Milagu-Jeeraga Rasam

As some of us rejoice, and some of us lament this suddenly-relentlessly-pouring weather in Chennai, I have this ancient, but absolutely perfect recipe that all of you will definitely enjoy! Apart from being simply blissful to eat in this chilly weather, this concoction will cure any cold/cough or other rain-related ailments that you may have; just in case that doesn’t entice you, note this – Pepper burns fat! 😀

As I’m sure you’re hooked now, please find the recipe below:

Servings: 3

Prep/cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

Tamarind – Size of a small lemon, or a big amla

Curry leaves  – 10 to 15

Salt – as required

Ghee – 2 tsp

Water – 2 cups (400 ml)

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

To grind:

Toor dal – 2 tbsp

Jeera (Cumin)- 1 tbsp

Pepper – 1 tsp (add slightly more if you want it spicy, retain just the 1 tsp if you’e giving it to kids)

Method:

  1. Soak the tamarind and salt (rock salt) in water for 15 mins, and then extract the essence.
  2. On the other hand, lightly roast the ingredients (to grind) with 1 tsp of ghee, and then grind them into paste by adding a little water.
  3. Add the turmeric powder to the tamarind water and boil it for a few minutes, until the raw tamarind smell goes off.
  4. Then add the paste to the boiling water, and let it boil for a few more minutes.
  5. Add 2-3 cups of water, to increase the quantity and let it boil for around 15 minutes.
  6. Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves in 1 tsp of ghee, and add it to the rasam.

Note:

  1. Can add one tomato if required, to include Vitamin C.
  2. Can garnish with coriander leaves.
  3. Do NOT add asafoetida, as it may taste bitter with this rasam.

While I’m sure many of you already know how to make this one, there are a variety of ways to make this rasam. This one is my tried and tested best! Serve with a steaming cup of rice, or just drink it up! )

Toodles!

And I let go… :)

And miraculously, just like that, in an instant, I let go! I let go of something I’ve been desperately wanting for a long time now. If it is meant to be, it will be. And if it is not meant to be, well.. what is the point of pushing at a door that refuses to budge?!

I surprised myself tremendously! I didn’t think I had it in me to NOT go behind this.. but curiously, I did, and how! It just took me a long time to get there; for ages, I made myself believe that this should be my sole purpose in life, that I would be absolutely incomplete without it. Hence I went behind it with all my might; I tried everything in my power, I saw positive signs everywhere, I desperately willed my entire being into making this happen.

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But now that it didn’t, and it probably won’t.. I am fine! Amazingly, I am just the same, and I feel as whole as I ever did! Now when I look at people who have what I wanted, I feel no envy, no disappointment, no nothing in fact. All I get is this curiously vague sense of detachment, like I’m looking at them from the wrong end of a telescope, and they don’t really hold any interest for me.

Even more amazingly, I feel refreshed! All of a sudden, I realised that in place of this one goal, I can have a 100 new goals, and go behind each of them with a 100 times more zest. I have some wonderful things in my line of sight already, and I’m sure, many more such wonderful things to come.

The best part is that, letting go of things that weigh you down, releases you.. like a catapult! You go from being weighed down into a bottomless pit, to soaring high in the fields you’re best at! This one experience was like the universe’s sign to me that I’m finally.. finally on the right path! 🙂 And with that knowledge, there is just no going back!

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

Time for a turnaround!

The time has come.. when I’ve finally come to my good senses! It is time to let go of doors that are not opening for me (because let’s face it, they’re probably the wrong doors), and go after the right doors, or well, try some of the other doors that I have been wanting to. It is is time to look at life from a different perspective..it time for the turnaround! 🙂

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Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

Giving back..

Every single day, the first thing that I do when I wake up is.. thank God for everything that he has blessed me with! There is a saying that the more you thank life, the more life gives you to be thankful for. However, of late, I’ve realised that life is not just about getting things and being thankful for them; the best way to be really thankful for all your blessings is to give back!

If you haven’t already watched this video, I recommend you do so here:

It is a wonderful, eye-opening, life-changing video that shows a man who feeds thousands of birds everyday. When I started watching the video, I scoffed a little. “What’s the big deal?” – I asked. In all brahmin households, we feed the crows first before we have our meal. And by feed, I mean keep a handful of cooked rice (sometimes with a little til and curd). Squirrels in the neighbourhood assemble at our balcony at 12 noon, and get ready to nibble on whatever is left by the crows.

The catch is, we don’t do it because we want to feed the crows or squirrels; we do it because our scriptures dictate us to do so, along with a bunch of rules. We do it because we are afraid of the Gods’ wrath. We do it when we think we’re pure (physically, of course!) This unfortunately means that if I was in a hurry this morning and prepared the rice before I took my bath, my neighbourhood crows and squirrels will go hungry today!

However, by the time the above video ended, there were tears streaming down my eyes. The video impresses you by the sheer effort the man puts in to feeding the birds, twice a day. The difference is that, here the goal is to simply not let the birds go hungry! It is an absolutely selfless act of random kindness, but one that makes a huge difference. I also heard about a girl (who is younger than me, by the way); she takes a day out each month to plant trees! In comparison, it made me feel really small when I realised that I was freeing up some time and money to look at HD TVs, so that I can decide which one to buy for my house! 😦

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Another event that made an impact on me recently is a shoe and slipper drive organised by my employer, Elsevier. It is a deceptively simple, but brilliant idea! All we have to do is donate our shoes and slippers (even ones that require a little fixing-upping), for the benefit of the needy. As someone who owns at least 6 pairs of slippers currently, but wears only two of them regularly, this struck a huge chord with me.

I kid you not; I have a pair of sneakers (that I have worn exactly once), a pair of 3-inch Gladiators (that I wore once, and promptly decided that I’ll never wear high-heels again in my life) and a couple of other perfectly good pairs of shoes (I’m not a shoe-wearing person, you see). What I do wear, are two specific pairs of slippers – one for traditional clothes, and one for jeans and T-shirts. End of story. 😐

But why did I need so many pairs in the first place? God has indeed blessed me with a lot of things, especially financially. But as the famous saying goes, when we improve financially, we shouldn’t be improving our standard of living; but we should be improving our standard of giving. I’ve decided that I’ll indeed donate all my shoes/slippers, and retain only the two pairs that I actually wear.

These are just small examples; there is so much more that we can do, if we really look at the physical and financial capabilities we have to give back. I try too; I place a huge bowl of water in my balcony for the birds and squirrels everyday; I donate a sum to the CRY foundation every month. They make me feel good. At the end of the day, I feel happy that I’m donating; a corner of my mind nurses the hope that my next life will be much better than this birth (not that this life is bad at all; far from it, actually).

But I think we all need to wake up to the fact that we can, and should give back a lot more. My family donates an amount monthly to an old couple who don’t have kids, or a source of income. But I took up CRY – because that is the cause I truly believe in. All children, of all genders have a right to education and to have a decent life. Because when infertility is on the rise and so many couples go through rigorous treatments and spend lakhs to beget a child, there is also a huge community of abandoned children, and children who don’t have basic rights and facilities.

When it comes to giving back to the society, nothing is enough! We can all do much more physically, financially, and simply by contributing our time and effort. Now I would like to ask you –

What is the cause that you most identify with?

If you didn’t believe that you will be rewarded for it in an afterlife, would you still give back?

Something to ponder on..

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks.

Blogging 201!

So this has been an interesting week. After almost a year of completing Blogging 101, WordPress came up with Blogging 201, and of course I signed up!

I guess I usually keep ignoring my blog long enough for everyone to get ready for its cremation, before I suddenly buck and up write one post in a blue moon. I’ve been even lazier when it comes to reading and commenting on others’ posts.

Rather than just occasionally posting whatever comes to my mind, I’ve now been able to now set SMART goals for my blog (whoever thought a blog needs goals?), take a more thorough look at my statistics, and play around with the look and feel of my blog. It feels wonderful, it feels like my blog has got a new lease of life! 🙂

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Blogging 201 is a two-week course; the first week has been awesome, and now watch out here for what the second week brings! 🙂

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

It’s official!

There are more white hairs on my head than my age! At this rate, I may end up looking like Albert Einstein by the ripe age of 30. Well.. at ,east mine don’t linger at an unsightly grey. They go straight from black to light brown to a majestic gleaming silver. Some solace! Except, the gleaming silver makes them stand out more clearly against the head of otherwise black.

Add that to my over-maturity that (unfortunately) reflects on my face, people may soon start asking me whether I am my mom’s elder sister?! 😦 I am beginning to think that I may end up greying faster due to the sheer worrying about the rate of greying.

What all woes does a 26 year old have to go through?!

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks cusp of premature ageing 😥

My 3 all-time favourite songs!

Writing 101, Exercise 3! Yes, after a bit of a break, I decided that the time is ripe for getting back to Writing 101 seriously. Maybe we’ll stick to it this time around.. but of course, the exercise demands that I spend 15 minutes EVERYDAY writing, and we all know how we conveniently have “Life” as an excuse. I’m rambling; I’ll spend the 15 minutes today. We’ll think about tomorrow, well.. tomorrow!

For those who don’t know, writing exercises typically use prompts to get your thoughts flowing in one direction. Today’s prompt is: to write about my 3 most favourite songs, which mean a lot to me. So here we go..

1. Uyirum Neeye, from the movie Pavithra:

This is a beautiful melodious song composed in the raaga Kamaas, one of my absolute favourites. This song is from a movie in the early 1990s, and won the singer a national award. However, I don’t remember if it became particularly popular, since I was just a toddler at that time.The song is about an extremely moving topic: Motherhood.

You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NovCNFS1O1M

There is this beautiful line in the lyrics which goes:

Un Kannil Vazhiyum oru thuli podhum

Kadalum urugum thaaye

Translated, it means: Oh Mother, a single teardrop from your eyes is enough to make the ocean melt.

This line unerringly brings tears to my eyes every single time I listen to this song!  I randomly discovered it a few years back, and fell absolutely and completely in love with it! It has never left my playlist since.

2. London Thumakda, from the movie Queen:

It is the mother of all wedding songs, and never fails to spark a festive mood even on a dull and dreary day. The song doesn’t have particularly special lyrics (well, most of the lyrics are in Punjabi, so I wouldn’t know if they were special :P), but it works simply with a fantastic beat that uplifts my mood instantly.

You can find this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udra3Mfw2oo

It has been on my “Most played” folder ever since the movie released, and I can listen to it umpteen times, without ever getting bored! 😀

3. Get on the Floor by J Lo:

And this is the mother of all party songs! The one and only top song to make you get your groove on! It makes me start tapping my foot automatically, and makes me want to dance even when I’m down in the dumps! 3 years since this song was released, and I am yet to find another song that beats this when it comes to changing my mood from tired/sad/dull/depressed to happy and energetic within a second.

You can listen to this one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4H_Zoh7G5A

I hope you liked my list of all-time favs! Please do share yours with me; I’m always looking for new stuff! The comments section is open to one and all. 🙂

Toodles! 🙂