Saturday, January 26, 2013

Silly Saturdays: A secret recipe

Kuku, my little cousin sister is a kindly, helpful child. Even after all the pressures of being a full-time engineering student, she still finds time to help her mom, who in turn, skillfully juggles her day job and bringing up two kids on her own.

Okay, back to Kuku now. On my recent trip home, she told me about her newly invented recipe, Arabic Tea. I was not surprised. I knew she always had the scientific inclination and with her spending time in the kitchen helping mom, the invention could have only been a pleasant side-effect.  

On a shivering wintery morning, Kukku was busy studying for her exams at home. That’s when Rani didi, the part-time-help, came home to help out with the chores.  Seeing Rani-di doing the dishes with a splitting head-ache, Kuku offered to make her a cup of hot tea.

As you would expect from a person with a big heart, Kuku decided to make the concoction, a little special. She took out some ginger from the fridge and started to peel of the skin but was unsure of how much of it to be used to make the tea, special. Now, Kuku may be an engineer-in-the-making and a bit weak in the tea-making department – she isn’t however ashamed of asking for some advice and sought Rani-di’s help.

What happened next is straight out of a Tamil movie. Rani-di stormed out of the kitchen calling “Aiyo Kadavale!” (Oh my god). The next line was even more melodramatic “Are you trying to kill me!!”

It did not take long for Kuku to figure out something was wrong. She took another look at the irregular-shaped rootstock – Aiyo Kadavale indeed; it was not ginger but a piece of Arbi (Colocasia in English) though with a striking resemblance to the former. The trouble with Colocasia is that it can cause severe itch (just like a Yam) when it is uncooked and exposed to skin. Far from the tangy taste that was meant to be infused from the freshly shaved pieces of ginger root.

With the timely intervention and a bit of Kadavul grace, Rani escaped the itchy throat on top of a splitting headache. With a good laugh and a strong tea (no ginger this time), she was cured of that nasty headache. 

For the curious, here is the recipe (world-wide patent pending: Kuku )
2 cup                          water
2 tablespoons            Indian black tea
1 cup                          milk
2 tablespoons           sugar
1 inch                        Arbi or Colocasia , freshly shaved

Warning: Try this at your own risk – neither author nor the inventor takes any responsibility for the severe itching in the throat that it is bound to last for a couple of hours. Text book remedies for the itching induced by this special recipe include coconut oil or butter milk……or simply avoid it in the first place! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Going the whole six-yards

Dear Ritu Beri,

I am writing this open letter to you on behalf of my daughter who is an ardent fan. Your gorgeously designed Air India uniform for the cabin crew happens to be her favourite. Smera fell in love with it when she was only a few months old. At first we thought it was the colour red that she loved, when she would see her grandma drape it.

As time has passed and she grown up to be a fine two year old child, the sari still remains to be her all-time favourite. She will beg, plead, try her puppy face or even get angry to lay her hands on it. She loves to feel like a big girl I guess!


Mum has a huge collection of sarees and but among all of them I think it’s her uniform sari that appeals to her the most. Smera loves to see her grandma dress in inherently graceful and elegant Indian clothing. Working for the airline I have always admired mum’s dressing sense of this marvelous drapery - no wonder it excites the little one too.

Smera knows it when her grandma dresses up in her uniform she is going off to some place exciting. And when she comes to visit us here in Dubai, she comes wearing her favourite sari. However there is a  flip side to it too,  when she ready to go back Smera is most upset as she would have to bid farewell to her and the sari with teary eyes.

Once Smera is dressed in the 6-yard garment, she would go for my shoes and not to forget a matching handbag. She would then head to the mirror as if it’s almost a ritual to stand in front of it and admire the beauty of her entire get-up.  With great difficulty she would walk up and down in the house and once she is really tired she will ask the first available person to wear it on her behalf. It can be me, her grandma, my husband and even the grandpa has not been spared.

Watching Smera being so passionate about the sari I can’t thank you enough, Ritu. Your design has in ways has brought at least one of gen-next closer to an important part of our Indian tradition – The Sari.

Thank you! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Kill the cliché

We parents spend many sleepless nights. Nights when our little one just would stay wake after a bad dream or if she has been unwell, we would take turns to check on her. And 29th December was a night like that, but this time it was for someone else’s daughter and it was not just a bad dream.

Nirbhaya, Jyoti, Amanat or Damini however you would refer the young girl had lost her life the previous day.  This really shook me up. I am not saying that of the other cases of brutality doesn’t count - but it’s the sheer spitefulness with which she was tortured make it gut wrenching and unbearable. Reading or even worst imagining what happened to still sends shudders down my spine.

Today’s is the 5th of January and let me make a little prediction here, on what is going to happen over the next few weeks. The protests will fade away and people will slowly return back to normal life. The media would then be chasing yet another scam or a failed cricket series. Politicians would move on to yet another mud slinging match. At least one Bollywood studio would announce a movie based on this. Thanks to all the embarrassment shone so far on the establishment, the perpetrators would get closer to their march towards the gallows. And then, we’ll all move on with our lives.

Call me a cynic – we held candle light vigils after 26/11, we rooted for Anna Hazare, we were outraged for what happened to Jessica Lal, Priyadarsini Mattu and Arushi Talwar. But the sad truth is that once people leave the streets, media vans retreat and when we get back to our daily struggle – we forget. And the life goes on until the next one happens.

Yeah I know what you are thinking – this time it is different. That makes two of us, this time it is different for me too. Really? I am a woman, I have a daughter and I am from Delhi. This has hit me so hard, this time violence have come home – I do not know what is my dominant emotion here – anger, shame, distress, helplessness.

I know for a fact that if I want to see a Delhi where my daughter can move around without fear, I need this time to be different. We need to stand up and make a difference.

I am not going to let this one incident stop me, I will not let this fear shadow her future. I start with myself – with a bit of soul-searching. I am not going to wait for the change to happen; I am going to be the change I want to see.

Let us start respecting everyone and let’s stop this prejudice against the female gender. Let each one teach one - how to respect others!  Let’s keep the pressure on the government to do their part, but hey we can help too, by sensitising people around us, by standing up when we see someone being abused and by giving courage for the people who need them. It's not just about girls, even the boys are not safe in such a society!

I’ll start from my home. I am teaching my little one to respect everyone and at the same time she understands that she isn’t any lesser to anybody. And that she needs to stand up for herself, and if that means she spends time learning Karate, so be it.

Let us all try in our own little ways, to help ourselves and anyone who needs support. Let’s not just complain, rather take small steps to create the reality we want to see.

Let’s kill the cliché, and make this time really different. 

Image courtesy:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

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