Monday, February 28, 2011

From Ramayana - Give your spouse's words a thought

This is the first time I am touching the great Indian epic Ramayana on my blog. I am surprised that it had not occured to my mind over the last five years of blogging. Anyways, 'Better late than Never'.

I googled for the mini version of Ramayana and found this page:

There must be many more; Pick one of them and read through when you find time.

For non-Indians or people who have not had a chance to read the Ramayana completely, here are some details :

  • Ramayana is the story of Lord Vishnu in the incarnation of King Rama, the ruler of Ayodhya.
  • Ramayana was written by Valmiki with the blessings of the divine for the people of the world to learn life.
  • Ramayana has innumerable sub stories and very interesting ones at that.
  • There are some enthusiasts who have a thousand views ( both plus and minus) of the various segments of the story. Don't let them bother your flow of thoughts.
  • Every step of the story has some message for you.
  • You cannot master this epic at all in my opinion; if you do, you will never make mistakes and inspite of all difficulties you can still smile.
  • During the course of the story, you will understand that 'Nothing happens by chance'.
I can go on about this, but let me come to the point of the lesson I observed in today's episode of this serial called Vishnu Puranam. The story in progress was Ramayana. In today's episode, it was Seetha's Swayamvara. The Demon King Ravana, a staunch Bhaktha of Lord Shiva believes that he can pick up the Bow ( bestowed with the blessings of Lord Shiva) in King Janaka's court and win Seetha as his bride. He is believed to be the most powerful king of those times.

Ravana is just about to leave his palace to the Swayamvara, when his wife Mandodhari comes to meet him. When she hears his plans, she suggests that he stays away from mortals. Mithila, Lord Janaka's kingdom is a place where mortal beings contest and that Ravana, being the demon king should stay away. When asked why, she explains: Lord Brahma has granted that Ravana will not face death because of Devas or Asuras. He never included mortals and so she was worried; if Ravana is going a step forward to invite troubles from human beings...

King Ravana never expected that his wife would think this way; a lot of times some wise words are left unheard. King Ravana told her that if Devas and Demons can't win him how will mere mortals cause troubles to him? He went his way leaving a trouble-stricken Mandodhari behind.

This scene from the Ramayana is the pivot point of the entire epic. Ravana goes to the Swayamvara inspite of the warning from his wife; doesn't win the match; abducts Seetha from her abode in the forest; invites Rama and his troop over to win over him and Lanka.

If only Ravana had listened or thought through the suggestion from Mandodhari once - just once!!.

As an aside, we all understand that if he had listened to her then there is no Ramayana at all..and there is no way the demon king would have seen death and his atrocious behaviour would have continued for a longer time. So , here we get to understand that 'Everything has a reason' and 'Things happen the way they are meant to happen'.

Still, the message for us here is: Consider what your spouse says. For all you know, may be that is exactly what you need to hear. It may be a complete surprise, but is surely worth considering for a minute before you proceed. This is one moment when you have to give rest to your ego levels.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tendulkar's 98th century and Me!!!!!

If you know me, I am sure you must be amazed at the title of this post. But yes, I am writing this post as the match between India and England is storming in Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. And my Television is ON since the first strike of the match and that's important here. :-) and as much as it is important it is unbelievable.

Like a lot of people, I am a fan of Tendulkar not because I am a fan of cricket but because there have been news instances that Tendulkar's strikes have helped the team's stance wonderfully well in a lot of matches. That's all I knew about cricket and Tendulkar. Who has ever sat through the match completely to see what happens on the field!!!!

I was not expecting a hundred from Tendulkar this time.. Don't ask me why, but I just didn't. Sat watching the match non-judgementally except that I was sure that if Tendulkar does not cross fifty runs in partnership or if he gets out of the game early, then the team will lose. It has been my inexperienced commoner's observation that our batsmen lose confidence if the experienced players get off the field fast.

Always like a lot of others sixes and fours amaze me and I dont like zeroes. I saw a few zeroes in all the six balls in many overs and some ones and Wides and just decided that I might as well do some drawing work in parallel and started off with a nice picture. Ofcourse sent the reports of the match on phone to my husband who was positive that we will do very well, while I was not happy at all.. I thought the match was going very slow.. Who wants to spend all the time in front of TV when all I get to see is ones and zeroes?? Not me and I lost interest.

Then slowly, I began seeing sixes and fours and then continuous big numbers from Tendulkar. The next I know is he has hit 102 runs and that became his 98th international century. The expression on my face is imaginable.. For those who cannot, I'll explain. I couldn't believe the tactic... Okay, I still think a lot in cricket is about chance even though I fully well agree that it is a mind game. Still I gave this incident a careful thought.

Someone who had not hit even a single run in a lot of shots in the beginning, suddenly picked up speed and then his strikes really sky-rocketed.. Cricket enthusiasts may have a hundred and one views on this and expressions on this.. But to me, this was interesting because of a simple point that occured to me.

Stay there and play slow and steady.. What matters is the win in the end and not the interim successes. That is how the game is going now... as far as Tendulkar is concerned and the Indian cricket team is placed.

Look deeper into the logic of this century.. We all are here in this world to play a game. It doesnt matter if you dont win in all the challenges that face you. Just get past them and manage to stay on in the field of life. There will come a time when you can get a chance to strike major wins. Even you do it slow; Even if you are not able to win every challenge; Even if it is not Now; you still can make a century sometime if you play slow, steady and well. Finally, all that matters is that you are still on the field and have done your best at your own pace, in the given circumstances, to strike a win that is important for you. You don't have to break someone else's records. You just have to add to your own wins.

I looked up now from this computer and see two others batting now. Tendulkar is off the field, having done his best bit for the game. If we win the match, he has done very well. If we don't win the match, he still has records of having done his best bit.

So, If you have played well in life, whatever be the end result of the many challenges that you would have faced, you still will have the credits of doing your best bit and that is all matters on the Judgement Day.

Moral: Slow and Steady wins the race; Do your best and that is all matters on the Judgement Day.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Make Pineapple Rasam

When you are more than satisfied eating the pineapple slices and the last few slices seem too much to finish.

This is a very quick and simple dish.
I took an immediate liking to the pineapple slices because I loved the way it was being methodically cut into pieces and packed neatly in plastic cases. We picked up one such box and managed to finish most of the slices.

When we could not eat anymore, I decided to make the best use of the remaining slices. The result was a super-hit and is definitely worth a try.

Pineapple slices, Water, Thoor Dal, Tamarind, Cumin seeds, Asafoetida, Salt, Red Chilli powder, Ghee or oil.

How to make pineapple rasam:

You need three mixtures : Mashed Pineapples in water, Tamarind in water, Boiled Thoor Dal in water. In a frying pan, pour a little ghee or oil. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida; when the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add tamarind water. In two minutes time, add pineapple water, a pinch of red chilli powder and salt to taste. After two more minutes add the Dal soup. Allow the whole mixture to boil for three more minutes at the most. Switch off the flame and add half spoonful sugar. Your rasam is ready.
Now to the details :

Pineapple water: Mash one or two round slices or simpler still, the left over pineapple pieces in one cup of water. Do not grind the slices in a mixie unless you have children and old people in the house who cannot bite the pineapple pieces.

Tamarind water :
Soak a little tamarind in a glass of water, mash it after sometime, strain it to get clear tamarind water.

Dal soup:
If you have boiled Thoor dal that day for any other dish, remember to strain the water off it and use it for the rasam. Else pressure cook a table spoon of dal with lots of water than usual. Once done, mash the cooked dal and the water in it with a beater preferably to get the soup of it in uniform consistency.

Ghee - per your likes/limits or Oil
It really depends on the permissible levels of ghee/oil in your house, based on the cholestrol levels of your family members. I used two tea spoonfuls of ghee.

Asafoetida, Red Chilli powder - 1 pinch
This quantity also really depends on the taste.

Sugar - half a tea spoonful
Sugar mellows down the tartness of the tamarind and the sourness of the pineapple a little.

Salt - Add lesser salt than usual for best results.

Most important point:

Do not add Garlic, coriander or ginger to this Rasam even if you are tempted to.
You will miss the flavor of pineapple if you do. Besides, ginger and pineapple may not go well with your stomach at times.

Pineapple rasam is best when served hot. I cannot guarantee the taste if you reheat the Rasam. If rasam is left over, store it away in the fridge and have it as a cool drink. This rasam is good with cooked raw rice or better still when had as a hot soup drink. It doesnt mix well with cooked boiled rice.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I dont hate cricket!!!

In my life, I never expected that I will actually watch Cricket in intervals and report the score to someone..

I for one person, don't believe in this whole game of cricket. I know your expression, dear cricket fans, but I really cannot sit through fifty overs of the game watching two people play the game amidst the seemingly pointless, unbelievably loudest cheer.

I do admit that there must be something I am missing here, else how will I ever be able to explain the high blood pressure levels, loudest cheers, noises of the highest decibels in some Indian neighbourhoods, when a cricket match is going on?

When my mind started thinking like that, I didnt realize that I unconsciously got pulled into it.

The cricket game as such is very much like contagious laughter... Some where in your life you get drawn into it. I improved from the "I hate cricket" status to "I dont mind watching the last five overs of the game but I cant stand the whole game and most importantly the time that goes for a solid waste along with it".

Presently, my husband is at a work site and is eager to know the score of the World cup match that is happening in Dacca as I type this post. I check the score ( sometimes the game also!!!) and the website once in a while and let him know the details!!! This is something unbelievable in my life!!! I do it with zero detest for the game which is the biggest surprise.

None of what I think about cricket changes in my mind, but still I must admit that I finally did get drawn into the inevitable law of India and its crazy menfolk (womenfolk who can make time for it as well) - Cricket Game. I just decided that I must sincerely admit that I lost the match of not giving in to cricket as a game to someone, and I thought blogger was the best place.

I don't love cricket as yet, but I don't hate it as much as I used to.

India score : 301/2 India vs. Bangladesh at 4:46P.M IST.

Somehow reminded of the advertisement quote in the Bank of India Advertisement : We all change for the ones we love. And I am inclined to think it is true!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My name is E-mail

Hello all,

My name is E-mail. I have become popular among people - young and old - since the past decade. It is interesting to note that a lot of people have so much to talk to their people and I am very happy to carry their messages.

However there are a few problems that no one seems to be lending their ears and eyes to.

  • Wonder why some people try to write unsolicited e-mails to others in the name of making friends?
  • Wonder why some e-mails go unnoticed?
  • Wonder why some e-mails are fully read and taken for granted?
  • Wonder why people trash the well-intended e-mails mistakenly addressed to them, when they should be notifying the sender?
  • Wonder why it is so hard to address some one by name or title or whatever is appropriate in an e-mail?
  • Wonder why people cant take two seconds longer to sign their name or initial at the close of an e-mail?
  • Wonder why people do not understand that chain e-mails in the name of religion or luck are still a set of bits - zeroes and ones so to speak?
  • Wonder why people tend to misjudge the power of associations that e-mails can make or break?
  • Wonder why people forget ettiquettes when writing an e-mail?
  • Wonder why people dont write e-mails themselves and are happy to see one addressed to them?
  • Wonder why people live a life around e-mails and still act like they don't have time for one?

Wonder if people really care?

I, the e-mail medium, am very tired of wondering about the people entities and their behavioral patterns on emails.. What is it that people want in/from life?

Why is it so tough to understand this basic truth ? : Use e-mail with some respect and courtesy for time, emotions, energy and effort of the sender or recipient. I am a medium that has been discovered to improve the speed of message transfer between places across the globe. Don't you think I deserve to be treated with some care and concern for everyone's time and effort? I think so.

With fervent hopes that this message will reach at least a few people, I sign off.

Thanks and Regards,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

There is lots to do - TILTD syndrome!!!!

I am seriously ill with the T-I-L-T-D syndrome...

Here are the symptoms - applies to most people at all times and all places as far as I can comprehend:

  • There is a lot to do and to be finished and to be got done and to be done with and to complete.
  • You dont know where to start and are already waiting for them all to be closed as fast as possible.
  • Your mind wanders to hobbies and interests when you know you cannot afford time for them all.
  • You work so much and miss your meal timings or dont work at all and do nothing but eat all the time.
  • You are just bored with the thought of the load.
  • Last, but not the least, you wish you had the help of a genie who would get everything done for you at work or home.

Yes the thought that there is so much to do often weighs heavily on us and makes us tired more than the fact that all of it can be done one after another.

I have so much to write on my blog and have not started at all. That is the reason for this post.. An explicit admittal of the fact that I am too heavy with the observations around and that I have not taken time to put it all out here.

The TILTD syndrome has creeped into my home chores and my job hunt as well. I was away in India last month and so still dealing with the after-math of a trip to India in many ways...

Surprised that I had just used a checklist to deal with the T-I-L-T-D earlier when I had a work place to go to and with so much to do at work, I still made time for my blog posts.. Its just an observation and I hope to be able to get back to my February thoughts for all of us to read.

Here are a few ways I can think of to deal with T-I-L-T-D syndrome:

  • Start somewhere, like I just did!!!!.No one else can do it for you. If so, you would have already delegated the work!!!
  • Start doing what you feel like than going by what is important in your view point. Important things sometimes are very boring or frightful or lengthy to even think of. Later you can go by priorities.
  • Write all that you need to do, on paper. Make a list and work by it. Often people tease me for this but it has worked well for me always.
  • When things just seem too much, take time for a coffee or a casual read. [It doesnt sound practical, but it worked well for me last week. I spent the entire morning on the internet with much to do around me, but the afternoon went well for me. I managed to close a lot of what I wanted to do.. ].
  • Give yourself the liberty to take rest when you must!!!!! No one is going to reward you for ending up in the hospital because you over-worked!!!
  • Dont force yourself unless you are a doctor and it is a life-death situation that you are dealing with.
  • Pray, Pray and Pray for strength.

Simple... So am going back to face my busy day head-on. It is just a lesson that I wanted to share. When T-I-L-T-D syndrome hits, just acknowledge it and deal it well.


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...