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Mouthpiece #56


Vibha Sharma

August 5 · Issue #56 · View online
Weekly digest of Vibha Sharma

Paradoxical or what?
न बाँधो इस अनवरत उन्मुक्त उड़ान को
समय की बेड़ी से इसे सरोकार ही क्यों हो ?
आंतरिक संयम को बाहरी चर्या क्यों,
मन के भावों को शब्दों का बाना क्यों ?

शायद कभी क्षितिज को न छू पाऊँ,
शायद कभी सबसे ऊँचा न उड़ पाऊँ,
शायद क्षमता की सीमा में बंध जाऊं,
पर मन की स्वछंदता को क्यों न पाऊँ |

लौट कर आऊँगी अपने घरोंदे पर फिर भी,
विस्तृत आसमान अधिक अपना सा लगे तो भी |
मन की एक तार काया के बंधनों से है जुडी,
चाहे बाकी सब अपने आशियाँ में हैं सिमटी |

This verse that I wrote a couple of years back, often comes to my mind whenever I introspect or rather open my eyes inwards. I do see myself as a free spirit that soars beyond all borders and boundaries, that cruises in a trans like peaceful state and to whom all restraints, whatsoever, are unknown. I can actually feel like a bird with wings wide open gliding calmly, propelled by soothing wind. These are the phases when I try to just observe, experience and assimilate what life brings through its various waves. There is no hurry to reach anywhere or desire to accomplish anything. What is and what has been - are pretty much what need to be. Though on surface I remain completely calm and steadfast, I know in the inside I am constantly trying to understand the warps and wefts of incessant thoughts.
Then there are times when I want to move fast, even faster than how the time does. During these times I want to see more, explore more, try more and do much more. There is a strong urge to accomplish something that I set my eye on, to learn more that gives me some more satisfaction of trying something new, to understand the world a little bit more as long as the required faculties are cooperating and similar such desires. Surface tranquility remains intact even during these phases but the mind is constantly at work trying to derive some more from every moment.
It so feels that I am actually riding a fountain of energy and enthusiasm during the latter phase.
I often used to wonder, isn’t it a classic paradoxical and self-contradictory situation? But as I am adding years to my life and as I am going through more of these phases which may not always be alternating, I know one thing for sure that I am progressively learning to acknowledge and greet each of these phases fairly. I have started enjoying the uniqueness of both equally rather than resisting one for another. It is in fact, feeling like I can entertain them or rather they can entertain me as a viewer. I can watch them come and go without hanging sharp hooks on either.
On Raksha-Bandhan
Came across this beautifully written poem by Prasson Joshi, so sharing it here:
बेहेन अक्सर तुमसे बड़ी होती है,
उम्र में चाहे छोटी हो,
पर एक बड़ा सा एहसास लेकर खड़ी होती है,
बेहेन अक्सर तुमसे बड़ी होती है,
उसे मालूम होता है तुम देर रात लौटोगे,
तभी चुपकेसे से दरवाज़ा खुला छोड़ देती है,
उसे पता होता है की तुम झूट बोल रहे हो,
और बस मुस्कुरा कर उसे ढक देती है,
वो तुमसे लड़ती है पर लड़ती नहीं,
वो अक्सर हार कर जीतती रही तुमसे,
जिससे कभी चोट नहीं लगती ऐसी एक छड़ी है,
पर राखी के दिन जब एक पतला सा धागा बांधती है कलाई पे ,
मैं कोशिश करता हूँ बड़ा होने की,
धागों के इसरार पर ही सही ,
कुछ पल के लिए मैं बड़ा होता हूँ,
एक मीठा सा रिश्ता निभाने के लिए खड़ा होता हूँ,
नहीं तो अक्सर बेहेन ही तुमसे बड़ी होती है,
उम्र में चाहे छोटी हो, पर एक बड़ा सा एहसास लेकर खड़ी होती है |

What's cooking? Rava Idli
जैसा देस वैसा भेस  (‘Jaisa des vaisa bhes’) When in Rome, do as Romans do. I would rather modify it to जैसा देस वैसा खाना  ('Jaisa des, vaisa khaana’) - When in Rome, eat what Romans eat. I don’t know about Rome but happily adopted this when we were in Bangalore. It is in fact a great way to make use of the local produce as well. Coming to Rava idli now. Idli’s various avtaars were absolutely unknown to me before Bangalore became our home for almost seven years. I especially liked a good number of options for healthy, light and not very expensive breakfast options that are available at almost every other corner throughout the city. I think this is true about most of the South Indian cities as well. There in one of the Darshini hotels we ordered Rava idli for the first time and there was no looking back post that. It immediately got an entry in my 'to try dishes’ that day itself. I checked with some of my friends for the exact proportions and ingredients. After many iterations over the years, I have come up with the following recipe which gives consistent results every single time. This usually works as a handy option when nothing else comes to mind. Moreover, it can be prepared quickly as one is spared of soaking and grinding part of the regular rice idlis.
Rava : 1 cup
Curd/ Sour buttermilk : 1 cup
Cashews : 7-8 (coarsely broken)
Carrot : 1 (grated) (optional)
Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
Chana dal : 1 tsp
Oil : 2 tsp (plus to grease the idli mould)
Eno fruit salt : ½ tsp
Curry leaves : 7-8 (coarsely torn)
Salt : to taste
In a big pan take oil. Add mustard seeds, chana dal, cashews and curry leaves to it. Let the seeds splutter and the other ingredients get golden brown in colour. Add grated carrot to it and fry for 2 minutes. Now put rava in the pan and roast it at low flame for 5 minutes. Let it cool down for half an hour or so. Add curd/ buttermilk to the rava. If curd is being used, some water needs to be added in order to get the desired consistency. Usually with buttermilk, no extra water is required. Add salt to the whole mixture and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Grease the idli moulds first and when the idli cooker is ready with water boiling in it, add eno salt to the rava mixture. (There must not be any time gap between adding eno and putting the filled mould in the ready idli cooker). Mix well and start filling the idli moulds with the batter. Steam the idlis for 10-12 minutes or till whistle from the cooker becomes persistent. Take the mould out and let it cool down before taking out the idlis.
I prefer to serve rava idlis with potato sagu (mildly spiced potato curry).
Potatoes : 4-5 (medium sized)
Oil : 2 tbsp
Hing: ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
Chana dal : 1 tsp
Cumin seeds : 1tsp
Salt : to taste
Red chilli powder : ½ tsp
Turmeric powder : ½ tsp
Green chillies : 2 in no.
Curry leaves : 7-8 (coarsely cut)
Coriander leaves : 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Boil and peel the potatoes. Let the potatoes cool down, cut them in cubes or just break them in chunks. Take oil in a pan and warm it up a little. Now add hing to it, followed by cumin seeds, mustard seeds and chana dal. Once the seeds splutter, add salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Mix well and add potatoes to it. You may mash some potato cubes at this time. Now add 2 cups of water and let it boil. Add green chillies, curry leaves and reduce the flame. After about 30-35 min, the gravy will get thicker and consistency would be perfect for the idlis. If it is too runny, then mash some more potatoes to get the desired thickness. Turn off the gas and garnish the potato sagu with chopped coriander leaves. 
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