Thursday, January 22, 2015

Redefining my friend Kamala - “This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

I had posted this way back in 27/12/2009.  Just to keep you all updated on my friend Kamala - I had helped her set up a small business of masalas hygienically prepared at home to cater to the local crowd.  She began only with a couple of streets in the vicinity but slowly expanded to the whole area and was constantly pressurized to supply to the neighborhood too.  She has employed  friends to help her out with washing, drying and grinding the necessary spices in the mill nearby.  She did not have the courage to expand her set up.  I counselled her to expand and even initiated with the distribution of flyers about her supplies. This time, when I met her, I could see a beaming girl, very cheerful and full of confidence.  Her sons have grown up and occasionally helping her.  Academically too, they are doing very well.   Really proud of her for having fought the odds to create a niche for herself.  Hope her story inspires many more 'Kamalas' in our country who are still trying to fight out.

Here is the original post

Acquaintance with Kamala is only two months old. I had been to my hometown for the preparation of an upcoming wedding in the family. Visiting my hometown after a span of six months required a lot of cleaning and setting up the house. Now, since there was a wedding coming up, this needed much more than the usual. Usually, I  get someone or the other to help me out. This time even after a couple of days of landing, there was no one in sight.   I tried all my resources but of no use.

Then there was the doorbell. When I opened, I saw a beautiful woman in her late twenties dressed in a synthetic sari with simple jewels in her ears and neck. There was this anklet full of gungroos which caught my attention. The look on my face posed enough questions which brought me answers from her. She is a part time maid who had heard from someone that I am in need of someone to help me out. When asked about the salary structure, she would not speak about it and left to my discretion to decide. She had already decided to work for me.

She had passed her tenth standard, married with two sons studying in local school. Her husband is related to her and working as a carpenter. She is the eldest of three daughters and very dear to her father. Her father was not happy that she started working as domestic help, but the financial condition in the house did not allow her to sit at home. She was already working in two houses and assured she would find time to squeeze to help me with the daily chores.

I started waiting for her everyday as she was very good in her work and apart from work, she used to give me ideas of re-arranging the house. She updated about the latest exhibition going on at halls near our house where I could find good decorative items for the home. Sometimes, she used to accompany me too. Also, she would not just finish the regular chores but would extend helping hand to mine too. Slowly, I started to realise that we have developed a beautiful relationship.

When talking about her family, she would always speak high of her husband and children. I was happy for her. 

The wedding day was nearing and she won the hearts of all the guests at home. I could see the gleam in her face when I introduced her as my friend who comes to help me. I bought her a nice sari for the wedding which she planned to wear it with matching bangles and jewels on the wedding day. I was amazed at her  enthusiasm.

She was a great support at the wedding and like a family member she was there always ready to lend a helping hand. The wedding day was finally over and within a couple of days, there was no one at home except Kamala and me. I had to again wind up the house and leave to my place of residence. Suddenly, I could no longer see the smile in her face. When enquired, she told she was feeling sad that I would be leaving.  Within a few days, she brought the house back to normalcy.

I was to leave the next morning. When she came on that day, she tried hard to avoid me. When asked numerous times, she finally told that her husband had not come for almost a week as they had a big fight over some petty issues. He was too drunk on that particular day and was difficult to control him.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to leave, I heard the doorbell and saw Kamala there. I understood that she had cried all night as her eyes were red and lacked sleep. She wanted to speak to me for sometime, she said. She spoke and spoke for half hour. Then, I knew that her life was not a bed of roses as I thought. She hid all her suffering with her ever beautiful smile and not let out her feelings or expected any sympathy. From her dialogue, I figured out that her husband was not going to return to her. I had already planned that during my next visit, would help her to set up a small simple business at home which would give her extra income and also boost up her spirits as I know that she would never take money from me even as loan.

I left India with a heavy heart and continue my prayers that Kamala becomes strong enough to face the long future in front of her but at the same time appreciating her self esteem and dignity of not disclosing her true life status or to take undue advantage of the situation. As I ponder, I look with pride at such people who still keep up the human relationship alive in this materialistic world.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  -  Ana├»s Nin

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Simple Dal Palak

This is a comfort food and am sure will be enjoyed by all.  This goes very well as a main component with rice or as an accompaniment with sambar rice.  Enjoyed by one and all as a side dish for rotis or chappathis.  It is good to have spinach daily to have healthy hemoglobin level.  There are many interesting recipes with spinach and the below mentioned is one of the tastiest.


Spinach (Palak) 2 bunches
Tuvar dal - 1 cup cooked
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tomato - 1 big finely chopped
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies (whole) - 2 to 3
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch

REmove stems from palak and wash the leaves well under running water.  Once washed well, boil it with salt and turmeric powder.  Once cooked, mash it coarsely and keep aside.  In a small kadai, pour two tablespoon of oil, add mustard seeds.  When it splutters, add jeera, hing and the red chillies.  Now, add the finely chopped tomatoes and cook it till it leaves oil on the sides of the kadai. 

Add the cooked tuvar dal to the coarsely ground palak mix.  Mix well and place the vessel in low heat. Let it boil.  Once the heat is turned off, mix the tomato and stir.

Yummy dal palak is ready to devour.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Our very own favourite - the humble samosa

Nobody can ever say NO to the humble samosa.  Be it the simple potato  or the multiple veggies  or the non vegetarian filling, this has its own space in the cooking domain.  As such, there is no standard recipe or measurement for this filling. No two samosas tastes alike. A little tweak with the masalas or veggies bings about a new flavour and an altogethere new taste.

Here, I pen down my version of samosa which is always a hit with my family and friends.


All purpose flour
Potatoes - 2 to 3 big
Carrots - 1 medium size
String beans - few
Green chillies - according to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves 1/4 cup finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Prepare a nice dough with all purpose flour adding  little salt to it. Keep it aside

Boil potatoes and mash well. Finely chop carrots, beans, peas and boil with some salt.  Now in a bowl, add the mashed potatoes, cooked carrots peas and beans. Add some salt to this mix, be careful while adding it as salt has also been added to the veggies while cooking.. In a small pan, heat a little oil and add turmeric, red chilly powder and coriander powder.  Ensure, the powders retain the original color. Once they are blended in oil, remove pan from fire and pour the contents to the mashed mix of potatoes and veggies. Now add the finely chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Check for taste.

Make small balls of the dough. Keep the filling and fold and make a  triangle shaped  pocket. My pics above would give  you an idea. Once the samosas are prepared, deep fry in oil and let it cook on all sides.  It is better to prepare samosas simultaneously and fry them immediately.

The end product goes well with ketchup, tomato sauce, chilly sauce, coriander chutney.

I can feel you drool after reading and visualisng this. Either rush into the kitchen to make some or off to the restaurant to buy some, I know you cannot resisit.

'My body is a temple where junk food goes to worship' - Unknown

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Here goes the saying ' Time and tide waits for no man' and indeed very true, time lost is never regained.  In the midst of all this, we find people fighting for very menial reasons, even going to the extent of killing.  We keep talking about our childhood days and how carefree we were.  It need not  only be a happy childhood but the further years too can be made happy by oneself if she or he wants.

Time is  a healer for most of our actions and consequences.  I used to think that I cannot live in this world without my mother, but then she is gone for almost 10 years now and I am still moving on with my life. How strange!!!!!!!!!!  With our biological family,  we enjoy a lifestyle sharing and caring.  After sometime, get married and move into another lifestyle.  Although difficult to cope up with, in the beginning, finally we get into the groove somehow.  Time does not wait for anyone.  It keeps telling that the faster one is in the track, better for her.  The first five years of marriage flies away in adjustments and learning new things.  The next twenty years, one is very very busy with the family, children and job (if the lady is working).  By the time one realises how far she has travelled during the years, almost half of one's life has disappeared. 

Now, creeps the eerie feeling of old age stepping in.  You suddenly pay more attention to exercises, food habits, low fat eats etc etc. Bhagwad Gita rightly points out that 'Whatever taken from here is for you to leave back, why fret and fume for earthly things which belongs to you today would eventually belong to someone tomorrow'.  If one realises the intensity of the above words, less would be enmity and greediness.  If the essence of Gita  is thoroughly understood, one would not become materialistically attached to worldly things,  which are just temporary.

Let us learn to enjoy each day in the same flow as it comes for each new day is a gift from God.

'Life is really simple,  but we insist on making it complicated' - Confucius

Tuesday, October 21, 2014



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