Most of us have grown up eating many homemade delicacies made by our mothers, aunts and other ladies, in our case dad and husband too. Indian food and festivals are inseparable. My mom used to have specific delicacies on festivals. She never made anything mismatch to that season of the festival. Say for example, for Nagpanchami ( It is a festival where we pray to the Snake God) she used to make naivedhya of Sakhar Bhat ( Sugar Saffron Rice). On the last day of Ganapati, that is on Ananta Chaturdashi, she used to make Banana Pachadi ( Kelachi Koshimbir) which she used to call as “ Anantachi Koshimbir,” these things were seldom repeated as may be those festive days would be perfect weather-wise to have this all. After her, I have never seen anybody so thoughtful with regards to food. Come rainy season and we used to refrain from Brinjal, Onion completely, and Garlic, the simple reason would be that rains make the digestion sluggish, if we eat something like onion, we would need a good digestive power, as the winter approach, the digestion gets back to normal and after Diwali, we can actually start eating Brinjal, Onions, and Garlic. There is a specific day called “ Tulasi Vivah” when one can start eating everything. Diwali sweets were made well in advance and were allowed to be eaten only on the Abhyangasnan Day ( Narakchaturdashi) the tradition which continues till date.
Why this much thought in eating?
Because our food science is very well advanced and it is as per the season. Seasons affect the gut and digestive power of the stomach. If we eat as per the digestive power, we are never to fail. I totally believe in eating seasonal food. Diwali is meant for eating. Good food and Good times equal Diwali. Diwali Palaharam is a matter of great interest across India. With the talks of diet and nutrition in place, life has become difficult.
How the supply in the market changes our perception of food.
7 to 8 years ago, PepsiCo introduced oats in India. The campaign was making India heart healthy. The campaign was successful and slowly other companies like Britannia, Kellogg’s also rushed to bring in the most healthy cereal of the world “ Oats.” Looking at the facts, it is apparent that slowly with these types of campaigns India has become 200 crore market for cereals which is nothing but packaged food presented wonderfully and advertised really well. Same goes with other packaged goodies such as Wafers, Noodles and so on. The question on my mind is why would we give up our food and go ahead to eat something which does not even taste a bit like Indian food. The answer is the power of ADVERTISING and BRANDING.
How colors, advertising, branding, and campaigns change the food scenario?
Nobody branded Poha, Upma, Idli, Dosa the way we are bombarded with Pizza, Noodles and Masala oats advertisements. Same goes with Diwali Snacks. After Navratri, you can watch Cadbury advertising about how to gift Chocolates ( Cadbury Chocolate Pack) this Diwali to your loved ones, neighbors and so on. I mean really? When did the warmth of homemade ladoo, murukku, shankarpali was replaced by something made in the factory with many other products with loads of preservatives?
Oats Chivda, Ladoo Without Sugar and Gluten Free Chakli
There cannot be Chivda without Poha, Corn Poha, or Sabudana Poha period. There cannot be ladoo without sugar ( palm sugar or jaggery are good replacements of sugar), and there cannot be chakli without gluten as Chakli wouldn’t happen if there is no Gluten in the mix. So, the gist of all the above is, as we always say, eat in moderation. Have those long walks every day consistently to feel good and fit.
No million dollar company can be worried about your heart, and it’s health though they claim. Ultimately, you are the only person who knows your body and its needs. So, eat homemade, think homemade and seasonal. Whether should you have all the sweets? Please have as you wouldn’t get the warmth and thought with which it is conceived and made.
It is ok to fail, many people have told me but I seldom have failed in my many many pursuits if I ignore the surprise math test in 11std. Failure to do something does not feel great, it feels sad to not to have accomplished something.
No sugar challenge started when me and my colleague Vignesh who is a sports person were discussing about how no sugar has helped him.
He was talking about refined sugar and how completely stopping it helped him.
I was impressed and thought let me start it at once. It was exciting..no sugar..whatsoever with a resolve.
Next day I woke up to banana as always and some time later I tried having the no sugar tea. One sip of it was not great but overall it was fine. May be my taste buds were happy with the sweet taste of banana already so they did not complain much about the no sugar tea. I generally take one coffee around 11 pm, so my dear cook Kamakshi had to be told specifically that I am having this “vratam” please don’t indulge yourself in giving your akka (that is me) a great cup with a good quantity of sugar.
She was surprised because I am the one against all possible fad diets and fad rules about food.
Her coffee is out of the world but having it with no sugar was 🙁 never mind. I was ok with it. 6th day was Sunday. Little Ms. K is fond of chocolates and kulfi so is her dad. Both love sweets to the core and they indulge as they please. This Sunday, I really refrained from all types of indulgences deliberately. I was the topic of discussion at the breakfast table and everybody was condemning my resolve of no sugar.
I am not a foodie and I do not crave for sweets too but still people felt like I am depriving myself from my free will of having sweets.
Around 10 days of no sugar I started feeling as follows:
- I was more alert
- Slept well through the night
- I felt that my oral cavity was healthy and fresh
- No sluggishness throughout the day
- My overall energy was constant without a slump.
It was around 12th day that I got a call from one of my friends. She invited me as a sumangali for Varalakshmi Vratam and I had to indulge myself in the naivedya that she served. It indeed had sweets and I did eat everything she served. That day we attended an evening food award function where dinner spread had an amazing variety of sweets which I have not tasted or had..I tasted around 5 sweets that day…TASTED (not indulged). So, my vratam actually failed that day and my belief that none of the fad rules work got reinforced.
Though I am back to my no sugar routine, there is practically no point in refraining from anything. Balancing is the key. You got to balance everything, your food, sugar intake, rice intake, salt intake and workout to maintain healthy lifestyle.
I have failed in my resolve but I like my no sugar coffee. Kamakshi is also used to no sugar coffee for akka..that is more than enough at this point 🙂
Sacred Games a Crime Thriller Netflix series is out. Violence, Sex, Crime, and Drama have been the specialties of Netflix and the shows such as House of Cards, Suits, Lust Stories ( An Indian Series) are some examples. I have not read the book by Vikram Chandra but have seen movies from the two directors Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane so what was in the store could be predicted.
Conquering the Maximum City
The story is of a wannabe Mumbai Don Ganesh Gaitonde played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Looking simple and grounded from his attire, Gaitonde’s rise in the criminal world of Bombay during 80s and 90s is no less dramatic.
From the cold-blooded murder at a very small age to more than 100 that he commits as a revenge, Gaitonde uses politics of religion, violence, sexual abuse, and crime to become the DON of erstwhile Bombay.
When there is Politics of religion there are people involved from all walks of life like politicians, RAW agents, police officers, transgenders and even ISI.
Sartaj Singh a dutiful police officer who is far less than ruthless is played by Saif Ali Khan. An underperforming officer who does not have any credit to his name suddenly gets a huge rush of hormones after getting a call from Gaitonde.
The thrill of following a huge crime plot in his otherwise boring life with a failed marriage lands him in many jarring situations.
A detailed account of an underdog facing situations proving himself to be much superior to his ruthless colleagues can be seen as the plot uncovers rather SLOWLY.
While watching the series one is constantly torn between Gaitonde and Sartaj. Gaitonde remains with you throughout the series and you keep a company with Sartaj in his deadly expeditions.
Utterly promiscuous behavior by Gaitonde was one of the most expected things from the plot, the whole series is full of repugnant sexual encounters by the Don and his gang. Millions of choicest cuss words which are used by one and all in the series need a mention for making the whole plot more real and murkier which is not so in the book.
Gaitonde’s ladies are strong and beautiful in their own right. Most importantly all the ladies in the series speak their mind unabashedly like the real women.
A Don is not born every day, he is made over the years by Religious, Political and Communal unrest in the country of 100 crores. The unrest in the outer environment is portrayed neatly on screen. But more than that
the emotional unrest which the religion torn India had in the early 80s and 90s is more profound. Gaitonde is a product of it and also the prey. Others are merely people aiding him to reach his end.
Netflix’s infamous cliffhanger ending was not very surprising and why not? Not every story should end on the basis of morals, some are left to the imagination of the viewer.
Stories are a daily part of our life. We tell our families after returning from work nothing but stories. Stories of how it was a breathtaking event to catch/miss the bus, how we have convinced a client of the services we render or how we have solved a problem at workplace. Love stories, patriotic stories, mythological stories or the historical stories each genre holds a special place in our heart.I am all ears when I hear three golden words “once upon a time’.
What does your usual Sunday look like?
Well, mine is full of home chores and a little bit of prep for the week ahead. How mundane! You must be thinking.. but that is pretty much a life of every woman around the world. So, this Sunday was not so special. I wanted to finish my read “Mansfield Park by Jane Austen”. Well, if my SIL reads this blog post she would definitely say “ What?, You have not finished it yet?”. Well, I should tell her that I have been doing some “ Busy Nothings” since last 3-4 weeks. 🙂
“Busy Nothing” is a word which is coined by Jane Austen centuries before.
It still fits my schedule many times. I do not want to put the novel down. Who would not like to visit Northamptonshire every now and then to have English tea along with a little tete-a-tete with the British Folks of the 18th century. 🙂 🙂
Transcending to the places mentioned in the book is the general protocol of reading any book. Slowly the author starts speaking to you and you realize that you are in his/her world.
Before the kind of entertainment that we have now, it was through the folklore and tales by grandma that we used to do this time travel. Some are meant to learn a lesson while many are left to the audience whether what to take away.
Our paternal grandma whose name was “ Padmavati” used to weave so many stories and tell us after we came back from school. In her stories, she never referred to Ramayana or Mahabharata, she was always interested in telling folklore much to her audience’s ( Shrilekha and me) delight.
While telling us the stories she used to create simple rhymes which were easy to remember.
The stories have been etched in the memories of me and my sister. My grandma lives on forever in our memories through her stories.
One such “ Busy Nothing” Sunday noon, and I get a call from Shrilekha, asking whether will I be interested in a storytelling session by Vikram Sridhar. I said what??. Sensing that it might not interest me she said, “Okay, don’t come, but I will go.”
My home was bustling with guests by that time and I knew that they were all engaged in chatting.I did not want to indulge myself in those ‘Busy Nothings” yet again so, I just thought, let me take a look at this Adult Storytelling session.
We reached the venue which is a beautiful place on 6th Main Road RA Puram. The name of the studio is Wandering Artists ( So apt). As we reached there were around 20 people seated in a circle comfortably listening to Vikram who was dressed in kurta-pajama with a nerdy look.
The session started with a simple folk tale explaining why Sambhar is named as Sambhar?
Starting a new session with something related to food was expected but this simple story was awesome and involved the tales and stories from three to four different states.
The storyteller was smart enough to engage people’s attention who were from varied places and states. Once that was complete, he continued his narrative with a King and Queen Cobra story. The story was simple and many people must have heard it. But what made it special was the narrative.
The sound of a baby crying and the description of the function hosted by the King created a vivid impression.
By now, Shrilekha and I had become the small kids aged 7 and 10 years and were just watching Vikram as he was progressing with the story.
The story ended and the moral was left for our imagination. Vikram smartly moved to the next story of a goddess and that was another treat.
Again, there wasn’t a mythological account of any of this. It was a pure folklore, pretty much as my grandma used to tell me.
Post Yellamma, Vikram took us to a quick and simple story of a cow named Punyakoti. It was a heart-wrenching story of a new mother Punyakoti who promises the Tiger to return as his meal after feeding her baby.
Our next stop was Agra and the darbar of Mughal Emperor Akbar with Birbal. Soon after that, we went to Krishnadevaraya’s kingdom to watch the smartness of Tenali Raman.
By now, we were all immersed in the folklore and living every character.
Vikram smartly moved us onto a kind of Shaikh Chilli story. It involved inputs from everybody. Before we knew the session was over and we came out with a heart filled with joy and brain filled with different colorful canvases.
Rich Indian folk lore has a long way to go.Today’s session was a revival of memories with my dearest Aaji who was an expert to share beautiful folk stories.I wish I get more opportunities to listen to more stories and handover them to the future generation.
For Vikram’s next session check out his FB page
Little Ms.K is fond of devices, gadgets and all kind of technology. Every gadget that we got home, was first used by her to the fullest. But slowly, she was getting into a habit of using gadgets like all of us do. As a mom, I was terribly worried about the screen time that she used to spend. I have always emphasized on child lead weaning for anything, and this time I was determined that she should get the control of switching off the gadget off by herself. As a 7-year-old, little Ms. K has now weaned herself from all the gadgets which is a relief.
We as parents should also try and use self-lead weaning from these devices. They are very helpful for people in every walk of life but when it becomes an addiction it is harmful for sure.
Recently Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has spoken about how Apple is working on introducing some features in iOS12 which may help all adults and teens keep an eye on how much mobile phones they are using in a day which I would say is a great tool.
What are the things which you will be able to do with iOS12’s manage screen time feature:
Activity report for total time spent in different apps, usage across all the categories of apps.
Screen Time Displayed Categorically
The enhanced Do Not Disturb Feature
The Do Not Disturb feature has always been there in iOS devices but now there would be dimming of display and no display of notification till the prompted time.
You can now get your notifications delivered quietly 🙂 group them
Get the notifications delivered quietly
Get suggestions from Siri on which notifications to be kept and which can be managed.
- You get to see how your screen time is divided across all apps.
- Choose your downtime with the apps, with the downtime the apps will have a badge stating that they are not allowed to be used during that time.
- Parents can set up time for children’s usage.
In the recent interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook says that they have always kept their users as their priority while designing the ultimate technological experience. Hope the new feature helps us keep the phones at bay 🙂
Disclaimer: All the images are downloaded from
The article is inspired from
On our regular Sunday Netflix binge, Little Ms. K and I were watching Frozen. There is nothing new about watching the movie as such, but this time I was amused to see her interest in these Disney Princesses. All girls of her age are in awe of all the Disney Princesses but in the 21st century, the concept of a princess spending her life only waiting for a Prince does not really make sense. With the quotes like “ Why raise a princess when you can raise a warrior?” or “ Instead of getting a glass shoe, break the glass ceiling” it becomes necessary that these zero size Disney Princesses should be looked at from a very different angle. That different angle is provided by Illustrator Matt Burt. His take on the working princesses is just priceless. Here is a look
Frozen princesses – Elsa and Anna are climate change specialist, matching the story of frozen. Matt Burt says “They have dedicated their careers to studying climate change and presenting accurate, well-sourced information.” I would say how appropriate.
” Have courage and Be kind” This is a very famous quote by Cinderella. Cinderella is kind, which is apparent through her story. She believes in kindness and she treats the animals with respect. In Matt Burt’s illustration, she is in a position where she can influence a non-profit committed to promoting animal rights.
Jasmine has always fought for what is right and what is wrong. She now adorns a role of an advocate for her country at the United Nations. She would be working for women’s rights. It is to ensure that the women are treated fairly across the globe.
Moolan had to fight hard in the military and had faced gender discrimination. In a university, now she advocates for Gender Equality.
Matt Burt says that Rapunzale always had powers to heal. She further went to the university became a neurologist and now she is a famous neurologist in the town. Now she provides exceptional medical care to all her patients.
Snow White is known to be caring and thoughtful. Post her union with her prince, she earned her doctorate in Psychology and is a leader in the field of mental health. She also presents papers in different across the world. She not only helps all her clients whether they are grumpy, happy, bashful or anything, but also looks after professionals so that they should be able to provide high end mental healthcare to the patients.
All in all it feels so good to see all of them pursuing something they are good at and what they like. Disney princesses are loved by one and all, it is just that after these illustrations they will be seen as idols.