Happy Food

The Holi Tales

Legend says that the holy festival of Holi started with an innocent question of a curious Krishna who was teased by Radha and the other gopis for his dark skin color. Bewildered, he runs to his mother Yashoda and asks why she made him black while Radha was fair. This was pure injustice. He felt really sad about this. Yashoda, hearing this, chuckles and rubs turmeric paste on his sapphire color cheeks and sends him off saying that now his color has changed. The naughty Krishna then run and plucks some kala Jamun fruit for Radha and asks her to close her eyes so that he can feed them to her. Instead, he rubs the dark juice on her cheeks and hands and declares that she too is now dark. On seeing this, all the gopis of Vrindhavan gets overwhelmed with love. They fill their palms with fragrant oil, turmeric paste, fresh butter and start smearing each other’s faces and bodies. They fearlessly throw cheese balls, buttermilk, butter, curd, aromatic oils, and water mixed with turmeric, different fruit juices and Palash flowers extract at each other. Every devotee looked very attractive with their smiling faces and glittering white teeth. Their happy faces seemed more beautiful than the mighty Palash flowers. This incredible display of affection, love and devotion was enough to start the colorful festival of Holi.

The nostalgic memories of this colorful festival always lingers in my mind. The hustle bustle of buying colors, pichkaari (water guns), new clothes to the big list of the grocery items everything was taken care with lots of care, enthusiasm and accuracy. This festival was something everyone looked forward to. Be it for the sumptuous food, family and friends getting together, exchange of gifts or smearing each other with gulaal or color. It was always a hit and never disappointed us in any way. We had a big joint family back then and everything was done in a grand way. The preparations for the festival would start well in advance and we would be gorging on the delicious food for at least a week. Apart from the memories, the other thing which lasted for a couple more weeks were the colors peeping through parts of our face, nails, palms and feet. The enjoyment did make us stand out in our school and each time a teacher saw us, he/she would ensure we are reminded of not studying enough 🙂 But, who cares. Huh!! Its Holi!

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With the passing years, leaving home and being in a different city, I do get nostalgic each time a festival come by. I try to replicate some of the things, if not all, and try to rejoice the moments again. This year I made a full Jharkhand Holi Thaali. Now, my Maa might not agree to this. This is not even half of the Holi recipes. I know, some of the major things are missing in this. I will add them next year. Maybe. Till then, enjoy this please 🙂

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I hope and pray that each one of you reading this now, your life gets filled with colors of joy, love, enthusiasm, optimism, faith and gratitude. You give and receive love with open arms. The joy and happiness never leaves your life and you can pass the harmony to others through your deeds.

Love to all!

Simply JharkhanDish ♥

I grew up in a typical Jharkhand household, eating the rustic homecooked authentic dishes. Cooking was solely constrained to Maa, grandma and aunts. I remember the kitchen hustling and bustling from dawn till late night. We had a typical mud stove (of course apart from the kerosene stove and the gas stove) and all the major food was cooked in that. The kitchen was always filled with the aroma of different mouthwatering food. The steam arising from the different dishes, the tempering of different spices, the colorful freshly plucked veggies right from the home garden, the wooden fire and ladles dancing high and low to the tunes of the skilled hands are some of the memories which still lingers in my mind when I think of Jharkhand food.

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Back then, everyday food was mostly vegetarian. Meat, fish and eggs were either reserved for the Sunday afternoon or on the arrival of special guests. Everyday food was rustic yet delicious and fulfilled the heart, mind and soul. I barely remember ever going out and eating meals in a restaurant there. As any kid of that era would say, I loved only my Maa’s hand cooked food… and no, no one could make me think otherwise.

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Of late, while having a conversation with friends about all the different things including food, this question popped up. “What do you mean when you say a Jharkhandi thaali? I have never heard or had one ever. Do you know any place where I can go and try it?” I had no clue where they can go and try a platter of authentic Jharkhand dishes. Forget about having it in a different state, I doubt if any restaurant or Dhaba in Jharkhand itself offers anything of this kind! Well, as far as I know. This left me with only one option, to cook some of the authentic recipes or try to prepare at least something and serve it to them.

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My guests were happy and so was I. It makes me immense happy to showcase a tiny beautiful piece of the beauty from where I belong. Love, food, laughter and friends aren’t they the best gifts? I have been sharing the food memories often and will continue to do so with you all. Leaving you with a sweet note today. May the sweet potion of your life always stay with you 🙂

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Cheers!

To Time, Togetherness and Beyond

It is a warm, cosy, bright, sunny afternoon today. Here I am, sitting with my legs crossed on my bed and wondering about the time spent with my family a few weeks back. Time flies… Yes! it does. And it does really fast. The jokes, laughter, gossips, food once shared or just being together, together in that very moment… leaves back tonne of memories, love, happiness, solace and peace in the tiny treasures held tightly in our hearts. When these moments get over… we realize how much we miss them and all of a sudden our hearts fill with anger, frustration and bewilderment. And when these feelings too fade away, all what is left is Loneliness.

Loneliness, family, loved ones, happiness, joy, time, memoriesPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K

How you feel in any one moment is more important than anything else, because how you feel right now is creating your life. ~ Rhonda Byrne

Together Forever, family, love, life, time, moments, precious, lifePhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K

Whenever someone leave, they leave behind a big void in our heart… even if it is just for some time. We cherish, remember, cry, crib for those moments. Over time, I have realized how much change time can bring in a person. I wonder, is it the same person whom I have known or thought to be all my life? Change is persistent. I know. But don’t we, at times, want things to be the same all through our life? The same how we remember it to be, have believed to be, have cherished to be and have loved to be!

Vegetable Chop, street food, Jharkhand, Love for food, Love, Moms foodPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K

Life isn’t always what we expect it to be. Being around with our loved ones weaving memories together is always a thing to cherish and behold. These classic moments if celebrated with food enhances the essence of these times. A month back, when my mom was here, we celebrated Durga Puja with some crispy, hot, yummy vegetable chops. It did help in removing some of the longings of being at my home town during this much awaited festival. Don’t we, in such times, need something to soothe our souls, something very calming, something very refreshing, something which connects us to our roots? Atleast, it was a happy ending 🙂

Continue making memories folks. Adieu, until we meet again…

Forgotten Love ♥

Life suddenly becomes so blissful, bright and happy when you get to see your forgotten love infront of you again! Specially, when it is something you have craved for long enough, something for which you have thought in countless nights, something which you thought would never be able to savour your eyes and heart again and then… there it is… infront of you… right infront of you, calling you with lots and lots of love, asking you to come and embrace it and recall the good old days… to immerse yourself once again in the sweet love of “MAHUA”!!

Forgotten Love, MahuaMahua, or Madhuca longifolia, is considered sacred among the tribal people in Jharkhand because of the tree’s medicinal values. Mahua is also the source of sustenance for many in this part of the country. It grows in abundance in the state and bears flowers from the month of January till mid April. The flowers are rich in sugar, vitamins, and calcium and the tribal people mix the flowers in their daily food preparations.

Mahua sabji is one of my favourite since I was a kid. I remember my grandmother spending hours cleaning it while sitting on a charpoy outside in the verandah. It was a savoury we use to look forward to during the spring season… Luckily, on my trip to home this time, my dad could manage to get some of these beautiful flowers… just for me :D… Oh! I can’t explain the burst of happiness which rushed inside me!! I have craved for this for too long. Staying here in Bangalore, I miss lots of things which are so difficult to find. I miss the forest, the greenery, the fresh wind, the chirping birds and the different forest delicacies. When my mom made these sweet mahua with loads of love I could just think of diving in the velvety taste of this masterpiece. And there I was a content soul, happy to be the daughter of the forest once again!!

Hope to meet you again my love soon… Have a wonderful and blessed week ahead lovers!

A trip to home…

Yes, it finally happened! I went to the place I belong to, the place I love for its simplicity, carefree life and the endless unconditional love. Where you shower in blessings, get poured with buckets and buckets of benevolentlove, eat whatever, whenever, however and how much ever your heart desires. Gaining some extra kilos in these trips because of the stupendous welcome is not even a matter to be bothered about 🙂

Whenever I go home, I feel so relaxed. I can just order for anything I want, do whatever I want and can least bother about the stupid deadlines and hours of stressful work. The undaunted attention given to me imbibes my heart and soul with respect, love and a desire to hold that every moment which passes by. They never ask you whether you want a certain item or not. They just give it to you. As if they knew even without you telling them what you need at that very moment. I can go and eat in the five star restaurants but still will die for mom’s hand cooked delicacies. Even a humble roti, subzi tastes lots more delicious than any other food cooked or served in any restaurant. The love, care, affection and food bestowed on us by my parents are unbeatable. I always wonder how do they manage to be so humble, patient and hopeful all the time? How can they never get tired by all the work which comes along with the kids? I hope I will have these values in me someday.

HomecomingPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

The other thing which mesmerises me is the way all the ladies dress up there. Those perfectly pleated cotton sarees, hair neatly partioned into two and filled with the auspicious blazing red sindoor, hands decorated with heena wearing the sanka-pola and matching glass bangles, the big red bindi, feet beautifully decorated with alta, the glistering silver toerings and the magnificient aura they carry. It is just so beautiful. Back at home, everything is so different. The way people interact, think, care and love each other tells a totally different saga than the usual nip-nucks here in the bigger cities. I love the fact that even when you just bump into anyone’s house unannounced, they serve you with fresh, home cooked delicacies like samosas, nimkis, thekuas, pakoda and what not unlike the usual tea and some packed snacks served in expensive tea sets in the big cities here. As, a kid, I remember whenever we use to go to any auntie’s house, she would get up after five minutes of talking and just rush to the kitchen. My eyes would glitter with the thought of those upcoming mouthwatering, delicious hot samosas being served with tangy tomato and date chutney. Pedas and kheerkadam were my favourite. I was least interested in the gossips and grown-up talks and would give my full attention to the samosas.

With passing time, children visiting their families have become so rare that whenever they come home it is a celebration for everyone. A time for the families to get together, cherish the daughter’s homecoming and gather all the moments of their presence in their heart. There was a time when coming home after years together or for a very short duration meant that the town is inaccessible or several different trains and buses away. The transportation problem has mostly been solved now. The only persisting problems are the deadlines and the leave restrictions. Still, isn’t it true that how much ever far we go away, our hometown, our land always remain closest to our heart. We find solace in these small towns which can’t give you loads of money but is capable of giving all that what money can’t buy!

Part of me always wonder that why all good things and days have to end so fast?? We long for them for so long and then it finally arrives, bringing loads of love, laughter, happiness and care and then within the blink of an eye it gets over! We remain surrounded by the same vaccum, longing and the nonending robotic life. But then as my mom says – “Good things have to end. So that we value what we have in our lives and cherish those moments/days each time they come with more love and enthusiasm.”

Hope everyone is having a great night! Right now I’m listening to the rain hitting the ground outside my room which is so soothing to the ears. I love the summer rain!!

Hey Happiness, Here I Come… :)

There are so many things running in my head to share right now…!! Life has taken such a turn! I am happy as well as sad, I am anxious as well as emotional, I am worried as well as adventorous… Don’t know how it’s gonna go.. But neverthless… I do trust me, I and myself :D.. There is a saying that – “Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.” So, here I am.. keeping my dreams alive. To achieve anything, it requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. And, “I DO BELIEVE.” Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.

Time plays an important role in almost every decision. And some decisions define your attitude about time… Isn’t it true? Ask yourself today…”Are you happy? Are you really happy?” I am sure that 90% of you would say – “Yes, I am.. But, honestly is it so?? I doubt! I know, people just shrug their shoulders and say – “Yeah! I am happy.. I mean why won’t I be?” But think again… Is it all you wanted from your life? Is this the life you have always wanted or you are just adjusting with the flow? I mean, is it all it can be??? Can’t it get better? Are you honestly happy with every aspect of your life right now?  If not, why? You have every right to be happy. You and you yourself, decide every single day if you are happy or not.  And if you’re not, it’s because you chose not to be… Maybe you didn’t consciously decide to be unhappy but settling for anything less than 100% happy, according to me, is pretty much deciding to be unhappy!! I know, we don’t have control over people or situations that make us unhappy. But the one thing we do have control over is “ourselves”. We are the ones to decide if we are going to be happy or not.  It’s up to us. Isn’t it? Nothing is worth it if you are not happy! Believe me, once you break all the boundaries and look beyond what you have thought is your limit, you will know how much of negativity you were surrounded with and how much more you can do and get!!

Life is about trusting your feelings and taking chances. Losing and finding happiness, appreciating the memories, learning from the past, and realizing people change. I know, that not everyone is gonna understand my journey. And I am absolutely fine with it. By all means, it’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s mine 🙂

So what are you doing to make yourself happy today? I made myself some daal, aalu methi and ajwain parathas :).. Ahh, joys of simple food 🙂 :D..

Moong daal, aalu methi and ajwain parathas

Keep reading for more.. and yes, enjoy your Sunday night folks.. Tommorow is a new beginning 🙂

 

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