Thursday, February 26, 2009

Direction sense of my Mom

After writing my previous post,my brain started analysing my driving and its associated skills ;-)..As a result of that analysis I ve come to a conclusion that I would have ended up as a pathetic driver,not only because of my poor driving skills,but my worst direction sense which is a major reason behind this conclusion..

Sometimes I blame the creator for blessing me ;-) with such a horrible direction sense,but poor chap !what can he do?as I have inherited this quality(!) from my mom....So blame it on our genes!..
Both of us are fitted with non working poor quality magnetic needles in our brain...either they show wrong directions or don't indicate at all;-)..May be ,If I start driving to Bangalore, I will reach Baroda safely... :(
I ve studied that one particular part in our brain ' Hippocampus' is responsible for our navigational skills..I doubt that our Hippocampus is camping away from our brain;-)

My mother could never reach the starting point without any confusion..Height of her confusion was ,once she had to take guidance of some strangers for returning back to our own house,that too not from a faraway place ,from a 2 km distance..(Believe me! This is true story! not a concocted one!) but she confessed to us that she was feeling awkward to ask the directions to her own house,so she asked route to our neighbour's house...;-)...but I am still puzzled about this technique of her's..what difference it made to that stranger?!! He was not knowing whose house she was asking for,,may be she herself was feeling funny about asking route to her own house;)

In one more incidence,she had gone for shopping to nearby local market with my aunt who was not familiar to our city ,and on their way back home(!!!) they were going in opposite direction,,,,My aunt's brain alerted her for wrong land marks (may be she doubted some kidnapping mission from her sister in law;-))) and she brought back my mom safely..;-) and ofcourse she could spice up the entire incident and entertain us with her narration skills... and interestingly, it was entertaining to my mother also :-)..

Naturally my father was worried about these frequent adventures of my mother...;-)but couldn't help it..

But ,during those days,I was not aware that I was also sailing in the same boat..So I could enjoy all this fun...I discovered my poor direction skills when I got married and came to pune..atleast in pune I had my mother-in-law to guide me..once we shifted to Baroda and Ahmedabad I landed up in more trouble ,In Baroda I promptly took guidance from our family friends..In spite of that many times I ended walking up in opposite directions;-) so the only solution I had was to carry Aditya ,my son along with me(he was just 8 months old!!)...because I believed that kids have great direction sense and hoping that he has not inherited my direction genes ,I ventured out taking him as my guide..;-)..Even in Ahmedabad's mazy network of narrow streets ,I could dare to go because of the confidence I had in my little companion..:-) Till today I ve relied upon his navigation skills,May be, if he reads this post one day he will come to know why his mother was so keen in taking him along with her wherever she went;-) in next post...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Story of my 2-wheeler license.

After shifting to Pune,I realized that skill of riding two wheeler was more than a necessity. Pune being a city of two wheelers,lots of women with dacoit like masks riding two wheelers ;-) on roads was a common sight.:-) and I think this also inspired me to learn 2 wheeler ;-) ..

Don't mistake me as a novice in 2 wheeler driving ..I know a little bit of balancing act from cycling during my schooldays and after that ,my brothers encouraged(?!) me to learn moped .After gaining little confidence,I started practicing in our street where traffic was minimum ;-) learning session came to an abrupt halt when one of my adventurous cousins suddenly bumped on the pillion seat without my knowledge and I kissed the road with a thud..obviously my cousin escaped unhurt :-(...This event induced a deep vehicle phobia in my mind ,...

But again , after coming to Pune, due to necessity,I tried to overcome the fear and decided to learn ...when I expressed my wish to Rajendra, he was happy ( he always encourages me in my new ventures ;-)..) and offered his motorbike for practice..this suggestion sent shudders in me ..falling down from a bike can cause severe damage to my bones...;-) I strictly said a 'NO' to motorbike..(but it was very nice imagining myself as speedy John Abraham of film 'Dhoom',that's a different story..) ..

I decided to learn from a driving school trainer to avoid any other mishap which may further deepen my phobia..My driving classes also started and in 10 days I went to RTO with my mother in law for getting Learning license..I carefully memorized the traffic signals ;) ,appeared for the test and came out happily with the laminated learners license ,my mother in law hugged me with great pride as if congratulating a merit list student of board exams;)....

My course was about to end and my instructor gave me some tips,'Dos ' and 'Dont's to be followed when appearing for permanent license test.Hesitatingly ,I threw on her a silly question,"Can we balance with our feet on the ground while taking U turns during the test?",she got annoyed by my Q and quipped,"They may fail you! U have to ride in an 8 shaped track without touching the feet on the ground,Don't worry! Practice well and get the license..CU" This statement was enough to send me into high tension mode;)...
It was difficult for me to drive even in 1 shaped track .Riding in 8 track was just unimaginable..All day and night I started thinking about number 8..I decided to practice all types of turns and one of my dearest friends offered her scooty for practice,I started practicing in noons under hot sun to avoid traffic and accidents..;), I was driving around our residential complex some thousand times ,when security guards and others started seeing me bewilderingly ,obviously with this Q in their mind"Why this mad lady is doing pradakshina (circumambulation) of our society daily in hot noons?", I stopped this sunny ventures and decided to practice in early mornings and asked Rajendra to help me..He sacrificed his morning sleep ;) and accompanied me for my U turn practices..

We chose a particular stretch of 100 metres in the road where repetitive U turns was possible..Tough taskmaster he is..he made me drive sharp U turns so many number of times and at the end of each session I started feeling like a Stunt biker of Indian Circus who rides inside a huge metal sphere criss-crossing several times...Rajendra was very strict with me and (of course that irritated me ;-)..) he tried to make me an expert but in vain ;-)..I started getting nightmares of falling down on RTO 8 track and this made me even more nervous...Because of this infinite 8 track practices,I was afraid that my legs will take an imaginary 8 shaped track even in normal roads due to inertia..;) and we decided the date for the test and Rajendra decided to take half day off but added to my woes by saying that his colleague and his wife will be there for her test..How silly it would be to fall in front of office colleagues?..

On the D day we reached RTO well before time , many license aspirants were practicing in 8 track,Rajendra tried very hard to get the coordination of my hand signals and driving properly but every time I made a silly mistake and finally I got it right..Now I was thrilled to appear for the test and waiting for my moment to come..I was becoming impatient and excited to display my skills in 8 that time driving school agent called my name and took us to nearby place ,( I was unaware that driving school students are tested separately ) asked me to stand in the queue,due to over excitement I stood first in the 'Q' near the ground and started searching for 8 track..there was no was just a muddy ground..perplexed on the sight,a slight disappointment started seeping in my mind,,one of the assistants waved his hands towards me and I moved forward ,stopped near the RTO Inspector who was chewing pan casually and sitting in a slanting position making a 60 degree with the ground..First of all that pose irritated me and next major disappointment was absence of 8 track,assistant signaled me to start ..before I could ask him..he asked me to drive a big circle on that stupid..after so much of practice of 8s and U turns anger cells started activating ,but hid my disappointment and rode that circle, I purposely made it as a big circle by extending the radius, ignoring the assistant's yell towards me to make it a smaller circle .Seething anger inside me was waiting to erupt like volcano..while riding back I could see beaming Rajendra's face(he was unaware of my disappointment) admiring my victory showing a Thumbs Up sign.. ..he was looking like an Olympic coach waiting for his athlete to touch the victory line..after finishing the silly circular ride I stopped in front of the inspector ,his pose had further dipped to a 58 degree angle which added to my anger..lazily he waved his hands signalling me to move and make way to next entrant..I moved and stopped the scooty in front of Rajendra ..He congratulated me..I was in complete tizzy state..,I was fuming with anger and insult about this silly drive and started " How many days I practiced for this 8 track drive,under hot sun and cold mornings like a mad person,but these silly fellows didn't even give me a chance to drive in 8 track.." I was continuing red hot..Rajendra's face also became serious for a moment ,but next moment he burst into roaring laughter on seeing my plight..his thunderous, teasing,laughter made him look like multiple villains (amrish puri,pran,nambiar sorts..) merged together and it seemed that he was enjoying every moment of my fiasco and helplessly I also had to join him in the laughter....For the next few days I stopped writing 8 even in paper...License ? I got it! in next post!

Recent Update :- Recently I visited RTO. All license aspirants are asked to ride on 8 track for the test.No circular track :-) :-) Great! ;-) :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Evolution and Dasavataram

As the world celebrates 200th birthday of Charles Darwin on Feb12 ,I take a chance to analyse his theory with my field of interest ,Hinduism.Read the warning ;-) before u proceed...
Warning  : On seeing the label if u think that I ve chosen 'Padmaism' out of self obsession...sorry! The content of this post is a mixture of science,hindu legends,spiritual faith..I was confused to choose a correct label..I tried sci-spi,sci-hi ;-) in the lines of sci-fi,but didn't sound so good...ok suggestions for new label is welcome from readers .Till then padmaism continues.
This post will deal with incarnations of Mahavishnu and compare it with Darwin's Evolution theory..

Even though Bhagavatpuran quotes around 22 avatars, very prominent incarnations described in garuda puran and other texts are I will deal only with them..
Similarly there are many theories revolving around evolution ..In this post, I will consider only the chronological order of evolutionary theory..researchers say that species to inherit the earth in the initial stages were amoebic and first well defined species is Fish (includes other forms of fish also).
Interesting thing to note is first incarnation of Mahavishnu is 'Matsyavatara' in which lower part of body is fish .Isn't it a striking coincidence? or a reason for believers like me to feel happy?..May be God has always associated with the species of earth in their contemporary form to make them feel at ease .for eg. if he descends now he may take a form of modern ,cool guy to make us feel comfortable..;)

Next descent is 'Kurmavatara' which was in the form of turtle/tortoise, as we go up the evolution tree we see turtles which can live both in land and water,may be that's when transition of water species to land species was taking place.

Third incarnation 'Varahavatara' which was in the form of boar which is a complete land species.As we go up above the evolutionary tree we see wild animals,pigmies, apes and human beings.yes! u got it.

Forth incarnation which was 'Narsimhavatara' , God took the form of half Lion.By this time wild animals had completely inherited the earth..

Fifth one which was 'Vamanavatara' in which God took the form of a dwarf , now my mind associates with pigmies..

From 'Parshuramavatara' human form becoming more prominent.
One among the most famous incarnation and revered form is 'Ramavatara' in which he descended as complete human .May be this was the transition period from apes in which human species just started to appear on earth and this descent was to teach them the correct ideals and principles of way of life.

Those who worry about missing out apes can be satisfied with another interesting fact in 'Hanuman' another revered God in Hinduism..Ape men appear in the famous kishkinda kandam of 'ramayana' .

Eyewitness encyclopedia version 200 describes a certain species 'Homo erectus' which evolved in the transition period.Interesting point to note is that this species were not normal apes which grab eatables from our us ;-)..These species had a brain of 2/3 size of modern humans,but still retained apelike features ,such as receding forehead ,projecting jaws and thick bones. Fossils of Homo erectus species have been found in Asia and Europe as well as in Africa... this species had good brain activity too...

Don't we find an amazing resemblance with our own vanar sena depicted in Ramayana..May be since Hanuman is God by himself,he was far more superior than his clan in terms of knowledge and valour.
Next is 'Krishnavatara' which completely dealt with human species in an intelligent manner ,describing the advanced warfare of that time showing that human species was continuously evolving..
One more interesting fact  Inoticed in encyclopedia was about 'Hominid' species,the neanderthals who had a stocky build,large brain and could use many tools and fire etc ,they are known to have disappeared around 30000 years ago from europe-possibly edged out by competition from 'Homosapiens' that is human beings .Do demons and rakshasas belong to this category?quite interesting to scratch my head in such matters..;)

The total Mahayuga which comprises of all 4 yugas spans around 4,320,000(appr.) years.In first yuga ,average human life span was around 10,000 years (?!!),may be that's why they could undertake lots of tapasyas spanning for 1000 years ??..First 4 avatars took place in this satya yuga ..Hindu puranas gives details of cycles of such Mahayugas where creations and destructions took place..encyclopedia also describes the mass extinctions at the end of 'permean era','jurassic era' and 'cretacious ' periods where large catastrophes took place..

So far so good ,but the confusing and contradictory part arises from calculation of eras or time period mentioned in both puranas and encyclopedia...permian era starts with 350mya to 200mya ..and so on..
Lots of mathematics is involved in both this calculation and comparison of both eras and yugas..Limited capacity of my brain doesn't permit me to do so.. :( I give all freedom to the readers to further get confused in this topic and I sincerely thank u for sharing my confusions and interesting findings;-)..

But one thing to be noted is Darwin was humiliated by the then churches for going against christianity's Creation theory..If Darwin got to study this post then ,he would have felt happy that Hindu scriptures supported and agreed with his idea..;) atleast in some aspects. in next post...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Murky Indian Politics

A Recent apology from a politician Mr.K of U.P has triggered me to write this post.I am not against any apologies and confessions.It is the right of every human being to cleanse himself from his sins, amend his ways and adopt more human way of living.. If he had sincerely apologised for demolition of Babri Masjid, We r ready to pardon him aiding in his moral cleansing...bcos now i feel that the demolition of babri masjid has caused more damage to Hindus than favouring them, giving rise to more terror incidents and fanning mutual hatred.
Coming to the point,the timing of the apology has sent me into a tizzy state,he has chosen to apologise ,when general elections are just 2 months away,why didn't he apologise 2 years back or immediately after previous loksabha elections..If he would have apologised then, what is the use of that apology?He couldn't have reaped rich dividends..So he has chosen this time.
Not only this particularMr.K , A to Z of Indian political clan is trying to woo Indian voters on various issues..wait!..Not about development issues...these politicians try to woo the voters by playing caste cards, by nurturing regional fanaticism and deepening the rift among various religions.They take Indian voters for granted, take advantage of emotionally highly combustible Indians who can be easily incited by fiery fanatic speeches and pamphlets..,Educated Indian mass don't even go for voting and elect an able representative..and the remaining population don't vote for candidate's character, his previous achievements...They decide their vote on seeing the caste,subsect,gotra etc of the candidate ...
In this case they have tried to woo the already disgruntled muslim population of India,Do these politicians think that muslims are vote vending machines?..Have these politicians ever tried to visit poor muslim mohallas ,where basic amenities are not provided?Why don't they take a development plank before them..They will not...They will never allow Hindus and muslims to bury the hatchet over babri masjid demolition..They will dig for the skeletons forever and see to that there is no unity.These r the super secular(!!!) politicians of India ..
In India any Tom,Dick and Harry uses the word secularism,,without knowing the meaning..
The word 'Secularism' was first used in Britain to assert that the administration of state is free from any religious rules and insulated from the influences of religious beliefs and state will not give any privilege or subsidies to any religion ,in short,Separation of state and church in Britain.
In India the meaning is entirely twisted and used for minority appeasement.
I know that Indians are not proactive,We have stopped reacting also,but still worse,we have become numb to all these statements,apologies.. may be we r used to the century old techniques of britisher's divide and rule policy and we still love to be the slaves of the situation...God! Save the Nation!Ok !cu in next post ...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Picnic Curd Rice

As I had promised in my firstever post "A Typical Indian Road Trip/Picnic" ,I am posting the recipe of Picnic Curd rice,in simple words Curd Rice which can be packed for long distance journeys.Some cynics(?!) can question me ,what big difference is there between ordinary curd rice and picnic curd rice?,But the difference is big enough to dedicate a post in a blog folks! ;-)
One more confession before starting the recipe,just bcos I am posting a recipe in a blog ,don't think that I have tremendous culinary skills ;-) ,Sorry! I am not an expert cook..I am a good foodie :-)
In India,Yoghurt of western countries is known as Curd,but renaming Curd rice into Yoghurt rice will not only hurt me ,but entire South Indian Brahmin Community which swears by Curd Rice ;-),So I am sparing the name ,even though technically it is incorrect ;-).
Normally Curd rice which is to be consumed at home is prepared by mixing curds with cooked rice,a pinch of salt and little seasoning.But if u try to pack this rice for a trip ,then u will end up opening a lunch box which sends a tangy smell of century old fermented wine;-) ,which will make the co passengers run away for cover.;-) and a thick white clumpy ball of rice which will require a jug of water to force it into oesophagus,the reason being rice absorbs all the liquid and leaves it very dry,.Here comes the tips for wonderful lip smacking curd rice from a person who has traveled umpteen number of times in long distance trains and whose appetite cannot be satiated without curd rice. Lots of research was done before arriving at this final recipe ;-).
First step is to cook the rice with more water than normal proportion ,so that cooked rice can be slightly mashed when it is hot,and leave it to cool down to room temperature.
Add salt ,milk (approx..for 1 cup of cooked rice,half litre of milk),if malai is formed on the milk don't forget to add that,it just adds to the taste and result will be yummy(of course bad for tummy ;-) more the milk,more the taste.I ll add some more points at the end of the post so that u can vary the qty of milk accordingly.
Next add 1 to 2 tbsp of good quality curd ,and for heaven's sake leave aside all ur sophisticated ways of cooking and mix the rice mixture with ur clean hands,reason being, natural yeast present in our hands aids the fermentation process quickly.Add some more milk if needed , so that the qty of milk above the rice forms about 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick layer,i.e., u let the milk remain above the top layer of rice,so that during the fermentation process rice fluffs and curd rice doesn't dries up.
Letting ( 1 to 2 inches)layer of milk remain over the rice mix is the major difference between ordinary curd rice and picnic curd rice,,and this makes a huge difference.Fermentation takes place along with the mixed rice,so tastes good.
Next is seasoning,in 2 tsps of oil(i prefer oil to ghee),add
1. mustard seeds,
2.asafoetida(hing/perungayam), chillies pieces of 1 to 1 1/2 inch,if chillies are finely chopped and if any child gets to taste it then the entire environment may become red hot due to the high decibal sound produced by the child . ;-)
4. dried masala chillies..mmm..this is the most difficult thing to explain..these chillies are known as 'kutachi mirchi' in Marathi ,meaning masala stuffed dried chillies ,'majjiga mirapakailu' in Telugu and 'Mor Milagaai' in Tamil , meaning dried buttermilk chillies?! (this is the worst ever & horrible translation i ve tried ;-)...if these chillies are not available ,don't worry !add whole red chillies..
5.curry leaves.
Add this seasoning ,and again mix the curd rice well.
Important things to note ,
1. Temperature of the region in which curd rice is prepared,fermentation process requires optimum heat, if enough heat is not provided ,u will end up eating milk rice ;-) In cold days u are allowed to add 2 more tbsps of curd in the rice,and pack it in a thermos bag or use a thick blanket to cover the box.
2.Time duration between preparation and consumption ..if it is more, then add more milk on the top layer,(believe me ! ive prepared curd rice for 18 hrs to 20 hrs duration and was successful in the attempt).before consuming it, just stir it well again.
And last but not the least, packing part of it,since u r going to pack food which is almost in liquid state,there is every chance of milk spilling out of the container,,so pack it in an airtight container or seal the lid well with small plastic covers otherwise messy bag with spilt milk can make u give a sorry look or leave u red faced ;-) in the picnic..ok .Have a nice trip! in next post..