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

Hues of Being Modern

“Recent generations seem to consider ‘old-fashioned’ thinking as out-dated and without place in the modern world. I beg to differ. After all, who has greater faith? He who looks to and learns from the past, or the man who cares not for consequence?” Fennel Hudson

For those of us who come from large families or with children especially may have encountered at some point of time, the constant tussle between “the modern” way of today versus “how it used to be during our days.” While one generation struggles to keep up with “the modernism” and “technological advancement” trying to keep the “value system” in check; the other generation fails to discern the reality and foresee the bigger picture of the future.

Change is the end result of all true learning. Leo Buscaglia

As society evolves, change is imminent, inevitable and needed. Yet as we progress and “modernize” ourselves; losing sight of true values, moral sense of ethics and conforming ourselves into what we really are not; doesn’t constitute a “good” change. One can always change for better or for worse, it’s up to us to decide how to go about it. Despite all the “modern way” of today, keeping core values of basic humaneness, truth and kindness would make life less depressing, more meaningful and enriching.

“The modern mind is in complete disarray. Knowledge has stretched itself to the point where neither the world nor our intelligence can find any foot-hold. It is a fact that we are suffering from nihilism.” Albert Camus

I am old-fashioned … I like dresses to the heels,
Honor and shyness, and medicine without bribes …
Good songs, gifts with their own hands …
Feelings forever and, of course, wedding in the temple …

I am old-fashioned, and the role of the business-woman is alien to me …
I choose not the benefit … True friendship.
I can not judge by the amount of currency …
Heaven is always grateful for days and minutes.

I am old-fashioned, I read prayers at night …
In them, I ask health to all the kids and mother.
I do not go to restaurants and clubs are cool …
I watch the night stars shine …

I am old-fashioned, I like chamomile in the field …
I believe in love, from which I feel goosebumps.
I know that a strong man is not a “deceitful macho” …
I’m not ashamed of tears in my eyes from emotions …

I’m old-fashioned … I can’t find silicone …
To believe, to love and to forgive is above new laws …
Fashion dictates … But I am free from dictations
I am hopelessly happy … I’m old-fashioned …

Irina Samarina-Labyrinth

Posted in Daily, Food

Of Rice, Steam and Cake

Add four parts uncooked rice (or parboiled rice) to one part whole white lentil (urad dal) are soaked separately overnight (at least four hours to six hours). Optionally spices like fenugreek seeds can be added at the time of soaking for additional flavour. After being soaked, the lentils are ground to a fine paste and the rice is separately coarsely ground and then combined. The mixture is left to ferment overnight during which its volume will more than double. The finished batter is put into trays of greased perforated moulds for steaming. The trays are held above the level of boiling water in a pot, and the pot is covered until done (about 10–25 minutes, depending on size).

Idli or idly are a type of savoury rice cake, originating from the Indian subcontinent, popular as breakfast foods. Made primarily from steaming a batter of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice, idlis are can be had at any time, most popularly with condiments like chutney and sambhar. Other variations include rava (semolina) idli, ragi idli, “tatte” idli varying to the local ingredients and flavour.

Several ancient Indian works mention the precursor of modern idli. Initial records mention soaking black gram in buttermilk, ground to a fine paste and mixed with the clear water of curd and spices. The three key aspects of the modern idli recipe; the use of rice (not just urad dal), the long fermentation of the mix and the steaming for fluffiness are left out. Popular belief is that the Indonesian influence on the cooks of those times may have let to the development of the modern idli. As of 2015, March 30 is celebrated as World Idli Day.

Besides known for its’ versatility of flavours and on the streets, idlis are nutritionally smart. In a single idli, one consumes 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 8 grams of carbohydrates, approximately 39 calories. In addition, it contains iron with trace amounts of calcium, folate, potassium and vitamin A. Spices like fenugreek, mustard seeds, chili peppers, cumin, coriander, ginger or sugar may be added to make them sweet instead of savory. Stuffed idli with filling of potato, beans, carrot and masala are popular. Leftover idlis can be cut-up or crushed and sauteed for a dish called idli upma. Creative fusion recipes like idly chicken, idly manchurian, idly fry, chilly idly and a lot of different ideas have been successfully experimented and recreated.

From the huge plate sized “thatte idlis” to the “Mangalorean Muday Idli” in steamed leaves or Goan Sannas and mini Sambhar idli, these dishes are travelling miles from the subcontinent and gaining popularity globally.


Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Set the Glass Down

“Goodnight. Sleep tight.”

As we say these words to the young and dear ones, flashbacks of our younger days come to mind. If one remembers our childhood nights of bedtime stories and goodnight hugs; the nights today would have a feeling of uneasiness at times with night with “insomnia” or related like event, when the nights are spent in restlessness. Looking over the years, as we grow up sleepless nights became the trend. From blissful sleep of childhood, pulling an all-nighter with friends; then later on around the exams and finally in college to adult life; the trend of “staying up all night” transformed from being a trend to “the norm”. The thought that surfaces to mind is , “when was the last time we slept well?”

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances.” Andrew J. Bernstein

Analyzing the nights where we toss and turn the bed covers, not sleeping a wink would be reasons ranging from a newborn to sick child or pending work, spouse’s absence, health issues and the list is endless. While some of these reasons are not in our hands to control or fathom; others’ can be controlled by containing our thoughts and putting our trust into our Faith.

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” Hans Selye

Life has given us whole causes for sleepless nights. Yet in the face of the hurdles, once we learn to lighten the burden with reason, immense Faith and Hope; the world tomorrow mayn’t be so bad. Whether we drive ourselves crazy with worry or not, what will happen will happen. Is it worth losing our sleep on these things ?

“Stress and worry, they solve nothing. What they do is block creativity. You are not even able to think about the solutions. Every problem has a solution.” Susan L. Taylor

“Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical ‘glass half empty or glass half full’ question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, ‘How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?’
Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds. She replied, ‘From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.’

As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, ‘Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.’”

“‘Sunrise Sunset’ is about trying to get to a place where life is simple and not letting the stress and happenings in the world get in the way of your happiness.” Benny Cassette

Posted in Life, Photography Art, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Practicality of the Rainbow

“Nullum Dolorum, Nullum Quaestum”

Trying something new is always a venture of exciting possibility, realization of dreams as well as fear of which side the balance will tilt towards, success or failure. The best thing about all these emotions, is that its’ a part of surviving and living. Everyone has their own set of fears, insecurities, burdens and pain whether its’ of physical, spiritual, emotional, moral, internal or external type or kind. For more proof, nature holds the evidence.

Caterpillar. Chrysalis. Butterfly.

Rain. Sun. Rainbow.

Carbon. Pressure. Diamonds.

Pyramids of Giza. Roman Colosseum. Great Wall of China.

 As evidenced by history and time along with nature, showing in its’ magnificent examples, unless we toil and sweat, there wouldn’t be any gain. The key to surviving and taking life in all its’ colours, is to look beyond the immediate and overcome the bad slow and steady. If at times, things don’t go the way it should have, worry but don’t despair. Find the courage, time and hope to improvise for another shot. Just like the beauty of diamonds, pressure has and will always be a part of achievements.

“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.” Thomas Fuller

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

Once Upon A Time

“…..And they lived happily after.”

One of the many endings often read; fairy tales and bed time classics have been going around for years, doing their fair share of imagination, creativity and togetherness during the childhood years. From the far-fetched tales of talking animals to almost realistic tales; fairy tale also known as magic tale or Marchen is a folklore genre, which typically features dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants to list a few. The common thread between various folklore tales across the globe is the “moral sense” of right and wrong being instilled in the young minds.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Neil Gaiman

As we grow up, we start cross examining these stories with reality. Then why do we need fairy tales? What are we seeking for in them? Do fairy-tales help us dream of good, affection, triumph over evil ? Are fairy-tales and classics a mirage that hide the true realities of life from children ?

“There is many a monster who wears the form of a man; it is better of the two to have the heart of a man and the form of a monster. ” -Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast

In the fairy tale, joy and love wins with everything being fair especially at the end. From the brave princes to Snow White and mermaids, kind old dwarf to naughty elves; fairy tales bring to life cozy home, adventures and dreams. Yet is the reality different or can we chose to make the best of the beginnings and endings that we receive ?

“Outside, on the bough of a tree, sat the living nightingale. She had heard of the emperor’s illness, and was therefore come to sing to him of hope and trust. And as she sung, the shadows grew paler and paler.” -Hans Christian Andersen, “The Nightingale”

Far from being extinct, fairy tales do have reasons to stay. The start of any fairy tale is one of adventure, inspiration and dreams. As the story unfolds and trials start; the fight against evil, the power of hope and reassurance that despite all odds things will turn out to be alright in the end when we believe in the true power of love, kindness, honesty and persevere for our dreams. Reassuring us to be ourselves, being honest and treasuring the gifts of life are few of the many subtle messages hidden in a fairy tale or the classics.

“You’re entirely bonkers, but I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In the modern era of “smart technology”, preserving the art of reading aloud, bonding together and family time would go a long way into modeling our children for the future. So read them fairy tales once in a while. Give them stories to love, cherish and dream on. Maybe later in this world it would be easier for them to survive, cope, adapt and live life to their dreams.

“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” Hans Christian Andersen

Posted in Daily, Food

Little “Bits” of Cake

“Cake on stick, once in a while, never hurts the diet.”

Baking a cake involves getting the right ingredients, weighing them and mixing them in the right proportions. For the more elaborate cakes, the icing, food colouring as well as the shapes of the base cakes needs to be set right. Ever tried making a “football field” cake without leftover crumbs. No matter how accurate and sharp the knife is, there are still inevitable crumbs of cake left behind.

Gather all the crumbs, crush them and mixed them with the leftover icing and chocolate, shape them and coat them with sprinkles or gems depending on one’s choice. put them on sticks like lollipops and freeze. Voila, cake on sticks like candy or more popularly known as “cake pops” are ready.

Although there is no recorded date for the creation of cake pops, this confectionery craze took over the industry from 2009 to 2011. Often credited to “Bakerella” a baking blog, “cake pops” rose in popularity. While the regular “round or spherical shapes” of cake pops are easy to make, tools are needed for making various cartoon cake pops, cubes or emoticons. Add little notes or messages on them makes the routine more interesting and surprising, something like the fortune cookies. Variations of cake pops are cake balls, cakesicles (cake sand Popsicle), cupcake pops and cake-on-a-stick. The evidence of their popularity is globally felt with March 25th celebrated by foodimentarians as “National Cake Pops” Day. 

With the changing diet trends and necessity of sticking to “little dose of sugar”; the possibility of having these tiny delicacies puts the strong cravings to rest.

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Writing on the Stone

“Instead of focusing on that circumstances that you cannot change – focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” Joy Page

Bad days, we all have had our fair share of them. While we may envy others’ and wonder why do our days go wrong, what we have to think about instead is, why it went wrong. Sometimes the answer doesn’t lie with us, but in the circumstances that surround us. Either ways, when to know to let go is as important as when to learn to appreciate the good things that we are blessed with.

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.” Jim Rohn

Setbacks are no stranger to each one of us. Every person has their own share of struggles, stress and worries. At some point in our lives, we all have been deceived, struck down and lost relationships. Learning to survive and cope solely depends on how much we let go and how much we keep within ourselves. Being at the receiving end of the “wrongs” hurts a lot, but remembering the “good things done for us” makes those setbacks seem less painful. Carve the good done for us in solid rock to withstand the troubled waters and gales when they strike again. As for the “bad moments”, learn from them and write them on the sand so that over time, the winds will ease the sorrows and pain, rendering the forgiveness that each one of us are due to receive.

“You can live your life angry, bitter, mad at somebody or even guilty, not letting go of your own mistakes, but you won’t receive the good things God has in store.” Joel Osteen

“Two friends were walking through the desert. At one stage in their journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything he wrote in the sand, ‘Today my best friend slapped me in the face.’
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to have a wash. The one who had been slapped got stuck in a mire and started drowning, but his friend saved him. After he had recovered from his shock, he wrote on a stone, ‘Today my best friend saved my life.’
The friend who slapped and saved his best friend asked him, ‘After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write in stone, why?’ The other friend replied, ‘When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.’”

“The more you talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyze it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalize it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in your brain. It is dead. It is over. It is gone. It is done. It is time to bury it because it is smelling up your life and no one wants to be near your rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude. Be the funeral director of your life and bury that thing!” Shannon L. Alder