Posted in Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Rekindle the Dying Embers

One of the prerequisites of camping in the woods (or even large backyards) or during nature nights is to start and maintain the fire. Once started, the flames keep the light coming and conversation going, as long as the flames are fed alongside. As the flames of the fire die down, unless the dying embers are stoked back the fire won’t serve it’s purpose.

Since the beginning of time, man has been fascinated by fire and its’ effects. What sometimes we fail to realize, is that we all have a fire in ourselves too. Like the dying embers, we need to be stoked once in a while. The spark within us often fights to stay alive especially during personal tragedy or when the situations get beyond our control. Unless the sparks stays to restart the fire, the fight goes out from within. Some days, the struggling sparks are ours, other times they belong to the sparks of others who are going through a difficult patch. Those times, we need to set the spark with words of encouragement and courage as tinder and kindling to relight the flame again.

Like how Paige Hunter had rekindled the flame of many with her “notes of hope” attached to the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland, England, the latter which is notorious for its suicides; we can bring back someones spark by kind words and gentle understanding. One doesn’t have to go far to look to do something, when it things are happening around them right under their nose. It might not take much effort from our part, but will make a huge difference for someone else. For even one dying spark, when revived will bring back the light and spread warmth in this cold world.

Posted in Life, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Still in the Works

The irony of matter being multi-dimensional is not confined to physical entities alone.

Here metaphorically speaking, the reference is to people in general. If you ever tried doing anything good or a favour, rest assured that among the three people who have heard of it, at least one would have thought about whether the good part would have benefits. On the other hand, how many times have we refused innocuous favours as we feel they come with strings attached ? Honest answers though bitter would make us realize the multidimensional facet of human nature.

Having said this, we still love each other. Despite the tussles with our respective better half, altercations with family, disagreements with friends and hassles with colleagues and work authorities; nothing would make us change our world in our hearts. While we consider some unreasonable in our books, we might be the same for somebody else in their pages. As nobody is ever perfect, everyone has their unique mould with its own fair share of flaws and the cracks that makes every person a work of art.

Yes, people are unreasonable, inconsistent and selfish. And still love them. If you do good, people will accuse you of hidden self-interest and self-love. And still do good. If you are accompanied by success, you will find secret and obvious enemies. And yet strive for success. The good that you have done today will be forgotten tomorrow. And still do good. Sincerity and openness will make you vulnerable. And yet be sincere and open. What you have built over the years can collapse in an instant. And yet build. People will ask you for help, but they will blame you for it. And still help people. Give the world the best that you have and you will receive a cruel blow. And yet give the best that you have. – Mother Teresa

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

A Child of Today

To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter. P. T. Barnum

On the occasion of India celebrating every 14th of November as Children’s Day (celebrated on the day of birth of the first Prime Minister of Independent India and one of the great leaders who dearly loved children, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru ); it would be meaningful if we reflect how our children are faring in the world of today. With the advent of technology, nuclear families, both parents working and the rise of the internet; one often wonders what has happened to the playgrounds, parks and neighbourhood lots where once we used to play in our childhood. Of course, this must be a moot point to ponder with the rise of “modernization, development and smart technology kids”. Though, it leaves room for thought on whether we have lost the genes of physical play (not just the hands or feet) and creative thinking with strategy as well as group interaction. Pretty difficult to decide on it, when all the modern gadgets claim the development of the very same genes.

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

These days, I often dread to read the entire newspaper in the mornings. With the rising rate of crime and delinquency against the children as well as by the children, it brings to shameful light of the neglect and selfishness that we as adults are engaged in. Besides not caring for the young, sometimes we ourselves indulge in acts causing danger to them. To quote the author Pam Leo,”Children are mirrors, they reflect back to us all we say and do.” Have you ever heard of a lioness killing its’ healthy young in their pride or healthy eaglets being killed by their own ? Are we better than the animals or worse ?

6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Mathew 18:6 and 10, New International Version) One thing for sure, we have lost the sound of a child’s laugh as they are too caught up in the web of modernized theoretical learning, violence, fear and technology. If we become too late to change this, we are facing with the coming of the dark ages of carbon clones, monotonous, violence with production lines of robotic and mechanical output boxes instead of bright, creative or artistic minds with gentle hearts.

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings. Hodding Carter”

Practical learning starts in the family and community where children learn the basics of humaneness, love, respect, harmony and kindness. As they venture into the portals of education they learn the principles and mechanics of nature, science, art as well as history. While these aspects are important all the same, care should be taken that character is built with love, respect and mutual acceptance as well understanding of humanity. In the process of gaining an education, the ethos of life should not be lost or buried under purely selfish interests. Remember the era of the dinosaurs versus the mammals.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. Billy Graham

So while we watch the next generation growing up, whether we be foster or birth parents, guardians, educators, aunts, uncles, singles or couples; make the difference through families, neighbourhoods as well as communities. No matter how small the attention and care may be for us, for the child it is a big matter. For trees never become big, tall, provide shade or bear fruit unless we understand what they need and take due care of them. For the children learn from us, just by watching us, leave alone words and lectures. For, “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. Charles R. Swindoll” With that, lets hope we as adults change so that our children grow to leave a beautiful legacy for the distant years, though only time shall know.

Posted in Daily, Food, Quotes

Art on modified Focaccia

The solution to some weekday nights when the day is too busy followed by a high tea on crashing after the working hours, is pizza especially when the ready-made base is available and all you need are the toppings. For the record, although the flat bread pizza is credited to Naples of Italy around the 16th century, flavoured topping added to bread have been there since the development of farming of the primitive man.

Everybody likes pizza! It’s a quick and easy clean-up meal. Buddy Valastro

While the Ancient Greeks had their plakous (flat bread flavoured with toppings of herbs, onions, cheese and garlic), the ancient Persians baked flat-breads with cheese and dates while the Aeneid (a Latin epic poem by Virgil) tells of meals of round cakes (like pita bread) topped with cooked vegetables. Among the various suggestions made to the origins of modern pizza, pizzarelle (Kosher for passover cookies eaten by Roman Jews) and other Italian paschal breads are in the list. Yet the most widely accepted precursor of pizza was the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as panis focacius, to which toppings were added. Other varieties of flat-breads across the globe include the Chinese bing (a wheat flour-based food with a flattened shape), the Indian parantha, naan and roti (where toppings and mix varies) and Finnish rieska. Add on cheese, meat, vegetables and seasonings to make the French quiche or German zwiebelkuchen.

Pizza is a great segue into unfamiliar flavors – plus, you can pile on the veggies. Maneet Chauhan

In 16th-century Naples, the pizza was a galette flatbread sold in the streets and known as a dish for the poor people. Later it was replaced by oil, tomatoes and diverse toppings with cheese or mozzarella twining it. Modern pizza developed in Naples, when tomato was added to the focaccia in the late 18th century. Initially pizza was mainly eaten in Italy and by emigrants from there. After World War II, as the Allied troops stationed in Italy came to enjoy pizza along with other Italian foods, it was brought out to the rest of the world.

Kids want to saute, to cut the pizza, to see how the ingredients come together. If you let them do the fun stuff, they’ll develop skills and interests that will stay with them forever. Guy

Today with a surplus of options and wide diversity of toppings available, it is no wonder that a whole month (October) has been dedicated to pizza. As they say, one things running through all the toppings is cheese that sticks together.

Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around. Anna Quindlen





Posted in Daily, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Unmasked Surprise

Everything that a person does when they are taken by surprise is the best proof of what he really is. That which breaks away from the tongue, before it is time to suppress its impulse, betrays the true essence. If there are rats in the basement, then you are most likely to see them if you enter unexpectedly. But no surprise breeds rats; it only prevents them from hiding in time. Nor does the surprise of the excuse or the excuse make me quick-tempered; she only discovers my hot temper. 

– Clive Staples Lewis, “Just Christianity”

Posted in Daily, Food, poetry, Quotes

Art of Tisane

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” -Lin Yutang

One of the concoctions of the millennial which is slowly catching up is the herbal tea, otherwise known as tisanes. Quite popular in certain places especially the Orient, herbal teas have been often been intertwined with the local tradition of indigenous medicines which is not only for enhancing the overall health, but also addresses specific health related issues. As a matter of fact, herbal tea can be made from a long list of ingredients which start with every letter of the alphabet except the letters “I” and “X”. There is little wonder why then, this trend is slowly catching as the soothing sips of nature’s remedies answers many aliments of man brought on as a consequence to his existence in this modern world.

“The outsider may indeed wonder at this seeming much ado about nothing. What a tempest in a tea-cup! he will say. But when we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup.” ~Okakura Kakuzo

As the tantalizing aroma of the brew hits, the memories of the past, present and the future swirl as the leaves seeped in the china cup. Although along with the health benefits, the very act of making and pouring the tisane is calming, like an art true to its’ form. A cup of herbal tea makes a pretty picture with colours borrowed from the autumn leaves interlaced with summer skies and spring air chasing away not only the winter chills but also the coldness and stress within. The warm cup floods the senses comforting the nerves; unsettles, raw and tender by chaos of the day.

While each one of us have our own blend to break in the day, it makes no difference as all finally help to start a new page with optimism in this cynical world that we find ourselves in.

“Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.” -Kakuzo, Okakura

With Every Sip We Take

There is a little ray of sunshine
in every single steeping cup
bringing the sweetest smile with each sip we take.
These leaves do warm us deep inside
it’s such pleasure on a freezing night
the wistful scent of joy to ease your tired eyes.
Your mind now wrapped around the china
only one thing in those thoughts
a delicious trip to savory distant lands.
Choices staring at you in numbers
which destination shall you choose
it doesn’t matter as each one will tell its tale.

Posted in Christian, Life, Photography Art, Quotes

Take the Stand

The prestigious honor of a Nobel prize held annually, is shrouded in so much secrecy and the final selection is done after due care and consideration. This year the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Peace Prize to Nadia Murad, a human rights activist and Denis Mukwege, a Congolese surgeon for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

What does Irena Sendler, Janusz Korczak and Dietrich Bonhoeffer have in common with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Mahatma Gandhi and Galileo Galilee ? They stood fighting for the firm principles of human rights, justice and truth that they believed in.

Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker and humanitarian who had served in the Polish Underground during World War II was instrumental in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. And then provided them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families, in orphanages and other care facilities, including Catholic nun convents. Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit was a Polish-Jewish educator and children’s author who had spent many years as director of an orphanage in Warsaw. During the Gross-Aktion Warsaw operation, he had refused sanctuary repeatedly and stayed with his orphans when the entire institution was sent to the extermination camp. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran Pastor who was consistently outspoken in the criticism of the Nazism in Germany. Instead of fleeing, he preferred to stay in the country of his birth where he was eventually arrested and executed.

Abraham Lincoln who was a strong advocate for the abolition of slavery had gone against the tide and stood for the free rights to all, as evidenced by the famous inspiring Gettysburg speech. One of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson had challenged the existing policies on religious tolerance, education and slavery.

Likewise, one of the principle figureheads of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi had followed a philosophy of non-violence and peaceful protest. Despite continuous opposition of the society, he had also sought to improve conditions for women and people disenfranchised by the caste system. Galileo Galilee had challenged the orthodoxy of the church through his own scientific discoveries. His commitment to truth and science resulted in personal threats to his well-being.

There are many more legends out there; some known,some whose strengths and contributions are known by select communities and others who had stood by their principles known to only those in their time. Yet come what may, the core strength in all these people lie in the fact that they stood by their inner principles and moral values, without subjugating to the wrongs and terrors of their days. They stood by those guidelines of truth and justice, taking care not to get involve in doctrines that justify in any wrongdoings to any man, woman or child.

“Stand up to hypocrisy. If you don’t, the hypocrites will teach. Stand up to ignorance, because if you don’t, the ignorant will run free to spread ignorance like a disease. Stand up for truth. If you don’t, then there is no truth to your existence. If you don’t stand up for all that is right, then understand that you are part of the reason why there is so much wrong in the world,”  as said by Suzy Kassem.

While taking a firm or courageous stand involve working against injustice or intervening on behalf of someone you know who is vulnerable or victimized, it also involves standing strong when majority might move in the opposite way or another path. Whatever form the conflict may take, we have our courage from God for he has provided us the spiritual and mental armour. As His Word says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.(Ephesians 6:10-12)”

While we may not be able to do as the known legends have done, what we can do in our community and neighbourhood may be a small but sure step in standing firm in our principles, Faith, values and sense of honour, justice and duty. Though absolute care and caution must go along with the reasoning and commitment behind our actions. To quote Criss Jami, “Never rebel for the sake of rebelling, but always rebel for the sake of truth.”