Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The best language of all

This one is the translation of one of my amma's collection of Tamil poems. She was a beautiful, talented and wonderful human being. Her life, tragically cut short in her mid thirties. I don't know whether my translation has done justice to her poem! This poem I found in her diary pertaining to the year 1983, in which she has jotted down a lot more of her poems and many other writings on various other topics. I remember some of them won prizes and got published in magazines and she has even mentioned about them in her diary. She passed away in January 1984 when I was 11.



She is the best of all languages
Her beauty lies not in lacy words or rhymes; not in metaphor or simile-
it lies in her strength!
One can never wage a 'war' of words with her
for her vantage ground is unshakable
She could be affirmative and negative - both at the same time
she most certainly is one-of-a kind!
She always renders people speechless

and yet there's no one to shush her.
She is 'silence', the best language of all!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Say cheese!

One day me and my son were playing 'what's the word' game. My daughter TL who was then 3, has been observing us play for a while and wanting to join us,she came up with her own riddle. She gave us clues with a slight pause in between each clue, and me and my son were like "oh boy, this is good, we give up, what's the answer?"When she in her childish innocence replied, we started laughing so much it hurt!




click on the image to enlarge







Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back to basics, anyone?

The other day, while I was on the phone with a friend of mine who is in her late 30s and had 2 babies in succession totally unplanned, she was lamenting how much she missed the help of families and friends back home. I have been through so much myself in raising my kids with no help that I can write a thesis on this topic. I absolutely want to help my friend, knowing pretty well that offering to cook, clean and take care of the babies just for a couple of hours a day would mean so much to her right now, and the fact that I can't do it since she lives so far away made me really upset.

Also, I have been viewing these features about animal life in the wild in NatGeo and Animal Planet recently and I should say I am hooked to those series. In one of the episodes featuring the life of beavers, I learned that the moms take off (they do come back later!) after weaning, within weeks of giving birth and dads and older siblings share the responsibility of raising the newborns and teaching them the survival skills. In another episode featuring the lion's pride, I was surprised to learn that older cousins are in charge of protecting the lion cubs.

I've been led to ponder much upon our lifestyle these days and I wish mankind never attained so called 'cultural development' only to become lesser social beings, as this website rightly quotes -

Then came modern man, an anticlimax, about 120,000 years ago. From this point on his inventive mind would devise method after method to ease his lot. He would remove his enemies without compassion. He would learn to enslave other animals and even other men. He would greedily take from the world around him and from those who were weaker. He would make his life easier, and evolution would degrade him to match.

I have thought about these things so much that I have been imagining myself as Nala's mom in the Lion King movie where she casually asks,"hmm..what do you think Sarabhi?" when Simba and Nala want to go out and play and like Kala and her ape friends relaxing and grooming in the movie Tarzan. I find that kind of life irresistible - living in groups, always having someone to watch your babies, sharing food and shelter, (my son wants to add 'no school to attend' here!) defending ourselves from the enemies in groups, no job-related worries, lay-offs or recession, no tiring commutes, dowry deaths and domestic violence! There won't be jealousy and hatred, no problems such as unpaid bills, loans, mortgage payments, sub-prime mess, no need for accumulating wealth and that too at par with every wealthy acquaintance and yet never feeling contented; guns and bombs would be non-existent and so would be wars and global warming. Well, you get the idea. Seriously, I wish 'modern man' never became too modern.

I can't finish without writing about one more incident. Many years back I had a chance to live in a small town where live cattle roamed everywhere. One evening as the skies were turning black and brewing a storm, I opened my back door to see a mountain of weeds right in front of the doorstep. I started putting them away cursing 'whoever' had done that, out came a female hog, heavily pregnant and ready to give birth. Her partner was dragging even more weeds clinched in his teeth to secure her in the instant shelter, my jaw dropped in amazement! I have been telling my husband since then, that if there's another life and if I have a choice I'm choosing to be 'Mrs. Hog'!

I have been thinking for a while why do some people compare humans with animals in degrading manner, shouldn't it be the other way around? I am sure we did way better as apes than how we are as humans.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

She never fails to amaze me!

Today morning, in between preparing breakfast, finding lost homework, prodding my 6 year old to get ready for school faster, forgetting to drink that cuppa, this caught my attention. My little girl TJ (3 years) was seen drawing something as always and no, this is not why I was amazed since it's nothing new to us. I have stopped exhibiting her art work to my friends nowadays 'coz of all the suspicious looks they give me and I don't blame them, they're too good to be believed to have been created by a tiny hand. And this, I'm blown away. I'm glad I paid attention and thankful that it did not end up in the trash as it happens a lot of time sadly. She had made her first comic strip, well, kinda.

click on the image to enlarge




I asked her what it was and she said it's a story. When asked whether she made it up she said it's real and the characters are herself (in the middle), her 6 year old sis TL and her new friend Nick. Nick wants TL to go to his home and TL said, "well, ok!". TJ doesn't like that idea one bit. She is clearly caught in a stressful situation, how can her best buddy leave her for someone new, who will she play with now! Flabbergasted, she screams "no....!". The question mark within the thought balloon,as explained by her, indicates a problem and look at her sad face, the tear drops and the splash!

Monday, April 7, 2008

You sure can count on me!

This is my submission to Jugalbandi's click April event, themed 'Au Naturel'!

Sunshine or rain life goes on!

This sapling has some serious growing up to do, but once it does, it's amazing in its quality to give, no wonder this tree is hailed the
tree of life!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Oh, well! What can I say!

These comic strips (more to come) are my attempts to record some lighter moments me and my husband have had with our kids!

click on the image to enlarge


My son lawjarp (I know it sounds weird, but this is the name he's given to himself, not without reason though!) when he was 2! His favorite foods then were, 'acha' (rasam) and fried okra!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rice Crepe with Coconut-Jaggery filling

All my traditional cooking follows my grandma's recipe, to the point. This is one of her recipes, requires very few ingredients and so easy to prepare. No fermentation needed, you can make these dosas as soon as you prepare the batter.

Ingredients

raw rice - 1 cup (soak in water for atleast 3 hours)
powdered jaggery - 1 - 1 1/2 cup
powdered cardomom - a pinch
coconut milk (extracted from fresh coconut or in the can) - 1 cup
grated coconut (fresh or packed) - 1 cup
ghee - 1/4 cup


Method

1. Make a smooth paste of soaked rice in a blender adding the extracted coconut milk, little by little until you get the consistency of the appam batter or that of the regular crepe batter,add a pinch of salt,mix well and set aside.
2. In a pan, combine coconut gratings, jaggery and cardamom powder and cook it in 1 tsp of ghee in medium heat until you get a sticky lump, allow this to cool.
3. In a tava, spread the batter into a thin crepe and add a few drops of ghee around it. When done(takes about 20-30 seconds and looks slightly brown), flip it and cook the other side in the same manner.
4. Take 1 tbsp of the coconut-jaggery mixture and spread it thinly covering the entire crepe.
5. Fold in half, garnish with chopped nuts (optional) and enjoy!




Note: I used fresh coconut to extract coconut milk and I saved the gratings to prepare the filling. If you are using the canned coconut milk dilute it well.

This is my first food related post and it goes to Srivalli's
Dosa Mela!