Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Those were the days .............What are we missing now???




(Thanks, Pic courtesy-Facebook) (likereallifeblog.com)

Many of us who grew up during the  70's 80's and even the 90's would concur  with my  viewpoints.

When I was young, we never had computers, televisions or video games.  All that we had were friends and more friends who were in no dearth and would collect in a place for their daily quota of play.

There were no gender bias. All can participate in any game according to their tastes or form the cheer squad.  The schools did not run in shifts as they do today.  So, almost all the schools used to get over by 4 in the evening and we used to assemble for the daily show at 5 pm prompt.  After the exchange of the daily news and views, the game of the day begins.

It usually begins with a warm up of just running across the length of the streets (mind you, there was not much traffic in the sub-streets).  The game selection depends on the season too.  Be it cricket, Gilli-danda, Pambaram or the top, Hide and seek, 7 stones, Pallankuzhi, Snakes &  Ladders, Ludo, Carrom board, Making boats during monsoon etc etc. The list is endless.

We had to very very careful during the play of some games like "Gilli danda" and cricket as we have broken many a panes and reprimanded severely sometimes.  Teams for cricket are divided according to the capacity of each player.  Three sticks would serve as stumps and a carved bat of wood with tennis ball would complete the cricket kit. 

"Pambaram" or the "Spin Top" was one of my favourite and those lovely colorful tops of wood bought from the Corner shop used to be real fun. The top comes with a long thread which is wound on the grooves  and then pulled with a jerk and tossed on  the ground.  The top keeps spinning for a long time and the one which does for a long time emerges a clear winner.  Again, we used to spin the tops in the middle of our palm too. 

During the game of Hide and Seek we can see the most of the girls hiding behind the huge trees or behind the compound wall but the boys invariably will be on the tree top hiding behind the lush green branches or sometimes on the house top.  Making boats out of newspapers and making them float on the channelised rain water on either side of the streets is fun. 

Snakes and Ladders used to be a favourite during the Vaikuntha Ekadasi day when the local daily  used to give a free supplement of the game alongwith the paper.  We used to be awake the whole night playing and visit the nearby temple's 'Sorga vaasal' (Gate to Heaven)  the next morning. The spirit and the excitement were abundant.

The games used to extend till the daylight fades and each one gets a call from their mothers to get inside the house.  The end of play is mostly determined by the switching on of street lights.  Although we used to play for long hours, still we used to sulk while returning back home and would not disperse till we decide the game plan for the next day.

Once home, after a quick bath, still there was enough time to do our daily studies before a sumptuous simple home cooked dinner.  

Its a pity to see young children running around to tuition classes, filled with heavy homework sessions , project works etc., thus finding very little time left to play.  If at all, time is available, can see them either with their parents mobile,  playing games or sitting in front of the television.  No doubt, competition has become multi fold nowadays, but still the childhood should not be lost.  

Half hour of outdoor play will clear the stress and anxiety in a child developed during the day.    The child will be able to focus more and of course stay healthy too.  

Hence, the debate continues whether Technology and its advancement is a Boon or a Bane 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Cream of Vegetable Soup


Recipe

All purpose flour: 1tbsp
Butter: 1/4 stick
Onion (diced): 1
Garlic: 1 clove
Beans (diced): a big cup
Carrots (diced): 2
Cauliflower( diced): 1/2
Milk: 3 cups
Pepper
Salt

This is a great recipe when you are down with a cough or cold or even otherwise. Super simple but very delicious.



In a big sauce pan, melt some butter but don't let it brown. Add the flour and cook for a min or two in low heat, make sure the raw smell disappears,  but be careful not to burn it. In a separate pan, add little butter and saute the onions till it is translucent. add the carrots, beans and cauliflower and cook it. smash it lightly and add it to the butter and all purpose flour mixture. Add milk, salt and bring it to a boil, the mixture will thicken and get to a creamy texture. Sprinkle some pepper and serve hot with some sour dough bread.

'Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor' - Marge Kennedy



Monday, August 28, 2017

Goodness of Methi seeds




Most of us would be aware that methi seeds are boon to mankind especially to diabetic people.  A spoon of methi soaked in water the previous night and taken as a first intake the next morning would do wonders to blood sugar.  If taken dedicatedly, result can be seen within a few weeks.

I have been sprouting methi for quite sometime. Along with my usual salad, I mix a tablespoon of methi sprout which makes my salad double healthy.





Wash methi seeds well and soak them for 9-10 hours.  Drain and keep the seeds in a colander and let the excess water drip out.  This will take anywhere between half to an hour,  depending on where you place the colander. If it is placed close the window, the water dries up quickly. Take the moist methi seeds in a big square cloth ( I use handkerchief) and tie it well - well covered on all sides and keep it in a corner. After 24-36 hours, sprouts can be seen and you can decide  the length of the sprout.

It is a very simple process and can be stored in air tight dabbas in the fridge for daily use.  Stays fresh for a week.

Yummy healthy meal - Cucumber, carrot, apple, soaked black chenna, soaked kabuki chenna, methi sprouts and green gram sprouts.



I would be content if at least one of my friend reads this and makes sprouts at home for consumption in general, not only diabetics.


Monday, August 21, 2017

A cup of piping hot coffee in chennai even during peak summer ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œare you kidding?.

Born and brought up in Mylapore, Chennai, a hot cup of filter coffee is an integral part of our daily life.    My mother prepares the excellent coffee with the first thick decoction from the traditional coffee filter.  Everything is prepared fresh in the morning. The first aroma of the boiling water getting mixed with the coffee powder in the coffee filter  is divine and can be smelt a couple of houses away.    Fresh milk (not Aavin) used to be brought to the door step by the milk man as early as 5 a.m. Hence, the first coffee of the morning is so special with fresh milk and fresh decoction.  Later, during the day, it gets diluted and depends on visitors too ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ.

Once in three days, coffee powder is bought from Narasus who freshly grind 'Pea berry and Plantation 'A' in certain proportions as desired by customers.  The proportion of these berries are very important to get the authentic rich flavor.  Sometimes a little chicory is added to give thickness.  Not to forget  those days, when we used to buy raw coffee beans, roast in Kadai and grind fresh everyday ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. It was a small grinder, quick and easy.

Nobody would ask ' tandaa or garam' to guests who visit home.   By default it would be filter coffee in the traditional Davara ( a small catori) and tumbler at any time of the day.

Mmmmm, those were the days of filter coffee, now getting diluted in 'latte and espresso'

Off I go to get a cup of hot coffee, of course FILTER COFFEE ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€





Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Anger and its Management

You may remind yourself a hundred times that you shouldn't get angry, but when the emotion comes, you are unable to control it. It comes like a thunderstorm. Emotions are much more powerful than your thoughts. What can you do when anger rises in you?
Anger is a distortion of your true nature and it doesn't allow the self to shine forth fully. The structure of human consciousness or the mind is very similar to that of an atom. The positively charged protons and neutrons are in the center of the atom while the negatively charged particles are only on the circumference. Similarly, even in human consciousness, mind and life, all the negativities and vices are only in the periphery. Your true nature is peace and love.
Showing anger itself is not wrong, but being unaware of your anger only hurts you. Sometimes you can show anger purposefully. For example, a mother gets angry at her children and can act tough or shout at them if she feels that they have put themselves in danger. There are situations that warrant showing anger, but when you get angry, have you observed what happens to you? You are shaken completely. Look at the consequences of getting angry. Are you happy with the decisions you have made or the words you have spoken in a state of anger? No, because you lose your total awareness. But if you are completely aware and are acting angry, that is fine and up to oneself to face the consequence.

Being in the Present Moment
All anger is about something which has already happened. Is it of any use getting angry about something which you cannot alter? The mind always oscillates between the past and the future. When the mind is in the past, it's angry about something that had already happened; but anger is meaningless as we can't alter the past. And when the mind is in the future, it's anxious about something that may or may not happen. When the mind is in the present moment, anxiousness and anger appear so meaningless.
Spiritual practices help you maintain your centeredness and not be shaken by small events. This is where a little knowledge about yourself, your mind, your consciousness and the root of distortion in our nature helps. It is when you are exhausted and stressed that you lose your nature and get angry. Every individual is bestowed with all the virtues in the world. They simply get covered-up by lack of understanding and stress. What is needed is just to uncover the virtues that are already there.

The Secret of the Breath
Breathing techniques and meditation are very effective in calming the mind. Learning something about our breath is very important. Our breath has a great lesson to teach us, which we have forgotten. For every rhythm in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath and for every rhythm in the breath there is a corresponding emotion. So, when you cannot handle your mind directly, you can handle it through breath. Meditation is letting go of anger from the past and the events of the past. Meditation is accepting this moment and living every moment totally with depth. Often anger comes because you do not accept the present moment. Anger comes when one seeks too much of perfection. When you are joyful, you don't look for perfection. If you are always looking for perfection then you are not at the source of joy.
The world appears imperfect on the surface but, underneath, all is perfect. Perfection hides; imperfection shows off. The wise will not remain merely on the surface but will probe into the depth. Things are not blurred; your vision is blurred. Infinite actions prevail in the wholeness of consciousness, and yet the consciousness remains perfect, untouched. Realise this now and be natural.

Anger is a condition in which tongue speaks faster than the mind.  You can't change the past but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future - Unknown
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