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Mouthpiece #53


Vibha Sharma

June 17 · Issue #53 · View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

My elixir of life...
Over the years I have realised that nature inspires me in many more ways than one and I feel at peace just soaking the outdoors with an aware mind. It brings in me the realisation and the perspective of being a tiny part of something so grand, so magnificent. Mountains, rivers, tall trees, large expanse of verdure, dry fallen leaves, bright hued flowers, constantly changing canvas of sky, oh, just thinking about them fills my heart with gladness. While every single element of the nature is uniquely awe-inspiring, it is the rain that surpasses everything else for me. Quite strangely rain makes me get in touch with myself. I feel that I am in direct contact with the divine power as something so pure from high up there is reaching me completely unadulterated, which I can touch, see and feel. It makes me dreamy, it makes me introspective, it completes me in many ways, it is my confidante and a friend extraordinaire.
I like to believe that there is some connection much deeper and more powerful with this natural phenomenon.

क्यों वो ख़्वाब दिखाए तुमने
कि जब बुलाऊँगी तो आओगे तुम
क्यों वो उम्मीद जगाई तुमने
कि छोड़ोगे न साथ मेरा तुम

टूट गए वो मेरे ख़्वाब सब
छूट गयी वो उम्मीद भी तब
कोई आहट भी न पाई मैंने
साथ जब न निभाया तुमने

पर शायद आई होगी याद मेरी
तभी तो सुध ली तुमने मेरी
दी थी सुबह दस्तक तुमने जब
सपना ही हो जैसे वो सब

वो काली उन्मुक्त घटाएँ
वो शीतल तेज़ हवाएँ
बारिश की वो सर्द बौछारें
पल भर में मन को लुभायें

सबसे अनूठा अंदाज़ तुम्हारा
काली घटाओं का प्रभाव निराला 
बूंदों का वो संगीत है प्यारा
शीतल हवाओं का भी साथ न्यारा

शायद रूठ गए थे सब मुझसे
पूछा होता हाल तो मुझ से
क्या कह कर बताऊँ तुमको ये
कि मीत मेरे तुम अंतर मन के

Reading time...
I can hardly remember the last time I laid my hands on a seriously ‘unputdowanble’ book. Just happened to pick 'The kicking the bucket list’ while browsing the displayed books in a bookstore. Memory of those summer holidays came rushing back to me when reading unstoppably had become the routine for those two months. Well the minor difference this time was that it was kids’ summer vacation but I guess, I still managed to borrow a couple of days from the bygone years.
I could relate to the plot as there was a very vague similarity with the situation and the book brings home one point quite categorically - 'mum knows the best’. She surely does and sometimes even transcending the limitations of lifetimes.
Read 'Option B’ by Sheryl Sandberg. She talks about her journey as she copes with grief post her husband’s sudden death. She gives some great tips as she works on the proposal recommended by one of her friends - “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.” It does get a little repetitious sometimes but overall a fine read.
Read “Looking for the Rainbow’ by Ruskin Bond. It is always a delight to read him, so refreshing and so heart-warming. In the book he reminisces about the little time that he got with his father. It could easily have been a sad narrative but he paints his memories beautifully with happy and cheerful colours.
A small slice from the book…
Boyhood plans are wonderful things. They seldom materialise - time and circumstances spoil the best of plans - but it’s good to make them, and to keep making them, for where there is a plan, there is a hope, and, who knows, sometime a plan, a dream, might come to fruition. 
Kitchen tales...
Garlic-pepper rasam
Over the years, I have seriously worked on perfecting this simple yet integral accompaniment of a South Indian meal. I do feel that now I can freeze this recipe for posterity.
Ripe tomatoes : 3 (medium sized)
Tamarind : size of a tennis ball 
Garlic : 4 cloves (pound)
Curry leaves : 8-10 (coarsely torn)
Pepper : ½ tsp (preferably freshly ground)
Rasam powder : 1 tsp 
Water of boiled toor dal : ½ cup
Coriander leaves : 2 tbsp (chopped)
Salt : to taste

For tempering:
Ghee : 1 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing) : ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
Red chillies : 4 

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and place them in a microwave safe container. Pour water just enough to cover them and heat them up for 3-4 min in the microwave. Once they are cool enough, remove the loose peel of the tomatoes and run the whole mixture through a sieve to get the extract. Add to it tamarind decoction, which is prepared by boiling tamarind in 1 cup water. Add the boiled water of toor dal to the mixture. (Usually rasam is cooked along with sambhar so just take ½ cup of water from the boiled toor dal that is to be used to prepare sambhar). Add to this mixture pound cloves, curry leaves and salt let the whole mixture boil for 10-15 min. Add pepper and rasam powder (I use MTR rasam powder), mix well and turn off the gas stove. Do not cook after putting pepper and rasam powder.
Take ghee in a small pan and put hing in it. Add mustard seeds to it and let them splutter. Now add red chillies and fry them for half a second. Pour this tempering in rasam and cover the lid of the pan containing rasam so that the flavours are absorbed nicely and evenly. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve it with rice. 
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