Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Swiss Indian connection ,more Indian then I thought



On a vacation to Switzerland I armed myself with word translations in French , German and Italian with the backdrop of knowledge that these are the main languages spoken in the country.
Landing in Zurich, I took the train to Berne and then took the connecting one to Interlaken where I was supposed to stay. Getting down at the Interlaken west station I walked out following  the map.  I passed a girl sitting at the bus stand just outside the station , wanting to be doubly sure that I was heading in the right direction  I asked her in my limited german the way to the  COOP  was as it was the landmark for the hotel. Hearing this the girl looked at me and smiled ,stood up folded her hands and asked  “Aap India se hain?” (Are you from India) With utter disbelief and typical jaw dropping expression I just nodded in affirmative. Talking to her I came to know that she was an ardent bollywood fan . She even inquired if I had met any of her favourite bollywood actors in person. This pleasant encounter was a proof of the ever pervading influence of bollywood and Indianess in a far off land .
 Next   evening there was a fireworks display outside Casino Kursal  I was enjoying  the fireworks and so was a Dutch family with  their kid who were on a holiday. They  wanted me to take a family picture of theirs against the backdrop of the fireworks. They introduced themselves and  upon learning I am from India the father commented , Is this not like Diwali? I asked what ? You burn crackers and have fireworks like this at Diwali time. I asked him  how he knew that. Ever since school time I was fascinated with India and have always wanted to go there . This was another chance encounter that helped me see my own country in a new light.
Two days later I went for dinner to  an Indian restaurant in Zurich it was filled with people from various nationalities. As  I entered the restaurant with my Mom who was in an Indian attire of  the Saree, we felt all eyes fixed on us as we entered through the glass door. Were they invasive ? No they were not. We only felt genuine appreciation in their eyes. Then the girl called cuckoo, who served us politely asked if we were from India ? We said yes. She told us that the guests at the restaurant were all feeling delighted to have an Indian family amongst them. Her saying this was confirmation of  what we felt looking at the faces of the guests whom we passed by on the way to our table. That experience made us so proud to be Indians.
Another interesting incident happened at another restaurant at dinner time the next day. A group of guests were seated two tables away from us . Then one of the guest from that table walked up to our table spoke a line in Hindi “Switzerland mein aapka swagat hai” You are welcome in Switzerland . We said thank you.Then he just walked away .A few moments later returned and asked “Aap chutti manane aayein hai ?” (You have come for a holiday?) We said Haan i.e Yes in Hindi. Then he disappeared again . This time my eyes followed him and discovered him reading something from a small notebook. We were curious about his behaviour. Then he reappeared and spoke another line in Hindi . This time before he could disappear again I requested him to sit and how he knew Hindi. To which he let his secret out. He pulled out the same notebook and showed it to us . He told us he had joined hindi classes and seeing that we are from India ,thought it to be a great opportunity to practice with a native language speaker.
Soon it was time for us to bid farewell the beautiful country of Switzerland. At the Zurich airport the immigration officer asked me “How was our stay and how did we find Switzerland?”
To which I replied Oh it is one of the most beautiful country I have been to . It is like Paradise.
With a surprised look he asked. Is it even more beautiful then Kashmir? As I have heard that the only place as beautiful as paradise on this earth is Kashmir .I was instantly reminded of the famous couplet by famous Persian poets couplet about Kashmir

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast.   
Meaning
If there is a paradise on earth,
 It is this, it is this, it is this

Hearing a foreigner refer to an ancient Indian Persian poet’s couplet about Kashmir floored me completely. I boarded the flight with the realization that Indianness is a culture,a state of mind and being that is spread across the globe and not confined by boundaries.



 

The Ganges from South Africa to India



We Indians are very fortunate to have a rich history and heritage so well woven in the day to day fabric of our lives that more often then not we take it for granted. It is only when someone else ,a foreigner mentions about the rich heritage that we realize the magnanimity of our own culture & heritage.
On my last trip to South Africa. I was at the Johannesburg airport waiting to catch a flight back home. The airport was very crowed that day due to ongoing Soccer matches .My ticket was un confirmed and looking at the airport brimming with passengers the chances of  getting a confirmed ticket looked bleak.
I approached the ticket counter for the Nth number of time and got the stock reply that I would get a confirmation only in case of cancellations or last minute No Shows.  As the time of departure got closer my worst nightmares began to scare me as the chances of my getting a confirmed ticket were diminishing like they were being sucked into quicksand.
As a last act of desperation I approached a higher official who was already surrounded by a large group of passengers, some pleading & others almost fighting to get a seat on the same flight that I wanted to take. When my chance came I prepared myself for the worst. My voice chocked as I tried to speak and before I could do so He looked at my face and Asked “From India?”
I nodded my Head in Answer.
With a wistful look in eyes He asked me How far was the River Ganges From my Home?
I told him that it was about 150 Km’s from my home.
To which He said “ Oh it’s quite far but not as far as I am from it.”
As there were no seats in my chosen class of travel He upgraded it .Putting a stamp of confirmation on my ticket He said” I wish I could go and see the Ganges once “  He looked at his co worker and said “Do you know he comes from the land of the Ganges”. For a moment I saw in their eyes reverence for the Holy River  as they nodded their heads. Then he regained his composure and said I wish you a safe flight and do come back again.
A total stranger who had never been to India but only heard about the Ganges, his connection with it came like an eye opener for me. A common chord had struck between us. Making Me realize that it was nothing but the spirit of Indianness that  had spread far and wide and cast a spell over people from different Nationalities and ethnicity. It was this spirit of Indianness that came as a saving grace and soon I was on a flight back to India. This incident left a great imprint on my mind and heart.


 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Its Diwali Lets Head Back Home in time for celebrations





Diwali for me has been the most important festival ever since my childhood . It has had something magical to it . Life throws our share of challenges to us and my life has been no different.However the seven to ten days  that we celebrated diwali used to be  the most special and cherished . For it was the time of the year when the whole family got together and just the feeling of being with the family always created a spirit of festivity like no other.
Living in Delhi and having spent most of my Diwali festivals here I can recollect how about a few days prior to the festival we could feel a little nip in the air . It indicated the onset of the winter season and also gave us the message that Diwali is here. However the first sign for me  used to be just about on or after the festival of Dushera that the aroma of the peanuts being  roasted on a coal fired stove mixed with the  cool breeze announced he coming of the festival season. You may argue and even rightly so that the festival season begins with the navratras .
However for me it meant the coming home of my maternal uncle and getting to spend time with him and get undivided love and pampering of the entire family. It was around or after Dushera that the much awaited inland letter would arrive to inform us of the date of arrival of my maternal uncle (my mama). The day we got the letter ,it used to be  officially the unofficial countdown of the festival season. It meant rushing to the tailor to get new clothes stitched. For it was the festival when we children got new clothes and had plenty of opportunity to look trendy and chick. This was also the time when my maternal grand father used to prepare the list of items that would be given as Diwali gifts It included sarees for my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. Sweets for the entire hous hold and for those who worked for the household like the maid and her family ,the colony guard ,the sabzi wala (the vegetable vendor). Being young I always got a trunk full of  crackers as a Diwali gift from my uncle.
How ever as I grew up I realized that my family actively contributed to make the festival more cheerful and enjoyable for the less privileged. Now my focus has also shifted to being socially more responsible and try to celebrate a pollution free diwali . The trunk full of crackers have been replaced by a single box of phuljhadi. New clothes are still bought but the purchase is more need based and the focus is more on buying warm clothes and blankets that we can give to an orphanage .However what has not changed is the love and bonds of out family. We still get together and celebrate.hangout together and enjoy. When these days of celebration pass we bid farewell to our outbound relatives with heavy hearts. The  silver lining is the marking of next years diwali dates so that we can block these dates and get back together for a fun filled festival season and yes I start looking forward to the next years dusherra as well awaiting the arrival for that letter announcing the date of arrival of my mama .Even in this age of SMS & Mobile phone it is truly magical and brings us the news  that diwali is round the corner .
https://www.gharwalidiwali.com/.
PepsiCo #GharWaliDiwali film

Its Diwali Lets Head Back Home in time for celebrations

Its Diwali Lets Head Back Home in time for celebrations


Diwali for me has been the most important festival ever since my childhood . It has had something magical to it . Life throws our share of challenges to us and my life has been no different.However the seven to ten days  that we celebrated diwali used to be  the most special and cherished . For it was the time of the year when the whole family got together and just the feeling of being with the family always created a spirit of festivity like no other.
Living in Delhi and having spent most of my Diwali festivals here I can recollect how about a few days prior to the festival we could feel a little nip in the air . It indicated the onset of the winter season and also gave us the message that Diwali is here. However the first sign for me  used to be just about on or after the festival of Dushera that the aroma of the peanuts being  roasted on a coal fired stove mixed with the  cool breeze announced he coming of the festival season. You may argue and even rightly so that the festival season begins with the navratras .
However for me it meant the coming home of my maternal uncle and getting to spend time with him and get undivided love and pampering of the entire family. It was around or after Dushera that the much awaited inland letter would arrive to inform us of the date of arrival of my maternal uncle (my mama). The day we got the letter ,it used to be  officially the unofficial countdown of the festival season. It meant rushing to the tailor to get new clothes stitched. For it was the festival when we children got new clothes and had plenty of opportunity to look trendy and chick. This was also the time when my maternal grand father used to prepare the list of items that would be given as Diwali gifts It included sarees for my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. Sweets for the entire hous hold and for those who worked for the household like the maid and her family ,the colony guard ,the sabzi wala (the vegetable vendor). Being young I always got a trunk full of  crackers as a Diwali gift from my uncle.
How ever as I grew up I realized that my family actively contributed to make the festival more cheerful and enjoyable for the less privileged. Now my focus has also shifted to being socially more responsible and try to celebrate a pollution free diwali . The trunk full of crackers have been replaced by a single box of phuljhadi. New clothes are still bought but the purchase is more need based and the focus is more on buying warm clothes and blankets that we can give to an orphanage .However what has not changed is the love and bonds of out family. We still get together and celebrate.hangout together and enjoy. When these days of celebration pass we bid farewell to our outbound relatives with heavy hearts. The  silver lining is the marking of next years diwali dates so that we can block these dates and get back together for a fun filled festival season and yes I start looking forward to the next years dusherra as well awaiting the arrival for that letter announcing the date of arrival of my mama .Even in this age of SMS & Mobile phone it is truly magical and brings us the news  that diwali is round the corner .

Keeping the Child healthy & make the Home Happy

Children are a bundle of joy .Ask any parent and they would agree .However there would be fair number of naysayers  .Whichever category you belong to, you would agree that bringing up children is a full time job that takes a lot of energy and effort.
However some may argue that more difficult then being a parent is being a child . As a child is constantly dealing with a body that is growing. He or she competes with other children at school, is under tremendous peer pressure to make a mark in studies,sports or extra curricular activities .
Actually for us as parents the focus of our lives begins to revolve around our children. Right from the infant stage we begin to care more and modify our timetables to  adjust better in looking after our children.
A child who is healthy brightens the spirit of the whole household. Being more cheerful he /she also brings and spreads an infectious cheer to the entire household, and some part of us as grown ups revisits our childhood and this uninhibited banter and energy brings out the child in a lot of us. However infectious cheer is not the only thing that the children bring back home. Playing in the mud, ,being in the class of numerous other children, in close proximity of other children and environments that carry germs, Disease pathogens and viruses puts our young ones at constant risk. So what do we do ? restrict them from playing outside? or be in the close proximity of other children who may be suffering from colds,flues or other viral infections? This is hardly an option because a child's life is not easy. It is not a T-20 match where he/she has to perform for a short period of time .Instead its like a test match where the endurance ,immunity and skill to negotiate the day to day challenges is tested. The moment a child falls ill the whole activity in a household comes to a stand still. The exuberant playfulness of the child is replaced by the irritability or sickly behaviour. This does not just affect the child but the spirits of the child as well .Cheerful outings are cut short,. Ice  creams become a strict No-No and instead of going out to play or go on for a drive.the parents are busy seeking an appointment from the doctor.
So what is the solution? Is it to quarantine the child? & keep minimum contact with the outside world? On the contrary a disease is only a way of mother nature telling the parent that there are more things that needs to be done to boost the disease fighting ability of the child i.e the immunity.to prepare for the trials and tribulations we must give our children tonics and immunity boosters that give our children better chances to overcome and fight diseases and have a natural immunity for disease causing pathogens. So a healthy child is a happy childThe child being the center of our homes , a happy child makes  a home
The best way to increase immunity is to introduce natural tonics that boost the child's immunity. Our ancient rishis identified herbs and plants that boost our immunity Amla a great source of vitamin C which boosts our immunity system and is a rich source of anti oxidants.



Giloy or  Guduchi has been documented to have immuno-modulatory properties.





Satavari helps protect our health


Bala is an antioxident
Vidarikand is a rejuvinator.
However the good part is that we need not consume these ingredients individually. For our benefits all these ingredients have been used to create a tasty and easy to consume mix called Dabur Chyawanprash which is known to have a 3X immunity boosting properties
https://www.liveveda.com/daburchyawanprash/.

image source

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phyllanthus_officinalis.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tinospora_cordifolia.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asparagus_racemosus.JPG
 

Its Diwali Lets Head Back Home


https://www.gharwalidiwali.com
PepsiCo #GharWaliDiwali film
Diwali for me has been the most important festival ever since my childhood . It has had something magical to it . Life throws our share of challenges to us and my life has been no different.However the seven to ten days  that we celebrated diwali used to be  the most special and cherished . For it was the time of the year when the whole family got together and just the feeling of being with the family always created a spirit of festivity like no other.
Living in Delhi and having spent most of my Diwali festivals here I can recollect how about a few days prior to the festival we could feel a little nip in the air . It indicated the onset of the winter season and also gave us the message that Diwali is here. However the first sign for me  used to be just about on or after the festival of Dushera that the aroma of the peanuts being  roasted on a coal fired stove mixed with the  cool breeze announced he coming of the festival season. You may argue and even rightly so that the festival season begins with the navratras .
However for me it meant the coming home of my maternal uncle and getting to spend time with him and get undivided love and pampering of the entire family. It was around or after Dushera that the much awaited inland letter would arrive to inform us of the date of arrival of my maternal uncle (my mama). The day we got the letter ,it used to be  officially the unofficial countdown of the festival season. It meant rushing to the tailor to get new clothes stitched. For it was the festival when we children got new clothes and had plenty of opportunity to look trendy and chick. This was also the time when my maternal grand father used to prepare the list of items that would be given as Diwali gifts It included sarees for my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. Sweets for the entire hous hold and for those who worked for the household like the maid and her family ,the colony guard ,the sabzi wala (the vegetable vendor). Being young I always got a trunk full of  crackers as a Diwali gift from my uncle.
How ever as I grew up I realized that my family actively contributed to make the festival more cheerful and enjoyable for the less privileged. Now my focus has also shifted to being socially more responsible and try to celebrate a pollution free diwali . The trunk full of crackers have been replaced by a single box of phuljhadi. New clothes are still bought but the purchase is more need based and the focus is more on buying warm clothes and blankets that we can give to an orphanage .However what has not changed is the love and bonds of out family. We still get together and celebrate.hangout together and enjoy. When these days of celebration pass we bid farewell to our outbound relatives with heavy hearts. The  silver lining is the marking of next years diwali dates so that we can block these dates and get back together for a fun filled festival season and yes I start looking forward to the next years dusherra as well awaiting the arrival for that letter announcing the date of arrival of my mama .Even in this age of SMS & Mobile phone it is truly magical and brings us the news  that diwali is round the corner .




https://www.gharwalidiwali.com

images taken from

http://freequotesimages.com/diwali-crackers-gif.html
http://www.picgifs.com/graphics/fireworks/

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Its raining Pakoras -;)

The Rain was dancing on the roof top,calling for a feast.
The stage was set and the hunt was on.
Cauliflower was the target which was on the run.
It slipped and fell into the bowl of besan batter which had salt and flakes of red pepper.
It struggled to get out getting covered all the more and in a haste fell into the pan of hot oil.
It tossed and turned till it got golden brown.A pair of prongs slyly fished them out
The charming boiled potato spread out its white robe while the green pea and the yellow corn stood guard all around.
The cheeky cherry tomato
pinned it down with a toothpick through its crown.Lashes of cheesy cheddar encircled it with its arms
 while the  mint chutney chuckled and waited for its turn.
It was time to set up the Borosil Variety Platter Square,flatter the taste buds and stop the chatter
It was made welcome with Oohs and aahs and within the wink of an eye they were all gulped down
There was shouts of "We want more" but alas the cauliflower were no more.

http://www.myborosil.com/