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Showing posts with label dusshera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dusshera. Show all posts

Monday, October 10, 2016

Raavan Bhaat ( Happy Dusshera )

It is Dusshera eve and the little voice in my head wants to have a free rein over my thoughts and potentially, any actions originating from them. Now this seemingly harmless voice has got me into trouble quite a few times in the past and hence I was not too keen to listen to it. And I guess neither would you if it keeps popping sacrilegious questions like 'Why do we celebrate the death of a devil who obviously died eons ago ( sometime during in the 'Treta Yug' ? Huh !! ). There are no written records about his life except for a few poetic accounts written by sages who might have been high on 'God-knows-what' substance.'

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

Ingredients -
  • 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
For the spice powder -
  • 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 .

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Durga Puja 2015 (in Bengaluru)

My childhood memories of Durga puja are numerous. Watching the elaborate pandal near my house shaping up over a period of a month or so, the subtle smell of 'gangashiuli' and other winter blossoms in the gradually chilly evening air, the lotus/lily blooming in a nearby pond, the purchase of festive clothes and finally the annual visit by my 'piusi' or my father's sister. Being in Bengaluru I miss all of it. The pandals are just plain and unobtrusive, the only smell that rents the air is that of dust and pollution and buying clothes is no longer fun in a city that is driven by sheer materialism.

Being away from home, one does not have much to do during the puja. Hence we decided to go pandal hopping in the areas nearby Marathahalli. And realized that there is no dearth of pandals in Bengaluru. These are some of the ones I manged to cover -

The above pics were clicked at Sishu Griha school grounds, Near Thippasandra.

Near Kempfort mall, Murugeshpallya.

Sarjapur Outer Ring Road.

The very crowded one at AECS layout.

Some trinkets that I picked up -

Coming to all that was there to eat, I ended up tasting quite a few things like Mangsho kasha luchhi, Chicken kasha luchi, Chicken chaap with paratha, Kolkatta chicken biryani, Chowmein, Dahibara aludum, rasagulla, rasmalai and gupchup. And ended up with the realization that one has to kiss too many frogs before a prince charming actually turns up. A very relevant fairytale that one can only ignore at one's peril.

And no I did not click any food pics coz that is what I do everyday and I badly needed the break. The moment food arrives on the table, I end up taking a shot no matter what. Even my 3 year old excalims "Food has come. Bring Camera. Mama will take photo". Gosh, Am I so hollow that anyone can look through me ? No, I don't want to hear the all too obvious reply.

Finishing up with the pandal hopping spree, I realized that the spirit of Dusshera or Durga Puja is still intact even in this government forsaken city. Though it manifests itself in a very different way, "Maa" still makes her presence felt in the IT city. A big cheers to the Bengaluru crowd for their sheer 'joie de vivre' .

Monday, October 19, 2015

Makeup Essentials for Pandal Hopping !!

Dusshera is here and it is pandal hopping time ! And yet another occasion for the gals and the ladies to doll up. While we all have our own way of doing it, this one is just a simple post for cutting out the clutter and getting the basics in one place, preferably a neat little bag, so that you do not have to turn the house upside down at the last minute.

This is a last minute post and done in a hurry even as I get my own stuff in one place. SO, please excuse any mistakes.

The essentials -

1. Foundation / BB cream -  One needs to be selfie ready all the time. Hence a little something to brush away those imperfections. Take a tiny amount and dot around places that need most attention, i.e., undereyes and around the nose and mouth. Blend it with light fingers/sponge/brush. Layer a little more if some areas still need coverage. Finally do not forget to blend at the jawline and the hairline. And yes, apply some of it one the neck as well.

2. Pressed powder - This helps the makeup stay longer as it absorbs all the excess oil. Especially important if using eye makeup or a glossy lipstick as it prevents bleeding/feathering.

3. Lip liner & Lipstick - Line your lips with the liner and use a white eyeliner to subtly highlight the cupid's bow. Then take the liner and fill in. That helps hide the pigmentation which is common among Indian women, the lipstick also last longer and does not bleed. Go for reds and fuchsias as they are best for getting the festive look.

4. Eyeliner & Mascara - Use a waterproof liner as it might get sweaty inside the pandals and you do not want to look like a panda on a religious mission. Instead of trying and failing to get a straight line from the inner corner to the outer one (and making a mess in the process), try doing it from the middle of the eyelid to the outer corner. Then join with another line from the inner corner to the middle one. Do not forget the mascara for the wide-eyed look. Go for a transparent one if black does not fine favor with you.

5. Hair serum - Keeps hair shiny and tangle free. Plus helps a lot with those unruly fly-aways. And it is a must if you planning on using the iron on your tresses.

Apart from that, get all those accessories in one separate bag, preferably teamed up with the respective outfits. DO NOT forget to include the Chaand Baalis or the oversized Jhumkas are a must to glam up that saree or anarkali you are planning to wear.

I guess it is not much. Just some tips to save time and trouble. So, go ahead and enjoy the Puja !!!

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