Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010

At this moment I’m standing at the threshold, looking forward to welcome the New Year and also trying to recap the events and happenings of the year that’s going.

When a New Year steps in there is so much of gusto and excitement to welcome it. But in all this we like to retrace the past in all that has gone by. Memories make stories, and past, as it goes down with age, becomes History.

The year came and went and another is here. The different events of the year will become the roundup of the past year. There has been so much ups and down in and around the world. But Hope is always there and befriending it gives a new leash to move forward.

Now I say Welcome New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cricket Fiasco at Kotla

Yesterday I was happy relaxing in front of the TV watching the match played between India and Sri Lanka…han han the cricket match…and happy with the start. It seemed India was doing very good from the first ball itself.

Only a couple of days back there was such a mess about getting tickets for this match that was being played in Delhi’s Kotla ground. Those people who did not get their tickets must be such a happy lot now.

Why is it cricket has to have such a horrible closing at the end of this year. The crowd must have waited in the queue for long hours, frisked by security personals before entering the stadium, sit for sometime watch few overs being bowled and later see the two teams walk out with the last announcement coming the match has been suspended.

Those watching the match in the comfort of their homes at least could get the signal from the pictures and the commentators the pitch was not suitable for play. With a grassy top the ball was rising high enough to hurt the batsman which of course was happening just before our eyes…the camera is very clever to catch every movement with the handiwork of the person behind the lens.

The match could not be played, blame games shooting up but after all who takes the blame…BCCI, the curator of the pitch, the Delhi Cricket Board, go on naming and ultimately no one wants to shoulder the blame. Why should one want to get the blame? There is so much of money in this game…cricket has made BCCI rich…and being a part of it is an honour. So people would love to be involved in cricket from close quarter, to be facilitated and privileged in getting complimentary passes to watch the matches in the different venues.

The other day when the match was being played in Eden Gardens, the flood lights went off. Can we say with too much cricket this game is losing its sheen and, the needs and wants of this classy game is not looked into properly - be it the laying of a pitch or giving a thorough check to see the floodlights are working properly.

Why has so much of callousness come in? Is it too much of anything ends up with little interest for it? Unanswered question…

Time to see our faces don’t drop in shame if we cannot hold the 2010 Commonwealth Games as expected by all the participating countries who will come here to be a part of it.

‘Learn from mistakes’…the calling…

Friday, December 25, 2009

Be Merry and Cheery and Bake

With Christmas, the chime of jingling bells can be heard. And why not it is the effect of the sweet song ‘Jingle bells jingle bells, jingle all the way’ and then we form a picture of Santa Claus in our minds draped in his red coat and red cap, come riding on a sledge drawn by reindeers with his bag full of gifts to distribute them, that’s a happy picture we can think about.

Christmas day brings in the taste and smell of cakes…baking in our homes or getting one from the bakery. If you are to bake a cake, it’s very simple. All you need is eggs, sugar, maida (same weight as eggs), baking powder, cocoa powder (optional), butter (quantity your feel right for you), cashew, other nuts and raisins (again optional) and of course your labour to prepare the batter. Once the batter is ready, pour it into the baking dish and place it in the baking oven and…wait for it to eat. Cut it out into pieces, sizes of course bigger or smaller you want them in and then just enjoy the taste of your home-made or should I say home-baked cake.

Nowadays we get little chance to enjoy so why leave the opportunity when it comes.

“Make hay while the sun shines”. Grab such opportunities when they come giving no space to grumbling instead be Merry. That’s what this day says.

...and I say Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Aloo Posto – She Said…

A friend asked me, “will you cook aloo posto…your typical Bong way…invite me for lunch…and”. She cut off the conversation feeling shy to have said to be invited for lunch.

And I made up inviting her for lunch the very next day with my aloo posto along with bhat, dal, macher jhol, tomato chaatny (chutney) and her favourite aloo posto.

Posto…do you know this is the Bengali name of poppy seeds. Poppy and opium are both close relatives. That’s not what to talk about now. Now I want to concentrate on cooking aloo posto.

Ask a Bong about posto and you can get the list of the different dishes cooked with it. The list is long from jhinga (ridge gourd) posto, murgi (chicken) posto, chingri (prawn) posto, postor bada, and even raw posto batta (ground) with green chilies and musard oil that tastes good with bhat and dal. The most popular dish is aloo posto. Whenever there’s a guest for lunch, there can or shall I say should be aloo posto dish served for lunch.

It is the white poppy seeds that is ground into a paste and used for cooking. The posto paste helps to thicken the gravy…used for…mostly for vegetarian dishes.

Back to aloo posto. All we need is:

Potatoes 4-6 cubed
Posto (poppy seeds) 2 tbsp made into a paste
Green chilies 3-4 (slit in the middle)
Bay leaves 2-3
Haldi powder ½ tsp
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Jeera (cumin) powder ½ tsp
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
Cooking oil (Bengali’s prefer mustard oil)

Cooking (time about 10-12 minutes):

Heat oil in a thick bottom kadhai. Once the oil is hot add the bay leaves and throw in the green chilies. Now put in the cubed potatoes and stir for a minute and two. Now add the haldi, jeera and red chili powder and stir. Add salt and sugar and stir fry for another couple of minutes. Add water, cover it up and let the potatoes cook. Before the water dries up completely and the potatoes are cooked completely add the posto paste and cook. Let the water dry up completely. Now it’s ready to be served.

The lunch was good and spent a good time enjoying the Aloo Posto which was the Dish of the Lunch.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Morning Mantra

Morning brings with it a common Mantra.

1. Leave the bed, rise up from sleep and begin your day.

2. Begin the day remembering the Creator.

3. Duties to be finished in the bathroom.

4. Spend some value time on health and fitness which is very much individual. Some like to do Pranayam, some Yoga, others go for a morning walk to breathe in fresh air, many prefer to spend some time on physical exercises at home and some others will like the fresh air to surround them for sometime.

5. A morning cup of tea is a must for many. There are preferences like a glass of water, lime juice with honey, tepid water, overall something liquid first thing in the morning.

6. A warm water or cold water bath as individual preference.

7. Breakfast is a must after the long interval of  last night’s dinner.

8. The body and mind is ready and fit to face the challenges of the day.

With such easy and common Morning Mantra it is absolutely right to say “Morning shows the day”.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tulsi Meri Aangan Ki

Tulsi flowers

Tulsi Flowers

Tulsi leaves which has medicinal values

The Tulsi plant at home

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Cold and the Heat

As the days are passing, months are marching ahead with the days beat. Seconds, minutes and hours are beating their own rhythmic drums to let time push ahead. For me time is running at a much faster pace than the Time I saw in my childhood. I’ll talk about That Time some other day.

With the advancing days it’s getting cooler. The woolen clothes that had been lying in closed cupboards and boxes are seeing better days now. They have come out of their cold dark hideout and have the advantage of seeing the face of the sun in broad daylight. They have got the warmth of the sun as I had placed then under the sunshine before using them. They are our winter protection and colourful too.

When it is cold it is wrong to say I can feel the heat. And of course it is very much here. It is the heat of the rising cost of living. While the cost of living has gone up, our requirements remain the same. With the rising cost it no doubt hurts the purse where there is money for a monthly budget. Outflow from the purse has gone up but the inflow remains the same.

Whatever be the situation we have to live with it. It is hope against hope that the ruling government, though knows about the facts of the rising market, has not yet found out any relief.

In this cold I can very much feel the heat. But then, this is a part of life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Garden Beauties

Garden Beauties...

In their colourful garb...

See them smile and...

Give them a hug.

These are some of the Beauties of my little garden.