Posted in Christian, Life, Quotes, Reflections

End in the Circle

When we look at the skies every night, one startling fact is that everything that stays in the universe is round, or spherical (perfect or oblate spheroid) to put in better terms. As per the laws of physics, it is a balance of gravitational and centrifugal forces as well as rotational speed that results in the asteroids, stars and planets being spheroid to galaxies being disc shaped.

Putting the scientific aspects into the world of philosophical views and thinking, when we look back through our various phases in life, we come to the understanding that everything boils down to being round especially “what goes around, comes around” like a circle or an oval.

While we see one person at one phase in our life, we realize what the latter had gone through only when we walk in the similar shoes which maybe soon or much later, at another point in our life. Although the Lord made all of us different, in essential unless we learn to appreciate the differences we never realize what a beautiful picture the various versions make.

Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul. Maria Montessori

Each of us has our own life, our own way of life, our own life situations. A person who has not gone through troubles and temptations will not understand the grieving. A happy father will not understand a father who has lost his child. The newlywed will not understand the divorced. A person whose parents are alive will not understand the one who has just buried his mother.

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Jean-Jacques Rousseau

One can theorize, but there is a practice of life. We often don’t have life experiences and when we begin to gain it, we remember those who we had condemned, with whom we were strict and we begin to understand that at that moment we are like dummies. We did not understand how this person felt. We tried to edify them to the view we wanted to see them to make them but he was not up to remarks. Their hearts were filled with grief, their souls were weary and tired, they did not need lectures and lofty words. All they needed at that moment was sympathy, compassion and consolation, but we did not understand it. And when the Lord takes us through the same thing, we begin to feel what the other person felt. This would be one of the “circles of life” that everyone would go through at some point of time or other.

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion. Simone de Beauvoir

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Posted in Daily, Food

Flavoured Hot and Spicy

“Great cooking is about being inspired by the simple things around you – fresh markets, various spices. It doesn’t necessarily have to look fancy.” G. Garvin

The Latin root “spec” became Old French of espice or epice, what we now commonly call as “spice”. Add to it the original Nahuatl “chilli” of today and voila, we are ready for the International Hot and Spicy Food Day tomorrow. The origins of both happened quite exclusive of each other, although when we blend the hot and spicy, a whole new palatal feast is experienced.

“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.” Erma Bombeck

Spice trade had developed in Middle East, South and East Asia as early as 2000 BCE with predominant use of cinnamon, black pepper and herbs. As the Egyptians practised mummification, the constant demand for imported spices and herbs kept the “spice trade” alive. The earliest written records from the Egyptian, Chinese and Indian cultures connect spices with magic, medicine, religion and tradition. On the other hand, capsicum and chilli peppers were originally in wide spread use in the Americas primarily, Central and South America as well as Mexico around 6000 to 7500 years ago. With the advent of Portuguese trade and spread of the chilli peppers to Asia around the 15th century, the cooking of hot and spicy food took onto newer shores.

“A good spicy challenge strikes a balance between flavour and fear.” Adam Richman

For every food enthusiast, celebrating ” International Hot and Spicy Food Day” ( January 16th) is different every year as each spicy cuisine ranging from the Indian masala to spicy Mexican tortas or Vietnamese Bun bo Hue to Cajun cooking and so on; no cuisine mimics the taste of the other. As for those who have been challenged to enter the hot and spicy waters on this day, keeping the spice to low numbers as per the Scoville scale ( the spiciness or heat scale) helps to ace the test. An additional tip would be to keep starch rich food like bread or “naan” with cold water to combat the heat and spice. Hot and spicy can be tuned to one’s own taste bud, for the beauty lies in experience, experimentation, fun and art of cooking and dining.

“From a young age, I understood the idea of balanced flavor – the reason you put ketchup on a hamburger. I was that kid who wouldn’t eat something if there was something missing. I never really understood it until I began cooking professionally, balancing acids, sweets, spicy flavors and fat.” Michael Mina

Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Photography Art

Flexible through the Winds

In the areas where the winds are mighty, the tall palm trees often grace the landscape. Though there are hardly any oaks or similar tall stately trees to be found around. The strength and beauty of the tall palm trees to survive through the huge storms or strong gusts of wind lies in their ability to be strong and flexible. They sway with the wind, bending almost down to the ground at times and that ability allows them to survive the forces of nature.

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. Tony Robbins

The Word of God teaches us to be resilient and pliant when we face the powerful winds that are part of life. When we put our complete faith and trust in His Word, we would be able to adapt to anything that comes our way. As the destructive forces and thoughts push us; lean to adapt keeping our principles and Faith strong so that we can be flexible to plan our sway according to the Lord’s Will. In fact, in doing so we learn to use the force of the winds to make us even stronger and sheltered under the Lord’s wings.

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” Confucius

Have you ever observed children as they learn new things ? They don’t have any fixed notion or ideologies. They listen to what is told, the first words and sounds they say are what they hear when we as adults say them. When a child begins to learn to write and does not know what is expected of him, their hands are completely flexible and obediently controlled by the hand of their parents and teachers mother; as soon as they imagine what they understood and comprehend, tries to “help”, everything goes at random: that’s what I mean when saying that the power of God is accomplished in weakness.

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginia Satir

Like the sails of the ship, the wind can fill it so that it will carry the whole ship – just because the sail is flexible; if instead of a sail you put a solid board, then nothing will come out. One of the many things that God constantly tries to teach us instead of the imaginary, insignificant and anarchic “strength” that we hold to is fragility, flexibility, complete surrender to God.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.’ James 4:13-17

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Drowned by Expectations

When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. LL Cool J

Life is known for its’ curve balls, treacherous routes and sudden rides. When we start our journey, we were given a blank slate. Over the years, with the lessons that we have learnt, instances that we have witnessed and experiences that we have gone through, we start filling in the spaces. Somewhere along the way, when we use the colour of expectations too much, we discover the fallacy too late. For every adversity has its’ own way in and way out, but the path clears when we remove our blinders, lower our expectations and use our common sense to put our faith, trust and intelligence to good use. Although the “drowning man” had blind faith, if we are unable to discern that “His Grace and His Faith” can also show us the path at the right time when we look for it, then we need to cement our Faith with insight and common sense. Else this will cost us our blessings from His Grace, His Love and His Mercy.

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on. Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on. Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the helicopter reluctantly flew away. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!” To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?” (Various versions of this parable can be read online and has been quoted in different works like Beck, Joko; Smith, Steve (1989). Everyday Zen: Love and Work.)

“However desperate the situation and circumstances, don’t despair. When there is everything to fear, be unafraid. When surrounded by dangers, fear none of them. When without resources, depend on resourcefulness.” Sun Tzu

Posted in Daily, Food

Origin of “Curry”

On experimenting with various recipes, one interesting fact I had realized that there are so many things about “curry” that we take for being true or ascertained facts, when they may not be so.

Curry applies to dishes with gravy, spicy origins and can range to a variety of South Asian as well as South East Asian dishes, based on the type of spices. Curry technically is not a word actually used in most vernacular Indian languages. Each of the Indian states have their own terminology for “curry” ranging from “shaak” of Gujarat to “saaru” in Karnataka and “jhol” of Bangal. Historians noted that the word had been into common use when the British had tasted and brought the South Asian dishes to the west.

Curry is not a spice but a mixture of spices (often sold grounded as curry powder, mostly of turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli and ginger) which can used with a variety of vegetables or meat, even seafood to make a variety of dishes, each having their own name in the region. Depending on the addition of water, milk or even curd, the base can be liquid or kept dry.

Curry powder has been one of the world’s oldest medicinal and cooking mixtures ranging back to Mesopotamian era (1700 BC). Although the roots of curry powder may be traced to Asia, documents and books on English cooking as early as 1300s mention the use of this concoction.

“Curreier” vs. “kari” The word “curry” has different meanings when used as a verb and noun. The Vulgar Latin “conredare”, Middle English “currayen” or Old French word “correier” had given roots to the Anglo-French “curreier” which later gave rise to the verb of “currying” meaning to seek favour by flattery or attention. Whereas, the noun “curry” was derived from Tamil “kari” (or a cognate word in a Dravidian language) as states in the Marrian-Webster dictionary. Another derivation I had read online was that the word curry was derived from a South-Asian word “Kori”; a sauce with cooked meat or fish.

Another reasoning behind everything “stew based being called curry” was based on the first English cookbook. In the 1300?s, King Richard II had summoned several cooks and philosophers to produce the first English cookery book known as ‘The Forme of Cury’ (1390). The old English word “Cury” was used to describe cuisine based on French ‘cuire’ meaning: to cook, boil or grill. The word “Cury” became associated with stew.

Either way, “curry” has come a long way especially with the advent of trade and later on travel, led to the exchange of cuisines, culinary ideas as well mixing of flavours with local available ingredients. Soon the indigenous recipes became globalized. Whichever dish it may be especially today as National Curried Chicken Day (January 12th); for an exotic, spicy and different blend of curried chicken; try making the sauce with ghee (clarified butter), onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric powder with a dash of ginger or just add the right amount of “curry powder” and get the taste buds going.

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes

Where Did The Time Go

One of the most sought after requirement for doing any task, buying any gadget or engaging in any short term or long term event is either “quick or fast or rapid or time-saving.” The modern era relies on saving or using time to do as much as possible, to the extent of forgetting that time like all other gifts of nature can’t be saved but only prioritized.

“The supposed great misery of our century is the lack of time.” John Fowles

For time is getting less day by day. We don’t have enough time to read books or newspapers, to write long letters that people once wrote to each other. We struggle to make time to love, communicate with our family and friends, simply talk to our children or even to admire the sunsets and sunrises or just mindlessly walk through the fields and woods. Where did all the time go? Where did this growing trouble of “less time” come from? We do everything in our power to save time, yet it is never enough.

“Quit saying you don’t have time. You have time for what you make time for in life.” Bryant H. McGill

To find time, is not easy but possible. If we take it upon ourselves to enlist our schedule for a week or even a day, we can figure out where the time went. After that, it is up to us to cut off activities that take up our precious hours and leave us with more headaches than ever. The inner query of “do I really need to do this” helps a lot. For instance, checking our email, Facebook or Instagram every hour, news by every hour (unless it is a professional requirement), numerous hours of television doesn’t really help us grow.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” Zig Ziglar

We need to find time to manifest ourselves, the nature around us, our abilities, plans and dreams. Tracking down what is important is needed because once gone, time never returns but only moves forward.

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

View at the Harbor

As a part of the holiday break, as I live pretty close to the sea; we, the entire family, had decided to spend the morning day at the docks and the beach. That was when I had noticed the hustle and bustle going around. Boats were coming and going, some unloading their catch whereas others were simply travelling for the fun with few capturing few seconds of the delights of the water and nature. Amidst all this, few children were playing on the docks with some passerby slipping in their greetings for the regular boats. On the other hand, some boats came quietly and left, with no greeting or exuberant shouts of joy for fellow boats. The resemblance between the activity at the harbour and our lives are pretty striking.

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn

In life we too have our own set of voyages. Yet on these journeys, we come across a number of ships. Some ships are close ones, while some are strangers. There are those who indirectly go with you in life, not really influencing but being present for some reason. There are those who come close to you and change the course of events in history. There are comings and goings. Some will leave a mark in an instant; others even after having been present for years nearby, will not touch the strings of your heart. It is impossible to predict who will stay with you; sometimes close ones let go of your hand on the edge of the abyss and suddenly strangers will hold your outstretched hands and grasp you tight. We can go on the same road, but look in different directions. We can go on different roads but suddenly we stop at an intersection. And no one knows what will happen in a minute, month, year.

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” Rainer Maria Rilke. 

By entering into someone else’s life or even barely touching it, we leave in it what will become another beacon on the darkest night for him. Be kind, gracious and sincere. This is neither a weakness nor a vice. This is a force that has no price or boastful pride. Say important words to the people who are dear to you in time, because they are of the greatest value especially when we don’t have a guideline or guarantee of how long they can wait for us, or when will they be called. Everything that is so important to the heart has their own time or expiration date. Every word and dded will last only for so long, to the time allotted or it. We are all strangers in this life, closely or partially intertwined with each other. Each touch to your soul, like yours to someone else’s, leaves a mark in the book of destinies and changes the course of events. Be careful, touch carefully.