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

When Measured By the Same

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” Malcolm Forbes

All of us have our own set of scales to assess people. Interestingly what we don’t realize is that the way we measure others and declare that they don’t meet up to the mark, would astound us when we try to measure ourselves by the same scales. Our existence in this world reflects on the balanced act of how we treat others as well as the standards by which we set ourselves to live by. For both to be synchronous to attain a harmonious and peaceful existence, one would need to remove the beam from one’s own eyes before removing the mote from the eyes of others. For the shame in oneself when the scales are reversed will be disheartening and tragic.

“If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” J. K. Rowling

The wife of a poor man was cooking butter, and he was selling it in one of the groceries. His wife was cooking oil in the form of circles weighing a kilogram. And he sold them to the grocer and bought the necessities for his house. One day, the grocer doubted the weight of the oil he bought and, after weighing each circle, saw that they weighed 900 grams. He was angry with the poor man. The next day, when the poor man came to him, he met him in anger and said to him, “I will not buy from you anymore, because you sell me butter, saying that it weighs a kilogram, and it weighs only 900 grams.”
Then the poor man, being upset and dropping his head said, “ We, oh my lord, do not have scales, but I bought sugar from you and made it for myself to measure, in order to weigh the butter with it.”
“Know that your measure will be measured and you!”

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Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections

Beauty Around Us

Recently as we were browsing for a gift for new home owners in the neighbourhood, the choices were based on whether to get a gift for its’ usefulness or for decorative purpose. Going through the choices for both, one would be struck on how has changed to match the beauty, aesthetics, colours and background of the new era; to the extent that most of our homes can be labelled “ancient”. Today the sense of style and beauty evolves at a fast rate, so that new of today is “old of tomorrow”, not “next month”.

“Walking in the mountains helps me unwind, but it also reminds me in a painful way that the real beauty in life is nature and animals, and that the human race, in all its arrogance, is intent on destroying it.” Sylvie Guillem

No matter how old we grow or how modern we become, nature in her elements never fails to make us appreciate the true beauty of life. From time to time when we stop with surprise at her magnificent marvels; we never fail to appreciate her wonder. The churning waves, the coloured hue of maple leaves, the first snow, the shining of the sun on frost, the changing shapes and white of the clouds, the colors of the sky are just few of the many artistic marvels of nature.

“I appreciate simplicity, true beauty that lasts over time, and a little wit and eclecticism that make life more fun.” Elliott Erwitt

We all are immersed in beauty for the world is unbearably beautiful; just that we don’t pay enough attention to it. True beauty is the world created for us. People with their lively nature of laughing eyes, songs and honest laughter, small children running about with joy and fun, birds chirping in the morning; all these are few of the many things that we miss or take for granted daily. Everything that is beautiful and wonderful is realized when we pay attention. For the artist is not the one who can draw, the artist is the one who is able to notice the beauty of the surrounding world.

“I think that it’s when we step out of the road, step outside the box, become our own person, and we walk fearlessly down paths other people wouldn’t look at, that true progress comes. And sometimes true beauty as well.” JohnMcAfee

Posted in Family and Society, Life, poetry, Reflections, Work

For “Better” Tomorrow

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Many of us keep planners and appointments, sometimes a s a part of our work requirements and other times to get our work done. Not to get the context wrong, keeping planners is important for without a plan, one would be steered wrong and get lost in the chaos. Yet as life will teach us, there are certain that we can’t keep postponing or rescheduling waiting for the “better tomorrow”.

As we go about our day, keeping a continuous watch on our humaneness is a must irrespective of whether we are in a lack of time or stressed and so on. The more we make excuses, the higher the chances that things will be put off again for the “next tomorrow”. The joy of the gift of “present” or “today” is realized only when we look back at the “yesterday” from the “tomorrows” that we enter. Unless we learn to treat the relationships of today with respect, give time for oneself today and be kind now; there would be no guarantee that tomorrow we may be able to do so. Being aware of this is important as “Time” is known for its fickle nature.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Learn from it… tomorrow is a new day.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We think tomorrow we will be more diligent
And better, more useful, kind
Today we are rude, but tomorrow we are gentle,
After all, tomorrow we will be wiser.

Tomorrow we will see an old friend,
And tomorrow we will write to our relatives.
And tomorrow we will do someone a favor,
Not only our own, but someone else’s.

Tomorrow we will forgive each other without reproach,
And tomorrow we will understand each other.
And tomorrow we will apply the whole experience of spiritual lessons,
and will carry it out!

Tomorrow we will repent in the life of a barren
In the last death-delirium.
Dress naked, feed the hungry,
Share someone else’s need.

So in the plans for tomorrow, then hidden in the fog,
Year after year is carried away …
And what if tomorrow takes and deceives?
What if it doesn’t come at all?

Vera Kushnir

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Of Noodle, Origin, Evolution and Style

“Noodles are not only amusing but delicious.” ~ Julia Child

Derived from the German word “Nudel”, noodles has been one of the earliest staple food for many civilizations. Made from unleavened dough which is stretched, extruded or rolled flat and cut into a variety of shapes,as long thin strips or strings to waves, helices, tubes, strings or shells to mention a few.  Often pan fried or deep fried, they can be made from wheat, rice, buckwheat, acorn meal and even seaweed.

The oldest historical mention of noodles are in the Chinese records as per a book dated to the eastern Han dynasty (25 to 220 BC). Archaeological evidence unearthed an earthenware bowl that contained 4000-year-old noodles at the Lajia, China. These noodle were said to resemble “lamian”, which are a type of Chinese noodle that is made by repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand. In fact records show that the earliest Chinese noodles, don’t appear as strands of dough but were shaped into little bits, formed from bread dough and thrown into a wok of boiling water. This type of noodles, known as “mian pian” is still eaten in modern day China.

The udon (wheat noodles) of Japan were adapted from the Chinese by Buddhist monks. Across Europe and Near East, records mention about fried sheets of dough called lagana ( first century BC). Greek and Latinized itrium refer to homogenous mixture of flour and water, boiled in the case of the latter. The Jerusalem Talmud (fifth century A.D.) mentions itrium. Arabs adapted the form to a string-like pasta, “itriyya” made of semolina and dried before cooking. Regional specializations of noodles and pasta began, with concrete information traced back to 13th and 14th century Italy. Since then on, pasta as well as noodles have been globalized.

Various varieties have been present globally, forming the staple diet of many local cuisines. While in China, chefs pull the thinnest of noodles, “la mian”, bathing them in a long-simmering beef soup with chili, coriander and crumbles of meat. Whereas, “Spätzle” egg noodles are the highlight in Germany and the Alps and Italy delicate thin sheets of spinach noodles are rolled out, baked with bolognese and bechemel sauce. The Indian cuisine has its’ own rice noodles, “idiyappam” and Thai cusine have their “Khanom chin”.

Bake it, chill or fry them, or toss them along with rice after boiling them, noodles can be simple and basic or artsy and innovative, the choice is ours. Little wonder why then march 11th has been celebrated as “Eat your Noodles” Day by foodimentarians globally.

“I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘cooking’ but I can make noodles. That means I can boil water, put the pasta in and wait until it’s done.” ~ Devon Werkheiser

Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Proportioning the Ingredients

Life offers its’ own share of ups and downs. At certain phases we feel swamped by the “n” number of “downs” we may be going through. Yet little do we realize that what happens to us may not be in our hands to a certain extent, how we react to it is. And this makes all the difference in the world, of whether we would be able to bring the “downs” to “ups” or reverse the trend of “falls” to our benefit.

The boy complains to his grandmother about his bad life: about problems at school, with his parents, with health. And the grandmother at this time is preparing to eat. She asks her grandson if he is hungry, if she wants something to eat. “Of course,” the grandson replies.
Then the grandmother says:” Here, take the margarine. “
“Foo,” the grandson protests.
– Maybe two raw eggs? – offers grandmother.
– Well, granny!
“What about flour and soda?” – trying to grandmother.
“Granny,” her grandson reasoned, “All this is inedible.”
To which the grandmother responds, ” That’s right, individually, these products are not very tasty, but if they are properly combined, they will make an amazingly tasty cake!”

Likewise for all the sufferings, trials and tribulations; something will come out of it as long as we believe, trust, hope and have faith that things will turn out to be fine eventually. For by His recipe, in the end, something extraordinary will come out.

Posted in Daily, Food

Basics, Creativity and Flour

“Your bread assumes the shape of the pan you use to bake your flour. Therefore stand still and know that you can’t use a rounded pan and ever get squared bread. Change the pan and change the shape of the bread!” Israelmore Ayivor

One of the items landing a place on the “weekly shopping list” is flour and the like. Whether the principal cereal we take be cassava or wheat, rice, corn or chickpea; flour is the necessity of any home cooking or kitchen experimentation.

While the earliest archaeological evidence for wheat seeds crushed between simple millstones to make flour dates to 6000 BC; other types of flour have been in use in various countries. With the Industrial Revolution, mills as well preservation techniques of flour were drastically modified and improved. As flour began to be enriched and trade and transport options increased; flour trading became prosperous. Throw in the green revolution and flour of all types began to be available in any places.

“I love using rice as a flour; I’ll grind roasted rice and dip fish in that. It gives a beautiful, crunchy texture.” Marcus Samuelsson

Being in the National Flour month (as per most foodimentarians), for those of us with gluten problems can resort to rice flour, chickpea flour as well as banana flour. There are many replacements for wheat in the recipes. More fascinating aspects is that non cereal flours like soybean, arrowroot, quinoa are other options to look into. And flour doesn’t restrict itself to being in the meal or as desserts but can also be a part of the gravy as well. With all varieties being available in most supermarkets and groceries; trying new recipes ( all time favourite of rice flour vadais or besan laddoos) can be fun for family, friends as well as a break from the busy world of work, entertainment and schedules.

Gravy is the simplest, tastiest, most memory-laden dish I know how to make: a little flour, salt and pepper, crispy bits of whatever meat anchored the meal, a couple of cups of water or milk and slow stirring to break up lumps.” Dorothy Allison

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

Echoes In Us

“A boy and a girl were playing together. The boy had a collection of beautiful marbles. The girl had some candies with her. The boy offered to give the girl all his marbles in exchange for all her candies. The girl agreed. The boy gave all the marbles to the girl, but secretly kept the biggest and the most beautiful marble for himself. The girl gave him all her candies as she had promised. That night, the girl slept peacefully. But the boy couldn’t sleep as he kept wondering if the girl had hidden some more tasty candies from him the way he had hidden his best marble.”

Although this is a childhood tale; at some time in our lives, we would have behaved a little like the boy or the girl. For those of us who remember those moments, the niggling sense of unease fills us all, disturbing our inner peace and quiet. On occasions like these when one looks back, what comes forefront to mind is that, “Was the holding back worth it or would the peace brought by honesty made our day more beautiful instead ?”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson

As we grow older and mature with age, we realize that there are many things in life that are more worth when shared than kept hidden. There would be occasions that would call for an honest response on one hand, but would cause unrest and distress on the other hand. Dealing with an honest attitude is like stepping into murky waters sometimes. Brute honesty while well appreciated can cause more hurt when delivered in a thoughtless and tactless manner. Being honest isn’t confined to being brute. Instead one can be honest with a heavy dose of kindness laced with gentleness. The endpoint is the clarity of the conscience. There is nothing more disturbing that having a niggling thought intruding the mind, like a pesky buzz near the ear. As we strive to make sure that the conscience is always at ease, life becomes simple, better and sweet.

“A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” Tagalog (Filipino) saying