Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer Special

I am ever a foodie as a previous post of mine would suggest and summer is one of my most favourite seasons as this post would prove. With summer already here, what is it that is running on my mind? Wish if I could gobble these now!!

Thanni saadham : Rice cooked the previous day, soaked in water, curd, salt, shallots, curry leaves and finely sliced maavadu. The best combo for this would be... NOTHING. The thanni saadham itself is a delicacy and the magic it creates on your body especially during summer is

Vanilla milkshake : A thick, cold, frothy, vanilla milkshake in a tall glass and slurping it till the last drop is total bliss.

Icecream : I am 'all ready' for an icream - anytime, anyday!! And no discrimination here on the flavours - I just love 'em all! I love it best when the whole package is a jugalbandhi of different flavours, nuts, jellies and sauces!

Nongu :Is it called palm fruit in English? I love it when chucks of Nongu are immersed in sweetened milk, flavoured with cardamom and chilled.

Elaneer :Tender coconut wins hands down when it comes to thirst quenchers and I love the taste of water when the coconut is in its vazhukkai stage.

Mangoes :Mango might not be a good choice in summer because of the heat it generates but who cares? I could have mangoes all day long - with breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks!! And mango with a dollop of fresh cream or vanilla icecream is.... need I say more?

Jackfruit : Another speciality during summer. I love the extreme ripe ones especially their aroma. But I would love to have the luxury of someone separating the palacholais from the whole fruit. More than cutting, I dread the feeling of the fruit sap sticking onto my hands and deciding not to leave for a while. By the way, I read recently that the origin for the word Jackfruit is from the Portugese word "Jakka" which inturn is from the Malayalam word "Chakka" for Jackfruit.

Water Melon : There was a juice parlour in Bangalore where we used to frequent and there, when ordered for water melon juice, we would get a glass filled with water melon juice, along with a long stainless steel spoon and small chunks of water melon and a dash of chat masala. And when you take the first gulp of the juice and nibble the water melon chunks on a hot summer day, you would literally see heaven!!

Lemon/Lime Juice : Whatever said and done, the simple lemon juice never loses its charm not just for the taste but for the affordability as well. Many a time I used to opt for lemon juice so that I could gulp down a few glasses of the juice for the same money I end up spending for a 'higher-end' juice.

Water : Coming to the basics, eveything boils down to the tasteless, flavourless, plain "Adam's ale". And just like anything else in this world, its value is seldom known unless we are deprieved of it. So in summer time, drink lots of water and also make sure you don't waste it!

Have a hot, happy Summer!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mythical Cynicism

I have great respect for our mythological works. More than being stories, they impart valuable insight into theories of life, how to be and how not to be. But I am quite cynical about certain aspects in the mythological works. Ofcourse, please view them as my take on stories only, not as my take on God or any exihibition of atheism. I am very much a theist ;-)

Rama's treatment of Sita :
Rama is always potrayed as an "eka pathini virathan". But I still cannot relate to the ending chapters of Ramayanam where he abandons his wife on hearing a washerman's rant against his wife. So how does Rama deserve the reverence when after having fought a war, after taking the hard way in the forests and having putting so many other people to hardships/sacrifices, got carried away by a single statement? So is it that he had the poison tree sowed already and the statment of the washerman was like the 'last straw'? How does it matter if he was an "eka pathini virathan" when he had subject his wife to the biggest toture - of doubting her celibacy?

Slaying of Vaali :
The reason, as quoted by Rama, for slaying Vaali is that he (Vaali) had wished for another man's wife, which is immoral. But... Vali and Sugriva are not human beings but Vaanar kings. Animals do not have such rules. It is survival of the fittest. Infact in most animal races, the males fight it over for the female.

Draupadi :
Instead of taking her wrath on her husbands who pledged her during the dice game, she takes a vow against the Kauravas. There is an interesting anecdote in the movie "Bharathi". When Bharathiyar is a kid, he watches a streetplay of "Paanchaali Sabadham" (he later went on to create a work on the same title). In the play when Draupadi vows to take revenge against the Kauravas, the little boy Bharathi interrupts and says "Why do you get angry over Kauravas when its your husbands who pledged you. Women should also pledge their husbands. If all women were to pledge their husbands in a game, will one husband be spared?" and the whole audience bursts into laughter applauds his rational thoughts.

Karna :
My most favourite character in Mahabaratha is Karna. But more than anyone else in the epic, it is Karna who was subject to atmost discrimination - right from the time when he was rejected by Dronacharya (owing to his caste), the curse by Parasuram, the way he was (tried to) deceived by Indra in taking his kavasa-kundalam, the promise taken by Kunti asking him to spare Arjuna, his charioteer abandoning him in the last minute owing to his caste, till the end when Krishna takes all his good deeds (punyam) so he could die. Though he was wary of Duryodhana's acts, he stood by him only as a token of gratitude. And Karna ever remains an epitome for friendship, gratitude and generosity.

Ekalavya :
Though he was turned down by Dronacharya because he belonged to a tribal clan, Ekalavya still considered Dronacharya as his guru, made a statue of him and practised before it every day. And he proved to be better than Arjuna. Since Dronacharya had promised Arjuna that Arjuna would be the best archer ever, shamelessly, he asked for Ekalavya's thumb as gurudakshinai so that he would never be able to use the bow and arrow in his life and Ekalavya complies without hesitation.

The Kauravas' wrongful act is well known but Krishna/Pandavas were not far behind. Krishna's advise to Duryodhana to cover his private parts when seeking Gandhari's blessings (which would give him immsense power), weakening of Dronacharya's morale by falsely declaring his sons Ashwathama's death (by blowing victory trumpets when Yudhishtra says "Ashwathama, the elephant, is dead") are all not honest acts, which were done aimed at getting victory at any cause.

Maybe there is a reason for everything. Though Krishna played a very cunning role in Mahabharata to ensure Pandavas' triumph, when being questioned by Arjuna about their act, he says "Everyone's fate is based on karma and destiny". And his words proved true in his case too as a dejected Gandhari seeing all her sons dead and the kingdom devastated curses Krishna that he would never have a heir and Krishna gracefully accepts it.

I am sure I might have missed a point somewhere and that's for you, my blogger friends, to fill up in the comments section :) Thanks!