Posted in Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes

Priceless in Time

Attending an official meeting as a replacement for my colleague lead me to board the local train for getting back to the office. For once, there wasn’t a hitch in the schedule. So here I was, waiting for the train and scanning through all the pending mails, messages and the like. With no one breathing down my neck and no crisis looming, there was time to reply back to messages, update with friends and to return that missed call from a distant cousin. All that happened in a matter of minutes. In the aftermath, it felt good; catching up to those around us, being in contact with the old group of friends and reminiscences of the good old days. All it may take could be five minutes.

“The best times we’ve had on earth are usually with those we love.” Van Harden

When one views a fresh day, it may seem that one has plenty of time. As a big bunch of hours, it’s towards the middle of the day when they get rapidly deleted that then time becomes a small amount. From that set then, five minutes may seem a lot. But in those five minutes, much can be achieved; for five minutes isn’t huge.

Five minutes to talk to siblings. Five minutes to play with the dog, just to throw the ball. Five minutes to hug your better half and wish him or her a good day. Five minutes to play blocks with the toddler. Five minutes to catch up with a colleague who was recently transferred from your section to another. These little five minutes, though may be spent of doing more important things like work, domestic chores, cooking and the like are those very five minutes that help to make precious memories, which are hidden in the recesses of spent minutes but serve to be priceless in due course.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay

Though time may be precious and valuable; in itself it has no value. Cut off from the social and personal ties that keep us going, time may cause us to drag each day. Time needs to shared with all. For such time spent is more fruitful, than solely devoting it to one segment of our lives alone. At the end of our time, it is those cumulative five minutes of love and care that create treasured memories to help us face the trying times. True that one must hurry when one should, but to be too busy to note that one is being cut off from the best parts of life would be akin to cutting off own feet. To share time is an art that we all must indulge in, for all it takes is a simple matter of five minutes.

Time Is
by Henry van Dyke

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

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Posted in Life, Quotes, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World

Move or Sink

One of the benchmarks of stepping into the “plus eighteen age” is the onslaught of decisions that have to be made. While some are quite straightforward and simple, others involve plenty of harrowing thoughts of “what-ifs”, attempts to envision the future probabilities and possibilities. Finally the choice is made and we move ahead. What happens if one just stays standstill, especially when caught in the quicksand ? Before one could completely comprehend and work out the situation, one may just sink.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

One undergoes numerous points wherein decisions have to be made, whether they be big or small. While the small ones won’t take any time, the big ones are usually put off till an appropriate time. Though “the appropriate time” may be too late in certain scenarios. Decisions made at the right time or moment will only cause the right change or required effect. When one gets being too early or real late then the scales of balance may tip. At times the decisions made may be for worse than better, realized usually in hindsight; but other times it may be the reverse. The point is to make a decision, as and when required. Sitting on own hands doesn’t achieve any purpose, except for lost options.

“It’s better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonise at length and be right too late.” Marilyn Moats Kennedy

If those decisive changes may turn for the wrong side, face the problem head on and try to correct it. Unless one springs into action, nothing changes. Whether there be be plenty of words or thoughts, without the appropriate actions or behaviour; everything becomes null or void. Being caught in the situation and stubborn about making a move to get out, will result in irreversible damage as time runs real short. Knowing the art to adjust, adapt and improvise a lost situation with quick insight and decisiveness makes the murky situations of life, just a passing phase. As life teaches, getting caught in those tough moments requires one to spring in action, make the decisions and face the situation head on; for then the outcome will be a learning curve and tomorrow will exist.

Once the frog fell in a vessel of the hot water. The water was still on a gas stove. The frog still did not try to jump out of the vessel, instead just stayed in it. As the temperature of the water started to rise, the frog managed to adjust its body temperature accordingly. As the water started to reach the boiling point, the frog was no longer able to keep up and manage its body temperature according to the water temperature. The frog tried to jump out of the vessel but with water temperature reaching its boiling point, the frog was not able to bear it and couldn’t make it. What was the reason that a frog couldn’t make it? Will you blame the hot water for it? (Source: The Internet)

Posted in Food

To Whisk, Pour and Savour

Staying at home, one can savour the taste of caffeine or theophylline when the thought takes over the mind. With going to the cafe’ out of question, bringing the cafe home is an alternative. As long as milk, cream and sugar are at hand; there are a couple of concoctions that can be attempted and recorded in the “annals of the kitchen experiments”. After a couple of days with black tea and espresso shots, it was time to tone down a bit of them both.

Taking a break from all the caffeine, today was a soft coffee day. Also known as “desi-coffee” or whipped coffee, this is akin to a hand-beaten Indian home-style version of the cappuccino. Taking a spoon of instant coffee and sugar with just a spoonful of milk, beat the mix vigorously to bring out a light fluffy paste-like froth. Add a few drops of milk, getting the froth thick, creamy and rich. With the final froth coming after a minimum of five minutes of vigorous whisking; one can add the warm (or cold) milk to the mix, either at a go or in a layered manner. The best part is each glass of beaten coffee brigs out not just an array of flavours, but a special smell, feel and texture of the coffee.

In the scattered attempts to recreate the different styles of coffee, one interesting point lies in the sequence and the amount in which each proportion is added. When the milk is stirred or beaten and then added to the single concentrated shot of black coffee or the vice versa, it doesn’t result in them both being the same. While trying out the popular quarantine coffee challenge doing its’ rounds on social media, it felt like making this hand-beaten Indian cappuccino or desi-whipped coffee in a reverse manner. While the latter involves milk being added to the mix to get the thick froth on top; the former involves added the whipped instant coffee powder, sugar and hot water (in equal proportions) to the creamy texture and adding that to the milk (hot or cold). Done either way, both styles have a varied feel of their own.

Continuing in the same, vein of making the evening tea session interesting for both the kids and the rest of us, the experiments will be on the creation of homemade chai latte, seven layer chai or the noon tea with the story behind them to add the finishing touch. Experimenting with these simple and uncomplicated variations helps one to not just bring a spark to these trying days; but also to savour and fun the lightness of each day in life.

“I wake up some mornings and sit and have my coffee and look out at my beautiful garden, and I go, ‘Remember how good this is. Because you can lose it.” Jim Carrey

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

Sip from the Saucer

One of the quarterly church retreats was held at a tea estate a day’s journey away. On arrival we were all greeted by a steel tumbler of tea in. a wide bowl ( more like a cup of tea and saucer). With the tea being piping hot, it was custom to pour a little out into the accompanying bowl and sipped from therein. This custom reminded me of the days of my grandmother wherein hot tea was sipped from the saucer. The rule at the estate was to refill the tumbler of tea when reached to half level, unless the guest had requested to stop. Watching the morning sky, one couldn’t help but be thankful for His bountiful Blessings and His Mercy as our cup overflows.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalms 23:5)

Looking beyond the present, when one tries to count own blessings, is when the realization of how blessed one is begins. Though the modern world may set up plenty of benchmarks on the definition of success, achievement and progress; the most important thing is to count our own blessings. Looking behind one realizes that one may have reaped more than sown, or that while the planning may haven’t happened as desired; one wouldn’t exchange the present for anything else in the world.

“For you the cup isn’t half full or half empty, you’re always topping it up.” Rowena Cory Daniells

Though our troubles are hot at times, as we learn to pour it out into His Hands, we realize that our burdens are lightened. The fallacy of human nature is that one realizes how blessed one is, mostly at times of deep introspection. The trouble one takes less time to reflect on oneself and more time is spent on running the wild goose chase. Each of us have been blessed in our special way. Knowing that is important, for as our cup gets filled with His Love; learning to appreciate it and experience them, is what makes our lives enriched and beautiful.

Drinking From The Saucer
by John Paul Moore

I’ve never made a fortune,
And I’ll never make one now
But it really doesn’t matter
‘Cause I’m happy anyhow

As I go along my journey
I’m reaping better than I’ve sowed
I’m drinking from the saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed

I don’t have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going’s tough
But with kin and friends to love me
I think I’m rich enough

I thank God for the blessings
That His mercy has bestowed
I’m drinking from the saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed

He gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough
I’ll not ask for other blessings for
I’m already blessed enough

May we never be too busy
To help bear another’s load
Then we’ll all be drinking from the saucer
When our cups have overflowed

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Stories Around the World

The Search for the “why”

As the world around us reels from the pandemic, one is conflicted by numerous emotions through the day. From struggling to provide for family or self to trying to keep down own job, managing the domestic front, worrying about loved ones, surviving through the lock-down and quarantine period, coping with the loss and death; grief, worry, fear and uncertainty clouds the minds. To deal with all these, one may put on a silent front or a litany of rants and raves; while others may seek solace in their hobbies, comfort of His Spirit or just put on the shutters in their mind. Whichever way it may be, each one of us have our own struggle each day.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Across the continents, as more and more get infected; the thought of the whys of this events always lies buried in the mind. At the end, as questions mount, authorities gear up and media brings the news to the front-line, society watches and wonders as to why these events had escalated to the present point. For those with no contact history or living in places where community spread is rampant, each day is a living nightmare. Some find comfort, while others face irreplaceable loss. Through all this, His Existence is questioned.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Roman 12:2)

Unfortunately what one must realize is that these bad days, have always been a part of history. For those of us with great-grandparents, grandparents or parents who had served during the wars, various accounts of the past memories would have had similar tones of the stress seen today. Yet through all this, God has been there during good and bad times as well.

What makes each day different, is how we gear up our own Faith and lean on His Word to find solace, comfort, peace and hope. Regardless of the whys, hows, whats, wheres or ifs; one must seek out the courage lying deep within and take His Help to face each hour as they come by. For that is the gift of Faith and His Love ever present over the generations of then, the now and henceforth.

A university professor asked his students a question:”Does everything that exist was created by God?”
One student answered bravely:” Yes, created by God.”
“Did God create everything?” asked the professor.
“Yes, Sir,” the student answered.
Professor said, ” If God created everything, that means that God created evil, because it exists. And according to this principal, the things we do determine who we are, that means – God is evil.”
The student got quiet after hearing that answer. Professor was very happy with himself. He boasted to the students, that he proved once again that God is a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said,” Can I ask you a question, professor?”
“Of course,” professor answered.
The student got up and asked:Professor, does cold exist?
– Of course it exists. Didn’t you ever get cold?
Students laughed at the question of the young man.
The young man answered: “Actually, Sir, cold doesn’t exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider to be cold truthfully is the absence of heat. You can study a person or a thing according to its ability to transfer energy. An absolute zero (-460 degrees according to Fahrenheit) is a complete absence of heat. The whole substance becomes inert and unable to react in that temperature. Cold doesn’t exist. We created that word to describe what we feel at the absence of heat.”

The student continued: Professor, does the darkness exist?
– Of course it exists.
– “You are wrong again, Sir. The darkness also doesn’t exist. Darkness is actually the absence of light. We can study the light, but not the darkness. We can use the prism of Newton to expand the white light into many colours and study the different lengths of the waves of each colour. You can’t measure the darkness. A simple ray of light can burst into the world of darkness and light it up. How can you find out, how dark is some kind of a space? You measure the quantity of light submitted. Isn’t it? Darkness is an understanding which people use to describe something that happens in the absence of light.”

Finally, the young man asked the professor: ” Sir, does evil exist?”
The professor timidly answered: – Of course, as I have already said. We see it every day. Cruelty among the people, lots of crimes and violence around the world. These examples are nothing other than the manifestations of evil.
The student answered to this: ” Evil doesn’t exist, Sir, at least, it doesn’t exist for itself. Evil – is just an absence of God. It is similar to darkness and cold, created by people, to describe the absence of God. God didn’t create evil. Evil is not the faith or love, which exists like light and heat. Evil – is the result of absence of Godly love in a human heart. It’s like the cold, which comes when there is no heat, or like the darkness, which comes when there is no light.”

These words left the professor speechless.

Posted in Food

Of Stuffed, Rolled and Creativity

If anyone had ever said that working from home would be a must for the next couple of weeks; that would be one of the sole reasons to go royally insane. When those little minds are hungry or craving for a snack, the clocked in “office hours” go for a six as the whines of “snack time” reach the grey and white matter. Which is why after repeated snacks of various creations with biscuits, cake (made earlier), fritters and ready to eat snacks, being “boring”; the need to spice things up becomes a necessity. So out goes the rolling pin, a plate of stuffing mix (meat and herbs) and we are good to go.

Interestingly, there are many recipes which can be tweaked a bit to provide their entry into the snack hour. One of the favorites and easy to work with is the “wrapped in the blanket concept”. The popularity is summarized by one of the most favoured recipes for cocktail parties or large luncheons to serve as an appetizer, are the “pigs in blankets” or “franks in blanks”. Essentially made of a frank rolled in a piece of bread -bun or pastry, this can range from a small snack to a large jumbo sized meal. While the rule is to put in small franks or breakfast sausages in a bit of dough, one can spice up the dish by own choice.

Delving into the global variations through various cuisines, the sausage can be wrapped up in a tortilla and deep fried in vegetable oil, going by the name “salchitaco” by the Mexican cuisine. Or one can prepare it as Moshe Ba’Teiva (Moses in the basket), an Israeli dish made by rolling up the kosher hot dog in a ketchup-covered sheet of puff pastry or phyllo dough and serve it baked. On similar lines, Argentinians wrap up the sausage topped with ketchup and bake it. For those who want to keep on the far side of added calories, the sausage wrapped in pastry can be steamed to; like the Chinese Lap Cheong Bo. For the home kitchen, one can simply use puff pastry or a tortilla to just wrap up the filling and fry or bake it.

Another popular snack food is the Italian arancini. Made of a ball of rice coated with bread crumbs and then deep-fried; these snack food can be prepared in raw and stored in the fridge, to be made on demand and as required. The fillings can be made of meat (minced slow-cooked with spices), cheese (mozarella or caciocavallp) or filled with both (like ham and mozarella).

One of the advantages of knowing these different styles, is that they come to the rescue especially when caught unawares. The plus part lies in the fact that they use the simple ingredients available in the pantry, which may be modified as per own requirement. As always said, the fun part of “kitchen experimentation” lies when tweaking old recipes a bit and adding a little imagination and creativity to the mix.

Posted in Family and Society, Photography Art, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World

Set by Own Standards

Restoring old family furniture involves plenty of planning. Depending on the requirement, design and the budget; the type of wood is selected and work starts at full swing. While some may be a “do-it-yourself” project, others require help from the experts. Which is why two weeks later, we had stopped by the local furniture centre to pick up our refurbished pieces. Imagine to our surprise when not only was the underlying rotting wood removed and replaced keeping the design and base structure intact, the upholstery was redone and the polish shining to reflect. While we didn’t expect such a beautiful restoration. The work they had done spoke volumes about their work ethics and principles. Regardless of the expense or the pay received, the work done went beyond it.

“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.” Jason Fried

To do any task entrusted to one, requires one to be willing to work and see it through. Yet along the way, there may be unexpected glitches which may take one by complete surprise or they may be as or beyond the anticipated. The battle then ranges between completion of target deadlines to doing the project in the complete manner in the time available. Doing the job may be as per the required but the choice of going that extra mile depends on oneself alone.

“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.” Criss Jami

Not just as work projects alone; but whatever one does, one should learn to enjoy those little motions. Be it in making that single cup of morning coffee, washing the car, mowing the elderly neighbour’s lawn or giving a hand at the local fundraising garage sale, do it because one wants to help and do their best when in action. For while words and thoughts may fade away with time, the emotions left behind and the actions effected by them stay embedded for the years ahead. The care we have for another is shown not through words or deeds, but heartfelt actions or work that brings a smile on the faces around us.

“Even though your time on the job is temporary, if you do a good enough job, your work there will last forever.” Idowu Koyenikan

One day a man was asked to paint a boat by an owner of boat. He brought with him paint and brushes and began to paint the boat a bright red, as the owner asked him. While painting, he realized there was a hole in the hull and decided to repair it. When he finished painting, he received his money and left. The next day, the owner of the boat came to the painter and presented him with a nice check, much higher than the payment for painting. The painter was surprised.”You’ve already paid me for painting the boat!”, he said.
– But this is not for the paint job. It’s for having repaired the hole in the boat.
– Ah! But it was such a small service, certainly it’s not worth paying me such a high amount for something so insignificant!

“My dear friend, you do not understand. Let me tell you what happened. When I asked you to paint the boat, I forgot to mention about the hole. When the boat dried, my kids took the boat and went on a fishing trip. They did not know that there was a hole. I was not at home at that time. When I returned and noticed they had taken the boat, I was desperate because I remembered that the boat had a hole. Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning from fishing. Then, I examined the boat and found that you had repaired the hole! You see, now, what you did? You saved the life of my children! I do not have enough money to pay your “small” good deed.”
Source: Social Media (The Internet)