Sunday, December 25, 2011

Little pearls of wisdom

Yesterday, we were dining at a restaurant. I was busy trying to think how the cook managed to flop the usually excellent "Adai". I mean, even to flop some dish, there has to be a way.. What I expected on my plate was the usual South Indian delicacy called Adai, made of grams, rice and lentils with typical  flavoring that South Indians cant live without. I was thinking of the excellent adai I made at home earlier that week...

While I was trying to munch the adai on my plate, I couldnt help looking at my husband's expression on the Pongal he was eating... He also said something about the Pongal that we ate at home earlier that week..

Our thought lines stopped right where they were, as we heard this line : Cut the Past and Shut the Future.

It was from a little girl at the next table.. She was telling her mother to cut the past and shut the future in some context.. I turned to look and saw a six year old or may be seven years at the maximum, saying this mega pearl of wisdom..

And here we were at thirty plus, thinking about the last week's Adai and Pongal that were better than what we were eating then... The same translates to many things. Often we live in the past or think about the future and never stop and cherish the present...

How very important it is afterall to Shut the future as it is not NOW and cut the past as it is not NOW again!!!

Although the food didn't get a pass mark last evening, the mega pearl of wisdom got an 'Outstanding' grade. I hope to be able to stick to the rule of shutting the future and cutting the past.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

From Bitter Gourd...

Of course, the title seems like I am going to write a recipe with Bitter Gourd... May be I can write.. but the idea today is what I realized when I cooked bitter gourd curry yesterday.

Okay, for beginners or people who can never think of bitter gourd even on paper, I must let you know that it is quite an art to make this interesting vegetable to suit your taste. Bitter Gourd as the name has it, tastes bitter, so much so, not many people would like to eat it. Now, one truth about dishes that are less tasty is that they are all healthy for the body's function. So, the dutiful home maker that I thought I was, decided to make bitter gourd curry yesterday.

A big achievement for anyone who is cooking is to ensure that the vessel is empty after the meal, meaning everyone likes the dish so much that nothing is left for the next meal or tomorrow. Honestly, I think that is when everyone has had a really good meal. Now with this aim, to cook bitter gourd was really a challenge for me.

Here is what I did to reduce the bitterness from the very very fresh bitter gourd that we bought from the market the day before..

1. Cut bitter gourd into small pieces and soak it in salt water.
2. Then, drain off the water and soak the same into tamarind water.( Make tamarind paste and add a little water into it.)
3. Then drain off the tamarind water and cook it as usual.
4. When the vegetable is 3/4th cooked, add a little more tamarind paste and let it cook completely...

All the while, in the kitchen I was wondering why I must try so much to change the property, the bitterness, that is so natural of the vegetable... Isn't like trying to change someone's nature?? and will it work?? and it seemed pointless to buy a vegetable that tastes bitter and then take so much measures to ensure that it tastes less bitter.... ( Like we switch on the Air conditioner to feel cold conditioned air and then wrap ourselves in thickest of blankets to feel warm.. I've never understood this either..)

After all these, when the curry came to the table, I was waiting to see everyone's reaction..Everyone smiled, took one helping of the veggie and then when I offered a second helping politely refused.. :-) People get very polite when things don't taste too well, after all the efforts, you see..When I sat down to eat after serving them, I realized that the bitterness was definitely lesser than it would have been otherwise, but the curry did taste bitter.

Then I recalled someone telling me... Don't try to change anyone or anything from the basic nature.. It just won't help.. You can only do your best, but change must happen from within and is totally out of your control. So very true... This bitter gourd cooking session reminded me of this big lesson. Often, I realize the stress in life for most of us, is because we think we are in capacity to bring about a change in the other person or that we are right and so have the right to think in the best interest of the others... but the truth is Change cannot be brought about with one person's effort. It has to be from within the other person's mind as well.

Let's take the bitter gourd lesson: Bitter Gourd will taste bitter. It is best to accept it as it is... We can do as much as possible to adapt it into our meal, and we must know some bitterness is good for health.If we still cant handle the bitter taste, we can just say a simple 'No' to the vegetable.

Same goes with people's minds as well!!!! We cannot change people. We should be able to accept people as they are. We can try to adapt to an extent, and we must know that in some way, their trait is also needed for our world..If we can't handle them, we can keep a safe distance from them.


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