K for Kheer

sevaiyan_kheer

sevaiyan_kheer garnished with Cashews and raisins

Indian food is incomplete without desserts. We( at least most of us) just keep finding an excuse to eat sweets. One of the quick, easiest and tasty desserts is sevaiyan ka kheer. Also known as shavige payasa (ಶಾವಗೆ ಪಾಯಸ) in Kannada or Payasam in South India. Posting a recipe here.

Ingredients:

1 cup of broken vermicelli/ Sevaiyan
4 cups of milk
1/2 cup sugar
Ghee for frying
Raisins, Dry roasted cashews, finely powdered cardamom/Elaichi – for garnishing

Preparation:

  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed non-stick pan over medium heat. Add sevaiyan and fry till golden brown.
  • Pour milk and add sugar while stirring continuously and bring it to boil.
  • Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the milk is slightly thickened.
  • Take it down from the gas, add the cashews, raisins and the cardamom powder
Serve it hot in a nice glass bowl 🙂

This dish can be made with a variety of ingredients in a variety of ways. I have posted the sevaiyan one coz that is what we frequently prepare at home.

The other types being Rice kheer( also very common) or with Apple, Badam, Carrots, fruits, coconut,khus khus(poppy seeds)… and the list goes on. This can be prepared on the gas as well as in the microwave. Also, the sugar can be substituted(esp for diabetics) by honey, sweeteners, jaggery,… You could also use condensed milk instead of milk. The garnishing can be done with almond and pistachios as well. In parts of Eastern India, saffron is also used. Even the serving  method can differ. It can be had hot or cold. You can have it your seviyan floating in milk or let it soak all the milk and have it dry topped with dry grated coconut or variety of other Indian spices. You can also add rose essence if serving chilled for a nice taste. In short, use your creativity 🙂

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English Memsaab

Language map of India

Major languages of India. Image courtesy: mapsofIndia.com

Staying away from your home and hometown teaches you a lot! One such important lesson is communicating in sign language or broken sentences in an unknown language to get your point across to the other person. Esp. in a country like India where language changes every few hundred kilometres. If I take just one example of Karnataka state, the languages spoken are mainly Kannada, Tulu and Konkani ( later two by minority population mostly in coastal Karnataka).  Even the Kannada spoken is not similar throughout the state and dialects are so different that people find it difficult to understand each other at times. Again the Konkani and Tulu are spoken differently by different sects who speak the language. As a country we have so many languages and dialects that WordPress dictionary shows them as spelling errors as I type most of the names here. 😛

I remember, having to ask directions in Trivandrum, where people understood English but the problem was they couldn’t get the way we pronounced the names of the places and ended up giving wrong directions and sending us, at times, in the exact opposite direction of where we intended to go. We would finally manage to get hold of one person who spoke and understood ‘our English’.  It is one of those unfortunate moments when you thank the British for having ruled us (at least they have given us a common language:English) 😐

Now I stay in Bangalore, which is the capital city of Karnataka. My mother tongue being Kannada, I thought, now I am done with broken communication but life has other plans. My PG owner is a Tamil native and hence most of the cooks who come to our PG to cook are from small distant villages in Tamil Nadu and know only Tamil. If you happen to drop by on one of the weekday mornings into our PG, you will notice an earthling v/s alien like situation. Two people blabbering away at each other and looking at each other in wonder. And they part ways again talking, this time to themselves. One of these people is our cook and other could be any of the other inmates. 😕

Fortunately we have a couple of girls who speak Tamil, who come to our rescue once in a while. On one such occasions our cook exclaimed to my other PG-mate(in Tamil of course) while pointing at me, “How is this girl going to manage after marriage, She doesn’t know Tamil, does she intend to speak in English with her husband and in-laws?” 😯 I have faced “What is this girl going to do after marriage?!” many a times before but this time it was for an entirely different new reason. The innocent gal doesn’t even know other languages are spoken in India or that B’lore is in Karnataka whose official language is Kannada or that so many non-kannadigas also stay here and it is ok to be so.  She has also taken upon herself the responsibility of teaching the poor me some Tamil and kindly extended the invitation to attend her brother’s marriage in her home town. 😉

Yesterday, was the icing on the cake. She told me another assumption she had made about me and another friend of mine. That initially she thought we were ‘foreigners’ 😀 I couldn’t respond coz I was busy laughing.

Of all the confused identities this one takes the crown!  😀

One and one are sometimes eleven

I was tagged by Bikram to answer the eleven questions and tag people in turn. Hence this post. 🙂

The Rules first:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

Here are my Bikram’s questions

1. What is it that you love to do, most, and would rather spend your time doing it?
I love reading and watching good movies. Give me chance and I will spend an entire lifetime reading books and watching movies.

2.What do you think others think of you?
Hmmm. I am not sure but two things that people invariably say about me: intelligent and silent.

3.Where do you see yourself end the next 10 years?
John Lennon said “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”. 🙂

4. What is one quality of yours you admire the most?
I think optimism. I am an incorrigible optimist. Though I do get cynical at times but it doesn’t take long to recover from those cynical bouts.

5. Have you played a trick on someone that went bad, What is it?
Way back in school, one evening at my friend’s place, I was planning to scare a friend of mine in which I succeeded but as a side effect her Mom also got really scared. If I wasn’t in her good books I guess she would have thrown me out of her house 😳

6.Who would you say made you who you are today (other than your parents, if that is what you would answer ).
I believe we are a sum of all of our combined experiences in life. I’d say a lot of people have a contribution to who I am today but yes a major share does go to my Parents. 🙂

I was lucky to have some wonderful teachers, friends and some amazing bunch of people around me during my growing years. I so miss them. Staying away from home and not being in touch with many of these people makes me sad.

7. What gives you joy?
Hmmm… listening to that wonderful song that makes you lose yourself, Paani puri, travel to a place that I have never been before, a surprise gift, a surprise phone call, sitting on the sea-shore and listening to the waves hit the shore and all those little things that make you realise life is beautiful.

8.Who is your favourite hero and Why?
Shahrukh Khan. I like his larger than life image on-screen and his quick-wittedness off-screen. Also, the fact that he is a family man. 🙂

9.Why do you blog?
It started as an experiment, a place to rant, continued as a time pass. I kept going for the love of writing and sharing my thoughts. When I was demotivated the fact that my blog is read and people commented and kept coming back made me come back too. Once I discovered the real power of blogging and made some wonderful friends through it, I fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since then.

10.Do you believe in love stories , if yes why?
YES. They are one of the things that make life beautiful 🙂

11.Tell us an incident that you remember always.
The first time I made a friend who stayed on as my best friend and we remained so for many years to come. It was our second day at school(kindergarten) and in the tiffin break while I was trying to open my tiffin box it fell down. This girl from the same class came forward, put half of her tiffin in the lid of her tiffin box and offered it to me. I smiled and took it. I don’t even remember if we exchanged names but that marked the beginning of wonderful journey and the happy times we shared later.

Here are my questions:

1. Given a chance, which is the one movie character you would like to play?

2. If you were an animal who do you think you’d be and why? (Humans are animals too but you can’t use that as an answer)

3. A genie appears in front of you and grants you three wishes what would you ask for? (You can’t ask for more wishes for a wish)

4. If your life were a song, what would the title be?

5. Which one would you rather have beauty, brains or strength?

6. Do you think it is the man who should be paying on a date?

7. Do you believe in ‘Love at first sight’?

8. Name one movie you really hated.

9. Name one house-hold chore you really hate

10. What is your most treasured possession?

11. One thing about yourself that many people don’t know

Now the tagging part. Trying to find eleven people who haven’t been tagged 😯

Bhavana
Pallavi
Tangyorangesour
Saumya
Harshad
Felix
Mayur
Patty
Michael
Sherry

And the list is not exhaustive. Anyone can pick the tag. Do pick the tag if you liked the questions.  😀

Phew! this was tougher than what I thought 🙂

I for Image

woman looking at herself in the mirror

woman looking at herself in the mirror

Image: I am talking about the image one has of others and oneself.

The idea for this post came across when I saw beautiful palace pics on Sherry’s(Travel Spirit) post Palace Splendor. I commented that the pics took me to a different era, a time when the kings and queens reigned. She responded “Cool era…but I wouldn’t want to wear the whale bone corsets…ouch!”. Gosh! why would anyone wear such a thing, I thought. But lot of women did.

This is just one instance where women willingly go through pain to fit into the society’s image of a perfect female. This society image includes body image and as well as other behavioral image.Every culture and period of history has had its own standards of “an ideal female” and women from generations have fallen for it. Why even the modern “free” woman also wears painful heels in spite of their well-known ill effects. And anorexic models are the new role models.

While practices like foot binding and corsets are old and abandoned, others like breast ironing are very much alive. Around the same time as corsets, some women also got their ribs surgically removed to get a narrow waist. Fainting was a virtue, it showed a woman is delicate. In fact, I had read somewhere that there were also Charm classes which taught women to faint in a “lady-like” manner.

Sigh! I am so glad I am born in an era and in a culture where no such cruel practices exist( biases do exist but none so harmful/cruel). But at the same time it is also true that we live in an age with instant access to mass media. Hence we are constantly fed with ideas of modern ideal beauty and attitude. Never has history seen such a monumental rise of beauty products, surgical beauty treatments, personality development classes or self-help books. Add to it, technology has helped us to touch up these images to take them to a new unattainable level..

Humans are conditioned to believe ‘what is beautiful is good’. While it is a research proven fact that attractive people(which mostly means good-looking or the current idea of good-looking) have an advantage over the others in the society, why is it that women are more concerned about looks as compared to men. The reasons are again historic. Women had to compete to marry the most eligible man. A woman’s strength was(may be still is) her beauty. Women had no way of supporting themselves, and hence marrying the right man meant a lot. For a man his defining qualities may be good-looking, earning well, very strong or much more but a woman’s identity is tightly tied to her beauty/looks.

Well times have changed and women are more independent now and define their own rules. While both sexes are equal offenders, most guys I have met are pretty open to many ideas of beauty, it is us girls who judge themselves and other girls by these strict set of parameters. Time we stood up for ourselves and choose a happy and healthy life instead struggling to cope to somebody else’s standards. Let’s create an image where a healthy and happy woman is the ideal one. 🙂

Though I am posting it later, I am writing it on International Women’s Day and nothing better than one of my friend’s FB status to conclude the post, “You are sexy, strong and fearless and you know it!!! Happy Women’s Day all you lovely ladies!! ♥ ♥ keep rocking!!”

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