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Mouthpiece #41


Vibha Sharma

December 3 · Issue #41 · View online

Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

Walking without...
While the human world is clearly and visibly divided based on gender, possession of resources and similar such criteria, there is another factor which very subtly divides humans amongst those who have lost their loved one versus those who haven’t. One may argue that when death is the ultimate truth of life then there cannot be any home where it hasn’t visited ever. Yes, it is true but here we are talking about the particular departed soul who happens to be one’s anchor, hope or soul mate. The nomenclature and nature of relationship could vary but the commonality is that after his/her loss, one is almost forced to relearn how to live life which was earlier flowing effortlessly with normal ups and downs.
Having lost someone who fits this description is indeed a life changing event and a huge turning point in one’s life, to such an extent that one feels as if one is living a completely different life post that event or rather one has lived different lives in one lifetime itself.
An anchor is seldom visible from above, but it is the one which holds the boat in its place while the boat bobs through high and low waves. Just imagine, what could happen to the boat in the absence of that anchor. With the passing away of that special one, we actually lose a part of ourselves, a fraction of our identity. The spright that was so naturally ours, the carefree laughter, the spirited self seem to just abandon us completely. No happiness seems to bring the absolute completeness from then on, because what brings actual happiness is sharing the joys and jubilations of life with the loved ones. Yes, there are others (in most of the cases) but can one substitute another?
Life has to move on and it does and so do we by getting engrossed in the daily chores, the duties that are expected of us and the regular rhythm but that broken part of the heart keeps making its presence felt from time to time. Nevertheless, there are times when the ultimate wisdom that souls are immortal and the departed loved one is present somewhere in some form - do not bring any solace. There are situations when just witnessing others enjoying the bliss of similar relationships makes you feel gloomy and dejected. There are times when the longing seems to not end ever, when the heart cries for its deep wounds but one continues to carry on as if nothing happened because there is no other option.
Moreover, being brushed by mortality so closely leaves an indelible mark on the persona, the illusion of permanence leaves you for good. The priorities and decisions undergo a substantial shift. The limit to life remains on the mental horizon all the time. One tends to account for the end time in almost all planning.
Those who are fortunate to have been spared from having to learn the language of losing someone can never understand the feeling because there are spaces in our heart which are beyond your reach and which cannot be brought to light, no matter how much anyone tries. You may not understand when I say that when the deluge of emotions overpowers me, I feel famished even after having a full meal, I feel thirsty even after having many glasses of water, I feel tired just after a full night sleep. You may see us phasing out sometime, that is because something must have stirred some memory involving the departed loved one and that makes us somber suddenly. Yes, we do tend to talk about them because that is what we are left with now, there is nothing new that we can ever hope to build with them. Slowly we stop even that, because we reach a point where we realise that the gravity of our feelings can never be conveyed to anyone else. We gradually become more closed, more quiet and often almost silent.
Personally I miss being someone’s daughter, who is a natural recipient of her parents’ unconditional love and affection. I miss telling mummy that my daughter is now as tall as me. I miss inviting her over a dinner of South Indian thali (why, because it has a small story behind it. I remember how you explained at home what a South Indian thali looks like when you came back from Hyderabad after furnishing all the formalities of admission of my elder sister in one of the Engineering Colleges there. At that time, it was hard for me to imagine how a South Indian thali would look like because in my mind the plate on which we eat is called thali in Hindi so what is ‘South Indian’ about it? How I wish you were here to see me arrange those small-bowls/katoris in a thali for that ultimate spread which is called South Indian thali. I even know the names of all these dishes now, not just sambhar and rasam. They are avial, kootu, carrot kosumari, medu vadai and not to forget fried papads.) I miss surprising her with my extra chocolatey cake on her birthday (because you always appreciated whatever I baked). I miss seeing her waving to me till the last minute before my car takes the turn to enter the main road. I want to know how I fare as her student who learnt to make gobhi-gajar-shalgam pickle from the best. I want to see the smile that this year’s newly blossomed surkh(blood red) bouganvilla would have brought to her face. Oh, how I wish I could discuss the pearls of Ramayana with her as are narrated in Manas ke Moti. There is just no end to the moments in a single day when I do not feel the urge to pick up the phone to talk to her or go over to her place and have a chat over a hot cup of tea.
For Daddy, where do I even begin to start, I wonder. There is just so much that I want to share with him since the time when he exited our lives(which was actually so soon that we could not even make a lot of memories). I cannot call him my anchor simply because the time that we got together was way too short and his going away was shock proofed for us (to quite an extent) by our mother. But I have missed the presence of a father especially at every crucial juncture of my life whether it was winning accolades at CSR competition, not making in the first campus placement, walking away to build a separate life with a partner or being a mother. Though the treasure chest now houses just blurry memories of the times spent together, there are moments when I just wish we had him with us for some more years. Quite surprisingly, these days whenever I make any new dish especially a sweet one, I have started missing him. I know how much he would have appreciated my interest in expanding my culinary skills. How I wish I could share my newly acquired knowledge (based entirely on observation without the physical test) of ek-taar ki chaashni versus do-taar ki chaashi with him because he was a chef at heart (though those were the pre-Sanjeev Kapoor times when cooking was not so gloriously associated with men).
Oh well, can there ever be an end to wishes…?
Shabari's Devotion
It is said that the devotion of Shabari was absolute and complete. What is it that makes any devotion complete? She began her journey very simplistically by adhering to a self-set routine of cleaning and tidying up the ashram of Matang Rishi but it was not just that, she ensured that nobody gets to know about her service. So she believed in service, free from any desire of acknowledgement, appreciation or reward. This became the first step on her quest to reach the ultimate. It led her to the Guru - Matang rishi himself and that eventually turned out to be the most significant milestone (the second step) in her journey. Her third stage was when the Guru consecrated her with the mantra to reach God - to focus her energies on Ram-naam and to devote her life to waiting for Ram. Her allegiance to the mantra and her perseverant wait became her fourth step and the her pursuit culminated when she implemented it by offering each and every action (her karma) to the almighty.
This makes her devotion whole and impeccable. To go over it once again - selfless service, arrival of Guru in one’s life, anointment by Guru, absolute resignation to the mantra and continuous perseverance by making every karma an offering to Him. 
What's new in the kitchen? Gud Seviyan
Wheat flour seviyan (available in Khaadi ashrams) : 1 cup
In case it is hard to find these seviyan, use roasted bambino : 1 cup
Jaggery/gud : 1 cup
Cloves : 3
Cinnamon : 2 cm long
Black cardamom : 1 (crushed)
Ghee : 1 tbsp
Water : 2 cups (if using seviyan) or 1-½ cups (for roasted bambino)
Almonds/Cashews : ½ cup (crushed)
1. Take a pan and melt the jaggery in water by heating it. Pass the solution through a sieve once and keep it aside. 
2. Warm up the ghee in a pressure cooker, add cloves, cinnamon and black cardamom and fry for 1 minute. 
3. Add seviyan/bambino and fry in the ghee with the condiments for 1 minute. 
4. Pour the jaggery solution in the cooker now, close the lid and pressure cook it for 1 whistle and 5 min on simmer. 
5. Turn off the gas stove. Let the steam escape on its own. Give it a thorough mix and garnish with nuts. Serve it hot. 
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