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Mouthpiece #20

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Vibha Sharma

May 7 · Issue #20 · View online

Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma


Not all who wander are lost…

The World Beckons
Vacation, time to look for ways to unwind and recharge the batteries for next span of routine. With travelling on the upswing these days, the question is, which type of locations offers the maximum succour to the exhausted nerves (physically and mentally). Some find the much required and much deserved relaxation in locations that are bustling with activity - heart of the cities, while others just want to stay put nestled in the lap of mother nature. Whether within the country or on foreign locales, once this basic decision is made, the options are aplenty.
 
As Annie Dillard, the famous author and poet says, “We are here on the planet only once, and might as well get a feel for the place.” It depends how one wants to get that feel - by marveling at the wonders of nature or by savouring the variety in human race and their creations.
 
These days one can find one’s newsfeed on facebook and other such social media sites galore with friends and family travelling to and exploring newer places and vistas. It could be the breathtaking Hawaaii islands, picture perfect Swiss Alps, magnificent Niagara Falls, coral reefs in Australia or hidden treasure troves in Europe. Besides these well-known ones gloriously marked on the world map as divine blessings to this planet, there are innumerable places where one can bask in that elusive peace that one so desperately seeks. Closer home, our country takes pride in being bestowed with nature’s choicest gifts. Snow laden peaks of Leh, serene backwaters of Kerala, sand dunes of Rajasthan, sun-kissing beaches of Orissa and lush verdure of Arunachal Pradesh are just a few examples among many which keep beckoning the nature lovers to lose themselves in the natural embrace.
 
With life being on an accelerated autopilot for most these days, travelling to places like these work as soothing balm on frayed nerves. They offer an opportunity to an individual to realign the perspective in one’s life, and to acknowledge and appreciate the magic, that is nature.
 
Interestingly, a big section of travel enthusiasts fuel their passion to know a place completely by living and closely experiencing the character of the place. And its people, its history and its culture broadly define the character of any place. A ruin of an old fort or a palace, unique architectural style of the buildings, various museums housing memories from the past and light-and-sound shows giving a peak into the bygone eras - speak and educate a lot about the place as it stands today. Often an elderly owner of a bookstore, situated at the end of a quaint little street, is able to divulge a lot about the city, which may not be found chronicled anywhere. Sometimes an impromptu conversation with a native in a café makes all that difference in understanding a place. Taking a stroll down a busy street gives a genuine glimpse of the things that define the place; one just needs to train the eye for the same. One aspect, which surpasses everything else when it comes to partaking a slice of a particular place is its traditional authentic cuisine. Thought some signature dishes of places have crossed the geographical boundaries yet they taste the best in their respective native places that lend the true genuineness to them.
If a long break doesn’t seem like a possibility there is always scope for some short getaways which one needs to take in order to break the monotony of the routine. Whether one spends that time exploring the destination or lying lazily next to a brook enjoying the music that nature has to offer - travel nurtures and nourishes body, mind and soul.
In Saint Augustine words, ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only a page.’
श्रद्धा सुमन
कभी अकेला पा घेर लेता है यादों का मेला मुझे
सोचती हूँ कैसा होता आज अगर होता तुम्हारा साथ साथ में
देती हूँ मन को दिलासा यह कह फिर, जितना मिला, मिला तो
एक उदाहरण है उस ऊँचाई का और उस-से जनित एक उद्देश्य भी
ढूँढती हूँ वो सुकून वो अपनापन कुछ छोटी बड़ी चीज़ों में
कुछ साथ बिताए लम्हों में और छोटी छोटी बातों में
शायद हो पाये उस स्पर्श की थोड़ी अनुभूति फिर से
शायद पा सकूँ तुम्हारे आशीर्वादों की लड़ी फ़िर से एक बार
बेसन के वो लड्डू जो तुमसे बेहतर कोई बना न सका
सबसे छुपा कर चार और डाल देती थीं तुम उस डिब्बे में
तुम्हारे प्यार और आशीर्वाद की अभिव्यक्ति ही तो थी
पहुँच जाती थी जो मुझ तक बिना कुछ कहे सुने भी
एक अनुपम सुख का अनुभव करतीं थीं तुम शायद
तभी तो अपने हिस्से की खीर भी हमें खिला देतीं थीं
बादाम की वो कुछ गिरियाँ जो तुम प्यार से देतीं थीं
वो चंद गिरियाँ ही बहुत थीं तृप्त कर देने को हम सब को
अनेकों बेड़ियों से बद्ध रहा तुम्हारा सम्पूर्ण जीवन
पर अपनी सादगी सरलता से कर दिया नतमस्तक उन्हें भी
अपने कर्म और धर्म के प्रति सदा तत्पर और सजग रहीं तुम
रिश्तों को इतना सींचा कि हो गए परिभाषित वे भी फ़िर
नहीं हैं मोहताज मन के भाव और उदगार शब्दों के
कैसे सिमट सकता है कुछ असीम, शब्दों की सीमाओं में
मन से कुछ श्रद्धा सुमन समर्पित कर रही हूँ तुम्हें
शायद पहुँच जाएँ तुम तक, हो हवा के झोंके पे सवार
What's Brewing ? Rice Idli
Rice (Sona masoori) : 3 cups
Urad dal : 1 cup
Poha : ½ cup
Salt : to taste
Oil : to grease the idli moulds
Wash rice and dal and soak them separately in sufficient water. After 8-10 hours grind them separately. I grind dal first and while the dal is getting ground, I add poha to the soaked rice so that poha flakes also get tender. The ground paste should be very smooth and of flowing consistency. Mix dal and rice pastes together, add sufficient water to get the desired consistency, add salt and mix it well. Cover the lid and keep it for fermenting. Make sure that the vessel has sufficient space for the fermented batter, otherwise it will overflow.
I usually soak rice and dal in the morning so that I grind them in the evening and keep them for fermenting overnight. The batter is ready early in the morning. However, during winters one needs to take extra care of this batter so that it ferments properly. It needs much more heat than what the milk needs to set into curd. I would say, it actually needs as much clothing as an individual needs - so some woollen and a blanket in the heated room. I am not exaggerating when I say that you can actually consider keeping the vessel of batter next to where you sleep with as much layers as you are having to keep yourself warm. Usually in winters, the batter will get ready for the lunch instead of for breakfast.
Open the lid and just give a little shake to the container, so that the top layer mixes well with the underneath one. Do not mix vigorously with ladle. The upper portion is the best for making idlis. Pour two cups of water in the idli cooker and keep it on the stove. In the meantime, grease the idli moulds and pour batter in them. Once the water has started boiling, reduce the flame to simmer. Now place the idli stand with all the filled moulds in the cooker and cover it with its lid. The whistle will start blowing after almost 10-12 min which indicates proper steaming of the idlis.
Open the lid and take the idli stand out. Let it be in that state for sometime till the idlis are sufficiently cool that you can touch the plate with bare hands. Use a sharp spatula to remove idlis from the moulds. You will feel the idlis are spongy yet their formation is perfectly intact.
Serve them with MTR chutney powder, coconut chutney and piping hot sambar.
Note :
Do not steam the idlis in microwave, the idlis will never be as soft and smooth as they are when steamed in idli cooker.
Do not steam the idlis on high flame, the whistle will start blowing early but the inside of the idlis would remain uncooked.
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