Quick & easy!
Festivals are a time to attend poojas, meet the family and have good food. By good food I mean authentic, traditional recipes that have been handed down from many prior generations. Most of such dishes call for long and tedious processes. Yet, that does not stop many homes from preparing them all with great enthusiasm.
We travel far and wide. We travel the world. We revel in the artistry in landscape, architecture, culture worldover. Its a way to take a break, to get away from the madness of everyday chaos. A hiatus to just sit and gaze at the river bank and watch as birds to a quick landing to grab their meal from the river is a wonderful thing. To stare at the snow capped mountains cleanses the mind. Or to count the twinkling stars in the sky obliterates the tension from your mind!
Time and time again salads crop up in our everyday menu. They are either welcomed or looked down upon. Most of times its the later. They are assumed to be without the ‘taste’ element. But in fact salads can be quite the opposite. They need not be coated with creamy dressing for them to be appealing. A simple blend of ingredients topped with South Indian tempering can make a really delicious salad. I am talking about the dish from Udupi Brahmin cuisine – Kosambri.
Sometimes the things you want most are unreachable. It may be the simplest of things or the most complicated ones. It may be minute or humongous. But you want it, badly. You chase after it. You almost reach it. But it slips through your fingers. The harder you try to hold on to it, the further it goes. Frustration creeps in. You become surrounded by vast emptiness.
You are a traveler, trying to reach your destination. You travel for days and months and years together. The criticisms and roadblocks along the way are like stones on the path that hurt your feet or like the blazing sun that drains you of your spirit and vigor. The scorching heat can get unbearable. Like a thirsty traveler, with no water you still continue to travel. You choose different paths along way, hoping it leads you to your goal. But it is still elusive. Along the way you even lose hope of ever finding the right route. You may not be able to see the path, but that does not mean its not there. It is just covered with barriers that need to be demolished. You either give up or you run harder as one last attempt to reaching it. And after all the sprinting, running and chasing, its yours!
I have a therapist. Let me tell you how I met her…
I live in a civilization that can sometimes be harsh and ferocious. We all do. The noise, insensitivity, pollution, crime, greed can be breath choking. I`m awed by all the luxuries and advancements the civilization has to offer. So much so that I am blinded by it all and easily fall prey to it. I revel in its beauty, temporarily. And then I see the first layer peel off. What lies beneath does not seem promising. Nor does it continue to give me solace. My eyes are now wide open to the darker side, the side to which I turned my blind eye to. Now I seek to escape. I look around for a sign of escape. But I can`t seem to find any.
The clock keeps ticking. The seconds keep on moving. Time never stands still. It waits for none. The clock does not stop for you if you are late to catch the train. The train is the vehicle that takes you to different destinations in life. You need to reach the station on time to catch the right train. So time can be said to be the most valuable thing on earth. For you cannot buy it, control it, change it, stop it. Rather it controls you, rules you and you need to always catch up with it and not the other way round. You may be the richest or the strongest in the world but time can never be in your control. The value of time is unfathomable.
How often do we hear the line “Failure is the stepping stone to success” when being given a pep talk by our well wishers! And these lines are supposed to rebuild one`s confidence to tackle difficult situations head-on, with a brave face. They are not a mere soliloquy but a trumpet call to the ones who have experienced hardships that seem to pull down, when in reality it can be turned into a learning experience!Life, as we know, is bound to have a few roadblocks on the way. You may look for a pit stop, a moment to pause, catch your breath and to contemplate. But of course the road to reach the destination is still quite long.Every challenge we come across gives us an experience from which we can build on or improve. Every difficulty we encounter builds our strength. Every failure teaches us a lesson. Its these eye-opening experiences, the new found strength and lessons learnt that can physically and emotionally make us a better person.With a little bit of faith, a little bit of commitment, a little bit of thinking and creativity a Herculean task can be transformed into a blessing or a wonderful experience!
There I was, staring out the window and pondering on what thoughts to share today, what recipe to share..Then my eyes fell on this simple recipe. Simple, healthy, tasty. The recipe unlocked memories of that day when the dish was first made. And I embarked on a short trip down memory lane, to that place and time when the chutney was first tried and tasted..
The stoic sunlight that was streaming in through the window signified start of another day. And just when I was to crib about the blinding harsh light, a clean and cool breeze tiptoed in through the window. Now the day seemed more welcoming and I could feel myself getting more energetic. Just then I remembered, we were to have guests for lunch that day. This always got me excited for it meant mom and I would be cooking together. And this would always comfort my soul and bring me profound joy. We could go on and on, chopping, grinding, sizzling; oblivious to the time sometimes. These moments were also peppered with so-called arguments on what way worked best. A consensus would then be arrived at and the dish ready to be served!
One would think these classes with mom could on and on. But then there is a point from where I would be debating with myself on what works best, argue with myself and then work out the best way. It is those classes I had with amma back then that comes to my rescue. However far I go it is always the beginning that is remembered fondly – the place where it all started and where this interest was nurtured, place which fueled creative thoughts, place that gave immense comfort and motivation to go on when in doubt…And whenever I do need a quick help I know amma is just a call away, all ready to come to my aid, giving instructions over the phone.