Saturday, May 20, 2017

Food For All

While my wife was away, I mostly got my lunch and dinner from a near by Uttara Karnataka mess that makes soft chapatis and delicious side dishes. However at times, I tried my hand with cooking. I love to cook pastas for lunch or dinner, as they are pretty easy to make. I also enjoy trying new recipes. This time, I tried making some healthy vegetarian soup. Addition of Celery and zucchini added great flavour and aroma to this soup.

Ingredients - Onion, Celery, Zucchini, Carrot, Beans, Capsicum, Pepper powder, Tomato puree  Oregano, Basil, salt. 

My colleague Prasad who, like me loves European cuisine suggested we try this restaurant called Bistro Oui at Koramangala. We had some great food there. The veg platter was delicious. I particularly liked the marinated and roasted paneer. Though not a big fan of mushrooms, I loved the stuffed mushroom they served. 

Veg stroganoff was delicious and I love mashed potatoes. 

Corn and spinach lasagna was not appropriately baked but it tasted good. 

One of my nicest colleagues Chung Hee from the US sent me some cookies and Banana cake through a friend who was traveling. Chung Hee makes amazing cakes and biscuits and while I am in the US she always welcomes me with some great homemade desserts. I was delighted by this gift as the walnut Banana cake she prepares is our personal favourite. 

In India, we offer food to all.  It is believed that an year on earth is equivalent to a day in heaven and the dead parents are offered food on their death anniversaries. All other ancestors are offered food just before Dasara on the day of Malaya Amavasya. I rarely travel to Mangalore for my grandmother’s death anniversary. I just do not like the grandeur with which it is celebrated. This time, my aunt who lives in bangalore asked me to join her as she makes a simple offering to her mother. I spent a day chatting with my aunt and uncle, talking about all the common interests we share and of course remembering Ajji. On the contrary to the celebration at my house, this was very simple and that is what made it more meaningful. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Painting Marathon

I had a marathon painting day on the 1st of May. I had not painted for a long time and was eager to hold the brush again. 

My first painting was a simple white acrylic paint on black canvas called - Wish. It was fast and easy.

I tried an other acrylic paint with silhouette of three Drongos. 

And to end with something different, a sketch with white gel pen on black paper. I posted a picture of this sketch in making on my WhatsApp status and requested viewers to give it a name. I got some interesting responses and I have named it "Fragrance" based on the best suggestion.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017



It was half past midnight. The pub I was in was about to close soon. My friends had already left. Avoiding the heavily drunk crowd, I made my way towards the door and then, to the main road. I was in a half drunk state myself. At the main road, an auto rickshaw driver approached me.

“Where do you go sir?” He asked.

“Nowhere”, I responded almost immediately and continued to walk on the footpath. My house was about 8 kilometres away from where I was but I did not want to stop walking. Despite my tiredness, I continued to march towards my home. It sure was a long walk but it was interesting.

On my way, I watched a bunch of people surrounding a tea seller for some freshly brewed tea; many others were busy heading back home from who knows where and some ferocious dogs barked at me for no particular reason. Without the horrendous traffic, the Bangalore roads appeared wide and spacious. The cool breeze brushed against my cheeks; that felt rejuvenating. Nothing could have stopped me. I felt free.

Almost a kilometre away from my house, a police car slowly approached me. There were two policemen in the car. Finding no reason to stop, I continued to walk. They honked and signaled me to stop. 

“Do you know what time it is?" One of them asked me, in a rude tone.

I pulled out my cellphone from my pocket and checked the time.

“1:30 AM Sir.” I replied sincerely. 

“And what are you doing here this late? “He asked. 

“I am returning home from my friend’s house. I stay not very far from here. The auto rickshaw drivers always trouble us at night by demanding double the fare, so I decided to walk.” I gave an elaborate answer probably was unnecessary.

“What if someone attacks you, breaks your head or mugs you? And here you are walking on the streets this late.” He responded in a sarcastic tone. 

By now I was angry at his disrespectfulness but avoiding a dispute with the policemen that always turns unfavourable to the common men, I completely ignored him and continued my walk towards home. He said nothing more and let me pass by. 

“How could a policeman say such a thing?” I asked myself.

“Is it not his duty to protect me against the thugs and thieves? Isn’t he obliged to create a safe city for the citizens?”  I thought.

But there was no point arguing with a policeman who lacked humility. Ignoring the incident, I kept walking. 

About half a kilometre gone, I came across four young men standing under a tree by the road. They appeared to be from the Northeastern part of the country. Seeing me approach they discussed something among themselves. That made me feel uncomfortable and apprehensive. One of the four boys walked towards me and asked if I had a telephone app that could book a taxi for them.

“No”, I replied and hurried away. That was a lie.

A few distance gone I felt embarrassed about my behaviour. I wondered if my act was justifiable. Several questions emerged in me.

“Why did I react in such a manner?”

“What if they were really in need of help?”

I recollected the incident with the police that had occurred only a few minutes ago. Many of the questions found their answers but others surfaced.

“Is it a crime to fearlessly walk alone, late in the night? Or is it so, when one human refuses to help another, out of fear?”


Sunday, May 07, 2017

How To Harvest Mustard Seeds

Mustard plants are one of the most easiest plants to grow. Just sprinkle some seeds in mud and you shall see some seedlings emerge within a day or two. 

They soon grow tall and their tiny little yellow flowers are pretty and ornamental. The flowers turn into pods and you can imagine the seeds growing within them, in a protected environment. 

But what is irritating for many, is the task of harvesting these seeds from those pods. Imagine picking one pod at a time and breaking loose, its seeds into a container. That would take you half a day for just one plant. So, here is a relatively easy technique that I found on the net. 

When the pods turn brown (as in, dry), cut the stems and put them in a zip lock cover. Rub over the pods, with both hands and watch the seeds separate out. Discard the husk and store the mustard seeds. Easy, ain’t it?

Here is a video demonstrating the process -