Raavan Bhaat ( Happy Dusshera )
Or the pensive 'Was Ravan really so bad ?. The poor guy had only kidnapped another man's wife and taken her to another country. Something that can be effectively dealt under Section 360 and 365 of the Indian penal Code.'
Sometimes it borders on the outrageous. 'Where was the feminist lobby when Lakshman lopped off Srupanekha's nose ? For God's sake, she had merely indulged in some harmless adam-teasing !! In a country where women are burnt with acid, stabbed or even mowed down for repulsing the advances of certain men and these men then go scot-free, why was this 'khap'/'panchayat' style justice (or rather injustice) meted out to her. Should not they have demanded equal rights for women ? Or sat on a 'dharna' ?
By now you must have understood how dangerous this 'little voice' can become if not squashed in the nick of time. But as it happens more often than not, I ended up listening to it for a wee bit longer than advisable. No, it is not that I am being too soft. Rather it was the 'something' that it kept repeating. Strangely enough, it made a lot more sense than the other thoughts going around in my mind.
'Evil', as it told me, 'resides in each one of us. Each one of us is blessed those ten heads just like the much feared and sometimes revered demon'. And before I could counter it with a 'Whoa, you think I am bonkers ?', it quickly pointed out that the heads are merely symbolic. 'They stand for those ten traits that lead us to the path of evil and the subsequent downfall. Ego, attachment, anger, hatred, fear, jealousy, greed, lust, insensitivity and delusion, all of these ultimately corrupt a person. Hence it more sense for us to pledge to give up a bad habit on this day instead of thronging some overcrowded venue and participate in the burning of a effigy. It is just good money going up in bad smoke !!' it reasoned.
It does make sense, doesn't it ? Pick at least one bad habit that you have been planning to give up. Or, if you imagine yourself to be 'perfection personified' , just think about what has been making you unhappy or dissatisfied in the last couple of days. Once you are able to pinpoint the cause, I am sure you can trace it back to one of these ten evils and take corrective measures to get rid of it. It won't be easy but it will help you avoid bigger pitfalls in the long run.
The little voice has certainly redeemed itself to some extent. Maybe I will be more open to it when it pops around the corner the next time. But for now, let us come to this delicious recipe taken from Vikas Khanna's 'My Great Indian Cookbook'. Named after the demon for it supposedly prohibitive spice content, it is smoking hot, tangy and plain mind-blowing in every sense of the word. No wonder, I had to pair it with some chilled lassi to soothe my screaming palate.
Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 25 mins
- 3 cups cooked Rice (Basmati or any other fragrant variety)
- 1 1/2 tsp tamarind juice ( as per taste )
- 2 tsp powdered jaggery ( as per taste )
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 pinch asafoetida
- 2 sprig curry leaves
- 2-3 dry red chili
- 2 tsp oil
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp channa dal
- 2 tbsp urad dal
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 5-6 red chilis ( you can double the quantity if you can bear the heat )
- 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
Preparation - Dry roast all the ingredients for the spice powder till fragrant. Remove from flame and transfer into a blender jar. Grind into a fine powder.
Cooking - Heat a wok. Add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, red chillis and curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the tamarind paste and powdered jaggery along with 1/2 cup warm water.
Let it boil and then the reduce flame to a simmer. Once it turns thick, add the cooked rice along with the powdered spice and salt to taste.
Toss gently to ensure that the spices get distributed evenly without ever breaking the grains.
Remove from the flame and serve .