Posted in Food, Stories Around the World

Pull of the “P”

One of the new trends in the home kitchen as a sequelae of the incessant intermittent snacking, is the preference to single dish setting for the three main meals. While breakfast may be limited by steamed foods; it’s the lunch and dinner that has seen a drastic shift from elaborate meals to the glow of the “single pie” almost every now and then. As long as this trend lasts, the hours off the kitchen have increased.

“The idea of enclosing meat inside a sort of pastry made from flour and oil originated in ancient Rome, but it was the northern European use of lard and butter to make a pastry shell that could be rolled out and moulded that led to the advent of true pie.” An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 254)

As often said, the entire outcome of when filling and pastry meet up in different grades and variations, make up for one of the simple and well-loved dish, the pie. Though essentially had as desserts, at home now the trend is to the savoury variants. While the shepherd’s pie, pot pies and related variants often grace the table; there have been a lot more experimentation from the varied recipes found online.

One of the newer pie versions learnt was the “homity pie”, a traditional British open vegetable pie. Covered with a filling of potatoes, onion and leek mixture (though, the choice of vegetables can be changed) covered with cheese on an open pastry base; this pie is one for those who want a little bit of vegetarianism in their diet. Extrapolating the recipe, a lot of leftovers can be used, especially if they are less curryish in nature. For the rich gravy ones, there’s always the curry pie to look forward to. Giving into the urge to top up the pastry base with onions and potato, voila one has a version of the “butter pie” (aka the “Air Pie”).

Alternatively, trying to opt for a more pie preparation for an early dinner, one of the recent add-ons was the “alooe pie”. Popular in cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, this pie is made by frying dumplings of soft pastry (flour and water), splitting and filling them with boiled, spiced and mashed potatoes, green peas or chana dal. Essentially similar to a calazone and larger than the samosa. Coming to the samosa (or singara, sambusac), this is one of the “mini pies”, a go-to for short meetings and quick filling snacks. More than the regular pie, these samosas (or pies) are indigenous to the local Indian cuisine.

Each pie version has it’s own special story behind it. From potato pies, “keema pie” to “Chicken balti pie”, the variety is endless and the best part, is one can use the simple curry to make up the pie stuffing. Such a lot of history and potential in this dish. Savoury or sweet, this dish can swing both ways. But above all, it can be elaborate and rich or just a simple and wholesome fare. Sometimes that’s what one needs after a dry washed out day, a simple and wholesome piece of savoury pie.

Posted in Personal Musings, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World, Work

Stance on the Slant

Many of us or may a few, may have experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed by an unexpected turn of events. More than the “happy” feelings, there may have been the “feelings of doubt and uncertainty” that reigned high. It’s only in the aftermath, that one realizes that, it was those unexpected turns that brought out the best in us. Or it was the unexpected, that became our saving grace.

“You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little side-bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. and if you don’t play you can’t win.” Judith McNaught

In retrospect, it all comes down to the attitude that we hold within us. The choice lies in either embracing the new, but a strong sense of grit, hope and faith, along with the willingness to take each day as it comes. As we do, one does get the blessing and a chance, to experience some of the best aspects and colours of life.

The point is to embrace these uncertain, unplanned turns and make them into some of the best outcomes. For all this and more, one needs to come out of the sidelines and wade in deep with all the senses in tune and intact. Then the journey will provide new insight into the perceived notions of the old. If so, then the surprise and brightness of the whole new vista awaits each of us.

“A group of prestigious university graduates came to visit their old professor. During the visit the conversation turned to work: graduates were complaining about countless difficulties and problems of life. After offering coffee to his guests, the professor went to the kitchen and came back with a coffee pot and a tray, filled with many different cups: porcelain, glass, plastic and crystalline. Some cups were simple, other ones – expensive.

When the graduates picked out the cups, the professor said:”Notice, how all the beautiful cups were picked out, and the simple and cheap ones were left. And although it seems normal for you – wanting only the best things for yourself, but that is the source of your problems and stress. You need to understand, that the cup doesn’t make the coffee better. Most of the time it’s only more expensive, but sometimes it is hiding what we are drinking. Actually, all that you wanted was only coffee, not the cup. But you consciously picked the best cups, and later watched what kind of cups others got.

And now think: life – is coffee, and job, money, position, society – are the cups. They are only instruments for maintenance and upkeep of life. The type of cup we have, doesn’t determine the quality of our life. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cups, we forget to enjoy the taste of coffee. The happiest people are not those who have the best things, but those who enjoy life and get the most of it with what they have.”

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

Threads to Hold

Ever had the experience of a sudden recollection of a chance acquaintance or an old friend, popping out of the blue into the mind and lingering on for some time; or maybe, those of our near and dear ones. Perhaps this rhetorical question doesn’t really need a reply.

Memories or moments. They confound us or make us smile, or just dig up those old restless feelings buried knowingly deep in the past. Come what may, they do stay on, and sometimes they may be all that is left behind.

“People leave strange little memories of themselves behind when they die.” Haruki Murakami

In own respective fabric of life, one may hold multiple threads of a prominent colour for another, or vice-versa. Whichever way it may be, it is these memories that sustain us and help us face with the absence of their real voice. It is these memories that share and support the self in the challenges of the days of now. To feel the unwavering support of their souls, it just takes a wee little of time to embrace the present or the previous memories and thread them into the happy fabric of moments. Many a time, is these little things that we need that keep us going.

The Making of a Memory
One can’t predict when or where they will come from; those memories that stay with us a lifetime, and never fail to bring us warm fuzzy feelings. My husband had just finished loading his car; made one lap back through the house and then into the kitchen. ‘I guess filling my thermos is all I have left to do, and then I’m off.’
Down the drain went the hot water that had been warming his thermos. With a very nostalgic look on his face he softly said, ‘When I filled this with water earlier, I thought of your mum. In fact, anytime I fill my thermos I think her.’ ‘Oh honey, that’s so sweet. I know she’s watching and listening right now with a big smile on her face,’ I responded as tears began to brim my eyelids. ‘You know, I never fill my thermos that I don’t think of her, and I always smile too.’ The tone in his voice was so tender as he spoke of my mother who is no longer with us.

Years ago we had been visiting my parents, and the morning we were leaving my mother watched as Jerry began to fill his thermos. Being the ‘coffee drinker’ in the family, he’s always placed himself in charge of thermos duties. Mum then casually offered up a tidbit of advice. ‘Jerry, if you would fill your thermos with hot water and let it sit a while, your coffee would stay hot longer on your drive.’ The look on his face was priceless as her simple suggestion sunk in. Well of course it would! It only makes all the sense in the world! Who wouldn’t know that? He dumped the small amount of coffee already in the thermos, and ran the tap until it was at its hottest; then refilled with piping hot water. After pouring himself a fresh cup of coffee, he sat down to enjoy a few more minutes with mum, and to discuss this unique new idea.

Words of wisdom from a loving mother-in-law made an impact that will never be forgotten. When spoken that morning, Jerry didn’t realize he would always hear those words ringing in his ears, or that they would bring a smile to his face time and time again. And Mother would never have dreamed her words would be a treasured, and everlasting memory in the heart of her son-in-law.
The ‘fondest, lasting memories’ don’t necessarily come from ‘major moments’ in life, the making of a memory simply happens.
(Written by Kathleene S. Baker (Source: Internet))

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

Answers

Remember those days, where few would gather around the table or just around, throw about ideas and build on them. Those “round (or-not) table ideas” were one of the highlights of the week. Regardless of brainwaves, the gathering was meant for camaraderie as well as emotional, mental and moral support. Unfortunately for now, these occasions have become a rarity.

These days, almost every idea which is being brought to reality requires one to put in plenty of own effort. Where one used to avail the option to take the opinion of others, maybe in an offhand; these days it’s more like one has to sit down, weigh own options and have the inner faith that one can handle it.

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.” David J. Schwartz

Reality is that we need to give ourselves a little more credit, a little more faith and trust ourselves with each new challenge. The answers are there within; just need to search deep within, pull them out and put them to good effect. Each of us hold the answers to the challenges that we face. All one needs to do, is to be determined to ask own self first and give it a try.

For the best person knows you is your own self. Take care to not lose sight of that little fact; for if and when that happens so, all becomes confusion. For to throw away our dreams, as one forget to believe in own self, is an error that each one hopes would never happen. For the silver lining around the corner, ask your own self first and then with His Grace you shall find it.

One man decided to reach for his dream. But he didn’t have enough strength to do it. So he turned to his mother:
– Mother, help me!
– Darling, I would be glad to help you, but I don’t have it. And everything I have, I already gave to you…
He asked a wise man:
– Master, tell me, where can I get strength?
– It is said that, it is on the Everest. But I couldn’t find anything there, except the snowy winds. And when I came back, the time was irretrievably lost…
He asked the hermit:
– Holy Father, where to find the strength for realization of my dream?
– In your prayers, my son. And if your dream is false, you will understand it and find peace in your prayers…
The person asked everyone, but the only result of his searches was confusion.
– Why are you so confused? – asked an old man passing by.
– I have a dream, good man. But I don’t know where to find strength for its realization. I asked everyone, but there was no one who could help me.
– No one? – a light flashed in the old man’s eyes, – And did you ask yourself?

Source:Internet

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

The Silent Restraints

Free afternoons are a rarity, especially when taking into account the present scenario of being the single parent (for now), children at home and the occasional ping of the messenger, the latter doing it’s best to create a chaos of it’s own in the guise of “work from home”. Not to highlight further on the tales of the past few weeks (ten, to be precise), the yo-yo phase has been going on. Which is why, the “rare sane hours” resulted in the bringing up a whole mass of photos (desktop, scanned ones, forwarded, social media downloads) to be sorted.

.. And they sing roads and bridges,
Colors of the forest and wind of events,
Stars, birds, rivers and flowers:
“Treasure your happiness, cherish!”
Eduard Asadov

Going through them, did trigger plenty of memories and the first round resulted in few sorted. As the sorting opened even previous files, the sudden downpour of photos lead to the journey into yesteryear. Though the travel was present, the return to the present brought out the sharp contrast of then and now.

Fact is we all change, some of us in a significant manner opposite to the original, others a more refined way of “then” and the very few who may remain more or less the same. Despite all these highlights, the unvarnished reality is that situations change and so do each one of us. Be it for better or worse, one needs to live in the present, especially to feel life through time. Harboring memories is fine, but storing up all the “regretful ones” just turns the mood sour.

Carrying, sorting, reviewing or entertaining all these hurtful or even the too happy memories, may turn out to be an encumbrance for the present. While “those days” were important, in the sense of “now”, they don’t really matter. At times, memories may become a millstone around the neck. If so, then it’s time to let them go. Carrying all that baggage won’t help us get our flying feet off the ground. Delete them, file them away in a remote corner and let time take care of it. For now, just take a deep breathe, lift off and fly. The view from above is worth the try.

Once there was a free bird. She floated in the sky, catching midges for lunch, swam in the summer rain trickles, and was like many other birds. But she had a habit: every time some event occurred in her life, whether good or bad, the bird picked up a stone from the ground. Every day she sorted out her stones, laughed remembering joyful events, and cried remembering the sad ones.

The bird always took the stones with her, whether she was flying in the sky or walking on the earth, she never forgot about them. The years have passed, and free bird got a lot of stones, but she still kept on sorting them, remembering the past. It was becoming more and more difficult to fly, and one day a bird was unable to do this.
The bird that was free some time ago, could not walk on the earth, she was unable to make a move by her own. She could not catch midges anymore; only rare rain gave her the necessary moisture. But a bird bravely endured all the hardships, guarding her precious memories.
After some time a bird died of the starvation and thirst. And only a pitiful bunch of worthless stones reminded of her for a long time.

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

Simple, but Vital

While listening to the car radio the other day, the various anecdotes told and the different conversations provided plenty of food for thought. Interestingly the point that struck out sorely, is just to be silent enough to listen. For many of us, our entire work may be all about listening. From complaints to hearsay, to grievances to information, interaction always involves all these things. Yet what makes those simple interactions stay embedded in mind is the way one chooses to listen.

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

They are always different ways to lend a ear, but when lent with the entire mind and wholeheartedly gives a lease of fresh air to the speaker. Too many babble just results in an unfruitful rucks. when one learns to truly listen, the entity of empathy, genuine feeling of humaneness and a thread of trust or even hope, is brought out into the interaction. Those simple things do matter, for they are needed to make our life meaningful. As always, being silent to listen and help out if feasible, is indeed golden.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream that puzzled General motors’!!!!

An Interesting Story : Never underestimate your Clients’ Complaint, no matter how funny it might seem! This is a real story that happened between the customer of General Motors and its Customer-Care Executive. Please read on.

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:
‘This is the second time I have written to you, and I don’t blame you for not answering me, because I sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of Ice-Cream for dessert after dinner each night, but the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we’ve eaten, the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. It’s also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem.

You see, every time I buy a vanilla ice-cream, when I start back from the store my car won’t start. If I get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I’m serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds “What is there about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?” The Pontiac President was understandably skeptical about the letter, but sent an Engineer to check it out anyway.

The latter was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn’t start. The Engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, they got chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start.

Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man’s car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to take notes: He jotted down all sorts of data: time of day, type of gas uses, time to drive back and forth etc.

In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store. Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup. All the other flavors were kept in the back of the store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to check out the flavor.

Now, the question for the Engineer was why the car wouldn’t start when it took less time. Eureka !!! Time was now the problem – not the vanilla ice cream!!!! The engineer quickly came up with the answer: “vapor lock”.

It was happening every night; but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was still too hot for the vapor lock to dissipate.

Even crazy looking problems are sometimes real and all problems seem to be simple only when we find the solution, with cool thinking. Don’t just say it is ” IMPOSSIBLE” without putting a sincere effort. What really matters is your attitude and your perception.
Moral of the Story: “Try to Fix the Bug instead of making it as a known issue.”

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

Over-Turn

Whether it be work from home or not, breaks are always a must. Which is why there is always time for a “break”. There is something special about holding that warm cup. More than just a routine, it brings out a fresh perspective with each sip. Be it coffee or tea, herbal, green or black, with or without milk, each cup has something in it.

“There are mornings when everything brims with promise, even my empty cup.” Ted Kooser

Like the cups that hold within it, so do we people, hold something within each of us. Different situations may have different hues and flavours, but we do put something in it. Interestingly whatever these cups hold in them, do spill out. That cup can bring out a smile, or push one into sorrows. When a cup spills over, what is in it is what comes out. Knowing that, let’s try to put something worth, so that even though the cup may tip over, it brings a smile on the faces around us.

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
*Wrong answer.*
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
*So we have to ask ourselves”what’s in my cup?”*
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
You choose!
Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation for ourselves; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.
Source: Internet