Is that a sign?


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Life is a great teacher.  It is determined to teach you what you are not.

If you are fast, it will try to teach you how to be slow.

If you are a cry baby, it will keep on putting you into such situations until you stop blaming and take responsibility for the situation.

If you are a careless or carefree person, it will teach you responsibility.

And so on…The process has no time limit. And life never gives up on you.

Today, when I reached my office, I turned the page of the table-top calendar to see the message it has for me for my birthday.
And I was disappointed by the note. What an uncanny message for a day! “…sit patiently in their room for one or two weeks!”
On a second thought, I understood that it was asking me to be patient.
Life has been trying so hard to teach me the lessons of being patient. A restless soul I am…always on the go, trying to reach somewhere, or in search of something I do not know. 
My husband has been looking for the “pause” button in me, asking me to be patient and learn to wait for the right time. Whereas, I thought that he really needed to fill his fuel tank and buckle up! Opposites, eh! Over the years, it seems that we have been learning to exchange the attributes so that we function better than yesterday in our lives. This is a normal evolution process every person goes through. With age, I hope to learn to pause when I want.
The process of learning or evolving is never easy. Especially for a person like me. Stubborn. Impatient. One angry woman. (My poor hubby, thank you so much for tolerating me over the years! I love you more than I have ever loved anyone else in this life.)
So, I err. I err more than other balanced people around me. Life is trying hard to make me sit back, watch in silence, and breathe.

I am not afraid of the acid tests of life.

…but in the end, let the nectar of love be there at the core of me as a never-ending source of life and hope for the people in my life and around me.

That’s the only honest wish comes out from me, for me.
Let’s hope for a Tathastu from life and the energies of the cosmos.

মানুষ, তোমার হুশ কৈ?

Bee-Movie-a-world-without-bees

A world without bees…

সবুজ ছেঁটে কংক্রিটের  জঙ্গলে তুমি
প্লাস্টিকের বাগান সাজাও,
আমি জানি তোমার ম্যানেকুইন রুচিতে
ওই মৌচাকটা  দৃষ্টিকটু।
দলছুট হবার আগে বলে গেছে মক্ষীরানী
“তোরা বহিরাগত! তোরা আক্রমণকারী”
…তুমি শুনতে পাবে কি?
কানে তোমার প্লাষ্টিক তার বয়ে যান্ত্রিক সুর!
তুমি আচ্ছন্ন হয়ে আছো, টেকনোলজির কামড়ে।
তোমার প্রাণভ্রমর ওই এন্ড্রয়েড ফোন,
মুছে  দিতে চাইছে মৌমাছিদের অস্তিত্ব।
জানো? ওরা না থাকলে আমরাও একদিন মুছে যাবো?
জ্ঞানপাপী তুমি। দায়িত্বহীন স্বাধীনতা চাও,
অবগ্যা শুধু,  নিজের বাইরে সবকিছুকে।
প্রকৃতি বিমুখ তুমি,নিজের মধ্যে ব্যস্ত।
… নিজেকে ভুলে!

Thoughts

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Mind o’ mind!

Have you ever thought that your thoughts do not personify you? As in, all the while we were thinking that we and our thoughts are the same…”My God! He has such a dirty mind!” “OMG! I love the way you think!” Don’t we judge others, including ourselves based on how the mind is thinking? Oh! We humans can judge others based on anything…clothes, skin color, height, gender, race creed, job, his or her past, money, and even with nothing at all… we can just reject a person without any reason. Leave judging. My point is, we become identical with our thoughts.

Thoughts are generated from our mind…mind means a combination of memories, which means the past experiences, ability to synthesize information that we are acquiring through our sense organs….constant actions and reactions of chemicals which drive us nuts at times. And (hardly ever) make us feel ecstatic.

Mind and its thoughts are so powerful that it decides the quality of the life we are living. Strange, isn’t it? Not the money we are making, not the people we love, not the passion we pursue, not the future we plan…the quality of life is decided by how our minds are making us feel within ourselves. Do you agree?

The humans, sitting on the topmost level of the food chain on this earth, are the only one who can THINK, and think for themselves. How? Because, each one of us owns the most powerful tool in this (maybe) universe, the Mind. Mind, call it dumb, sharp, sexy, dirty, political, naïve…mind is the strongest part of our being. We can make and break anything with our mind. And depending on how we are using our minds, the quality of our thoughts are decided, which decides the quality of our lives further.

Call it dumb, sharp, sexy, dirty, political, naïve…whatever! The Mind is the strongest part of our being. We can make and break anything with our mind. Depending on how we are using our minds, the quality of our thoughts is decided, which decides the quality of our lives further.

Read this blog I wrote a few years back:

Mind is a tool. Use it.

While browsing through a few cartoons I drew, came across the one posted above. I started thinking,” why I had made this sketch?”  And I remembered that I was feeling very negative that day and was trying to bring some positivity in me…which I found very difficult. The mind is powerful and it knows this quite well. 🙂

The Cash Crunch and I

Last working day of the week. Yey! It’s Friday! Something to be happy about…And also almost end of the month. Nay! ‘End of month’ term doesn’t appeal to salaried class. It means no money in the account. Isn’t it?

But Guys! Did you notice? This month, you have little more money left in your account than expected? How come!

Money honey!

 

Well, at least for me, I would say it was because of demonetization. The experience of remaining cashless for at least 2 weeks in a row in this month made me understand a few things.

  • My needs and my wants are not same

  • Less is more! I actually started respecting chillers (coins) and 5 to 10 rupees notes, these seemed so powerful when my most important and urgent requirements were met in exchange.

  • My colleagues, family, friends…who were looking for cash, none was bitter or angry…including my domestic help and the office boys and housekeeping staffs. All were discussing it and trying to find a way out of this temporary phase. Seriously, I have never seen the entire country, (including me) being so patient with a crisis. (Hope of a better world, is it?)

I traveled from Hyderabad to Hubli (Karnataka) using road transport (for an urgent reason), with only 210/– (ten 10 rupees notes were borrowed with gratitude from a friend who let his last penny go because of me) in my wallet. All 10 rupees notes and coins. I had this bus ticket booked using online transaction.

This overnight journey made me pray to the forces of nature that nothing should go wrong. I was facing some health issues which made me physically weak at that time. Moreover…I had to go further, to another city from Hubli. “Please let me reach my destination uninterrupted.”I heard myself praying.  I needed that money for the bus ticket and other unavoidable expenses. For a woman, it WAS a risk. Everywhere the ATMs were either closed or with a looooong queue.

The whole episode was a new experience for me. Finally, I reached, using the minimum fare transports. I did not know I could do this, alone.

I did not complain.

The main point here is, at the end of the day, none of us so far, in my known circle, has complained about this demonetization. Not all in that circle are used to plastic or virtual money…still, they are going through a hard time with a feeling of hope…with a sense of trust in this Government. I don’t think it’s foolish, as every government should be given a chance to bring the desired change. Every government deserves a chance.

To those people and political parties who have united to label it as tyrannical, publishing false evidences of public mayhem and misery caused by demonetization: People of India have undergone many genocides, loots and murders, mass killings and tortures, were ruled by ruthless dictators and cruel Badshahs, suffered and tolerated the most corrupt governments, and what not. Yet we survived…we still are here and we thrive.

We can endure this cashless phase happily, with a hope of better India in our heart.

I am doing it. My family, friends, colleagues, my city, my village is doing it. Who are those in newspapers and on TV news channels who are making so much noise? We never saw them with our naked eyes in our real life, not a single one! Why?

Ah, the most desired SMS from the bank. My salary is just in! The India CEO of my organization has decided to pay the salaries in advance to help the employees get through demonetization drive. That’s the spirit!

On good food and good cooking

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There are certain things in our lives which have the capacity of making us happy instantly. Good food is one among such things.

Being born to a Bengali family, that too in a Brahmin one, I have grown up among  foodies, realizing that food could be a source of pure pleasure and could add great value to otherwise mundane life. My Thamma ( grandmother from paternal side), and my Dida, (maternal granny) both were extraordinary good cooks, the fame runs in the family saga.

My mother, is the one who taught me the basics of cooking. She is also an accomplished cook, as in, she has her own stories to tell about her personal  cooking achievements, which, we, as her family members, have witnessed many a times. For me, her cooking has been one reason my friends always wanted to visit my home. I was otherwise, a very shy kid during my student life, to invite friends to home. 

In our family, cooking good is an unssid rule, as if bad cooking never existed. My dad is a great cook, with his experimental ways of cooking, and has a great fan following within his professional and personal friend circle. What my mom cooks today, is the combination of what she learned from her mother and the type of food my father preferred. Her style is unique, and subtle in many ways. Like the way she uses the flame, the covering and uncovering of the utensil while cooking, the cutting of vegetables in right shape and size (which according to her is an art),deciding on the flavors and mixing it or not mixing it…and what not. I could write a book on the subtle and powerful techniques of preparing food in a Bengali household, just by following what my mother does in her kitchen.

BTW. Here is a disclaimer, the author does not have any intention to start any food blog or wishes to establish herself  as a good cook. It’s just that she loves good food and knows that good food can help a person in many ways, when cooked and served with love, it can work as a health tonic or a medicine. She has always cooked with love, not to establish that she cooks well, just to share the joy of eating good, with her near and dear ones.

For me, I was never a kid who liked it in kitchen, the whole affair of eating and cooking was a waste of time. I hardly ever took interest in eating properly, and it was a problem  for my family because my health was affected.  Maybe, because eating good was given so much importance, that I lost interest. But, as the only daughter of the house, I had to cook in emergency hours, when my mom was sick and my dad was away. This is when I learned the basic chemistry and physics of cooking good food. My mom never taught me any special item, only the regular dishes of a Bengali household. I never took interest beyond that…not until I left home for pursuing higher studies and then left  my native for a career, living far from home.

For the first time, I craved for good food. I came to know that bad cooking existed, even if you pay money. That’s when I started cooking on my own. And that’s when I realized that I was no different from my family. I just loved good food.  Bad food for more than a week can put me into a state of depression.  

While on survival mode, I rediscovered myself, understood that I could cook well, but did not care about the traditional cooking style. I did what I felt like….without much thoughts…like an extempore speech, my cooking was spontaneous…and without much expectations. Still, I managed a group of friends who loved to eat whatever I cooked.

Somehow my belief that it ran in the family was re-established.  I inherited the genes of cooking good food: my father’s experimental ways, and my mother’s expertise of cooking the same dish in different levels of  flavour and taste, to cater to the different preferences. I have inherited another trait of my family….we love to feed, people and animal and birds… Mainly, this trait always have motivated me to cook, to feed someone special or to some people. I never had the urge to establish myself as a good cook, and the idea of cooking on a daily basis, like a routine, still gives me a panic attack.

I used to cook for love. I used to cook, with love. I never cared about ingredients and techniques. But, over a period of time, I noticed that although the ingredients and the techniques I thought I never needed, they were right there, every time I cooked. I followed them unconsciously…as the basic understanding of cooking was cultivated in me, by my mother and father, and thus the well-developed taste in me was guiding me throughout!  When to use whole spices, when to use the paste,  how long to fry before adding water for gravy, which vegetables go well with which spices, and fishes,  when to sprinkle a little sugar expecting a variety of results, when to add spices, in what degree the flame must be…  every right action takes a step forward to the full potential of the dish, and a wrong one stops it right there or takes us a few steps behind.

What I think is, how one cooks, tells a lot about her personality. Like my mother, she is a traditional, yet has a progressive mind, which can accept changes and new things. Her cooking style is that of traditional with subtle ways that keep changing. She experiments, but never goes overboard. She will experiment with one spice, at a time. And my father is all about experimenting, he cooked his own dishes, creating new kind of tastes, his own innovations, which anyone might not have imagined ever.  Like the way once he cooked hilsha fish without oil and mutton curry only with black pepper.

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In many cultures, I saw that, the more culturally rich and complex an ethnic group is, the more complex is their cuisine.  Bengali ways of cooking is a very complex affair, techniques are difficult, variety is innumerable, spices are in hundreds and the techniques of using the spices  are in thousands. On the other hand, cuisines from the northeastern  regions of India are plain, less ingredients and spices, simple techniques.

I will write more on this theory citing clear evidences and examples, some other time. Today, I was missing home. And my home is more about good food than anything else. So, thought of penning down my memories of cooking….bye for now!