food

The golden era of the Marigold

Aren’t some flowers a real messenger of good times ahead? Their occurrence solely can fill the mind with numerous memories and hearts with immense joy. The robust yellowish-orange color marigold flowers are like tiny beams of the sun rays in the dark, foggy, gloomy days. Their bright colors are the symbol of happiness. As if they flash their colors in the sunshine shouting – “Helloo there! Look at me. I am so happy!”

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These lovelies bloom early in the morning unlike us, when most of us are hiding ourselves under those warm, cosy blankets, snoozing the alarm clocks, pulling our feet a bit more closer to our chests. They salute the rising sun with a dance of excitement, each and every day, till they live. Those magnificent golden beauties bring the message that the festivals are coming. The good times are almost here! Are you ready to welcome them?

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Most of the festivals which I can think of had these lovely flowers adorning our house, Puja rooms, courtyards, cattle and sometimes our neck or head too 🙂 Those times had a charm of it’s own. Or probably the times were different then. Simple lifestyles, less complicated relationships, laid back attitude and foremost the zeal to really celebrate and be the part of a festivity! The robotic lifestyle was not in fashion then. People were less tired and had the enthusiasm to do things. Resources were abundant, loving was easy, living in peace and adjustments and a simple and humble life brought joy in our homes. Food, love curiosity and excitement, what else can a kid ask for during these eccentric times?

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Being in a joint family, every festival was celebrated in the most traditional ways. Every action was predetermined and had to be followed how it had been done since generations. In today’s world when we think that most of the traditions which were followed were nuisance and unnecessary, I still believe that it carried an old charm of its own with it. If we think then we can realize that most of the traditional rituals have been changed/ removed/ modified according to people’s need, surrounding and the availability of the resources. My parents always tried to include us in all the chores be it cleaning, buying stuffs for the celebrations, cooking or distributing. It was always fun to be a part of the festivity. As a new mother, I try my best to give my daughter at least a glimpse of what most of the festivals really mean to me and how much I have enjoyed celebrating it. I want her to grow up understanding the value, happiness, love, sharing and care which these festivities bring around.

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Of course, I can’t replicate what my parents and relatives did to make every festival look so alive and memorable. The amount of work and dedication which use to go in it, I really doubt I have it in me. But the good part is, I do try and cook a certain dish related to each festival or decorate or follow the rituals of every festival. If not the original at least the modified version. This year as I always do, I cooked Mutter Ghugni for Durga Puja and Thekua for Diwali. We also made the Diwali rangoli together.

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I try to show her and in the process let her contribute in her own ways. My daughter might or might not follow these rituals in her life. But I surely would know, that I have tried my best to show and make her understand and believe in spreading love, happiness, empathy and contentment in some way or other in whatever she choose. Don’t you in some way try the same?

Durga Puja Tales

Like every year, Maa Durga arrived on her special ride, stayed with us for those auspicious ten days and then departed, leaving us craving for yet another year of her homecoming again. Before leaving, she blessed us with health, happiness, food and loads of memories. For me, Durga Puja has always been a reminder that happiness find its way home. The rejuvenating and scintillating feeling of loved ones reuniting and celebrating the festival together has a charm of its’ own. Durga Puja means we are still alive, still together and still bonded.

The blazing LED lights, thousands of people dressed so elegantly in new stiff clothes hovering over the pandals and the different food vendors outside, chit-chatting excitedly and happily like the sparrows; makes me believe that if happiness is somewhere, it is right here, right here in this moment, the moment I am living right now!

Durga Puja is nostalgic. The essence of the festival, the holy atmosphere and all around happy faces brings solace, peace and the calmness to the tired souls. The feeling of being alive and not just breathing is divine. Every happy soul looks beautiful. It makes me believe that beauty still exists in people’s smile, a hearty laughter and in the glistening of tired eyes.

Being raised in a joint family, the arrival of Durga Puja meant new clothes, loads and loads of delicious festive foods, guests swarming over, hot discussions on which block’s (colony’s) pandal is the best, places (vendors) who are serving the best puchkas, chowmins, ghugni-chaats and other street delicacies. Loads of different shape and size balloons made a way in our home. The sheer excitement of holidays, friends, food, pandal visits and Maa Durga! Touching the feet of elders and getting a ten rupees new note along with their blessings. We often wondered seeing that note what all can be bought with that. Might be a whole dreamy world?

One of the other things which I remember and use to get really pepped up seeing was married woman wearing loads of bright red color sindoor on their neatly parted just washed hair, the sankha-pola and dozens of matching glass bangles, the bright colored neatly plated sarees and the alta painted feet. There is something really special about seeing ladies all dressed up like this. This is the only form I can fathom of my Maa whenever I think of her. The serenity, the poise, the calmness and the charming characters which she possesses, I wonder if I can ever be like her?

Every day of the puja is marked with a special food. Like Saptami having ghugni-chaat with lots of aalu chop and beguni. Astmi has to have poori, aalu dum, kheer, tomato-imli chutney, matar pulao and papad. Navmi can’t be complete without plain rice or tehri, mutton curry, thick homemade curd, salads and loads of mithai. Oh! The heavenly food!

Durga Puja, ghughni chaat, aalu chop, hindu festival, Maa Durga, besan k laddoo, nostalgia, memories, love, foodBalakrishnan K

This year, while talking to Maa over phone, she did mention making these at home. She even subtly told me that she can not feel the same old charm, the excitement and the happiness of Puja anymore. I know the rapid downfall of joint families and kids migrating to different cities for different reasons leaving back their old aging parents, play a major role in them feeling lonely. I know that the four old eyes wanted me to be there, badly. I just hope that I will be able to fulfill their wish next year and make their souls blossom like old times again 🙂

Durga Puja, ghughni chaat, aalu chop, hindu festival, Maa Durga, besan k laddoo, nostalgia, memories, love, foodBalakrishnan K

Over the years, things have changed drastically. But I guess, the bottom line is the same. Be happy, celebrate happiness, eat, pray and love. Waiting for the next Durga Puja already. I hope everyone feels as blessed and happy or more as I feel today.


HAPPY DUSSHERA READERS!

Weaving Memories

Recently, I have been thinking and thinking a lot about the memories I have been gathering for a while now. The days are malleable and memories are bound to be created everyday. The irony is that some stay with us forever and the others get erased with the sand of time. I believe that we women are the guardians of memories. We preserve them like no one else does and then pass it on to generations. Don’t we stock all the memories which contains the fragments of love, food, stories, beliefs, joy, sadness, laughter and much more? Well, I do 🙂

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As a kid, I loved to hear stories. I was bemused by the beliefs, bravery, love and the beauty of things said by old souls. I listened to them keenly and created a world of my own among them. It is fascinating how the memories, the stories, the talks cling to us and visit us often.

Weaving Memories, Ardhnaarishwar, Shiva, Parvati, Shiv-parvati, Dance, me without you is incomplete, happiness, love, life, stories, myth, mythology, hindu, hinduismGulmohar Doodles

Some out of boredom, the others out of sheer interest, I drew these. The happiness, the solace and the sense of doing something from the heart has lifted my spirit multiple times. There are days when things are hard and doing something like this lighten my mind and sets me free and I weave more memories. the memories which I know will remain engraved in my heart for a long time. The happiness collected and passed on, the encouragement given and inspirations taken, the beads of stories woven and gathered makes me believe that life can be full of happiness and contentment.

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I want to gather all the happiness and store it in my heart tight. I want to make good memories and use them as the light when the times of darkness approaches. I want to be the firefly who brings hope with its tiny light in the ravenous darkness. Like the wings of a butterfly, I want to bring out these joyful memories and spread happiness which are safely tucked away in the heart.

This world is a beautiful place and so is you. Please do spread random happiness till we meet again.

Food, Love, Rain and Happiness…

“Beta kya khaogi? Kya bana dein? Jo v khane ka man hai bata do, sab ban jaayega…” These are the usual dialogues of my maa on my visit to my hometown. Her constant requests of letting her know about all those eatables/ delicacies which according to her I would be craving for months/ years leaving me feeling like a queen. I always stammer in those weak moments and all I can say is “khichdi”, “baingan bhaja” or a humble “aalu bhujia”. Of course it doesn’t stop there after a day or two and things keep on getting added in the “Foods to be eaten” list. As soon as the food words drop out of my mouth, maa would give instructions and my papa would get ready happily with the “plastic jhola” and head towards the market straight where he could buy the fresh supply of vegetables and meat or fish!

I always wonder from where maa gets all the strengths and the stamina to work hours in the kitchen, grinding, pounding, cutting, stirring and preparing all those mouth-watering food alone. And she can do this in a jiffy without any tension lingering over her head or batting an eyelid! I don’t think I can feel the same ever. Even when some guests are coming over or we have some festival at home and by any chance I ask my husband or friends what they would like to eat, I stand in constant fear that they shouldn’t ask for anything which would either require lots of time or work! I even get nightmares before the scheduled day! I get jittery with all those requests and wonder will ever ask the same questions to my kids!

Maa loves cooking like all the Indian mothers. She says that she finds solace, happiness and great pleasure in cooking for her near and dear ones. And what else is there to do at home? She might get bored sitting idle. Huh!! She has got loads of patience too and her own vegetables and flower garden where she tries to grow different varieties and love them as her own kids! My dad’s philosophy is that small town people are laid back. They don’t run behind monetary things and value their kids and family above everything. Spending time with them, looking for their likes and dislikes and being content with whatever they have is what their life is all about. In this so much laid back and peaceful life, they have plenty of time. And the best way to pass it is by cooking, eating and celebrating it with food, fresh home cooked food made with tons of love and care!

A buggy meetupPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

It is the monsoon (Saavan) season now. As a kid, I remember it raining all the time there and our constant efforts to dry our clothes, specially school uniforms from one place to another. Making paper boats, listening to the frogs croaking and calling their lovers, tiny snails crawling in all the places leaving their slimy trail behind and once in a while a green viper crossing our way left our tiny souls thrilled and imbibe with happiness. The lust greenery everywhere, the washed and cleaned leaves, puddles, mud, fallen trees as our playground and a huge supply of guavas from our garden.

Chawal ka cheela, home made butterPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

Amongst the rain, chaos and fun, we were supplied with lots of delicacies. Even now, whenever I go home, maa doesn’t fail me with her amazing sense of remembrance. She always comes up with those foods which were once my favorite and would always make a bad face sharing it with anyone. She would also make those delicacies which I would have forgotten or wouldn’t have asked her thinking that it would require numerous amount of work. Somehow she just gets to know I guess. At times I wonder that will I have the same sense of remembrance for my kids and will do the same amount of work for them… I doubt!

Fresh bread with malai and sugarPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

Kheerkadam mithai and besan ke gatte ki sabjiPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

For now, I am just enjoying the pictures of those mouthwatering food and living in the past. I hope everyone is enjoying the rainy season with their loved ones croaking together in joy 🙂

Stay healthy and happy folks. See you all soon.

Happiness is…Biriyani :)

Mutton Biriyani

The best way to enjoy life is to eat loads of delicious home cooked food. And for me, happiness comes with the smell of biriyani cooked in pure desi ghee, leveraged with big chunks of mutton pieces hanging around and loads of love in the form of cashews!! Yummm… can’t ask for any other pleasure in life for the moment 🙂

Well, my stomach is full, extremely satisfied and I am one happy soul today! 🙂 🙂

Savouring Delicacies :)

I called my mom today and it started with the same opening questions. “How are you? What had you been doing? What did you cook today?” Mom’s replies are automatic regarding food. It always starts with – “Nothing much…” even when she would have prepared enough delicacies to be served in a wedding house 🙂 🙂 Not to be surprised, even knowing what is she gonna say I always wait eagerly to listen to what all food has been prepared. As she keeps on saying each item, I go back in the memories when I was there and would relish all these food while mom or grandmom kept on swaying the beautiful hand decorated bamboo fan near us. The comfort of mom’s hand cooked food, the delicacies prepared in the most authentic ways, the masalas grinded in the seal-bata, food served in the heavy brass plates, the smell of the home grown rice, eating sitting on the small chaunkis and the fan swaying always added a charm to it! I miss those days so much. Somehow, I just want to go back in time and enjoy those moments again. But I know, that even if I do that numerous times, it is never gonna be enough!!

Doi Maach :)Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

Back to where I started. So today, mom said that it was pouring over there and dad had brought fish in the morning. She didn’t feel like making too many items today because of the heavy rain and thus settled on some doi maach, fried fish, rice, moong daal and a humble mango-mint chutney 😮 No wonder my mouth started watering. I so wanted to be there and hog every damn thing she had prepared. But…!!

Anyways, another idea striked and I decided to repeat the same menu. After ten minutes of rigourous do’s and don’ts discussion I marched to the kitchen. I couldn’t create the same magic but atleast I am going to eat the same thing what is being eaten in the different part of the country! Somehow, I feel that even when two people are not together or are at a distant place, food can always bring them together. I always feel connected to my mom and my roots when I prepare the same thing (or atleast try to). It makes me feel happy, loved and miss my mom’s hand cooked food a bit less… I love you mom ♥

It has been raining here and I am just enjoying it. I guess, God had plans to create the same scene in two different worlds today so that even when we are away we can still remain connected 🙂 🙂

HAPPY HOLI FOLKS :)

May this holi bring lots of colors in your life and wash away all the sadness, misery and evil thoughts. May you be able to accept that we are all equal. May our mind know only one word – freedom, and only one cause – love

HAPPY HOLI…!

 

 

— Happy Holi :)

Good Night Awesome People :)

Thalipeeth

Here is a photo of one of my good mood cooking 🙂 :)… I hope everyone had a great day. A day to cherish, a day to remember and a day worth living for! Last but not the least, remember you all are special to me, thank you for your continuous support! I am sharing with you the Sabudana Thalipeeth recipe here. Do enjoy 🙂

Sabudana Thalipeeth
Preparation time: 15-20 mins
Cooking time: 20-30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unconditional love
  • 1 cup soaked and drained Sabudana (preferably the small sized one)
  • 2 big boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 1 medium size chopped onion
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chopped green chillis
  • 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup roasted and slightly crushed peanuts (remove the skin)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander and mint leaves finely chopped (optional)
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together properly in a big bowl except oil
  2. Now grease your hands with some oil so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands
  3. Heat a skillet and smear some oil on it
  4. Start making small balls out of the mixture and flatten it to shape it into a disc either on your palm or on the skillet directly
  5. Let it cook without disturbance on both the sides for a minimum of 4-5 minutes or until it turns into a beautiful golden color
  6. Remember to pour a spoon of oil while you flip the sides
  7. Take the Thalipeeths out of the skillet once they turn into crispy golden color on both the sides
  8. Be careful and don’t place the hot thalipeeths on top of each other as it tends to stick to each other. Keep each one of them separately until they cool down a bit
  9. Serve the yummy, fulfilling Sabudana Thalipeeths with masala curd and mint and coriander chutney 🙂 🙂
  10. Be ready for loads of appreciations and a demand for making it more often 😛


Before I run to enjoy my Thalipeeth with my darling husband, here I wish you all a very HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!! ♥ ♥

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