Diary, Food, Me

A box of lunch – after so many years

 Today at about 1330hrs, I opened my lunch box. It was nothing odd, nothing new but it certainly was different.

Until 1995-2001, every school day, lunch was home made curd rice+vegetable of the day. 2 tiny boxes, waiting to opened at 1220hrs. Most people would find it a bit boring/repetitive to carry the same food everyday but I somehow found it comforting. The routine and the predictability of the contents of  my box actually made me look forward to the lunch hour at school. I was never a good student and was usually upto no good. Among all the live-wires I never knew when I might trip, this box of lunch was the only constant. If I got to it, I got through half my day safe. On the days when i was relatively safe, it gave the luxury of extra time to run around, play and be upto to more useless stuff. But on days I was keen on playing volleyball, or had work to do for house I belonged to, or had March-past practice, it turned out a real blessing. Continue reading

Beauty, Me, Music, Poetry


I think I am just in the mood for words these days. I rediscovered Kipling sometime ago. And then I found Katy Perry. Yes Katy Perry. A few days back, I was watching Madagascar 3 and I heard this amazing song – Fireworks. I have recently discovered Katy Perry and have been listening to her all day long, day in and out. And fireworks is on repeat mode. It is refreshingly relevant,beautifully motivating and very inclusive. Where IF talks about getting up and going on like a strict father, Fireworks talks about the same stuff like a fairy godmother. It makes me feel all happy and renews my faith in myself. It is such a rush. Yes I am super late in discovering this. But I simply feel compelled to share. Even if I am late.
Suggestions of other works like this invited.
Original Video below. Madagascar 3 video below that. Lyrics below all that. Do not miss the Madagascar 3 video. It is a gorgeous visual treat, set to the amazing score of Fireworks.   

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep six feet under?
Scream but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you?

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause, baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

You don’t have to feel like a wasted space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time you’ll know

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause, baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through-ough-ough

‘Cause, baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

Food, Me, quick lunch, recipe, simple cooking

Paneer – Homestyle & Quick Recipe

On most sundays, it special weekend food at most houses. Nice spread, good filled up tummies, and heads high on delicious food. But for me Sunday is rest day. Who says the sabbath is only for christians? It is for me too. Sometimes, I open out my recipe book collection to make something quite nice (read tedious). But mostly, I keep it simple and full on flavor. And I thank my husband for being so in love with Paneer.
On lazy afternoons, when I like to have something a little good and yet effortless,one of the recipes I turn to this simple Paneer preparation. Minimal effort, great on taste and rarely fails. It involves minimal chopping and very less prep. So its also a good lunch box recipe.Goes well with rice, rotis, parathas, poori, and with just about anything. At my place, we like it with dosa. Its not heirloom or super secret. So here is the recipe: 
Ingredients : 

  1. Paneer – 100 gms
  2. Tomato – 3 medium sized
  3. Onions – 2 medium sized
  4. Capsicum – 1 large, diced
  5. Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  6. Kasuri Methi – 1 tbsp
  7. Salt – to taste
  8. Dhaniya Powder – 1 tbsp
  9. MDH shahi paneer masala powder – 2 tbsp
  10. Chilli powder – 2 tbsp
  1. Chop Paneer into cubes, put in a large bowl. Fill bowl with hot water. Set aside. The water should be more than warm and less than boiling hot. This makes the paneer really soft, especially if it is store bought.
  2. Make a onions into paste. Make tomatoes into paste
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onion paste until the it smells sweet.
  4. Add ginger garlic paste, dhaniya,chilli powder, Shahi Paneer masala and blend well. Saute for 3-4 mins.
  5. Add tomato paste. Bring to boil.
  6. Add the paneer and cook for a minute.
  7. Add diced capsicum and kasuri methi.Cook until Capsicum is cooked but still a bit crunchy.
And done.
P.S points:
  • Adding a little more of Dhaniya makes an even greater dish. 
  • Adding coconut milk or just plain milk reduces the spice for those shy with chillies. 
  • Coconut milk/cashew paste also makes the dish richer
Hope this eases up the lunch preparations on some sunday afternoons or hectic weekday mornings. 
Diary, Me

I do/will not

Read non fiction
Enjoy too many Tamil movies
Appreciate authority
Refuse coffee
Talk about my feelings
Put books down
Resist tears
Diet sincerely
Cover my anger
Work out diligently
Love indefinitely
Waste time on those who make me feel inferior
Play Candycrush
Suffer in silence
Do today what I can do tomorrow
Leap before look
Write regularly
Change easily
And Finish this list
Diary, Me, Poetry

Inspiration for 2014

I have been looking at an old and worn out poetry book that my grandfather gave me as a gift and found some really lovely poems to read, all from the  romantic  period. Literature buffs will understand “romantic” in the right sense. For the others, I am not going to explain. I chanced upon Daffodils and I was drawn back to 3 of my all time favorites –  From a railway carriage, Daffodils and IF. Although I love a lot more works, these three are my top three. I memorized them as a child, understood them as I grew and love them now. Their simplicity, their practicality and the childlike joy I get when I read them is simply beyond words. The book was only on romantic poetry, no IF or From a Railway Carriage. So, I mentally recited them while sipping on my coffee and felt myself transported to the days when I wore pigtails.

As I stand at the brink of a whole new year, IF takes a special place. Its timeless and universal relevance now gains focus as I look at the things I want to accomplish in 2014 and count back on the things left undone in the past year. Sometimes I think it needs a lot of strength to apply this thoughts in this poem to real life and that I will fail miserably. But this is poem is all about getting up and walking on. Its all about seeing how  many punches you can take and still keep standing, Rocky Balboa style. Not that I have been punched a lot. But just that I need inspiration.

Here is IF for all of you.
Image from:  http://alkimie.com/?p=267

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Kipling

The Image is from John Young’s website, apparently it is the cover of this postcard sized 1910 edition of IF. So vintage. So Beautiful.

Diary, Me

The things I Love …

Today, I was discussing with my mother about a temple visit. I had a prayer to place. And consequently I  had to promise a sacrifice until my prayer was granted. And in deciding my sacrifice, I figured out the stuff I love most. Obviously people and basics don’t count. What makes to the list is the vanity that we have become addicted to. Apparently it could be anything – a habit, a favorite dish, an object we cling to – i.e any addiction. So my list has a mix of stuff that is an integral part of my life. 80% of my list is made up of stuff that I was not using much about 5-6 years ago, but now is invaluable.
I could not decide on one right away. I discussed with Mum and she had some suggestions too. So I picked up a paper and we listed out what I my indulgences are. And here is the list.
We had the list in our hand and my first choice would have been coffee. But I realised that was a poison I could not live without. Especially if my Mum has made it. So that was eliminated of the list. Yes a bit of a cheat I agree. But well ..
Sacrificing make-up had me hesitating a bit, but I would have given it up easily  had I thought about it for a couple more minutes. 
Although I love all the rest in the list, I could easily drop them off and not bother. But I managed to figure out one thing that is not on the list, but is most difficult for me to stay away from – Fried stuff. 
ANYTHING FRIED IS OFF MY PLATE – thats my sacrifice.No fryums, chips, papads, vada, fried sweets, savories, murukku etc. Not until my prayer is granted.
Diary, Me

Macaulay & me – Pt 1

Macaulayism is the conscious policy of liquidating indigenous culture through the planned substitution of the alien culture of a colonizing power via the education system.

That’s the definition from Wikipedia. The whole planet knows there are numerous countries and cultures suffering the effects of this process. A derogatory derivative of the name of the process caught my attention lately – the term Macuulay’s Children. It refers to that population that is a victim of the process which is practically living in a no-mans land inside their head. And this post is not about all those cultures and people. This post is about the mess this has created inside my head. My personal hell, my personal limbo.

My actual education started in a convent school in a town. However, the small town school had great standards and managed to churnout pretty intelligent girls , well versed in english and poetry and the famous “Moral Sciences”. They had a vast library and actively encouraged reading. Large desks, high chairs and focused lighting – that was the atmosphere in the library. A lot of my weekends were spent on one of those really high chairs in the library – they were too tall for a 7 year old. I would pile my books and go to the librarian who would then lift me and put on one of them. A few hours would then pass in the arms of Shakespeare in prose  or  Abridged Charles Dickens or Children’s version of Vernes. I would be lost in the simple story lines of these works. I never really understood their grandeur or their social commentary or fantasy until I graduated with a degree in English literature. But then I sure understood rosy love & lofty ideals.

I then moved on to lesser classics like Enid Blyton and the likes and grew to think more and more like those that live those worlds. Dreams were made of carefree afternoons running around meadows like lovers in a hindi movie production, probably having a picnic with a basket overflowing with buns and sandwiches and scones. Or being in a club for children doing something applique art. And when I graduated to Reader’s digest and all the others magazines I used to buy, I quietly took in the idea of polish, of decorum, of stoic resilience, art. And a lot more influence than I can specifically put a finger on.

Along with a taste for everything “polished”, I see that I have cultivated a distaste for everything native. I liked eating with forks and spoons. I still do. I hate wetting my hands. I eat Pav Bhaji with a knife and spoon. I don’t associate much locals. I look down upon those that cannot speak English well or speak it with an accent. I need to look and dress a certain way. Flowers in the hair are not my thing. I cannot use community transport. I think a lot of traditions are meaningless. I also disassociate myself from religion. It may sound out of context here, but i think it is because my convent education confused my religious compass. I hate idlies. If I go to my native town, I am starkly out of place, and hate it too. I think I am superior because I can speak English, and I can speak it well. I subscribe to a whole host of “western” ideas as opposed to Indian philosophies. I would like to gel more into the european community than into the Indian. And I always worked at fitting in.

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

“We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.”

These are quotes from Macaulay’s speeches apparently. The sources for these are very questionable.

My introspection on this topic will follow soon. It simply needs a more coherant composition.And a lot more reasearch.