Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Earthy , vibrant and beautiful..

Yes these are the words which comes to your mind when you look at her . So did  your mind went  all bonkers  about which actress/Celebrity I am talking about . Nah…Actually not.. But they are even more beautiful … And their charm never fades… Once you make them part of their lives , they will stay forever with you.. These are the beautiful hand made wooden vases , toys , candle stands and other useful artefacts from Chennapatna.

Chennapatna is a small town on the Bangalore Mysore highway . It is known for lacquerware wooden artefacts which include votive , vases , wooden toys , curtain rings , coasters and many other useful artefacts which we use in our day to day life . The artisans has been provided lathe machines and other equipments  from the government of Karnataka . It is just amazing to see how a piece of wood is converted into a  piece of art with their skilled hands . These artisans work hard in not very comfortable condition just to provide for their family and kids . Their whole body was covered with the dust generated from these lathe machines.

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A handmade product is not only beautiful but an array of emotions and sweat goes in making that product . So , when you buy a handmade product you are actually buying a piece of their life , a piece of their emotions. In Artsgali we aim to build a platform which aim to showcase these unique and traditional forms of art which has been part of our legacy from many generations.  These products are Indigenous and MADE IN INDIA. These are not produced in assembly lines with a thousand replicas but each one of this is touched and moulded in a piece of art with bare hands.

We spend so much money in malls eating and buying stuff which are overpriced but will bargain for few rupees from an artist who works day and night to make pieces of great artistry and imagination. Seeing it and experiencing the pain and hardship which these craftsmen take to build these artefacts , my heart is filled with pride and compassion . Our country India is not just another country but many countries in one and each traditional art tells an unique story about our heritage. To preserve this , the onus rests entirely on us.

 

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A journey starts today – Fix our Road

ORR_SJP_Collage_Wakeup_BBMPIt was a bloodless revolution today or should I say just the start of revolution . The bellandur constituency which pays 100-crore of taxes every year to the state government has pathetic infrastructure . The roads ridden with potholes , overflowing drains , no pathways for pedestrians. In case if you are trying to cross the junction, you end up inhaling at least a bucket of CO2  and playing Snake and ladders with Yamraj . Yes my dear it is terrifying just to cross and come to the other side of Road.

Do we really deserve such pathetic infrastructure ? As informed citizens what we can do to garner the attention of Government . Social media and a desire to bring a change can help at least to a thundering start. Today was one such day . The procession which was completely coordinated on Facebook and Whatsapp saw people coming from all the adjoining apartments in an exemplary way. People planned their day around this Event with even school children joining directly from Schools. The energy was invigorating and palpable .

There was a group of people from the adjoining villages with Dhol , Nagara . And it was humbling to see people getting united and demanding better infrastructure . With the shout of ” No Road , No Tax” the whole atmosphere was infectious with positivity . The desire to bring a change, coupled with consisted efforts can always help if you are ready to come out of your comfort zone. Either we can keep complaining about the state of affairs or can do our bit by participating as a community. Every little effort makes us more closer to the cause .

By the time I am finishing this post , there has been some positive outcomes. The first ever meeting was held with a State minister and his entire department( BBMP , BDA) which involved many citizens from the community to understand the challenges and prospective solutions . Yes it will take some time and may be stupendous effort but we have started after all . We have a long way to go and may be future involves more protests and struggles , but we all know “A journey of thousand miles start with a single step”

If this post has inspired to do your bit please leave a comment on the post and I will connect you to the group of Sarjapura Volunteers (Whatsapp and FB group) who are working relentlessly for a better neighbourhood . Don’t  forget We have a long legacy to leave for our Children. So ACT NOW ,  in this case we even don’t have the option to REGRET LATER.