Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't speak.

A friend sent me this.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Feel like tagging myself.
I wonder if it's singing Queen- " I want to ride my bicycle". Ha ha ha.
Totally made my day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Secret to a hasselfree Indian dish

And world domination..

Once again for my lazier-than-a-sunbathing-hippo friends, an Indian recipe.
1) You need one cup yoghurt/curd.
2) Mix 4 tablespoons gram flour in the yoghurt.
I mean mix and not add. Now go back and mix it well.
Do you see any lumps?
-Yes? Congos! You can now go back to watching your t.v. and forget about the dish.
-No? Hmm.. Alright, we're on it.
3) Add a pinch of turmeric and some salt to the paste.
4) Heat a tiny bit of oil in a pan and add some mustard seeds (let them fizzle), red chili, a pinch of asafoetida (for those saying "what foetida" -  don't even bother to look for it in your kitchen. I know it's not there besides, it can be done without it)
5) Pour the yoghurt mix in the pan and add some water to it . Let it to come to a boil.
 It's done.
  Now, get some bread/chapati/rice and tuck in !
 Or Invite friends for dinner and it's your turn to rule the world.

P.S. Of course, there are variations a many, requiring more spices and veggies (read hassle). I wanted to keep it quick and easy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just a bottle opener.

Reading Upanishads on day offs  and trying to make sense.

Following is a story from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.

The great seer of the times (somewhere between 400 to 800 BC), Yajnavalkya, was once visiting king Janaka.  King Janaka being a very learned man himself had an immense thirst for seeking self knowledge.  He asked the reverent sage to pass on some of that divine knowledge and enlighten him.

The discourse that took place between the two in the king's court is here;
King Janaka asked Yajnavalkya ;  Tell me, what is it, that lights my human experience?
Yajnavalkya: Sun. We get up, go about the world, we see things, cognize objects and do our work.
King Janaka: Okay, but what happens when night falls? What lights my experience then?
Yajnavalkya: Moon lights up your experience in the night.
King Janaka: But, moon waxes and wanes, what happens on the night of Amavasya (no-moon night)?
Yajnavalkya: Dear king, it is Fire that lights your experience then.
King Janaka: But, fire burns out eventually..
Yajnavalkya: Then it is speech. If you are totally in dark, you can be guided by my voice and I can tell you where you are.
King Janaka: But what if you are not there?
Yajnavalkya: Well, dear king, then it is 'self'.
King Janaka: And what is this 'self', great sage?

The last question asked by King Janaka is the mother of all questions. The answer can be simple yet one of the most difficult things to understand. It is what Upanishads try to explain. You see, Upanishads were not written by scholars so, they are not a thing of logic and reason. They are the records of the experiences of transcendence, first hand.

For anyone who has a working knowledge of Sanskrit (no, not me)can see the origins of the word within itself. ; Up-ni-shad
up- near, ni-down, shad-sit
Image of a disciple sitting at the feet of an enlightened soul and seeking knowledge comes to one's mind.
A less popular but probably a  more meaningful dissection of the word could be ;
up- near,  nishad- destroy utterly.
Coming near to the truth destroys utterly the illusion that makes us think we are what in fact we are not. The illusion that the world is real when it is not.And why should one come near to the truth at all and what is this 'truth' that is being talked about? Answers lie in another set of questions.

Tell me, what is that one thing that connects a poor rickshaw walla and a big shot CEO of a fortune 500 company. Can there possibly be a thing that links them? And how?Yes, there is.  Both were born in this world. Both mortals.  Live their lives a certain way and with at most certainty both will one day leave for the heavenly abode. So, why did they ever come to earth. What was the purpose of their existence for this brief a period in the 4th dimension.
To drive a rickshaw?
Yes and no.
To head a company, take it to NASDAQ?
Yes and no.

God-realization, or Self-realization, is the ultimate purpose of human life, says Vedanta. In Sri Ramakrishna’s words, "Futile is the human birth without the awakening of spiritual consciousness.”
And why?  Because we can. Because it is that one thing that distinguishes a human being from animals? Otherwise they both are alike working for (or out of) food, rest, fear and the desire to leave a progeny. So, any person thinking that he/she is just an individual , limited and temporary is making a terrible mistake.

And how do we go about it, understanding the macro-cause of the galaxies of this universe we live in and continue fulfilling the micro-causess of day to day life ? (damn that sounded weird... I know!)
Well, there are a lot of ways. Quoting Upanishads Vahini. You know I love to quote (read cut-copy-paste ;p).
"Seeking to reach Paramatma, the source and
core of the Universe, the Individual or Jivi, has to overcome, by
discrimination and steady practice of detachment, the
bonds one by one. He who wins in this struggle is the
Jivanmuktha-“Liberated even while alive.”

Whoa, was that light? Or did they just mix profound jargon with a few Sanskrit words?
Yes and no. ;p

To me, Upanishads are fascinatingly challenging or shall I say disturbingly provocative mix of stories. I know it is much much more as pages unfold. And so is looking at the vast blue sky or listening to Jimi Hendrix or learning from life experiences or understanding quantum physics or mastering the art of picking your nose without getting caught.
Or reading a book on Vedanta.
I mean, all that a bottle of fine wine needs is a bottle opener (a cork screw) so that you can get drunk on it. 
If Self-realization were fine wine then Upanishads is nothing more than a bottle opener...
...good enough to consume my "day-offs".

"for the sake of posting" Post..

Liu Xia
Too much has been going on for me to keep up with the posting.  No, I mean I do post but just for the sake of posting and feel a hollow sense of validation.  The recent posts are nothing like the well researched articles of a proud blog.  But, I've got some new things to put up so expect them soon.  I also apologize for the abrupt disappearance but day job + Padhai + personal work = broke ass Pallavi!

I know it's too late to post an article about the Nobel prize 2010 but it's my blog,  lazy,  like me,  so I guess it's okay.

My night time study partner, the ultra boring news channel, CNN, was flashing news of the Nobel peace prize and it didn't take it long to catch my frenzy - Liu Xiaobo wins the Nobel Peace Prize 2010 and is being praised all over the world for sacrificing his personal life (which includes being sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights ) and stand up against a very 'control obsessed' Chinese govt.
Beijing is trying hard to keep the news off the internet and away from it's own people. But what really caught my attention was the following ;

"A group of up to 100 supporters gathered outside Liu's Beijing apartment compound, which his wife, Liu Xia, was prevented from leaving."- from the web pages of a news channel again.

Later, I happened to get a glimpse of her on CNN. What I saw was a skinny, shaved-head, sad yet defiant looking woman supporting her husband's ideals from outside the jail. I think it's a very touching story of a couple. No?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Food in a 'busy as hell' life.


I made this last Sunday and to my surprise it turned out to be mmmm...fabulicious. So, I made it again and packed it for my colleagues at the hospital. They love me. Well, who wouldn't?
I am posting a link here for my busy, lazy friends who want a great Indian snack but can't stand the South-Indian-restaurant-meddling of almost every Indian dish. The best part is that the recipe uses a microwave. Try it!

click here for the recipe

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Where all geese are swans.

Disinclined to write for so long that I leave no room for apologies. I guess you all know by now that this blog needn't be followed and checked regularly for updates. Besides, funnily enough, I can think productively only on my escapades to the middle of nowhere. Much to Mom's dismay who isn't comfortable with the idea of a single female traveler. Anyway I am not seeing her until long and when I do I ain't mentioning it to her.Only one regret, forgot to bring my camera. Suddenly feel like Gogol's conjoined twin, Namesake, remember? where his dad wants to capture the scene on the shore but realizes he forgot his camera, and then he asks Gogol, "will you remember this place? the place from where there's no place to go". And they never took a picture. He always remembered the place. So will I.

I was thinking of some readymade excuses like I was sick, I was working,I am dying but I'm not wasting my time doing that and tell it like it is. This is that phase in my life where the center of my focus is the only thing that's important to me. Everything else is just a distraction. Moved to a new place, ran into troubles every single day. But, all that is behind me with newer challenges springing up to tease me out. Blog, films...can wait. Also, I have never had so many important decisions to make, not since the first time I saw footwear at Macy's so many that I wanted to weep.

I've grown up(or so I think).I guess time teaches you everything whether you wish to learn or not. You think you're comfortable being yourself, it teaches you otherwise. Yet, remember the time when I thought world a smaller, quieter, simpler place .
And of course the work. I am buried in work to a point where anybody else mentioning how busy they are annoys the living fuck out of me. Make this work go away, life time of play if you can. Feel sorry for all those hundreds of downloaded films pining to be watched, stashed in the hard drive. Right! this is how I express my love for them ; Stash'em. "No, not seeing you till the time I have nothing else left to do. But, I still love you." Btw new respect for Amreeka , net is faster and downloading easier. So, all my filmy friends you need to come over for a number of reasons, this being the biggest.

So, what am I doing here? Just because me thought of letting the center of the focus become a fringe and also, in case you hadn't noticed, my dying, dying, dead blog desperately needed a post. Pronto.
Think I've used up all readymade excuses and wasted enough time.

It's terribly unsettling to treat my baby like this and then I say I love (*note: not like but love) writing. Lol.
Maybe this is the thing about love. you often start taking things for granted as to never take time and think about them. No? Okay. Just me, then.
And yeah, this post is about love. Sorry, the title was of no help.

I can thank and blame Med school for myriad of reasons and this one in particular, it made me realize how easily we can forget the most important things in our lives. It sometimes takes a hostel mess to appreciate home cooked food. I missed home and my family. Let me take this moment to confess my eternal love for them. Dad, I love you. Maa, I love you. "Oh puhleez, don't they already know this??! Save the drama will ya?" you ask. Yes, they do.Well, at least she does. We have this little thing between us; I gift her something each year on valentines day, as a token of my L-O-V-E.
This self made family ritual started when I was still a child, a 4th(?) grader, when India was only coming to terms with the concept of Valentine's day. Well, now it has risen to worrisome proportions with everybody wishing everybody "Happy valentine's day" as if it was the same deal as wishing "Happy new year". So, there I was, randomly asking people what was it all about. I remember, one Auntyji trying to explain it to a 4th grader while cleverly trying not to mention about Gfs and Bfs. She said 'you send roses and gifts to someone you love' or something to that effect. Ah, That's simple. I knew somebody I loved. Maa and Dad. And because dad was abroad, Maa was, by default, my official valentine. I bought her a gift. A pair of earrings. Yes, they must have been really inexpensive(or what's the other word for that, ah, priceless!) to accommodate in my pocket money.
I remember she laughed the day away. And I still get laughed at for not being able to understand what Valentine's day meant. Anyway, I kept on giving her presents on subsequent V-days. Don't know why maybe because there was no proper way to save face after that :P
It was only a few months ago when she was cleaning out her closet, she brought those earrings to me. I was surprised to see she kept them for so many years and I knew it's things like these that'll make me miss her when I'm gone in a way that I have missed her never before.

With dad, it's a little different. Maa would always say I've taken after him, in mannerisms and general outlook about life. I like when she says that. Dad is what they call "the son of the soil", a completely self made person, he comes from a place that has a weird name, is difficult to spell and is unknown to 99.999 % people on this planet. I can lay a bet on this one . The 0.001 % people who know where it is are actually the people from that miniature village in the back of beyond. It's going to sound funny if I try to explain what he means to me , because all my major decisions , career and otherwise are loosely based on his own dreams and aspirations, things he wanted to do, but couldn't.
He was a brilliant student and is an extremely down to earth person. Could that be something Maa fell for? She being the uptown girl. Opposites attract, no?

 Lines of Beauty by Chidi Okoye.
Back to the topic.
Have you ever had this feeling that life is difficult, if not impossible, to live without a companion, without somebody living in your head. That something , that comes from the heaven and makes part of earth a heaven too. In your eyes. It's not just a feeling, definitely not just a phase, that will get over , maybe it's a place where everybody and absolutely everybody wants to be in. A place where all geese are swans. Have you ever wished you wanted to be there? Yes? Keep reading.

Or maybe not,we don't want to be there. We're still young. It is tough being the age you are and not being able to experience what people of our age can. But ,no, not this once. Singlehood is a bliss, dating is fun, what if the last relationship went straight to hell, we're always up. Nothing's serious at our age. I know you're nodding a yes. (And now playing single ladies on ipod)
But, Maa thinks otherwise. Believe me all mum's do. Their eyes are peeled all the time, ready to find a potential partner in every place and every situation.

While I am busy charting out my career, resume building, pretending I am getting somewhere, beating myself up for not having enough time, deprived of all the fun things and killing my life (believe me I'd save so much time if I just shot myself instead), I don't mind listening to her preoccupations, her worries and the "ways of the world" once in a while. And all this to hint me that my marriage is on the cards. Aaaand the hunt is on. No matter howsoever embarrassing that might be. "Maa, he's a colleague. Maa, he's just a friend. Maa, but I don't like him. Maa, that douche bag? really? Maa, he's actually a girl". Lol that was a bit over the top, but this is what the situation-room is like. Lol. Believe me it's huge fun inventing excuses like that. And my all time fav would be "Maa, I am not ready for marriage" which btw has some honesty and is not entirely a product of my creativity.

So, what happens when the time tested, fully trusted "pados ke sharma ji ka ladka/ladki" matrimony seems like a complete misfit? Matrimony sites come into the picture, and so many of them. It's like the whole world is coming together to find you somebody.It's crazy, it's queer, it's here. Deal with it!
But, whatever happened to finding true love? That twinkle in the eye and the promise of a rose?

Maybe Swayamvar is an answer to the current problem in the future (the second most popular thing to happen last year. first being PS-3, no doubts). But, sadly it's not made available to the public yet, is currently in phase two trials with Rahul Mahajan as the guinea pig (make sure you read the pig again). Anyway, I would still thank him and Rakhi Sawant for the sole reason that they have provided this country with a zillion new punch lines. Till the time they're not available, the swayamvars of course, everybody hope that love will find a way in the current setup.

I'm sure there are guys and girls out there who recognize with me (Rahul, Namita, hope you're reading this. And I kept my promise of moving past my current schedule) wish you all the very best in finding yourself similar background, same age-group, similar family values, similar profession, matching horoscopes, similar perspectives, blah blah a companion to keep you interested for the rest of your days.

Who you'd love to walk with on marine drive (no, not a fancy restaurant),on a hot and humid Indian evening, eating channas watching the night fall and striking a good conversation or just looking at the sea with vacant eyes and talking about your future, cracking a joke about your kids being named as "chutter putter" instead of giving them proper names. While you're trying to ward off mosquitoes and failing at that , lost in the bliss of companionship, moon light and the oblivion called love.