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Mouthpiece #51


Vibha Sharma

May 20 · Issue #51 · View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

Me and My Kindle...
Me and My Kindle.
It has been over a year since Kindle came into my life. Initially I was super excited about it as it instantly became an epitome of instant gratification of the desire to read a particular book. Just a few clicks and one can get the pleasure of seeing the book downloading within a few seconds. It also gave me the privilege to switch among various books, which, of course, is possible with print books too but then one needs to make the effort to look where one left that book after the last reading. For people like me who are already knocking at the door of senility since long ago (or vice versa), sometimes this becomes a big challenge in itself and the urge to pick that book just fades away without leaving any remembrance even.
So anyway, the love at first sight flourished within the initial couple of months so much so that we both were inseparable and what was kindle for others got christened as ‘Kindie’ by me and for me. But no matter what or who it is, the feeling of euphoria is never ever lasting. I started missing my physical books and their supporting troupe - bookmarks, act of scribbling some notes with pencil, desire to underline some significant portions of the text and so on. Well, one can argue that all this is possible in a much more sophisticated way with kindle too but old habits die hard (and sometimes one doesn’t want them to die anyway).
Oh well, who can resist the magic of nostalgia? Soon enough I picked a couple of books and satisfied my urge to turn pages the traditional way, sticking a pretty magnetic bookmark between the pages and writing on the sides of the book to my heart’s content. This continued for a few months but I was not unaware that my devotion towards my Kindie was fizzling away when one fine day I picked it up to read one of the books that I had left midway on it. I opened its flap to be greeted by an ominous silence, the expected message ‘Waking up…’ was nowhere to be seen on the screen rather a dull white screen kept staring back at me. It was almost as if my child was deeply offended and was not talking to me. I tried switching it on and it just would not respond. Even after pushing the button to its maximum limit, rather much beyond it, and silently praying for it to wake up, it simply refused to listen to any of my entreaties. But my tech-savy son offered some help and suggested that I put it on the charger for a few hours as it is deeply discharged, which I interpreted as ‘deeply hurt’. Though the signs (which were actually none on my Kindie) were not so promising still I earnestly wanted his solution to work. I put it on the charger and tried not to look at it every other second. Though I was doing all I could to distract my mind from what was going on with my Kindie, only I know (and now perhaps you all can understand) how miserable I felt during that time which almost seemed like limitless. But no, my reliable Kindie had not given up on me, it flickered a bit and woke up as if nothing had happened. Was I happy? Oh I was exhilarated beyond words. At that moment I realized how much had I missed it in my life. I thanked God and thanked Kindie for coming back to me.
Now coming to the main issue, is it a battle between convenience/comfort and feel good feeling? I realised it is actually not, they both can co-exist cordially. It was just that my relationship with Kindie had experienced a typical sine-wave curve which is so natural in every kind of relationship whether it is with one’s spouse, friend or any animate/inanimate creature/object.
While I have brought up this sine-wave phenomenon here, let me fully digress to explain it a little more in detail. I think any relationship goes through the following three stages -
Stage 1 (the high crest of the wave) - We first get a feeling that the other person is too good for me, I should do my best to be worthy of his/her affection or attachment. During this stage we tend to get awed by everything positive about the person and the relationship.
Stage 2 (the deep trough of the sine wave) - We gradually start getting a feeling that actually I am too good for the other person. What did he/she actually do to deserve me? We are usually overwhelmed by all that is not up to our expectations during this phase.
Point to be noted here is that one keeps oscillating between Stage 1 and Stage 2 and moves to the following stage only when one is completely ready.
Stage 3 (a static line after having experienced a few/many crests and troughs) - This is the best stage which I call the stage of wisdom when we make peace with the fact that neither me nor the other person is out of this world, we all are humans with our unique idiosyncrasies, strengths and vulnerabilities. This is the stage when we learn to accept the other person as he/she is and also learn to look and acknowledge our own follies and absurdities.
The fun part of living life is to recognize at which stage of this sine-curve are we presently working and to enjoy how the pattern works so predictably every single time. Just ride the wave because how many times one gets to be at the top of the crest or at the bottom-most part of the trough, or at the peaceful (no variations) stage?
Coming back to Kidie and Me, I think we are going strong and I do feel that we have already reached stage 3 :) 
What's frying in the kitchen?
What's brewing (err.... frying) in the kitchen?
Ingredients - 
Urad dhuli : 1 cup
Rice flour : 2 tbsp
Onion : 1 medium (finely chopped)
Green chillies : 2 (finely chopped)
Curry leaves : 10-12 (coarsely torn)
Asafoetida : ¼ tsp
Red chilli powder : ¼ tsp
Coriander powder : ½ tsp (chopped into thin slivers)
Cocounut : 2 inch
Salt : to taste
Wash and soak urad dal in two cups of water overnight. Remove excess water in the morning and grind it to a coarse paste. It should not be watery (a quick test for right consistency : put a spoonful of batter on your palm and it should retain its shape on your palm) There is no way one can salvage the situation if it is already too runny so make sure, you add just sufficient water to grind the dal. Let it rest for 3-4 hours (in refrigerator during summer). Now add rice flour, onion, coconut, green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt and mix well. In a pan heat up the oil and then reduce the heat to medium high.
Keep 1 cup of water close by to give shape to the vada. With fingers of your right hand, smear some water on your left palm. Put a spoonful of batter on your left palm, give it the shape of a vada by pressing it gently and making its edges smooth. Now with wet index finger of the right hand, make a hole in the centre. Dip fingers of the right hand in water, transfer the vada onto these fingers and gently slide the vada in the oil. Turn its sides at regular intervals so that it is nicely done.
• Rice flour will give extra crispiness to the vadas.
• You need to smear your fingers and palm with water in order to handle the batter - giving it the desired shape, transferring from one hand to another and sliding it into the oil. Do not use oil for this purpose, it just makes it super oily and messy (can’t forget that disaster).
Serve them hot with sambhar, coconut chutney and tomato ketchup. 
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