fun of,or worst,sometime they just gang up on someone to save their a*&s and its best to ignore them.Easier said than done. emoticon I will prefer to lose such people (and I have, in past) than hang around with them because sooner or later,knowingly or unknowingly we will have to stoop to their level to deal with them which we may be better off not doing.

Comment edited on: 6/19/2010 1:50:29 AM

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ATMANI 6/18/2010 2:47PM


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SHRUTI23 6/18/2010 12:39PM

  Komal ji..
Your sister's life resembles my experiences so much! I wish I could get to all the different boys/gals who have tormented me for my personality and give them the kind of response your sister did!
Just last week, I went biking with a friend of mine (a boy). We did biking together and I was so easily moving ahead of him without stopping anywhere. This led to a joke that being a gal how stronger I am ( again our Indian guys dont like gals being ahead in anyways) I am now targeted being a Pehelwaan!! How easily we can bcum prey to such jokes! But i take it in stride. My workouts paid out and it has made me stronger! I dont care if I am the pehelwaan lifting heavy weights in the gym. I dont care that I look like some WWF wrestler ( I was named as one in school) or I am a Sumo Fighter (my sister called me so!! ) I am just healthy and stronger...

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SAASHA17 6/18/2010 12:03PM

    Hey Komal,

next time I want to blog, i will just email the matter to you..u put it so beautifully...

the thing that bugs me most are that all these who comment are educated people. How can they not see it? Well if my grandmother said anything, i would respect her for her age and the fact that she has been in a tiny village all her life and doesnt know much...but the educated young girls talking like that esp when their knowledge about weight loss is zero...I am shocked...

Anyways let them go to *#^&^$*@#$&....hehehe..I am happy being ME....

Last night had to deal with another round of "concerned " stuff from my Sis-in_law...I bluntly asked her to shut the &(&&^ up (yes I said it on speaker on Skype and there were 10people in that conversation) and mind her own weight...It was mean but she had it coming...:d...

ok stupid topic....

have a nice weekend


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RAJASHREE108 6/18/2010 11:55AM

    I have been there.. looking like a college girl when I was barely 13 or 14... And you know Kolhapur.. the boys would start following and commenting all the way to school! And those "concerned" relatives who would say things "only for your benefit" and relish delivering the criticisms! emoticon

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MILLISMA 6/18/2010 9:36AM


I love your sister. As I read this, I started to cry. I do understand and admire her strength. You have a wonderful family. I was brought up to never "judge a book by it's cover" and have tried very hard to retain that mentality.

Thank you again for a wonderful blog.

Hugs to you and you family.

Mary Anne

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EACHDAYAGIFT 6/18/2010 9:03AM

    This is something people don't talk about as much as you'd think, considering how many have suffered from it. I think the humiliation we feel when we are targeted makes us want to try to pretend it didn't happen and not to share it with anyone who wasn't a witness, thinking it would compound our shame, when actually, with the right person, it helps dissolve it. I wanted to stand up and cheer Ritu!! How heroic and bold and sensible a reply. I hope those boys always remembered it and think back on their behavior with shame!

Some of the comments are malicious bullying, but some bluntness I think may be cultural. I have been stunned as an adult by remarks from business owners waiting on me in stores and from neighbors and acquaintances, remarks that I was raised to consider much too personal and rude. Since these folks were known to me as being friendly, not malicious people, and since they were raised in other countries, I have concluded that there must be a tradition of blunter speech in those countries than the rules of decorum my southern mom raised us with (she was very big on manners and
etiquette!) Even telling myself this, though, my hypersensitive nature makes it hard for me not to be haunted by what they said and to want to avoid them and be more private and secretive and reclusive to protect myself from more of the same. I need to think faster on my feet instead of standing there in numb shock, and say something like, "I'm not comfortable with the direction this conversation is taking. Why don't we change the subject. How's life been treating you these days?" That way I would clearly communicate that I am not open to such comments, while not rejecting the person or the relationship. For complete strangers, I think I would like to say, if it's a comment on my appearance, " I don't recall entering a beauty contest, so there is no need for me to be judged. You need to contact a local pageant and offer your services to them."

Comment edited on: 6/18/2010 9:04:26 AM

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An Ode to My Grand Daughter

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You stand at the foot of the Threshold
Transforming you from an Adolescent into almost an Adult
The World is getting harder and harsher to survive in
Understanding it and Living in it a wee bit more difficult
You retain the impish Charm of Adolescence
Now add to it the bouncy Resilience of Youth
Just temper your Surfeit of Poised Confidence
Learning to balance this with a vision of Truth
See the World for what and the way it is
Not what you'd like it or want it to be
You'll see it will make a lot of things Simpler
For hard Facts are always much clearer to see
Teach yourself to practice Tolerance,Compassion and Dignity
For these should be the Sterling Foundations of your Life
Adding a strong Base and Lustre to your Character and Integrity
Giving Strength and Solidarity through the future Stress and Strife
However no matter the number of Years that pass
To Us,your loving Grandparents you'll always be
That beautiful Doll like little Scrap
Who somehow just grew up too quickly!!!!

Our Grand Daughter is going to turn 16 years old this December-----I just realised this fact and these words came to mind---and while it saddens me that she'll be losing some of her Innocence to become more worldly wise,it is a necessary and important part of learning to survive in this World we live in!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAJASHREE108 6/19/2010 1:59PM




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DRASADAF 6/18/2010 4:07AM

    thats simply fabulous....

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SONPARI1 6/18/2010 2:57AM

    emoticon lovely..

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REKHAKAKR 6/18/2010 12:32AM

    Beautiful Poem Komal Ji, You write so beautifuly ... and i can so relate to it as my son has also celebrated his 15 birthday sometimes back. you have described this transition phase so beautifuly emoticonas always

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ATMANI 6/17/2010 10:26PM

    beautiful poem Komal.

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SAASHA17 6/17/2010 11:54AM

    beautiful poem Komal..u rock as always:)

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*MADHU* 6/17/2010 10:54AM

    Beautiful emoticon

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WESLEYV 6/17/2010 8:00AM


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SASKATIA 6/17/2010 5:37AM

  That's beautiful!

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