Friday, October 29, 2010

Father of Which Nation ???

Inspired from Amartya Sen's book - An Argumentative Indian 

Though Mahatma Gandhi played a central role in India’s fight for freedom, the generation of today hardly seems interested in him. The point of focus here is not whether his efforts were good or bad – the point is that he made a distinguished effort, and while we may have an inclination to discuss about every other person, why such apathy to the supposedly father of the nation?

One of the primary reasons for this is the restriction on free opinion. As ironical as it may sound, we have no freedom to discuss about the person who helped us in attaining freedom. We are not allowed to discuss, debate, argue and explore him or his philosophies. We have to swallow them ‘as-is’. Even a comment or an observation on his work, would provide fuel to some or the other so called nationalist group in India, who would charge you with allegations of disrespect against the nation.

It is because of this no one discusses him or his ideas. It is because of this that his ideas have remained ideas of the past - they have not been adopted or further developed to fit into the contemporary times. It is because of this that his influence is constantly diminishing and it is because of this that he has been type casted into a mere monument of an old man walking with a stick.(Have you ever see a portrait or statue of the young Mahatma Gandhi ?)

But what be the cause of this ‘because’? We can identify this to India’s fixation of manifesting its extraordinary achievers as God. We have national gods as well as regional gods. Mahatma Gandhi and Sachin Tendulkar are examples of the first category. Rajnikant is a prime example of the latter category. These achievers are the Gods of the masses. And one is neither supposed nor allowed to evaluate, criticize or discuss God .God here is too big to be discussed by mere mortals like us. Whatever they do or say has to be accepted. End of discussion.

And what be the cause of this ‘fixation’? The deeply religious psychology of our countrymen might have something to do with it. Another cause of this fixation is the fact that we do not have many role models to look upon. Hence the few we have are propelled to God status. This scarcity of role-models could be attributed to the fact that we do not have enough role – models in proportion to our enormous population and the few we have are not projected well enough to influence the mass population.

Explore the icon - Sachin Tendulakar. Today Sachin is an active player, still playing – still a bit of a mortal. So we discuss about his game, his attitude, his commitment, his excellence and his shortcomings. Hence we learn from him. After 15-20 years when he is away from the limelight, he would have become a God and it would be prohibited to discuss about him. He would become a fountain of experience and excellence from which no would be allowed to drink, and eventually people will become disinterested in him. His legacy and class would not inspire the coming generations anymore. The ‘little master’ would become a ‘lost master.’

In the same way , we have lost and  are set to lose so many sources of inspiration; if we do not inculcate the nature to debate on them. Without debate , instead of building on  a legacy , we would  find ourselves always starting from scratch only to lose mid way and then again starting  from scratch again and again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Animal faith

The more independent our free will becomes with age , 
the more barriers we impose on ourselves with our self made boundries......

Early morning temple visit
Awakened the spirit within me
All problems now seemed so small
 I could win them one and all
All negative thoughts went aside
And peace originated from my inside.

And as a holy me walked home,
That cow calf grabbed my attention
Stuck in the drainage nearby
It meeked for help and resurrection

Temple brought out my passion and zeal
A God’s soldier is born to heal
Half hour of diligent hard toil
I rescued the calf back on firm soil

It started caressing my feet in affection
It seemed reward enough for my good intentions
But just then from afar,
The calf owner came up running,
Short of breath but not short of thanks
It carried away its calf while brimming

Looking at the owner and calf depart,
Satisfaction took leave from my heart
All my efforts seemed a waste.
Not even blessings I deserve to taste
From the bounty of my Almighty grace

If only I had already known it,
While I was busy toiling to save it,
But chances of prior notion were slim,
And the cow never told me it was Muslim.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Kajal Eyes

The poetic eyes span unfazed,
Black kajal lines lacing its beauty,
To look at them and be lost amazed,
Is a necessary act of duty.

The beauty in them,
This parented dream and art.
The blink in them,
This gave rhythm to the beating heart.
The shade in them,
This subdued color for black and white.
The twinkle in them,
This brought the stars to light.
The depth in them,
This defined love, joy and pain.
The tear drop in them
This taught heavens to rain.

But see what irony the Nature plays,
Opposites it puts in one place -
How such powerful eyes,
Can tender eyelashes give company?
How such soft an eye,
Can pierce my heart with arrow?
How such delightful a creation,
Can provide tears to partner sorrow?

And what injustice the Almighty plays,
Idea of equality he betrays -
One stern gaze she beholds on me,
My entire mind she unfolds from me.
And when her depth I try to measure,
I only submerge more in her treasure.

Logic, reason, emotion - all I sold,
Still can’t grasp what they hold.
But still I toil-on with all my eager,
For it will be so less than meagre,
To lose the earth, heaven and all its gold,
But be the one her eye beholds. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh My God !

Born without religion
But soon enough
I am taught about my God
And taught why my God
is better than  the best.

I accept it and move ahead
But time puts questions in head
It struggles to identify
Why it the best
And struggle to see what difference
It provides me from the rest.

But a difference religion provides yes
Of whether in my death
I am buried or burnt.
But then
A dead me would hardly care
Of the fire or the coffin
Or the soil affair.

So why not    
Suspend religion until
I reach in my grave
And not let my life
Be its slave.

Or perhaps
Follow the religion
Which keeps me forever alive
And does not desert me
Eventually to death side

But such a religion
Can never be
For,God I was taught
But immortality
How can they teach me ?.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baigan Bhaja

Baigan Bhaja (a  recipe from Kolkatta , India )  is one of the few vegetarian dishes that I like, but then it’s so yummy, what can one do but not like it

I got the receipefrom the author of the yummy food blog -  
An ode to taste buds

Ingredients –

Method of preparation –
  • Cut the egg – plant into circular slices. The width of each slice should be approximately the width of your little finger. Keep it aside.
  • In another container, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger paste, coriander powder, sugar and mix well in some water to make a thick paste. Then add salt to the paste and mix it once again.
  • Coat the paste on both sides of the egg plant. Keep it for 15 – 20 minutes in refrigerator.

  • In a shallow pan, put enough oil to submerge half the width of the egg – plant slice. Heat the oil and then put the egg – plant slices in it.
  • Fry the egg – plant slices and keep turning the eggplant slices upside down from time to time to cook evenly on both sides. Also press the egg plant slices so that it keeps throwing out the extra oil it absorbs.

  • When the egg – plant slices have turned a little black on both sides, you can stp cooking and start relishing the baigan bhaja . It tastes best with rice !!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Ear-Ring

I could only catch a glimpse of her from the side;
but that was enough ....

A look at her and the moment froze
Her tender ear as if a white rose 
So tender that it swirls with the breeze
Still holds that ear-ring with graceful ease.

The earring –
It sings as if a sparkling jewel
In the breeze it dances and dwells
Sometimes it kisses her hair
Sometime her cheek
Heaven on earth it knows how to seek.

And then the ring
Whispers something in her ear
Perhaps it warns her –
Of the observing intruder so near
And No!
She starts to move away,
And I am left so much behind.
How much I envy the ring
It is so close to her all the time

And as if my spell curses the ring
The ear forfeits it, downward it slings
The graceful one walks away in bliss
Not having the idea of what is amiss
I run to grab the ring so round
After its journey from heaven to ground

The ring and I now hand in hand
So close to heaven and yet on land
We stand alone though we are two
And watch her go away from view
Our memory gains her forever beauty today 
But alas! Our heart is taken away.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The love affair continues- Mongolian Beef

 This post has been contributed by Tenzin Bhuthi Bhutia. 
For more mouth - watering recipes, visit her blog An Ode to the Taste Buds. 

1. Beef- around 3/4th of a pound
2. Cornflour- 2 tb sp
3. ginger -3/4th piece cut into small pieces
4. Garlic - 6 cloves cut into small pieces
5. Beans- cut diagonally ( you can add brocolli, carrots)
6. Onions - 1 sliced
7. Soya sauce - 1 cup
8. Chillies- 1 Sliced
9. Canola oil ( you can use peanut oil as well.)
10. Sugar - 3 large tbsp


For the Mongolian Sauce
1. In a pan , add 2tbsp of oil . As soon as it heats up then add the chopped ginger and garlic

2. As soon as the fragrance of the garlic and the ginger come through then add 1 cup of soya sauce and half cup of water. The ratio of soya sauce to water is 2:1. Next stir in the sugar and then let the sauce boil. Turn it off when the sauce reduces to half and reaches a thickish consistency

For the beef
1. Cut the beef into thin bite sized pieces and coat them with Corn flour.

2. Add some oil and when the oil heats up then fry the beef pieces till you see them turn golden brown

3. Take them out and then dry them in a tissue paper

4. Next in the same pan( no need to add extra oil) add the onions, chillies and beans. Stir fry for a minute or two.

5. Next add the beef and fry it for like 30 secs

6. Now add in the sauce to the beef

Serve it hot with rice.Until the next recipe , Keep cooking and smiling :)