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Japanese food festival

I have a special corner in my heart for the Japanese culture and the country of  Japan . Japan being an island nation has minimal resources but with their hard work and dedication they have built a nation which is technologically advanced and the Japanese people are one of the most hardworking people.

I got to know about Japanese food festival through Facebook ( Ah ! one of the benefits of Social Media)  which was happening in Sangri-La hotel in Vasanthnagar.

My husband and Son are diehard foodies and love to explore different cuisines. The food festival had many Japanese restaurants from the city offering their delectable stuff.

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The Japanese restaurants serving the Japanese delights were  Shiro , Broadway , Matsuri , Mikusu , Edo( By ITC Gardenia) , Jameson , Yataii ( Shangri-La ‘s own Japanese Restaurant) , Daily Sushi etc .

Also A stall was kept by Gadre supplier who exclusively import Japanese ingredients , Japanese wines and fish to Bangalore for all the Japanese aficionados

The food served were Japanese and some indian inspired Japanese food. The biryani inspired gumba rolls  was my first . Then there were different varieties of sushi , maki rolls , California rolls , miso soup , Japanese inspired croquettes, sashimi etc.

I loved the maki rolls with the crunchy layer which was filled with sea food. A slight dip in the dark soy sauce gives a distinct flavour to the rice. Sushi is a complete food and a delight to your taste buds. I have to thank my sister who introduced me to this culinary wonder.

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There was free sampling of Japanese Sake courtesy the Japanese consulate which I found really fresh and titillating. The Japanese sake is a wine brewed from Rice and is quite famous in Japan.

Now when I am talking about so many savouries it will be crime not to talk about my favourite dessert . The cotton cheesecake was a revelation , light and fluffy , it floated like a cloud on my mouth . An addition of little chocolate sauce and a wedge of lime really raised the palate for me .

We also tried the kafir lime icecream which was unique but  it may take time to get used to that taste.

A host of cultural events was in process along with the food festival . The rendition of Kannada and Hindi songs by Mr Kuboki – San was really heart-warming  and it added a very festive vibe to the food festival.

There were also stalls of Japanese food companies and beverages who were offering free samples . It was amusing to see kids lining up for free sample of cup noodles by NISSIN ( kids will be kids after all).

The food festival is a great way to meet people, learn traditions , food from other culture . It also gives you a window to learn about the nuances of a different country who are alike and different in so many ways.

A video done by Amit Sinha

Leave a comment if you enjoy reading this post. It is encouraging to hear from the readers and help me to write better  🙂

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A time to Remember !!

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

                                           Mary Elizabeth frye

Almost a month back , father of my childhood friend Sofi passed away. It happened suddenly and the news was quite shocking for me.Uncle was all hale and hearty a week before.  Sofi and I studied in the same class till Class 10 and has lot of memories to look back.

My childhood was spent in the city of Bokaro. It is a SAIL city just like the cities of Rourkela, Bhilai , Visakhapatnam etc. And if you have been to one of  such cities, you would agree that they have their own old world charm. Bokaro is divided into 12 sectors and each sector is a neighborhood equipped with a health center, playgrounds , staff residences ( mostly people working in the steel plants used to live there) schools and shopping center. I used to stay in sector 5/C and study in Guru Gobind Singh Public School which was a 10 minute walk from my home.I literally crossed two playgrounds to reach my school. As an inquisitive child my eyes used to wander in search of wild flowers , butterflies and ladybirds. And I used to feel at the top of world whenever I used to see one. Such carefree days where we had ample time to wander in the wilderness and getting lost in doing nothing.

It was class 10 and I was worried most about Mathematics .  We came to know that the principal of Ayappa School who was a reputed mathematics teacher used to stay in sector 5 itself. It was a boon to have someone like him at a walk-able distance. Life was simple then , a handshake and a cup of tea used to solve many complex problems. It was Sofi’s father Mr. K.N. Gopalkrishna Uncle who first spoke to the principal sir about the help which we needed in Mathematics and slowly I and my other classmate Bhavna joined his classes along with Sofi.

There was neither a mobile during that time nor the luxury of other material possessions.But what we had was empathy and an informality in day to day life. I remember Uncle as an affable person who always encouraged us to do well. It is a joy just to remember those carefree days.Our fathers always dropped us on time whenever they could and they would joke about how good we were as daughters and the pride was always to praise the other daughter but not his own.

Although Sofi and I were competitors but Uncle would always praise me for something or the other. This small instance I always remember and we laugh my heart out whenever it comes in my mind.

One day when we reached classes , it was little late and this time the fathers of Sofi and Bhavna had also came to drop us.

So once we were inside, my father was talking some humdrum stuff with Chopra Uncle and Gopalkrishnan Uncle. In between Gopalkrishnan remarks that Bhavna is a very cute child and is really very calm and quiet. Chopra uncle hearing this says , ” what cute Sir , She is just like a baby elephant ” . Hearing this neither my father nor Gopalkrishnan Uncle was able to contain himself and they break into unbridled laughter.

This small incidence father told me after the classes and whenever we remember this we break into a loud laugh. This small incidents is not life changing but there was something about that time which was pure and simple.

Sofi’s father is no more but I still remember how simple he was and had the innocence of a small child. His death was unexpected and heart wrenching for my friend . With this post I wanted to Convey Sofi  that he is not there physically but his ideals and values will keep ensconcing her life with his presence.

A photo which Sofi shared with me …. where she is seen with her parents…. What is the one thing which strikes you about this photo?Sofi.jpg

Food is the journey to the soul

Tomorrow is hubby’s birthday and wanted to prepare something special for him. You see our birthdays fall just a week from each other. So last week had celebrated my own and it was so much fun. I will write something on this and why we need to celebrate birthdays or  any happy occasion.

So coming to prepare something special for him. I had decided to make Fish curry which he really loves it. We love fresh water fish. So , mostly the fish preparation will be of Rohu or Katla (these are fish varieties and most of the fish preparations in Bihar/Bengal will hover around it.

We love Doi Maach ( A Bengali recipe ) and although it is quite famous recipe but every household will have its own version.

I truly feel that a perfect dish is marrying of flavours , textures and aromas. My cooking philosophy is to cook something out of ordinary. Because when you cook with love , the food tastes divine. Every morsel of food is like a drop of ambrosia.

Food which can talk to you can nourish your soul. But I don’t like to follow a particular recipe and add my own twist to it. So , I made this gravy with ground paste of onion , garlic and ginger and red chillies . Now Red chillies are also of so many variety but I use one chilly from byadagi region which has this smoky texture and gives a smoky edge to any food preparation. The tempering was with kalonji seeds , asafoetida and chilli’s.

To add my twist I did not add curd to the gravy but instead used a half spoon of tamarind paste to give that tangy edge to the gravy. And served this curry with basmati rice and a salad of tomatoes, radish and onions.

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Basmati rice with my own version of fish curry.

 

 

The food was relished with added fervour and zeal and everything vanished in seconds. This post is to inspire people to try to do something which you truly believe in , doing something which comes through your soul. Life has many flavours and you need to appreciate each flavour because variety is truly the spice of life. Leave me a comment if you have tried something different and I will be happy to read your experience.

KL bird park

Travel they say helps to unravel your own thoughts and understanding about your own self .Whenever we visit a new city our effort is to visit places which boast of natural flora and fauna of the place.

KL bird park claims to be the largest free flying aviary in the world.It is surrounded by many museums , old parliament house , butterfly park , orchids garden etc . The whole place is just beautiful . I loved the infrastructure of the whole place and the way they have organized the whole city

Kuala Lumpur bird park is located in the  lake gardens and is just minutes drive from the bustling city center. The KL bird park has been divided into many zones.

There are zones where the birds are allowed to roam just like natural state and they can fly and feel as if in their own home. In this zone you can see birds like egret , storks, hawk, pelicans , ducks , herons , peacocks and the list goes on.

Then there are enclosures like zoo where more birds from different parts of asia are kept.

The KL bird park has shows at 12:30 and 3:30 in the noon. It is amazing to see how birds can perform tricks , speak and understand just like humans and even do mathematics.Even you can also be part of the show if you are interested.

The KLbird park has a restaurant named as Hornbill restaurant which serves quite an eclectic mix of asian cuisine and is competitively priced. The only downside of the whole experience is the tickets, which I feel are little overtly priced.

It is a must see place if you are a nature lover. The kids also would love it as they get to participate in the bird show.There are rest areas as well as information center where you can learn lot of trivia about birds. You can learn about the different kinds of nest they make, food they eat as well as how the babies are incubated.

Its a surreal experience to see the birds in their natural environment. We  got to feed emus and ostriches with their favorite greens. They are really humongous in shape and size.

Do you know that a single Emu egg can feed omelette to 17 human beings ?

Some of the pictures from the KL bird park

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A trip to Batu Caves

This month I have decided to write a blog everyday .April is special because this is the month I was born.So , I am truly grateful to god for this beautiful life.

Although i am already few days late but still going to start it and hopefully write one every day. Since I am in malayasia. YAY.. my first blog this month has to be something related to it .

The first place of interest which we visited here was BATU Caves . BATU caves boast of the largest Murugan statue in the whole world.Also it is one of the part of naturally occurring lime stone caves in this part.

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How to get there

One great thing about Kualalumpur is the whole city is connected thorough chain of fast moving trains. So , there is metro , monorail as well as KL rapid . Btau Caves is located in the outskirts of the city . So wherever part you are in you need to come to KL Sentral ( that is the main station ) . From KL Sentral you can hop on a train to any part of the city . And there are regular trains to move you to and fro from the city to BATU Caves and KL Sentral.

History of BATU Caves

BATU caves bears testimony to the influence of Hinduism to Malay culture. There are three main caves . And each cave has different elements of Hindu culture weaved into it.The Ramayana cave weaves the story of LORD Rama while the main cave has the shrines of all important Hindu deities.

There is a very huge statue of LORD hanumana at the entrance of BATU CAVES. Also you can find many small temples at the foothills of the hillock . It is a beautiful sight to see peacocks roaming freely in the campus and adds so much beauty to the whole surrounding.

The Dark caves has a guided tour and you can observe the natural surrounding of the caves and the varieties of flora and fauna inside the caves. This includes monkeys , macaws , bats and many more .

What I loved most about the whole surrounding is the huge hils which gives a majestic backdrop the place. Its a treat watching the stalactites and stalagmites jutting all through the caves and makes it look dreamy , rustic and gives a natural edge.

This is a must see place if you are in Kuala lumpur. I hope you have a great time reading this . Looking forward to hear from you if you are reading this. And I am so excited to write everyday , sharing my experience of a new culture.

And I would like to end this post with a malay phrase ” SELAMAT DATANG” which means “WELCOME” .

LOVE and PEACE till we meet again here…

 

 

Chitra Santhe 2017

There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure. It’s the paint that changes its meaning and the hand that creates the story. Every piece begins the same, but in the end they are all uniquely different.”

Piper Payne
There can never be better start to new year than a visit to a world of colors and hues where imaginations run like a berserk river inundating everything on its way with emotions.Each artist when they paint , they also insert a part of their soul in the paintings. Bangalore’s own very CKP gives a boost to all the upcoming artists and their creativity by holding a painting exhibition every year around its campus.
This is the Mecca for all the art lovers who would like to drown themselves in the world of colors and creativity. I always  meet some interesting people during the arts habba.
There was one lady, software engineer at MNC, who was a self taught artist and had experimented in all forms of art which included 3-D modelling , oil , acrylic and mixed media too.
                                                        The traditional food  offered in the habba is something you can remember forever : Melt in mouth dosas , Chai brewed in a copper vessel , Jhalmuri , Popsicle are a lover’s delight and provides the energy boost to the hungry soul.
From the scenic , verdant landscapes to  wild animals on the prowl , there is a scene and scenery form all walks of life displayed in the rich canvas. I was standing besides a canvas with lines going here and there . And some splash of red and blue. And I asked my son , “What do you see ? ” He said , ” I think it is a rough drawing . He did not draw it fully “
I said , ” Look closely , there are figures hidden in it . ” And he started seeing clouds , a house floating in the red water , A bird staring from the sky .And what I saw , I girl draped in the blue water ready to come out from the ocean . And then I turned and told my son “We can see whatever we want in a painting, we just need to explore and look around. It is just like a treasure hunt.” Somehow this treasure thing appealed to him and he smiled approvingly.
This exhibition is organized on second sunday every year and it is a must see event once in your lifetime.There are performances by the students of Chitrakala Parishad and painting competitions for children.
Do plan a visit to Bangalore around this time and you will remember it for lifetime.
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Why we seek blessings?

 

Have you wondered the reason behind us visiting temples , Gurudwaras , churches or any religious place ? Why do we seek blessings ?

Yes We all will agree that we seek blessings because we want to have a blessed life . Sometimes we seek materialistic desires , many times we want our unfulfilled wishes to be granted by almighty.

As Bhagwad Gita says , “All of them–As they surrender unto Me–I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Partha [Arjuna].”

We are all tiny parts of that infinite energy , when we pray we pay our allegiance to the Divine. With a thankful heart we pray for his blessings . Seeking happiness and love is not only inward but an outward process too. The sentiments which flow from us has the power to attract all the positive energy from the Universe.

A heart free of vices and brimming with love has the power to accomplish the impossible. Praying with a heart which is devoid of any malice has the power to mend the most complicated relations.

I always go to this beautiful place for Praying . If you would have stayed in Bangalore , you can probably recognize this. Make a guess and share your views. I am a very patient listener.

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Seeking blessings

 

 

A letter to my Dad …On father’s day..

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With My Dad

Dear  Dad ,

The first thing which I remember while writing this is how You used to make us write letters to Baba/Nanaji  ( Grandfathers)  asking us to describe our school result or some place we had visited recently . I and Neha ( my younger sister) always used to resent that thinking ( Oh , not again ) but somehow you never used to excuse us.

Now I realize that because of that habit I am able to express myself , write poetry , conduct book reviews and do so many more things which I could not have done without you reinforcing that .

You were always an epitome of  hard work , sincerity and humanity for us . And though many times I never express myself , today I will make an exception and let you know how you have always inspired us to be a little better every day.

From you I have learnt to love unconditionally and give freely . When you are not bounded by your narrow beliefs , you start living a life which is full of warmth and kindness. Your life is a true example of that. Not every life is extraordinary but there are always extraordinary moments in every life. You have always stood for your family and your friends.

From you I have learnt to give selflessly to others and not expect anything in return . Your zeal for learning new things still inspire me and I am awed by the fact how you still tell us extraordinary happenings in our society with a childlike enthusiasm. I can never match up your zeal for learning new things in my life.

I still remember how we used to take our books and start studying when we used to hear the sound of your scooter entering the apartment building.  And you used to always smile after seeing how we three were absorbed in studying . Now you know the truth , please don’t scold us.

I still make an effort to impress you because somehow you had taught us to do better than what we are.

Because of you I have learnt that it is ok to be ordinary but not okay if we don’t give our best. I still cannot match your steps while walking . I still huff and pant while walking behind you.

You are the pillar of strength , hard work and love for us all ( Me and my cousins). I always feel so proud that You are my Dad . And hopefully one day I will make you proud ..

You have always been my biggest hero, Daddy

Lots  of love ( Always )

Shwetaa

What derives our happiness?

 

One of my school junior had shared this video and I could not help noticing that the video talks about life and happiness . Ted videos are very motivating as they have speakers from all walks of life who have battled all kind of circumstances in their lives to be a person of substance.

The speaker, Robert Waldinger who happens to be an American Psychiatrist talks about one of the longest study done in Harvard University on adult happiness. The study was done for 75 years on 724 people from different walks of life . Some of the people on whom the studies were done are nonagenarian , some have passed . Some people lead a very normal life and some rose to very high echelons of society . But the finding was really surprising . Everybody at the young age craved to be rich and famous . But the people who remained healthy are the people who had more stronger ties with families , friends and their social network. People who led a socially fulfilling life were more healthier , more alert in the old age.

What does it imply ? Life is all about sharing and caring . And our happiness is not dependent on swanky cars , palatial homes but the warmth and love which we have in our homes. Sometimes people are so bogged down by their ego that they forget that everything is transient .

If you  are in abusive relationship , the earlier you come out of it the better it is for your wellbeing . Don’t just keep hanging there for petty gains . Walk out once and for all .

We don’t realize that Life is not about winning/losing but living it up fully despite the odds/setbacks which life throw at us. Work is just a very small part of our existence. People who have ego and eyes brightened by success actually lead a very hollow life. If your work or I should say your existence cannot bring a smile to a needy child or if you do not have empathy for people around you , your health also deteriorates slowly and you are on the path of annihilation.

The mantra of good living is inner joy and happiness and that comes only with human touch. Be thoughtful , laugh often ,be sympathetic towards your family and friends . Forgive and move on . The happiness in your life is multiplied manifold when you lend a helping hand to people around you , a kind ear to a friend in need. Spend quality time with your family and friends , give back to society by participating in community events , have empathy and compassion for people around you

I go often to conduct skill building workshops for children and youth  for people who come from the lower sections of society , children of labourers and daily wage earners , who cannot afford good education. And believe me the amount of satisfaction which I experience  when I see their smiling, contented faces is indescribable. Life is not about  how many moments you live but moments which made someone’s  life worth while.

Happy Women’s Day

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Today is International Women’s day , celebrating the essence of being woman. My whatsapp , Facebook was jammed with messages congratulating the celebration of being woman. Yes it does feel nice when you read good things about your tribe.

But then I wonder what about the other 364 days in the calendar .Does one day celebration of Womanhood gives you the right to subjugate her for the rest of year?

Why as a wife you are always expected to cook , clean and take care of the house ? As a daughter you are asked to obey the rules what your father / brother would lay for you ? As a sister you are always escorted to your activity classes or even to the tuition centre ?

Why we don’t have the freedom to choose the career we want to take ? Why always the beaten line of doctor/ engineer ? Why you are coerced to marry at a certain age ?Why we cannot be singers, actors or dancers ?

Why we have different rules for the boys and girls in the house ? Why we are raised with such thought process that as girls we cannot do certain things?

I am not a feminist and neither I glorify womanhood . But I wonder if we cannot change our attitude toward the women in our lives what does one day of celebration will do to make their lives better.

There are countless stories of horror which happened just few days before in the world around us , Women being pulled and raped in Haryana . In Syria and other countries the plight of women is beyond horrible . The women are traded as you trade other commodities . They are sold , bought not fed for days and are forced to do all kind of manual jobs . If that’s not enough they are raped repeatedly , even kept in jails naked . This situation is not only prevalent in Syria , any country where there is unrest , the crime against women increases manifold. This was a finding done by one of the top agency of UNO.

I was reading a cover story featured in one of the very reputed magazine. It was a heart-breaking story from one of the little known town from United kingdom where almost from each house there was a woman who has been facing mental and physical abuse from the caretaker and the man of the house . These English girls are hired from small towns and poor families who cannot fed for themselves. They are underfed , asked to do all kind of manual work , physically and sexually abused . The story was gory and each of these young girls was suffering silently in pain. If this is the plight of an entire town , what will be its future ?

There can never be a perfect world , perhaps it is too far fetched, too Utopian to even think about it but one change in thought can bring a change in Someone’s life .Don’t make decisions for your wife ,lover , sister or daughter. Ask her what she wants , how she would like to shape her life.  Just because she is not physically superior than the man counterpart , you cannot make a decision for her that she cannot travel alone or go for a movie alone. Men and Women are not born to be equal but that does not imply that women cannot take their decisions on their own . A society is always known by the fact how beautifully/tenderly they treat their women , that fact heralds the real progress of the country.

Before you wish your wife , daughter , sister and your friend a “Happy Women’s day ” do ask a question to yourself did you judge her or underestimated her just because she is women ?This question might be piercing ,but it will change someone’s life for  good and that will be the true celebration of Womanhood…

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