Thursday, July 26, 2012

Your Smile...

1 smiling sun
+
a banner of blue sky with white clouds
+
"Just seeing you smile makes my day!"
=
My new Facebook cover photo!



Cute, isn't it? :D

[Continue Reading...]




People Change

People usually change for two reasons, either they've learnt a lot, or they've been hurt a lot.

And then there are some who've done both. And they change so drastically that it's quite difficult to relate them with their former self!




Original photograph by http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurapollack/

So what exactly changes when we say we have changed or such-and-such-person has changed? Is it the way we think? The way we feel? What?

One of my close friends started this discussion on chat recently. I think, more than our thoughts and feelings, it's our responses that actually change. The way we react/ respond to our experiences.


  • Some of us become tougher. We either learn to close our energy fields in stressful situations, or we develop an emotional shield to keep those sharp arrows off us. That's probably a good thing, except that, if overdone, it can make us quite unapproachable. It is important to show our softer sides too once in a while, at least to the people who really care for us.

  • Some become more self dependent. We just stop involving other people in our plans. We learn to work completely solo and rely on nobody except our self. Again, that's usually a good thing to some degree, but on the extreme, it can turn us into individual islands, cut off from everything around us. Being able to ask for help is as important as being able to look after oneself.

  • Some people become cynical. When we've been hurt too many times, we simply stop trusting. I'm not really sure if that's good or bad in today's times. Human nature has deteriorated over the last decade. People have become more selfish, materialistic & insensitive to others. It would be quite foolish to be trusting of everyone today. But blanket cynicism? Surely that would do more harm than good, in the long run, won't it? Well I'm not really sure in today's times.

  • Then there are some people who become bitter. I can offer no tips in dealing with such people. They over-react to the slightest provocation. You never know what they'll bite your head off for! They're just too over-sensitive, especially around people who "seem" content with life, or those who "seem" to have what they lack. Due to their distorted perspectives, they fail to see that those "seemingly content" people also have problems in life; it's just that they have chosen to smile despite them.

  • And some people actually become more compassionate. They realize that there is a lot of hurt & suffering in this world. They learn that practically everybody on this planet is dealing with some kind of problem or the other -- be it health or financial or anything else. They learn to see the struggle and pain behind all the smiling faces. And they become compassionate. They're able to forgive even those who've been bitter & unkind to them at any point of time.

Naturally, some people also become a combination of the above, although compassion is a rare quality. Very few people are able to go beyond the boundaries of "I, me and myself" and see others... actually "see" them, you know, and not merely register their physical presence with their visual faculties. Anyway, these are all natural phases of change, I suppose. I'm sure most of us go through them some time or the other in life.

[Continue Reading...]




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Housewife's Wish

What every housewife wishes for!

Picture Credit: FB Community

Here's more in "Wordless Wednesday"!

[Continue Reading...]




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Homemade Banana Ice cream (???)

The other day, when I was searching for a simple & good recipe for "Homemade Sweet lassi", I found a recipe for making banana ice cream at home, using just one ingredient - bananas! The recipe looked easy enough, so I thought I'd give it a try. I made it yesterday for dinner dessert. Honestly speaking, it didn't really look like ice cream to me, but you can see for yourself...


This is the recipe for it...

INGREDIENTS:
3 over-ripe bananas

METHOD:

  • Cut the bananas into pieces and put them in the freezer for 1 and 1/2 hours. I forgot to take them out in time, so they had to spend like 3 hours in the freezer!


  • Remove from freezer and blend in a food processor till they become smooth & creamy. Mine apparently got too frozen or something, because they adamantly remained solid pieces in the food processor. So I had to add a few spoonfuls of milk into it.


  • Re-freeze the creamy custard-like stuff for a couple of hours. Then blend it again in the food processor. Because of that extra 1 & 1/2 half hours wasted in the first round of freezing, I didn't have enough time left before dinner. So I could give it only half an hour at this stage.

  • Serve in bowls and garnish as you wish. I've used a bourbon biscuit for the garnishing... just crumbled the chocolate filling on the top and stuck the 2 biscuit layers along the side of the bowl!

Dad reckons it didn't turn out like proper ice cream because I added milk to the bananas and then I didn't let it freeze for full 2 hours the second time around. He suggests I should try it again, but I think I'll pass on this one. It was just too banana-ish for me, if you know what I mean! And it reminded me of the mashed bananas we feed little babies! (Yucks!) I think I'll just stick to plain old custard-jelly next time! But if any of you try out this recipe for "banana ice cream", do let me know how it went for you.

Here's more in Recipes from miss_teerious!

[Continue Reading...]




Monday, July 23, 2012

Homemade Ghee From Malai (Milk Cream)

I've recently started making ghee at home, from malai - the layer of cream that settles over boiled milk. I keep collecting malai through the week in a bowl (just store it in the refrigerator) and then make ghee from it every 7th day. Sharing the process here...


INGREDIENTS:
Malai collected over a week or 10 days

METHOD:

  • Put all the malai in a big vessel and blend with a hand-mixer till it solidifies into butter and separates from the residual liquid. The quantity in the image below took me about 2 minutes of blending.


  • Wash this white butter in cold water a couple of times, so as to remove any remaining smell of milk. What you have now is what our 'Bal Gopal' was famous for stealing from the neighbors!


  • Collect all the butter in a heavy bottom dish & put it to heat on low flame, stirring in between so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the dish.

  • In just about a minute or so, it starts separating into ghee and white solid particles (that look like crumbled cottage cheese). You can add a pinch of rock salt now - it helps settle the solids at the bottom. This is how it looked like after 2 minutes of cooking...


  • After about one more minute, the white solids had settled down at the bottom. You can see the ghee floating on the top in the following picture.


  • Leave it on the gas for just about 1 more minute, till the white solids become golden brown in color and the ghee also turns golden yellow. If it becomes brown (like mine, in the pic below), it means that it's been over-cooked. Yeah well, I got a phone call at the wrong time and this is what happened!

  • Give it a few minutes to cool down slightly, and then you can strain it through a stainless-steel strainer into a glass/steel container. Last time I made it, I completely forgot that it would be really hot, and I poured it directly into a plastic jug! Luckily, it was heavy plastic, so the jug didn't melt altogether, but it became horribly distorted! :(


  • After straining, if you see any powdery residue at the bottom of your container (like in the picture above), then just strain the ghee once more through an old, clean handkerchief.

That's it! Your fresh homemade ghee is ready... at a fraction of the price in the market. I get about 400 grams ghee from the malai of 7 liters milk. And all these years, I'd been giving away this malai to the maids at home! And even then, their attitudes did not improve! Huhhhh!

Anyway, the first two times I did this here, I didn't make butter from the malai first. I did blend it with the hand-mixer, but not for long enough. As a result, the 'cooking' process took a really long time... more than an hour, in fact. And it left behind a large amount of sticky brownish residue. Today, I did a little more research on this & finally did it the proper way. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the entire process takes less than 10 minutes and leaves behind just about 1 tablespoon of solid residue! Also, I've been told that the liquid separated from the butter can be used to make kadhi. So I'm going to try that tomorrow, see how it turns out.

UPDATE:

As I've already mentioned above, I overcooked the above lot, so it turned brown. Here's a picture of the finished ghee from another batch that I prepared recently. The ideal golden yellow colored liquid ghee solidifies into this off-white shade on cooling.

Here's more in Recipes from miss_teerious!

[Continue Reading...]




Saturday, July 21, 2012

miss_teerious version 2.0

This post was long overdue!

As most of you already know by now, I gave my blog a complete make-over in May end this year. Did away with the old blogger lighthouse template, moved the sidebar to the right, and came back online with a brand new header and menu bar!

Then for several days after that, I went into minor depression! Shed some tears initially, howled for a while too, but Dad seemed to find that too amusing. So I finally just settled for "wandering about the house like a zombie"... because my blog no longer felt like "home"!

Eventually, I decided to play a bit with the CSS - added my "signature" touch (colors and images) to some of the blog elements, and made this space warm & cozy again.



I quite like this new look now. It is as uncluttered as before, but much faster. Maybe left-sidebar blogs take longer to load than the right-sidebar ones... I'm not sure. Anyway, having the sidebar on the right does feel more natural, being a right-handed person and having the mouse on the right of the keyboard.

The menu bar also seems more organized now, giving an easier access to my blog content. When you're close to 600 posts, it becomes an important design consideration to give maximum possible visibility to the best of your archived content, along with your new content. That's why I've added the new pages for About, Potpourri & Twitter etc. Do check them out.

Some minor changes to the post header and footer as well, and the author comment highlights are styled differently now. More recently, I've added the live stream from my craft blog (KraftyFingers) to the sidebar here.

Oh by the way, that old pumpkin lighthouse is still here... it's just been moved to the bottom of the blog now!

Well you didn't actually think I was going to get rid of that, did you?

[Continue Reading...]




Silly Saturday: Three wishes


Picture Credit: FB Community

Here's more in "Silly Saturday"!

[Continue Reading...]




Homemade Sweet Lassi

Have you ever had one of those days when it's so hot that you don't even feel like eating? I remember when I went to Agra/ Mathura/ Fatehpur Sikri with my old flatmate. It was in the middle of May, the sun high over our heads. One of those days that I just described above. During that trip, every time our bus stopped for a meal break, we just had tall glasses full of chilled sweet lassi, rather than any of those typical Indian fast foods that would've surely given us an upset tummy in that weather!

Today, I made that sweet yoghurt lassi for the very first time in my life. It is soooo easy that I'm quite surprised I never tried making it earlier! Sharing the recipe here, not for my readers -- I'm pretty sure they already know how to make it -- but for me, in case I forget it till next summers!



INGREDIENTS:
2 cups fresh yoghurt (serves 2)
1 cup chilled water
2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp sugar
ice

METHOD:

  • Put all the ingredients in a big vessel/jug and blend with a hand-mixer till light & frothy.
  • Serve in tall glasses.
  • If you want, you can garnish with chopped almonds or grated coconut or even some cake/cookie sprinklers like I've done!


Makes for a wonderful accompaniment for breakfast if you don't want to have tea!

Here's more in Recipes from miss_teerious!

[Continue Reading...]




Monday, July 16, 2012

Memorabilia-IX: Jhansi Waali Rani by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

An epic of a poem, that's been in the Indian school curriculum for so long that even my Dad remembers parts of it! I don't know why, but I get goosebumps every time I read or listen to this poem. That's probably just me, but, it sure does seem to charge you, doesn't it? I thought of adding this poem to my 'Memorabilia' collection here.


Jhansi Waali Rani, by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

सिंहासन हिल उठे राजवंशों ने भृकुटी तानी थी,
बूढ़े भारत में आई फिर से नयी जवानी थी,
गुमी हुई आज़ादी की कीमत सबने पहचानी थी,
दूर फिरंगी को करने की सबने मन में ठानी थी।
चमक उठी सन सत्तावन में, वह तलवार पुरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

कानपूर के नाना की, मुँहबोली बहन छबीली थी,
लक्ष्मीबाई नाम, पिता की वह संतान अकेली थी,
नाना के सँग पढ़ती थी वह, नाना के सँग खेली थी,
बरछी ढाल, कृपाण, कटारी उसकी यही सहेली थी।
वीर शिवाजी की गाथायें उसको याद ज़बानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

लक्ष्मी थी या दुर्गा थी वह स्वयं वीरता की अवतार,
देख मराठे पुलकित होते उसकी तलवारों के वार,
नकली युद्ध-व्यूह की रचना और खेलना खूब शिकार,
सैन्य घेरना, दुर्ग तोड़ना ये थे उसके प्रिय खिलवाढ।
महाराष्ट्र-कुल-देवी उसकी भी आराध्य भवानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

हुई वीरता की वैभव के साथ सगाई झाँसी में,
ब्याह हुआ रानी बन आई लक्ष्मीबाई झाँसी में,
राजमहल में बजी बधाई खुशियाँ छाई झाँसी में,
सुघट बुंदेलों की विरूदावली-सी वोह आयी झाँसी में।
चित्रा ने अर्जुन को पाया, शिव से मिली भवानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

उदित हुआ सौभाग्य, मुदित महलों में उजियाली छाई,
किंतु कालगति चुपके-चुपके काली घटा घेर लाई,
तीर चलाने वाले कर में उसे चूड़ियाँ कब भाई,
रानी विधवा हुई, हाय! विधि को भी नहीं दया आई।
निःसंतान मरे राजाजी रानी शोक-समानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

बुझा दीप झाँसी का तब डलहौज़ी मन में हरषाया,
राज्य हड़प करने का उसने यह अच्छा अवसर पाया,
फ़ौरन फौजें भेज दुर्ग पर अपना झंडा फहराया,
लावारिस का वारिस बनकर ब्रिटिश राज्य झाँसी आया।
अश्रुपूर्णा रानी ने देखा झाँसी हुई बिरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

अनुनय विनय नहीं सुनती है, विकट शासकों की माया,
व्यापारी बन दया चाहता था जब यह भारत आया,
डलहौज़ी ने पैर पसारे, अब तो पलट गई काया,
राजाओं नव्वाबों को भी उसने पैरों ठुकराया।
रानी दासी बनी, बनी यह दासी अब महरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

छिनी राजधानी दिल्ली की, लखनऊ छीना बातों-बात,
कैद पेशवा था बिठुर में, हुआ नागपुर का भी घात,
उदैपुर, तंजौर, सतारा, करनाटक की कौन बिसात?
जबकि सिंध, पंजाब ब्रह्म पर अभी हुआ था वज्र-निपात।
बंगाले, मद्रास आदि की भी तो वही कहानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

रानी रोयीं रिनवासों में, बेगम ग़म से थीं बेज़ार,
उनके गहने कपड़े बिकते थे कलकत्ते के बाज़ार,
सरे आम नीलाम छापते थे अंग्रेज़ों के अखबार,
'नागपूर के ज़ेवर ले लो लखनऊ के लो नौलख हार'।
यों परदे की इज़्ज़त परदेशी के हाथ बिकानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

कुटियों में भी विषम वेदना, महलों में आहत अपमान,
वीर सैनिकों के मन में था अपने पुरखों का अभिमान,
नाना धुंधूपंत पेशवा जुटा रहा था सब सामान,
बहिन छबीली ने रण-चण्डी का कर दिया प्रकट आहवान।
हुआ यज्ञ प्रारम्भ उन्हें तो सोई ज्योति जगानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

महलों ने दी आग, झोंपड़ी ने ज्वाला सुलगाई थी,
यह स्वतंत्रता की चिनगारी अंतरतम से आई थी,
झाँसी चेती, दिल्ली चेती, लखनऊ लपटें छाई थी,
मेरठ, कानपूर, पटना ने भारी धूम मचाई थी,
जबलपूर, कोल्हापूर में भी कुछ हलचल उकसानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

इस स्वतंत्रता महायज्ञ में कई वीरवर आए काम,
नाना धुंधूपंत, ताँतिया, चतुर अज़ीमुल्ला सरनाम,
अहमदशाह मौलवी, ठाकुर कुँवरसिंह सैनिक अभिराम,
भारत के इतिहास गगन में अमर रहेंगे जिनके नाम।
लेकिन आज जुर्म कहलाती उनकी जो कुरबानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

इनकी गाथा छोड़, चले हम झाँसी के मैदानों में,
जहाँ खड़ी है लक्ष्मीबाई मर्द बनी मर्दानों में,
लेफ्टिनेंट वाकर आ पहुँचा, आगे बड़ा जवानों में,
रानी ने तलवार खींच ली, हुया द्वन्द्ध असमानों में।
ज़ख्मी होकर वाकर भागा, उसे अजब हैरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

रानी बढ़ी कालपी आई, कर सौ मील निरंतर पार,
घोड़ा थक कर गिरा भूमि पर गया स्वर्ग तत्काल सिधार,
यमुना तट पर अंग्रेज़ों ने फिर खाई रानी से हार,
विजयी रानी आगे चल दी, किया ग्वालियर पर अधिकार।
अंग्रेज़ों के मित्र सिंधिया ने छोड़ी रजधानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

विजय मिली, पर अंग्रेज़ों की फिर सेना घिर आई थी,
अबके जनरल स्मिथ सम्मुख था, उसने मुहँ की खाई थी,
काना और मंदरा सखियाँ रानी के संग आई थी,
युद्ध श्रेत्र में उन दोनों ने भारी मार मचाई थी।
पर पीछे ह्यूरोज़ आ गया, हाय! घिरी अब रानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।


तो भी रानी मार काट कर चलती बनी सैन्य के पार,
किन्तु सामने नाला आया, था वह संकट विषम अपार,
घोड़ा अड़ा, नया घोड़ा था, इतने में आ गये अवार,
रानी एक, शत्रु बहुतेरे, होने लगे वार-पर-वार।
घायल होकर गिरी सिंहनी उसे वीर गति पानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

रानी गई सिधार चिता अब उसकी दिव्य सवारी थी,
मिला तेज से तेज, तेज की वह सच्ची अधिकारी थी,
अभी उम्र कुल तेइस की थी, मनुज नहीं अवतारी थी,
हमको जीवित करने आयी बन स्वतंत्रता-नारी थी,
दिखा गई पथ, सिखा गई हमको जो सीख सिखानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

जाओ रानी याद रखेंगे ये कृतज्ञ भारतवासी,
यह तेरा बलिदान जगावेगा स्वतंत्रता अविनासी,
होवे चुप इतिहास, लगे सच्चाई को चाहे फाँसी,
हो मदमाती विजय, मिटा दे गोलों से चाहे झाँसी।
तेरा स्मारक तू ही होगी, तू खुद अमिट निशानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

. . . . .

Here's more in Memorabilia!

[Continue Reading...]




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Memorabilia-VIII: Chidiya Udh...

If you have done any part of your education in a school in India, then I am sure you must have played this crazy game at least once in your life!

Be it a free period in school, or a traffic jam at the railway crossing on your way back from school, or a power failure at home, 'Chidiya Udh' was one of the most popular games among friends and siblings!

I remember my childhood days, when the school bus used to be so crowded that we had to stand in the central aisle all through the commute. Even then, we never let go of an opportunity to play 'Chidiya Udh'! One hand hanging on to a support railing, and the other busy flying birds and papers and ribbons and cars and elephants and... even our friends ("Swati udh")!

What fun!

And do you remember the cheating? At times when we raised our finger too early, and then realized midway that the object called could not fly, we tried to pretend we'd lifted the finger to scratch our nose or something!

Simple though the game was, it often led to some really noisy moments! Frankly, it's quite amazing that something so silly could evoke such strong feelings in the players! I'm pretty sure that had nothing to do with being kids; I bet we'll still get as worked up about it if were to play it again now!

What do you think? Have you played 'Chidiya Udh' recently? With your kids, perhaps? Or with your nieces/nephews maybe?

. . . . .

Here's more in Memorabilia!

[Continue Reading...]




Silly Saturday: Armed & Dangerous!


Picture Credit: FB Community

Here's more in "Silly Saturday"!

[Continue Reading...]




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Bhindi Blooms!


Here's more in "Wordless Wednesday"!

[Continue Reading...]