Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Every Hour is an " Earth Hour "

Few days back there was this slogan " Earth Hour " every where. Which ever news channel I switched to had only one thing to say. " Try to switch off the lights between 8:30 to 9:30 tonight" and i was wondering why only that night and why not everynight and every way? You must be wondering " What is she trying to say?".

Well, what I'm trying to say here is that it is a good thing that people are coming together to get awareness among everyone and trying to do something collectively for our planet, for our future but hasn't anyone thought that this could be done everyday and in every small way to save our planet?

We can do so many things. I would like to mention few things for a start. Hope everyone does this at their home since I follow it.

  • Try not waste water, not to keep the tap turned one while not using the water coming from it ( when we are brushing we tend to keep the tap on though we are not using the water at that moment ).
  • Make it a point to switch off the lights while going out even for a near by shop or walk. Also make sure to use only the lights and fans in the room in which you are in.
  • Try to travel in the same vehicle if you have anyone working at the same place as you are or if some one you know is going to the same place as you are going to. By this we can save energy and also reduce pollution coming from many vehicles.
  • Try not to litter the public places. Have the patience to find a garbage bag to drop in the litter or carry it in your pocket and drop it in the near by garbage bag.
  • Do not try to waste the food. If you have excess food, give it some one who can't afford to have it. Don't just throw it away in garbage.
  • Do one thing at a time so that you dont end up wasting too much off energy. For example, trying to work on computer while watching tv and washing clothes in the washing machine at the same time. This will divide your attention and you might end up doing things consuming more time and energy , both yours and electrical too.
  • Try to switch off lights everyday for one hour at night.
  • Do not heat water for bath and waste your time on something else and reheat the water again, by this you are again wasting energy in more than one form.
  • Plant more trees at your home, your street.
  • Try to help people around you, remember we are trying to save our planet in all the ways possible.

There are many things that can be done right from the place we live in than giving it a larger picture to ourselves and to the world and never attempting to even do it. What I mentioned are very small things which can be taken care of with little attention from us. I believe everything starts form home and that is from where we have to take it.

Hope this post of mine makes some difference to anyone's life. I would be very happy if I could do that.

I welcome everyone to add a point to my post in their own way !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Monday, March 30, 2009

Udipi Sambar

I adopted this recipe from recipezaar and it turned out very well. I have always wanted to make the kind of Sambar we get in the restaurants and this is that perfect recipe which when you follow by word would leave with the same kind of dish I have been looking for. Hope you have a great time making this and also enjoy eating it.


  • Cook the tuvar dal till tender then mash.
  • Heat 1 tblsp oil in a heavy bottomed pan and roast the fenugreek seeds till light red, then add 1/2 tsp urad dal and let it saute till they change colour too.
  • Add the red chilli and coriander seeds.
  • Add a 3 sprigs of curry leaves and the grated coconut and roast. They should all turn light brown and aromatic.
  • Cool and grind to a fine paste with a little water.
  • Heat 1 tblsp oil in a pan.
  • Add the mustard seed.
  • When they splutter add 1/2 tsp of urad dal and the hing.
  • Fry for a minute.
  • Add the onions and green chillies, slit and the rest of the curry leaves.
  • Add your choice of vegetables Fry till you get a nice aroma.
  • Add a little water.
  • Cover and cook till the veges are done.
  • Extract pulp from the tamarind and add to the vegetables.
  • Add salt and crumbled jaggery (you can use brown sugar i think instead) and cook till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
  • Add the mashed dal and the ground masala.
  • Mix weel and add a little water if reqd.
  • Simmer for a few mins.
  • Serve with dosas, idlis or rice.



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sari Bari

I firt came across this link in " Once upon a tea time " blog by Aditi. When I clicked on the link, I read all I could find on human trafficking and this is what it had to say.

Facts on Human Trafficking

Up to 27 million people are caught in the trap of modern-day slavery (human trafficking)—80 percent of them female and up to 50 percent children. (2006 Trafficking in Persons Report)

The majority of trafficking victims are used for sexual exploitation and others for bonded labor, domestic work, military conscription, marriage, illicit adoption, sport, begging or organ harvesting. (2006 TIPR)
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing transnational crimes, generating an estimated $10 billion per year. (Combating Child Trafficking, UNICEF 2005)

Victims are robbed of their most basic human rights and suffer under deplorable conditions, such as threats to themselves or family members, torture, rape, malnutrition and starvation, confinement and emotional abuse.

How It Happens?

A young village girl, probably from a poor family, is lured, tricked or cajoled by a “trafficker” who promises a good job, a marriage or a better life in the city. The “trafficker” could be a woman who has previously been prostituted herself, a young man promising marriage or jobs, or a family member. The young girl, close to being illiterate, hopes and longs for a new life and ultimately finds herself in a horrible nightmare from which she many never be able to escape.

Who is Vulnerable?

“While some reports view vulnerability factors to the root cause of trafficking, others state that ‘they merely exacerbate the vulnerability of marginalized and disadvantaged groups and render them increasingly more amenable to a variety of harm’ (Sangera 2002). Vulnerability factors relate to the socioeconomic and political contexts of people that are interlinked and can be divided into two categories—personal circumstances and socio structural forces.” (Taken from The Trafficking of Women and Children in India)

Low self-esteem
Economic deprivation (a high percentage of trafficked persons belong to low-income groups)
Low literacy
Physical disability
Family breakdown
Divorce or widowhood at an early age
Lack of awareness (i.e. family member may trick or traffic a trusting girl)
Poor labor market

Human Trafficking in Kolkata (Calcutta)

“Kolkata's red-light districts are home to approximately 20,000 female commercial sex workers plus their families. It is estimated that these women see an average of three to four clients daily, (so) then between 60,00 to 80,000 men are visiting commercial sex workers every day." (Sleightholme 10)
Another source cites the number of women in the sex trade in Kolkata as much higher.
"Although exact numbers are not known it is estimated that there are more than 60,000 brothel-based women and girls in prostitution in Kolkata" (Vettivcattil 42).

“The majority of sex workers who come to Kolkata via trafficking are not kidnapped but lured, coaxed and cajoled with false promises or some offer of help out of a dead-end or crisis situation. Force is used later after the women (girls) have already been sold. Mashis (brothel owners/older sex workers) use friendship, sympathy, also veiled threats to convince the women that it is now in their best interest to conform and begin working.” (Sleightholme 38).

“India is mainly a receiving country, a reception center for women from Bangladesh and Nepal. It also acts as a transit country and, being so large, has its own internal sending, transit and receiving areas. Kolkata is an important receiver. It also functions as a transit place from where Indian, Nepalese and Bangladeshi women who come to the city, either independently or through agents, are taken to red-light areas in other cities such as Bombay, or even to other countries in the Middle East.” (Sleightholme 40).

“It is estimated that roughly 100,000 to 160,000 Nepalese girls and women are working as sex workers in India. Roughly 20 percent of them are estimated to be under age (under 18), with 35 percent abducted under the pretense of marriage or jobs.” (Sleightholme 41).

Some estimates say that as many as 100,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked every year from Nepal to India. Some girls are sold directly into prostitution, but, in terms of sheer numbers, the most common path to sexual slavery is that walked by girls who are searching for an escape from poverty (Brown 20).

By transporting people from their homes, often out of their original countries, traffickers make these vulnerable people even more vulnerable. They remove them from their social support networks and place them in an environment in which the language, customs and work patterns may be unfamiliar. Trafficked people are easy to manipulate and exploit because they are made to be dependent on others. This is why the sex industry likes trafficked girls. A trafficked woman who is prostituted, however, will almost invariably find herself in the very worst of exploitative situations (Brown 22).


T. Louise Brown, Sex Slaves: The Trafficking of Women in Asia, (London: Virago, 2000).

Carlyn Sleightholme and Indrani Sinha, Guilty without Trial: Women in the Sex Trade in Calcutta, (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997).

Jose Vetticattil and Sunitha Krishnan, The Shattered Innocence: A Field Study on Interstate Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation from Andhra Pradesh. (Hyderabad, India: Prajwala Anti-Trafficking Cell, 2002).
I urge you guys to take a look at the site and help the women in every little way we can to make some difference in their lives.
Love all serve all

Peanut Sweet with Jaggery / Chikki / Palli Pakam

I tried this sweet in microwave and it turned out too good. Try it and tell me how you liked it. Its very easy to make in microwave and takes very little time and energy.
Ingredients :
  • Palli / Peanuts : 250 gms
  • Jaggery : 250 gms
  • Oil : for greasing the bowl

Procedure :

  • Microwave peanuts / palli for about 2 minutes. Stir them after 1 minute in between while microwaving them. Peel of the skin. Once the peanuts are done you'll get the smell and the skin comes off slowly which is an indication to stop microwaving them. Break peanuts into halves and keep aside. I used whole peanuts here and did not separate the skin. I found out later that it would have been better if I had separated the skin and broke them into half, never mind there is always next time.

  • Grate jaggery finely and sprinkle some water ( how much water you use determines the consistency, use little water for thick consistency) and microwave the jaggery for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.

  • Now mix the peanuts with jaggery.

  • Grease another bowl with oil ( dont use too much oil, greasing is only for easy removal ).
  • Pour the mix in the bowl and let it set. Once it is set, cut it into pieces.

Dont worry if it doesnt turn out wonderful. There is always first time. You'll make it better once and when you know if any thing goes up or down.

Love all serve all


Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Ugadi And Gudi Padwa

Today is New year in Andhra Pradesh,Karnataka and Maharastra.In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh it is called Ugadi and in Maharastra it is called Gudi padwa.We celebrate new year as Ugadi.Every New year has its unique name and this new year is called "Virodhinama".On this day pandits read panchangam,which forecasts our future for one year politically,financially,personally.People visit temples to seek blessings, there will be a huge gathering to hear "Panchangam" which is called " Panchanga Sravanam ".
On this ocassion "Ugadi Pacchadi" is prepared which is a combination of pieces of Mango,Tamarind,Neem flowers,Jaggery,Honey,sugar cane juice.This Ugadi Pacchadi resembles our life which is a combination of sweet,bitter events.This signifies that good events or bad events come and go but we should be in a position to accept everything as they are not permanent.

People invite new year with mango/neem leaves,flowers decorated to their front door,colorful rangoli infornt of the house.Every kitchen is ready with its native delicacies like pulihora,payasam,bobbatlu.This day gives us a mood to get into our tradition like traditional dressing,traditional food,getting blessings from our elders,listening to panchangam,visiting temple for blessings,family get together...etc.These festivals are to be enjoyed in villages of india rather than cities as we get the essence of the festival in villages.

Everyone starts new year afresh with new hopes,new plans,new feelings,new joy.I Wish you too have a happy,healthy,wealthy new year.
T & R

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gorgeous Goa...

Yesterday night i was sitting in chair in my small veranda looking into the sky.Here and there i could see the stars peeping from the clouds.I was thinking where was i one year back,what was i doing.It was very difficult to recollect as it was one year back.(As i don't remember events that took place a week before).Images flashed into my mind... serene beaches,beautiful churches, yummy ,tangy kokam juice,tasty bebinka....I hope you guessed it...Yeah i have been to goa last year.This was my consecutive second visit to that beautiful place.Initially i was bit skeptical about going to that place as there were stories going around about the security in goa.Inspite of all these things we thought of giving it a try.Initially we planned to travel by train as we can enjoy the picturesque locations.But time was our constraint so thought of taking a flight missing all those beautiful locations(hmmm..never mind).As soon as we landed in goa i could sense that heavy moist air blowing,weather was hot but bearable infact very nice,very sticky feeling(as summer season started).
We took a taxi to Patnem
http://http//www.maplandia.com/india/goa/south-goa/patnem/landia.com/india/goa/south-goa/patnem/(South of goa,infact it is the southern end of goa i guess).Our taxi manuvoured through small villages,small towns.The roads were shaded by beautiful coconut trees.The architecture in goa is completely different.I found thatched roofs almost every where.At one point we were passing through a ghat road,vehicles coming from both the directions.The ghat was totally covered with cashew nut trees.After an adventurous(because the taxi driver was driving as if there was someone chasing him from the back.) yet beautiful journey we reached a small village.I thought that i would be welcomed by beautiful beach,but all through our journey from airport to patnem i did not find sea and i did not find sand and yeah i felt as if sun was on our head.I was little disappointed by seeing a small village and my eyes were still searching for the beach.We went to an already booked hotel.And to my surprise i saw beautiful beach back of my hotel.My expression was just WOW!!!!!!!!!!.I felt the whole of the beach was just for me.I could only find some people here and there(mostly foreigners).I had a great time in patnem.After spending a day there at patnem we moved to palolem and this is my favourite beach.There were many small shacks on the beach and great sea food.

Our shack :-) a few steps away from the beach. The sea was not so deep there,that is we can go a little bit into the sea and see that the water had just reached till our knees.

This place is meant to sit and enjoy the beach with a kokam juice.We had a nice evening walk from one end of the beach to the other end.The beauty of this beach is it is in the shape of a Cresent and few people know about this place i guess.We woke up early in the morning and had a walk and enjoyed the sun rise.The coconut trees just bent in the shape as if they want to come and soak in the sea.

Early morning in palolem.
Time just passed away and we were back with beautiful memories.
And the post continues..................



Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Evening Snack

I made this last evening. My husband came back from work and was hungry and in the process of making early dinner, I didn't make him anything for evening snack.

So I made this. It is easy. You will find people selling this at every park or chat center in India. It is a munch on. Hope you'll like it.

Ingredients :
  • Bhel ( as called in hindi ) Puffed rice(English): one cup would serve one person
  • Green chillies : cut into small pieces
  • Tomatoes : 1 finely chopped
  • Carrot : 1 grated
  • Onion : 1 medium finely chopped
  • Coriander : for dressing
  • Lemon juice : a teaspoon
  • Salt : for taste
  • Garam masala power : a pinch for taste ( optional )

Procedure :

  • Mix all the ingredients and garnish it with coriander.

It is ready to eat. Enjoy the snack !!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Tour of my Candle Store

I made candles few months back. I was just done with my Post Grad and wanted to spend time home before I joined any where. When I went to the local market to buy some regular stuff with one of my friends, I found a book on candle making and thought I would give it a try. So I went there the next time and picked up the necessary material except for moulds. I couldn't find the regular large moulds in the shapes of cylinders or balls or cones. So I made candles from the stuff I found at home like plastic glasses ( use and throw kind ).

Then I picked up some small glasses and made glass candles.

I went to Indian Consumer Exhibition this year, as every year, where I found candle holders and picked up those and filled them with wax and made candles with them too.

The lady with the basket over her head is a ceramic candle holder which I picked up from the same exhibition and turned it into a candle.

I decorated some of the candles with beads and outliner and turned them into designer candles. I apologise for the blurred image. Couldn't get all them of them clearly.

These are what I call the baby candles. There was one more in the shape of a star which I gifted to my aunt. She advised me with the pictures and the colours. She was of a great help. Thank you Aunt Sara.

There were almost 35 - 40 of all the candles of different shapes and sizes and I didnt know what to do and so I sold most of them to a retailer locally and kept a few with me. I always thought my candles were unique in that I haven't found any similar to mine, although they are of smaller size when compared to the conventional candles we find else where.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Europe calling.....

We see England and English people in our imaginations ( courtesy... Our English Fiction, detective novels, Literature and Shakesphere ).I was so excited when knew that i was flying to London in a week. It took me by surprise. I thought all my childhood fantasies were finally shaping into reality and visiting london during the summer was like icing on cake.Here are few snapshots of my visit..

I was very keen to visit Tower Bridge as it represents London (atleast in my opnion). Whenever i think of London,this image flashes in my mind. So here goes my first picture....Tower bridge on Thames....

I could not resist myself from appreciating his artistic talent. This gentleman was drawing The Last Supper on the road near Trafalgar Square....

A view of London from St.Paul's Cathedral. I had a terrible experience as i have fear of heights. Only god knows how i was standing there..may be the Love for London made me to do this.

I was taken by surprise when my husband told that we were going to switzerland. We first landed in Geneva from where we took a train to Grindelwald. It was pitch dark when we reached there and there was no electricity. I was scared as it was a new place ( by then london seemed to be my place and anything apart from london was foreign :-)). We booked a hotel room in advance. So the concerned person came and picked us from the station. There were no lights, only candles glowing here and there.... Next day when i woke up to see this....................

A snapshot from our hotel room.....

I nagged my husband to buy me a watch and he bought me these.....

A chocolate CAN and Bell..... :(.

Innovative and creative ways of using wood... Could not resist to capture these.....

The best time to visit Europe is During April - August.
hmmmmm...So guys please wish that I see more beautiful places so that I can post more and more beautiful places...




Spniach / Palak / Palakura Puri

Off late I have been publishing posts on travel alone and I donot want my visitors to mistake my blog for a travellers' blog alone. So today I'm gonna post a recipe which I tried last night and it turned out very good so much so that my husband thought of gifting me a new kitchen for all my experiments.

So here comes the recipe................

Ingredients :
  • Spniach / Palak / Palakura : one bunch
  • Garlic : 4 pieces
  • Green chillies : 2 long ones
  • Salt : for taste
  • Wheat Flour / Atta : 2 cups
  • Oil : for deep frying the puris

Procedure :

  • Grind the spinach, garlic pieces, green chillies by adding salt as per your taste and keep aside.
  • Mix atta with about teaspoon of oil first and then add the ground paste and mix it well into a batter as would for puris. Donot add salt to this again as you have already added salt to the ground paste.
  • Now make samll balls from the batter and make small flat circular sheets. Donot worry about the shapes. What matters is the thickness. It has to be of medium thickness and not that thin as for rotis and not as thick as for paranthas.
  • Now heat oil in a wok or a pan for deep frying the puris.

Enjoy your Palak puris and tell me how you liked them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy cooking !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kolkata - The city of population, poverty, sweets, art, culture and a shopper's paradise

I have been to Kolkata last summer and it was one mixed experience. To start with, I was depressed by the poverty there. Many parts of India have always been below poverty line but this city which is called a Metro beats every other city and town in that matter. Problem is that people from extreme north-east India come to this city for employment and thus the population is high there. Not to forget the immigrants from Bangladesh. What struck me first, even before i went there, was the use of Paisa ( coins ) in the markets there. You can still buy vegetables for 25 paisa and 50 paisa. My in-laws were there for almost a year and half and whenever my Mother-in-law was here, she would collect all the coins and take them with her. There aren't good medical facilities available to everyone, infact most of the people there and those from the lower class families ( which is the general population there usually, infact most of the populaiton there ) depend on old Indian methods to get rid of their diseases.

One end of the city is with narrow lanes and people sleeping on pavements and toiling to earn their daily bread where on the other end there are skyscapers, security gurads at the main gates of multi-storied apartment buildings.

One of the best things of the city is the culture and art. The Begalis are full of art, be it in any form. The nation today has many singers and dancers from there participating in reality shows. Not to forget the painters and poets and film makers. The architecture can not just be described in words. You need to visit the place to see what I'm trying to put in here.
I havebeen to Vivekananda Museum which is called Belur Mutt Museum. The whole experience was just awesome. There are rooms which have been modelled in the way they have been kept by Swamy Vivekananda and his desciples. The Belur Mutt is by the river and to reach there we took a boat from Kali ghat. Kali temple at Kali ghat is the temple of Goddess Durga ( Kali ) as she is called. The pictures I have included in this post have been taken on a bost from Kali Ghat to Belur Mutt.
There is one more Kali temple in the city called CulCutta Kali which is very famous.
This is one of the abandoned temples, as was told to us, found on the ghats between Kali Ghat and Belur Mutt.

Another best thing about the city is shopping. I meant it when i said Kolkata is shopper's paradise. You should be good at bargaining to get the stuff at very low rates. The place is famous for Bengal cotton sarees which keep getting softer and softer as you wash them. I also bought jute bags and some jewellery on the road side. All in all a very mixed experience. It is a must visit place for everyone.

Oh by the way, I forgot to mention the climate there. It is very humid, being on the sea side. Summers a very hot and muggy and winters are very cold, chilly infact. I would still suggest going there in winters than in summers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Buddha Museum - Amaravathi

I have been wanting to write this post ever since I've been to this place but sadly couldn't find time. Never mind, now that I have found the time, I shall introduce you guys to a wonderful museum which is still under construction as it only 80% done from the looks of it.

When we went to Amaravathi, we were told that there is this Buddha museum, the construction of which was started by Dalai Lama, remember the last time he visited India and has been to Amaravathi? When we went there, we were surprised to look at this huge statue of Buddha. Initially, my reaction was " Oh My God!!!!!!!!!".

The carvings on the circular walls were so true to life. We debated on how they could make those carvings on the walls as the finishing was in cement. I shall leave you guys with the pictures. Let those speak for themselves.

I shall visit this place again once it is completely done. Till then, give a treat to your eyes with these pictures.



Saturday, March 14, 2009