Life

Flavors of India

As a inherent foodie I am firm believer in the saying “The way to a man’s heart passes through his stomach“.

I am a travel lover and have travelled a lot since childhood tasted different kinds of cuisine from different states of India. However after long vacations when I used to return home the simple “Daal-Chawal” or as we call it in Marathi “Varan-Bhaat” (Rice with lentil curry) with small amount of pickle at home used to taste heavenly.

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When it comes to food I am not really a health conscious person and love oily,junk or spicy food very much. In my journey throughout India I came to know that each state has it specialities which you should not miss on also alongwith that you should know which food not to order at which place.

Like if you are travelling in South India don’t forget to taste varieties of “Dosas” ( a pancake made from rice flour and ground pulses), “Idlis” (steamed cake of rice, usually served with sambhar), “Medu Vadas” ( a savoury fried snack made from black lentil or urad dal) alongwith the the tasty “Chutneys” and “Sambhars” (spicy lentil curry).

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Similarly if you are travelling in Northern states like Punjab or Himachal don’t forget to taste the “Parathas” (Indian Flatbread) with different kind of stuffings like Aloo (Potato), Gobi (Cauliflower) or even Cheese served hot and  topped with a chunk of butter. Along with that don’t forget to taste “Makai roti” (bread of maize) and “Sarso Saag” (cooked mustard leaves) These are Seasonal available only in winter , I only tasted it once but still miss the taste. Sweet or salted “Lassi” (Yogurt based drink) to quench your thirst.

If you happen to travel through Maharashtra or specially Mumbai do not miss the “Wada-pav” (a deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun), “Misal pav” (a spicy curry usually made of sprouted moth beans with bread bun) or if you have a sweet tooth then you can try “Puran Poli “( Indian sweet flatbread)

Likewise each state or region has its own specialties which have evolved over a period of time and more suitable to weather of that place. Nowadays in most of the cities all kinds of food are available all over India but in my opinion if you want to have the real taste then its best at the place of origin. Also nowadays Indian Chinese is gaining popularity allover India. Hakka or Schezwan Noodles or Rice, Manchurian and Manchow soups can make anybody’s mouth water.

One article would be too small to cover even the major cuisines in India so I have covered only some of my favourites in my next article I will write about the cuisines I tried out side India.

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Life

God is watching

Few years back I saw a movie “Anjaana-Anjaani” (meaning Strangers) in which two strangers meet each other just few days before New years eve while trying  to commit suicide, they decide to fulfill their last wishes and then commit suicide together on New years eve. In this journey of few days they fall in love with each other and finally they jump off the bridge in water but are saved by rescue team and two years later get married.

This movie had a very beautiful song which anytime you hear when you are feeling low or demotivated gives you a feeling of comfort as if someone is always with protecting you, helping you with your burdens. Sharing it below with meaning in english

Dhundhla jaayein jo manzilein
Ik pal ko tu nazar jhuka
Jhuk jaaye sar jahan wahin
Milta hai rab ka raasta

When your destinations become hazy
Look down for a minute
Wherever your head bows down
That is the road to god

Teri kismat tu badal de
Rakh himmat bas chal de
Tere saathi mere kadmon ke hain nishaan
Tu na jaane aas pass hai khuda

You change your destiny
Move ahead with courage
My footprints are with you
You are not aware but God is with you

Khud pe daal tu nazar, Haalaton se haar kar
Kahaan chala re
Haath ki lakeer ko, Modta marodta,
Hai hausla re
Toh khud tere khwabon ke rang mein
Tu apne jahan ko bhi rang de

Look at yourself, Defeated by circumstances where are you heading to..
Even lines of the palm are turned and twisted by courage
Color this world in the color of your dreams

Ke chalta hoon main tere sang mein
Ho shaam bhi toh kya
Jab hoga andhera
Tab paayega dar mera
Uss dar pe phir hogi teri subah
Tu na jaane aas pass hai khuda

I am always with you
Even if it is evening (dark)
Whenever it is dark
You will find my door
On that door will be your morning (start of new day)
Your are not aware God is around you

Mitt jaate hain sabke nishaan
Bas ek woh mitt ta nahin haye
Maan le jo har mushkil ko marzi meri haye

Everybody’s marks are erased
Only one who does not get erased is
One who considers each difficulty as my wish

Ho humsafar na tera jab koi
Tu ho jahan rahunga main wahi
Tujhse kabhi na ik pal bhi main judaa
Tu na jaane aas pass hai khuda,

Whenever you have no companion
I am there with you
I will not leave you even for a single moment
You are not aware God is around you

Life

Karma

Sometime back I read a story of two friends, one was pious individual, strong believer in God, who used to daily pray and visit temples. Second one was alcholic and never said any prayers or went to any temple.

One day while the first one was returning from a temple he stumbled on a stone and fell down and sustained a severe head injury. On the same day while the alcoholic was returning back home he found a Rs 100 note on the road.

Next day when they met each other, they both shared their experiences with each other. Alcoholic said to his friend see you pray daily stay away from all vices still you got hurt and I spend my day drinking and do not pray at all still I got Rs100 note So how do you explain this why did your God do this to you?

First one says let us go to a astrologer he may be able to answer this. So both of them go to an astrologer who draws their kundali (horoscope) based on their date and time of birth and says to the first one yesterday was your doom day, as per the horoscope you could have had life threatening accident but since you survived with only head injury you are really lucky. Your good karma of years has saved you.

Then he turns to other one and says as per your horoscope you were supposed to receive millions of rupees but you only got 100 rupees this is the result of your bad karmas.

In life we see multiple time good people unnecessarily suffering whereas evil people growing their wealth and fame and wonder why is God doing this but sooner or later everyone has to face their karma. We will all get punished for our bad deeds and rewarded for good one. Remember God is watching…..

Life

Tu na jaane aas pass hain khuda (You are not aware, God is around you)

Everytime I went for appearing an examination, before leaving from the house I used to bow down before God and pray for success in exams, many of you must have done the same thing. Before any important event in life we pray to God and seek is blessings. Ever thought why do we do this?

If I have studied hard and prepared very thoroughly am I going to fail if I don’t bow to good ? or the other way round if I have not studied properly, Is God going to suddenly put the answers in my head? no right……. Then what is need to pray?

I once read the answer to this question somewhere, eventhough I am well prepared, while traveling from home to examination centre anything can happen, I may have accident or may get stuck in traffic and may not be able to reach in time or there might be issues with public transport like  strike of drivers etc which might make my reaching there difficult. There are things beyond your control which may disrupt your plans in life to save yourself from such things you pray.

Prayer also gives you peace of mind and helps you improve your concentration which in turn helps you to remember what you have read or studied.

Sometimes inspite of knowing the answers we make silly mistakes or mind becomes blank and we cannot write anything, like once while solving a sum I did not read the question properly and read the coordinates of point as (0,2) instead of (2,2) and went ahead with my calculation after spending an hour in calculation looking at final answer I realised that I have gone wrong somewhere , I checked my calculations again and again but could not find my mistake …..

One and half hour had already passed, half the time of exam and I was struggling with only one question and that too the answer was coming wrong. My hands started trembling, my mind become blank for few minutes I just sat down thinking what to do ? Somehow I got my mental strength and for time being left that question and solved some other question, still I had only attempted questions of 32 marks, passing marks being 40 and less than half hour was left for paper to end.I was doomed to fail in that exam, but something inside me said use whatever time you have don’t give up. As I was trying to find  next easy question to answer I realised my mistake of taking wrong coordinates in the first one and  quickly corrected the same.

Inspite of knowing the answer I had done a silly mistake because of which I panicked, my hands started trembling and my mind went blank. Had I not been able to gather my courage at that time and regain my mental composure in exam, I would not have been even able to attempt other question and would have surely failed.

So just studying and thorough preparation is not enough maintaining your mental composure inspite of anything that goes wrong is equally important for success in exam of life and prayer helps you with that, it gives you a feeling that somebody is always there with you, support you in your low times and you feel as if you are never alone.

Life

Make right choices

In past few months I watched a couple of shows on Indian Television and observed that most of the story lines have one central character mostly female who is very good at heart, nice person with strong moral values,who never does anything wrong or bad with anyone and then there is another negative character who finds ways to trouble or harm this person, but still the good person keeps on tolerating all this and never even raises voice and even if the other person is caught while doing wrong to the first person, the first person immediately forgives and gives him another chance and things continue.  Inherently all the television shows are battle between good and evil wherein after thousands of episodes finally good wins and audience feel happy.

But if we closely look at how these shows are portraying the thoughts, the values of Indian women it feels really sad. Do women really still think that way ? Does being a good person means you have to constantly tolerate all injustice without raising your voice or even feeling bad? Do good people never even get angry?

In one such shows husband is cheating on his wife with one of his colleague who is only after him for money. One fine day he  throws his wife out of home and asks his girlfriend to stay with him. Not only this he finds opportunities to humiliate his wife in front of people.What wife does in such situation????? Instead of taking any legal aid or contacting any NGOs which assist women in need, She says only that girl is culprit, my husband was very nice with me before she came into his life and he really loves me. After repeated insults also she does not understand that her husband is equally wrong, she goes and cleans the household when no-one is inside and takes care of her husband when he is sick. Is this being good or foolish? What are such shows trying to show people even if someone treats you like doormat keep on caring for him and allow him to mistreat you and justify it to you saying he is not bad and loves me very much….

Another show shows a girl praying to goddess and a guy comes and starts beating her from behind with stick, but she does not even notice it as goddess protects her. I am strong believer in god but also believe that “God helps those who help themselves“. If you look closely at idols of Hindu goddesses most of them are shown killing demons, stepping on them. So even god does not ask you to keep on tolerating violence or injustice but teaches to fight against evil forces. Then why can’t we show that  from her devotion she gains strength to fight the evil and strikes him back.

There are many such example of struggle between good or bad in TV shows which portray one character as 100% good and another as 100% bad. But in real world people are not 100% good or bad but a lot of shades in between that. When will these TV shows start portraying more realistic characters ? Create a real picture of 21st century woman who has proved herself equal to men, who may be loving, caring and dedicated to her husband and family but also expects the samething in return from others, does not only keep on giving and giving and giving, but also expects acknowledgement, support and respect from others.

On this whole background it is noteworthy to hear the thoughts of George R. R. Martin writer of best-selling international series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire, which was later adapted into the critically acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones who says that nobody is inherently good or evil, but in the mind of each person there is constant battle between good and bad and its only matter of making right choices.

Life

Beware – Crime knocks at your door

Sometime back while watching television I saw few episodes of shows like “Savdhaan India” ,”Crime patrol” etc which deal with real life shocking crime stories. In many of these cases the criminal was someone very close to the victim maybe a relative or a very trusted friend. Also crime before it occurs leaves lot of signs on the way but the victim fails to notice and save himself. I always used to wander how do the victims trust someone so much miss few suspicious activities of the criminal? Why don’t they see anything wrong? until I become a victim myself.

About a year back I travelled to USA for work and stayed their for few months.I found an ad for roommate on internet and went to see the place with my colleague. I liked the place and moved in quickly, it was a two bedroom house and I had rented one of the bedrooms.

My roommate was nice and very friendly who used to guide me about how take care of myself while in USA. She told me things like anytime you feel that you are unsafe or you face any other issue call 911 and you will get help.On my first travel she came till bus stop and saw that I boarded the right bus and also requested the driver to let me know when my stop comes. Being a vegetarian and not very good cook myself  she sometimes cooked food for both of us. Whenever I used to feel low due to some issues in office she used to console and provide me the moral support. She also warned me about scams wherein people call you and pretending to be police ask about your SSN and say that there is arrest warrant or some fraud in your name and if you do not pay money to them you will be arrested. She told me never to share any information over such calls and not worry about the same also.

In few months she became a good friend and trusted support to me. In short she used to say that I am like her elder sister to her. Lease for that house was till April end and she was planning to travel back to India in first or second week of May so I would have to find a new accommodation by then.

Somewhere after mid February she told me that since the lease is about to end property manager might come any time to check so be careful and since our names are not on lease we may land in trouble, so next month onwards do not go near the mailbox. I will go get the letters when no one else is around and give you your letters. Possiblity of someone catching us while checking mailbox seemed very remote to me, anyways I did not suspect anything major or serious in this so just left this as it is. She used to get everybody’s letters and hand it over.

Things continued happily between us untill last week of lease came and I was not able to find any accommodation for myself. I had posted ad for roommate on Craiglist and sulekha.com for room. My roommate and friend left the house one week earlier for a vacation with friends. Last two days were left in house and still I had no where to go…

And suddenly one morning I got a call from a credit card company saying that you have an outstanding due of around huge amount. I told them I do not have the credit card of that company so no question of dues. Person on the phone asked for last four digits of my SSN. This added to my suspicion that this is some crook who has got my number from ad I posted on internet so I told her I cannot share any details with you, she gave me her customer care no and asked to call for any further details that I needed and disconnected the call.

I was about to ignore this and go on with my usual routine but suddenly somehow I felt let me check the mailbox once that I am about to leave this place in two days better collects letters if any before leaving. I was in for big shock when I saw the mailbox their was a credit card bill lying in my name in the box for a credit card which I never had ……

Now I realised that the call was not a scam I was cheated, I am a victim of financial fraud…..I called the credit card company back and informed about the fraud they verified my details and the address and SSN matched, however emailid was slightly different from my emailid which is why I never got any emails. I came to know that fraud card was applied in month of February and was shipped to my address only so there was no way it was received by outsider. Card was blocked and financial enquiry was initiated.

I was heartbroken, some incidents of past few months flashed before my eyes I was going to apply for credit card from this company but my roommate advised me not to as they charge high APR and have many hidden charges, not to check the mailbox so that I don’t get any bills or any other communication regarding this card. She had no closet so asked for sharing my closet which was good excuse for her to come to my room even when I was not present and access my documents. I was backstabbed by someone whom I trusted more than myself, it was hard to believe.

Angry and hurt I called her and told her about the fraud her reaction was even more shocking she said such wrong charges are credit card companies mistake nothing serious she tried to make me feel that I am wrong in suspecting and pretended to be hurt by my behaviour. I said I am calling the police let them find out the truth and disconnected. After that she and her friends started calling me repeatedly trying persuade me from calling the police using the excuse that I am staying in house lease for which is not in my name so we all will land in trouble. Credit card fraud has nothing to do with lease this was case of identity theft but she was using an excuse to stop me from going to police this added to my suspicion.

I logged a police complaint however did not let her know thinking she may try to destroy the evidence. Year has passed I did not hear anything from credit card company or police. Criminal is roaming free, enjoying her life and I am still under mental trauma and have lost trust on people…..☹️☹️

I would like to urge everyone reading this article to be very careful when dealing with people and trusting someone and know when crime knocks at your door and save yourself.

 

Life

You only live once

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

Few years ago I saw a Hindi movie “Zindagi na milegi dobara” (Meaning-You only get to live once). In this movie three friends take a trip together in which each one chooses a adventure sport which all three of them have to do together. One chooses scuba diving, second one sky diving and third one bull run. In this journey they conquer their fears, mend fences, heal wounds and fall in love with life.

Movie ends with beautiful poem urging us to fall in love with life…..(Shared below for my readers alongwith meaning in English)

Dilon mein tum apni
Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

If you are moving
with an eagerness in your heart,
then you are alive..

Nazar mein khwabon ki
Bijliyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

if you’re moving
with the sparks of dreams in your eyes,
then you’re alive..
Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise
Aazad rehna seekho
Tum ek dariya ke jaise
Lehron mein behna seekho

learn to live freely
like the gusts of wind,
Learn to flow in waves,
like a river does..
Har ek lamhe se tum milo
Khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ek naya sama
Dekhen yeh nigahaein

Meet every moment
with your arms open,
Every moment these eyes should
watch a new weather
Jo apni aankhon mein
Hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

If you’re moving with
a bewilderment in your eyes
then you are alive,
Dilon mein tum apni
Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

If you are moving
with an eagerness in your heart,
then you are alive..

I am soon planning to go on my first solo adventure trip, will write about it once I am back….😎😎

Life

FLY=First Love Yourself

Few months ago I was laid off from my job, this was big blow to me, all through my career I had seen people getting laid off but never thought this would happen to me, I always had high performance rating but still I was laid off. ☹️☹️

It was emotional trauma to me for days I felt depressed and spent nights crying in my bed.I was very dedicated to my work, kind of workaholic person who did not like to spend time idle. I only took time off from work in case of personal emergency or when I am sick or if I have some travel plan. I never liked to take a day off just to sit idle at home to take rest or relax. No that was not me just not something acceptable to me. But now I was left with no option just to idle timeout till I find some other job.

Then while browsing on internet I came across a video with a title ” I quit my job after seeing this”. This video urged people to really live the life they want to, without regrets, it gave the message that life is not just work from Monday to Friday, putting up with jobs which they don’t like”,collect paychecks every month, pay the rent and wait for weekend, it is far more than that but fear of failure holds people back from their talents and their passion and leaves them with regrets that “if only I had……”. It gives an important message ” Everyone dies but not everybody lives

This video left me thinking Did I really live my life? What did I do last 12 years? Just lived a routine of going to work everyday and coming home, eat dinner and sleep, occasionally a small vacation or movie on weekend Is this all? So I decided that now that I have got time I will spend it my way, I will do things which I could not do till now.

Initially I got very upset when people saw me somewhere maybe walking on road on weekday during my usual working hours and asked me questions like ” Ohh you did not go to office today?” I had to find some excuse to hide the fact that I was laid off but over the time I read a few articles on LinkedIn which said that there is no shame in being laid off, I slowly started to accept the fact and started to hide less.

Just to kill time I started to watch ” Game of Thrones” all the seasons from one to six. In one of the episodes I came across a quote

Do not forget what you are and rest of the world will not, Wear it like an armour and it can never be used to hurt you

I deeply thought about this and realised the fact, till I feel ashamed of the fact that I was laid off, any question from anyone will keep on hurting me. Finally after a lot of self debate I am able to accept it and write openly about it for world to know and henceforth I will not hide from anyone but will face the world with confidence.

During the idle time I had I tried lot many thing like tried to cook different dishes some of which turned out well and some failed completely….., saw some good movies and  plays…..,  read a few good books…,prepared my bucket-list of things I wish to do…..,arranged for a family trip to North Indian states of Punjab  & Himachal (referred to as Devbhoomi – Land of God), away from hot humid climate to freezing cold winter in the lap of Himalayas, gave more time to my hobby of writing and added new sections under my blog.

Other than this I also studied the different investment option which yield better returns, risk involved and tax implications of the same, being from complete non-financial background I had to search of lot of website to understand things. But the knowledge I gained in this will prove to be useful in managing my finance over period of time.

Over this period I experienced days of gloom, when I felt defeated but overall when I look back I learned an important lesson that a job is not everything there is more to life and now I want to truly live before I die.

Life

Value of Life

A little boy went to his old grandpa and asked, “What’s the value of life?”
The grandpa gave him one stone and said, “Find out the value of this stone, but don’t sell it.”
The boy took the stone to an Orange Seller and asked him what its cost would be.
The Orange Seller saw the shiny stone and said, “You can take 12 oranges and give me the stone.”
The boy apologized and said that the grandpa has asked him not to sell it.
He went ahead and found a vegetable seller.
“What could be the value of this stone?” he asked the vegetable seller.
The seller saw the shiny stone and said, “Take one sack of potatoes and give me the stone.”
The boy again apologized and said he can’t sell it.
Further ahead, he went into a jewellery shop and asked the value of the stone.
The jeweler saw the stone under a lens and said, “I’ll give you 1 million for this stone.”
When the boy shook his head, the jeweler said, “Alright, alright, take two 24karat gold necklaces, but give me the stone.”
The boy explained that he can’t sell the stone.
Further ahead, the boy saw a precious stone’s shop and asked the seller the value of this stone.
When the precious stone’s seller saw the big ruby, he lay down a red cloth and put the ruby on it.
Then he walked in circles around the ruby and bent down and touched his head in front of the ruby. “From where did you bring this priceless ruby from?” he asked.
“Even if I sell the whole world, and my life, I won’t
be able to purchase this priceless stone.”
Stunned and confused, the boy returned to the grandpa and told him what had happened.
“Now tell me what is the value of life, grandpa?”
Grandpa said,
“The answers you got from the Orange Seller, the Vegetable Seller, the Jeweler & the Precious Stone’s Seller explain the value of our life…
You may be a precious stone, even priceless, but, people will value you based on their intellectual status, their level of information, their belief in you, their motive behind entertaining you, their ambition, their risk taking ability & ultimately their calibre.
So don’t fear, you will surely find someone who will discern your true value.”
*Respect yourself.*
*Don’t sell yourself cheap.*
*You are Rare, Unique, Original and the only one of your kind.*
*You are a masterpiece because you are the MASTER’S PIECE.*
*No one can Replace you.*