Friday, November 27, 2009

Another tag comes my way pretty soon. I loved doing this one. Thanks G for tagging me...

Here it goes:

1.Where is your cell phone?
Near the keyboard

2.Your hair?
Oiled and tied

3.Your mother?
great cook, very giving

4.Your father?

5.Your favorite food?
daal bhat pickle @ home, sizzlers outside

6. Your dream last night?
can’t remember.. was something about ahmedabad

7. Your favorite drink?
Sprite, Screwdriver, chhas

8. Your dream / goal?
to write well, earn more than enough

9. What room are you in?

10.Your hobby?
making jewellery, reading

11.Your fear?
losing people

12.Where do you want to be in 6 years?
better pay, house, baby shud be fine

13.Where were you last night?

14.Something that you aren’t?


16.Wish list item?
Graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, Big Sur, Dharma Bums, Broken April

17.Where did you grow up?

18.Last thing you did?
saved some copies

19.What are you wearing?
jeans, top camouflaged in sweater and shawl

20.Your TV?
not sure which brand

21.Your pets?
three lovebirds, including a very silly baby


23.Your life?
more than good

24.Your mood?

25.Missing someone?
not at this moment

not now, ahmedabad days, I had a Honda activa bike.. now it lies unused in Kolkata

27.Something you’re not wearing?
a cap

28.Your favorite store?
shops at Gariahat, New Market, spencers

Your favorite color?
light green of the fields, pink/red to wear

29.When was the last time you laughed?
some minutes back

30.Last time you cried?
5-6 days ago

31.Your best friend?
Reni, my sis

32.One place that you go to over and over?
City Centre Salt Lake … if I could, Ahmedabad, Himachal/Uttaranchal

33.One person who emails me regularly?
my father

34.Favorite place to eat?
Peter Cat

I tag Solilo, Dhiren, Doremi and Shweta

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poems — In your language :)

This is an excerpt of a lovely poem by Baruk:

in your language, not mine
will i abuse and curse at you
and scream and rail and rant at you
in your language, not mine.

The poem has been recognized by Amnesty International (Aotearoa New Zealand) and was read out on Courage Day.

Also read this post called Grin and the interesting discussions in the comment section.

Initially when I began reading his blog, I thought his posts were too full of anger. Then, I slowly got used to his way of writing and began loving the way he morphs his angst into lovely, strong poems.

Ever so often, I feel sad that poems only pose prodding questions in a wordy way, questions to which we have no answers and so get frustrated. Once out of the system, the best a good poem can do is to act as a catalyst for more thoughts, introspection and sometimes debates. But even within this limited scope, poems can do a mighty lot.

Read about George Orwell's take on poems that I mentioned in this long post. He says that poems can survive even in the face of totalitarianism. Excerpts from Orwell's essay are written towards the end.

Coming back to this poem...

As I read In your language not mine again, I realise how relevant it is in the vicious times we live in. The immediate connect reading it this time was with the episode in which MNS members of legislature allegedly manhandled and even slapped Samajwadi party MLA Abu Azmi when he began taking his oath in Hindi. Some people were actually cheering the vandalism as another act of bravado in defense of Marathi asmita...

My favourite poem from Baruk is Api's thlan

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eye donation follow-up

I wrote an article sometime back and in the course of my research, I talked to a large number of doctors, grief counsellors, eye banks, cornea recipients and donor families.

Here are somethings I discovered and these I am sharing with you.

1)What is eye donation?

Eye donation essentially means recovering the cornea, the transparent cover on the pupil. This part is transplanted on the recipient to improve / restore vision. Donation from one person gets two corneas, that are used separately on two persons.

2) Who can benefit?

Cornea transplant is necessary when the cornea gets damaged due to prolonged illness, neglect and poor treatment. Doctors said that poor patients from rural areas form the biggest chunk of cornea recipients because often they approach a doctor when the damage is already done. Some patients born with congenital cornea defects can also benefit from eye donations.

In some cases, a cornea transplant is also used as therapeutic grafting to aid in healing of damaged tissue.

Contrary to my notion, eye donations thus do not cure all kinds of blindness, but only corneal blindness.

3) Initiatives:

Under the Hospital Cornea Retrieval Programme (HCRP), grief counsellors are appointed at hospitals where about 6-7 deaths occur daily. These counsellors approach the bereaved family and suggest eye donation. Donations have drastically gone up at places where HCRP has been implemented.

As of now, grief counsellors, appointed by NGOs, are paid paltry amounts. Under the 11th five-year plan, government has come up with grants for grief counsellors.

Whose eyes cannot be used for transplant:

Eyes of a person who has died of slow virus diseases like AIDS; Mad cow disease, Rabies, Hepatitis, Encephalitis, Septicemia, Snake bite, Tetanus, Luekaemia, or had certain eye infections, iritis (inflammation of anterior segment of eye), low corneal endothelial counts cannot be used for corneal transplant.


About 1.1 million people suffer from corneal blindness in India and families of only about 15000 people consented for eye donation in 2008.

Source: Eye Bank Association of India

Points to remember:

Eye must be removed within six hours of death

Gently suggest eye donation to a calm person of the bereaved family, if possible after 30 minutes of 'grief window'. By this time, the family has actually accepted the death

Contact the nearest eye collection centre immediately

The removal takes 10-15 minutes and is free

It can be done at home or any other place where the body is kept

It does not disfigure the face

Eye donation by a single person helps restore sight of two corneal blind people

Religious leaders throughout the world have voiced their support

Source: Doctors, National Program for Control of Blindness website

Related posts:

Eye donation follow-up 1

Hope amidst grief

The End of an Era

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Corn soup

This soup was made by my sister's father-in-law. I tasted some and loved it. He shared the recipe in less than two minutes. Yesterday, when I saw fresh bright yellow pumpkin in the market, I thought of giving this a try.


About 200 gm ripe yellow pumpkin

A cupful of frozen / fresh corn

6-7 cloves of garlic, 1 " piece of ginger

1-2 green chillies

Finely-minced coriander

Salt to taste

Boil the pumpkin, let it cool. If using fresh corn, boil these along with pumpkin. Do not throw away pumpkin stock. Use it as required later to make the soup. Grind boiled pumpkin to a pulp in a chutney jar. Crush ginger garlic in a mortar. Separately crush the green chillies. Soak frozen corn for a while and remove the water. Wash well.

Heat a spoonful of oil. Add ginger-garlic paste. Saute till the colour changes and add pumpkin paste. Add pumpkin stock to bring the soup to a thick consistency. Add corn, green chilly paste and salt. Just before switching off the gas, add coriander.

I suggest you do not give any of these ingredients a miss, or the taste wouldn't be as relishing. If I am not mistaken, he also added crushed groundnuts. I didn't try this though.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pet update

This little chap should begin to fly pretty soon...

This is the first baby from my pair and I spend afternoons playing with it..

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Karela-Matar Sabzi

Karela (bittergourd) has been a favourite in our family. While my sister can eat it in all forms, I like it crispy fried, or when the bitterness is reduced.
Sister had learnt a stuffed karela recipe from a Sindhi friend. In that dish, she carefully carved out the seeds and stuffed the karelas (soaked in salt for 10-15 minutes and pressed of excess water) with onions, tomato, garlic, etc. Then I guess she used to deep fry the vegetable and flow it in a spicy gravy. While V and others absolutely loved this dish, I could not have it for the raw bitter taste still lingered.

The best karela sabzi I have eaten so far was at a relative's house. I tried reproducing it today and it turned out just like that day. I was so so excited that one recipe of a great, jolly old foodie now survives with me. Here I am sharing with you the recipe.


3 karelas, sliced in rings and pressed dry after applying salt

A small cup of imli / tamarind pulp soaked in very little water

A cupful of matar / green peas

2-3 tablespoons of sugar

Salt and red chilly powder to taste.

Oil, mustard seeds, hing (asafoetida), haldi (turmeric powder)

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed steel pan. (I started with aluminum kadhai, but later shifted realizing the huge amount of imli that goes in this dish)

Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds, pinch of hing and haldi in that order. Next add karela. Saute till half-cooked and slightly brown, do not cover with a lid. Now add peas. The photo below is just after I added peas.

Saute till karela is crispy and peas are cooked. This should take 5-7 minutes.

Now, extract thick tamarind pulp. It should come to 2-3 tablespoons. As soon you add this, the veggies will get sticky and because of the sour addition, won't cook. So make sure you add imli after the karela and peas are tender enough. Immediately add a generous amount of sugar to balance the sour taste. I added about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add salt and chilly to taste.

Delicious sweet-sour karela-matar sabzi is ready...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anjan Dutt calls Bela Bose on 2441139

I heard 2441139 by chance on the radio. While I feel shy to speak in Bangla, I understand a fair bit and this song was beyond marvellous. Listen to this song first, even if you don't understand Bangla. Listen first. I have given the English translation below...

Picture this. A yellow phone booth with loud, bold black letters reading STD, PCO, ISD. Or if you want, picture a coin-phone, the large rectangular black box that used to stand silently by paan shops and was witness to many a life-changing conversations of love and denial long before the cellphone bug hit. Have we got the imagery right? Now picture a youth dialling a number and asking for Bela Bose. Here's what he says...

I have got a job Bela, are you listening?
No one can stop us now.
You can send back that proposal
and tell mother you are not marrying.

I have indeed got a job.
Just a few more months (of wait)
They will pay 1100 now,
Confirm the job after three months...
Bela, why are you silent, why don't you say something?

Hello... 'Is that 2441139?'
Bela Bose are you listening?
I have got you after a dozen wrong numbers
I will not lose you now at any cost...

Hello... 2441139?'
Please call Bela Bose, just once.
Meter's running on this public telephone
this an important, very important matter...

This time our dreams will really come true
After all this long wait
We have spent many a days in dusty dingy cabins by the road
Waiting with heavy breaths...

Just a few more days Bela, then freedom.
That blue-walled house in Kasba (will be ours)
In this white-black, trouble-ridden, bitter-sweet city
(We will start) our colourful life...

I have got a job indeed
Those times of sobs, of brawls are gone now
Hello... Can you hear me or not?

Bela, why are you crying silently?
I have indeed got a job
Those times of sobs and brawls are gone
Hello... Can you hear me?

Hello? **** Hello?
2441139, 2441139

I feel Bela has accepted a proposal and is all set to marry...The call came too late. The song, for me, is an ode to young love in a middle-class Indian background that strives and strives to set things right.

I could write a lot more about this song, and two other favourites by Anjan Dutt.. But may be, on some other post.

PS My computer speakers don't work. Let me know if you find any other better video of this album..

Link of Bangla lyrics here

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Contest :)

Thanks for voting.. I value every single of the 10 votes I got for the time and appreciation you kept aside for me, for Short and Sweet.

Ginger and Cardamom
has won the Original Poetry contest on Indiblogger. It's a great blog, and I have a lot of reading up to do.

So then, take care and keep in touch...