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?