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

Kindness Beyond the Haste

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” Henri Frederic Amiel

Among the many conveniences of the modern world, one of the qualities that is too often lost in the melee of achieving something in our lives, is true humaneness. Very often acts and events related to sharing in society happen, where it involves giving one when having two or giving away the “extras” or “what we no longer use”. Yet when we share while sacrificing a bit of the materialistic pleasures for ourselves and not bragging about it; that merits a true sense of humaneness not restricted simply to what we can share if we have, but lending a hand whenever and how ever we can.

“Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them.” Stacy London

We all have our own set of people who we don’t really like or approve of. It may be true that they may done us harm at some point in our lives; yet we also have worn their shoes for time. As in there may have been many instances when we may have unknowingly caused hurt to others. No one can please everybody and one can never be always in everybody’s good books. We all have our days. Yet when ever we can, we should burn down all the grudges and learn to help. For man is a collective being, we learn from , through and with others. No matter who or what anybody has done to us at some time, be the reason to do them treat them unkindly when we can.

“It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be.” Josh Radnor

“In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. ‘How much is an ice cream sundae?’, the boy asked. “50 cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.
‘How much is a dish of plain ice cream?’ he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. “35 cents,” she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. ‘I’ll have the plain ice cream,’ he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were 15 cents – her tip.”

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

Plans, Eternity and Time

Time and Eternity

A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?”
God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.”
The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?”
God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.”
The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?”
God said, “In a minute.”

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

The other day, as the family had gathered post Saturday weekend luncheon, among the various topics being discussed were the renovation of the family homestead, plans for the college admissions and the like. What surfaced to my mind, was the fragility of human plans.

“Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.” Ramona C. Carroll

Many a time, man has planned numerous events, for the present, the immediate and the distant future. Little do we realize that most of our planning is based on chance. We base the future on a sequence of events believed to happen in a particular manner. When one block is pulled out of the regular, things may still go as per plan. But pull out a couple of them, then most plans come crashing down.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

On the other hand, plans are needed to sort out our purpose and drive in life. Yet the whole procedure can be done, putting our Faith and dreams in God’s hand and above all, plan and know one’s limits.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Man needs to plan to grow and progress with time, else idleness and monotony would set in. Yet the lines have to be drawn at when, how, what and which plans to dream of and which not to. We need to dream big; but also realistic, kind, honest and true.

“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.” Marcus Garvey

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World, Work

Stepping Above the Complaints

Going for a walk in the farm can be a tedious if one isn’t fond of trekking or nature hikes. For along the paths, there are numerous small stones strewn alongside. While they were initially put in place to mark boundaries for the sown fields and as paths, with the frequent winds and foot traffic they often get displaced and serve more as a hindrance than as a boundary. As i was walking, stepping over the stones; it brought memories of the footpaths near the sites where construction was going on. One has to watch the way, not just for stones but also for manholes, cement, gravel and the like.

“We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.” William Arthur Ward

All this reminds me of life, as we go on our route. We come across numerous “stones” en-route. Some we kick about, some we step over and few get into our footwear. Along the way, we keep on complaining and rambling about how inconvenient things are. But alas, it doesn’t change anything.

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Eckhart Tolle

Life throws her challenges to us, shaping us and hoping that we would learn from it. By complaining and ranting we just go off track and lose purpose. Instead, finding a way around it, makes the day more interesting, delightful and meaningful; worth the time, energy and peace well-spent.

“People visit a wise man complaining about the same problems over and over again. One day, he decided to tell them a joke and they all roared with laughter. After a few minutes, he told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled. Then he told the same joke for a third time, but no one laughed or smiled anymore.
The wise man smiled and said: ‘You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?’”

“It doesn’t matter what cards you’re dealt. It’s what you do with those cards. Never complain. Just keep pushing forward. Find a positive in anything and just fight for it.” Baker Mayfield

Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Of Chips and Crisps

“No One Can Eat Just One”

Ask any school kid, most would know the famous tag line, “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One” of Lay’s® Potato Chip Slogan from the early 1960’s. Over the years, although the slogans have under gone a little modification with endorsers changing, the flavours still holds us captive.

Early recipes similar to the potato crisps of today, was in William Kitchiner’s cookbook “The Cook’s Oracle” (1817) with “Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings”. The methodology reads to “peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping”.

Yet legend attributes the first potato “chips” to George Crum, an American chef of African American and Native American heritage at Saratoga Springs, New York in 1853. Trying to appease an unhappy customer on August 24th, 1853 who had kept sending his French-fried potatoes back, complaining that they were too thick, too “soggy,” and/or not salted well enough. Frustrated, Crum personally sliced several potatoes extremely thin, fried them to a crisp, and seasoned them with extra salt. To Crum’s surprise, the customer loved them and soon came to be called “Saratoga Chips”. Food history truly appreciates Crum’s customer Cornelius Vanderbilt for triggering the innovation.

Since then packaging and production took over the regular potato chips to a mass commercial enterprise. In United Kingdom and Ireland, “Potato Chips” are referred to as “crisps” when eaten at room temperature, while when served hot and fried are “chips”. But in many places, largely these terminologies are interchangeable and not very specific.

“Did you know that when potatoes go to the barbers, they can either have a straight cut, a crinkle cut or a slice?” Anthony T. Hincks

The mass popularity of “potato chips” is evidenced by the regional varieties as well as local flavours and seasonings like dill pickle, ketchup. red paprika and so on. Additional variants like potato sticks, also known as shoestring potatoes; baked potato chips have been marketed. The “chips” craze has also been spread to corn, rice, arrowroot or cassava as well as root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and rutabagas. Though not known as chips, but crisps in some places, the snacking options are varied and plentiful.

“Every potato is just a chip waiting to get out.” Anthony T. Hincks

One can be quite innovative with potato crisps, besides having them direct from the packet, they can be tossed into salads or crushed to make spicy mixes for “party snacks”, as “chaats”, sandwich fillers “sweet, sour or spicy and hot” and the like.  Though not advisable on a regular basis, “potato chips” are here to stay. Better late than never, what better to celebrate “National Potato Chip Day” (March 14th) by indulging in a couple of them. As they say, all good things come in small packages; keeping “potato chips” in moderation would help us in indulging these cravings for snacking once in a while, for a longer time.

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!”

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