Clouds on the horizon

Hello I am Mr. Selvamani, and this is a normal hot, humid, filter coffee scented morning, reporting to you live from Madras. I work in the meteorology department. Not he one who deal with meteors, aah no no. We deal with temperature both in celsius and in fahrenheit. Also with rain and the absence of it. I was the one who pressed the button for the sirens when the tsunami hit last to last year. I could also be asked to present the weather section of the evening news bulletin, if Lord Subramanium answers my prays.

The intro aside I would like to get into the main issue here. Today morning when I came into office and was reading my emails, peon Thambi came and announced that two people urgently want to meet me. I asked them to come in. They entered. One of them was middle aged, whereing a white joobaah, what you call a kurti in hindi. And a white gold edged dhoti. He was also wearing a pretty heavy gold chain on his meaty neck. The slight smile on his face made my apprehension disappear. The other guy was young and thickly muscled, and was wearing a maroon lungi with multicolored flowers. His shirt was open halfway down showing lush hairy vegetation.

“Ghung goon ghoon”, said the young man.

Why tell me, I said.

“Ghung goon ghoon goon”, said the young man, looking at the elder man, who nodded wisely.

This morning would be hard, I thought. How can I explain these simple folk of the vagaries of global warming. Of what harm their brothers and sisters had done to mother nature through the centuries.

Nowadays it is easier to forecast the winner of IPL, than to predict the rains, I thought. Sometimes we pick a card from a deck we have. That deck has various combinations ranging from humid, slightly sunny to extremely wet with knee deep rains. But how can I tell that to these men, who have such faith in my oracular powers.

“Ghung goo goo goo” this time the elder man said. To which I woke up and found myself staring out the window at a city pigeon.

Selvan

Selvan dropped in today, with the April newspaper bill. While he was doing the calculation for my trip ridden month, I offered him the besan ke laddoos, mom had sent. He refused, embarrassed, at his own behavior.
‘I don’t have sugar’, he said.
‘Not even in tea – coffee. Started doing this since around 40 years, and I am 50 now. I work as much as a 20 year old.’
‘I just have sookha roti with sabji with no oil, and 4 idlis in the morning.’
I was a little dumbfounded to reply, soaking it all in.
‘Why so sweaty?’, he asked.
‘Just cycled from Jayamahal.’ I said.
‘I have seen you many times, in Neelasandra, Austin town.. It is good..very good.’
‘I was also cycling to Hosur till 10 years back. 80 kms a day. I was then in the courier service. Also dropped newspapers on my cycle. Got this moped 5 years back, as it was getting difficult, more because of the growing urgency. Zyaada paper daalna toh zyada zaldi daalna.’
‘165 Rupees sir’.
Leejiye sir 165.
‘Kuch zaroorat pade toh call kariye sir’
Theek.

P.S. Selvan is around 5’6, weighs around 80kgs, and I am pretty sure can dhobhi pachad all you facebooking ppl.

Ayurveda through Painting


Got this pic and the following info from taimur.org . The yellow pigment in the painting has been created using the urine of mango fed cows. Though it says just mango, I am pretty sure it is ripe mangoes. Ripe mangoes are high in pitta. The fire element. Yellow in color. And since cow urine is considered sattvic, it can still be used in painting which is considered a sacred art. This is an example of a non-health application of ayurveda.

Royal Victory

It took me 5 mins to figure what the cubicles where for, what the numbers meant in the TV. 10 mins more to make an approximation of the probable winner, based on the past data from a pink pamphlet. Had purchased the pamphlet from an old man just outside the gate for Rs 10. Got into the wrong queue meant for the high rollers. It would be Royal Victory numbered 2, with an odds of 21/10 for me.

A few minutes later all eyes turned towards the TV screen. Number 2 was leading. A few seconds later, I had won 310 on by bet of Rs 100 (+15 for tax).

On my way back to my bike I was chased and stopped by a plump middle aged guy. “Could you give me 20 bucks for my bus fare home?” I smiled and said, “Please No”.
“But I lost all my money in the race.”

I smiled and kept walking. Walk home and learn the lesson, I thought.

A one pot Warming Recipe for the Winters

The suggested amount is sufficient for two people with decent appetites :).I had it all myself.

  1. 3 Green chillies sliced lengthwise
  2. a Thumbnail sized piece of ginger finely diced
  3. One onion diced
  4. 5 black pepper (use more if you like it spicier. In fact black peppers act more like landmines, compared to red chilli, which is more of a poison gas)
  5. One cup broken wheat (daliya)
  6. One cup dal (I used Toor/Tuvar/Arhar Dal, feel free to use any)
  7. Half Teaspoon of Jeera (cumin)
  8. Half a teaspoon of turmeric (haldi)
  9. A little bit of heeng
  10. Half a teaspoon of salt (or according to taste)

How

Heat a small amount of oil in a vessel (I used a pressure cooker, so all the cooking is in that). Use oil according to your habits. With too less oil there would be chances of the ingredients getting singed.
When the oil is hot, add the jeera. Then the black peppers and heeng. A moment later add the green chillies and the diced ginger. After you see that the oil has all these flavors (typically a few minutes), add in the diced onion.

Fry this for a while. When the onion pieces are no longer crunchy add half a teaspoon of haldi and the heeng. Fry all this for a while, till the onions get brown. Then add in the dalia and the dal.

Fry all this for a while. Keep stirring, till you feel enough is enough. Then add water. How much water depends on how  you want the final consistency and the vessel you are using to cook. Here is the decision point in your path. Do you want it to be like a biryani, or, a khichdi meant for a convalescing prince. I used a pressure cooker and added 5 cups (use the same cups for the main stuff and the water, till you can eyeball
it). I kept the flame at high till one whistle then brought the flame to medium. Next whistle, I shut the flame. It gave me a consitency of toothpaste when mashed.

What do you think of the name Daldalia for this dish, as the final consistency is very similar to a slimy Daldal (swamp).

I added some boiled eggs on top of the Daldaliya, for added measure. This is a high protein, fibre dish which is great for heating you up in the winters.

And tell me how it tasted, if you decide to cook it.

Shahi Toast

It was a yin-yang morning. With the clouds and the sun playing the eternal game. I was upto one of my DIY projects when I smelled the divine smell of something frying in ghee. A smell that would make any real foodie go weak in their knees. My mom was making ‘shahi toast’. The thing being fried was white bread. After being crisply fried it was immersed in a wide shallow thali in a sweetened cream, and left their to drown. After a few hours the labyrinth of the stiff wheat dough has been completely invaded, changing its nature closer to that of a gulab jamun. In texture it even beats gulab jamun, as it has the burnt sides which are thicker and have a different gradient of the sweet cream.
A salute to the person who thought of using a firang brought concept of bread for an indian sweet.

p.s. Shahi Toast is also called Shahi Tukda, or the Double Ka Meetha. Double ka Meetha gives it a James Bond of the sweets world sound.

Super awesome service.. NOT

I usually don’t do hate posts. This is one. My boiling blood has to have a vent.
My parents are visiting me. My bike did not have a saree guard which prevented my mom to be pillion on my ride. So I went to the nearest spare parts shop that I know of, Teknik Motors in Sarjapur (outer ring road). They are also authorized enfield service center.

I went in and asked the sales girls sitting there, that I wanted a saree guard for my Standard. One of them went into their storage area and came back with a guard. I specifically asked her, whether it is for a standard, as it did not mention anywhere on its label. She said sure. Meanwhile the manager was sitting there doing some paperwork. I asked the girl whether the service people downstairs could fit it for me. She asked the manager in kannada, who replied in the negative. She said as there were 11 bikes pending those people were busy. Meanwhile the manager even while replying to the girl kept his eyes on his paper. I then asked whether they will spare me some spanners so that I could fit it myself. She again asked the manager in kannada. Manager with his eyes on the papers, so that he could escape seeing me in the eyes, again replied in the negative. Ok..at least could you please give me a cord or something so that I can tie it and take it home. She again asked the mangaer in kannada, and guess what the eyes glued to the paper replied in the negative.The salesgirl was a little disappointed, I guess at their own service. I was really tired of the whole issue..and said just take the money and I will figure something out.

I took the guard and went down to the service area. I showed the guard to the guys working there and again asked..if that would fit a standard. They said yeah sure..just give it to a mechanic and he will fit it. They were helpfull enough to point towards some pieces of cord lying on the road, so that I could tie it to my bike.

And guess what, when I took it a mechanic to fit it..he said that it is the wrong one. The places for the bolts where all wrong. With my blood boiling I went back. And said as calmly as possible. ‘This doesn’t fit my bike.’ Their was a service guy in the spare parts area who know comes and says, that it would need to be cut to fit a standard. The salesgirl know was clueless as how to solve this dilemma. I asked her, who is your manager I want to talk to him. Know the manager took his eyes off the paper, and I looked at me. I had to tell him the story from the start. Hearing which he said something in kannada to the salesgirl. Not one word to me. And the salesgirl took the same pieces of currency (2 500 notes) I had given her 10 minutes ago.

All the best to anyone who goes there. If anyone knows any place where I can get spare parts near Koramangala, please do comment and let me know. I have my mechanic in Shivaji Nagar which is a bit far for getting small bits, accessories etc.