Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The new Indian

I am a HUMAN BEING before anything else.

Then I am an INDIAN.

I don’t even feel the need to say what community I belong to or what religion I follow.

I don’t feel the need to put down any other community, religion, language, caste or creed to show the greatness of my own religion or community.

I don’t need a savior to safeguard my religious interests.

I don’t feel I am oppressed, weak, incapable of helping myself in any way. I don’t need anyone to fight my battles for me. I trust the Judicial system to provide me justice if I have truly been wronged.

I wont stand being told what to wear, what to believe, whom to vote for, how to talk and how to behave, unless I am doing something that is unacceptable in the eyes of Law.

I am tolerant of all religions. Killing or harming people in the name of religion is terrorism. No religion preaches violence.

I and my future generation no longer require the helping hand that Reservations offered when it was most needed. It has served its purpose & is now being abused. I believe in my capability. I don’t need to be given what I truly deserve. I can earn it for myself without being pitied upon for belonging to a Scheduled Caste. Nobody can earn my vote by pretending to be my savior.

The only people who need help today are the Economically backward who cannot afford basic necessities, let alone education. Poverty is the ONLY thing that the People of India need to be saved from.

My precious vote is for the one who will find a way to ensure that nobody sleeps hungry in my country. Some way to ensure that all children get a fair chance at life by providing them with an education.

My precious vote is for the one who only has as much assets as he can afford with his salary. Someone who didn’t suddenly get rich after entering politics to ‘serve the country’. Someone who has no criminal cases against him. Who dosent use religion or casteism to get people on his side. Someone who dosent need to buy my vote. Someone who can show me how my hard earned money has been used to benefit my country. Someone who wont arm-twist me into supporting him or his ideals.

Someone whom I can RESPECT willingly.

Whom should I vote for?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Diwali Sweet : Balushahi or Badusha

My kitchen is super busy a few days before Diwali. I love it when I am able to put up a plateful of different sweets and snacks, all prepared by me. At home everyone would just leave me alone for whatever duration of time I needed, knowing that they will benefit at the end of the day. After all meals were cooked, the kitchen was off limits for everyone everyday, a few days before Diwali. My mother would sometimes help me a little. But very cautiously, as I was very particular about the way I wanted things done. My way of course!

I have seen this sweet in some sweet shops.  I never gave them a second look as they looked pretty bland and uninteresting to me. Its for people like me that they add COLOR to food, you see. Well now I'm older and have, I dare say, more willingness to look beyond first impressions of everything (and everyone, lucky you!). I read a few recipes and decided to make a small trial batch. They came out quite well, flaky inside and syrup coated, slightly crunchy on the outside. DH says thats how they are supposed to be. I like to trust him when he's complimenting my cooking :-). I've never eaten store bought ones. But when a husband says he loves a particular sweetmeat what does a good wife do? Well, rush him to the store to get the ingredients of course! And here they are:

Ingredients : (For 10 small pieces)

Maida/All purpose flour 1 cups
Vanaspati Ghee/ Dalda/ Shortening 1/4 cup
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Curd  1 tsp
Cooking soda/sodium bi carbonate 2 pinches
Water 1/4 cup (approx.)
Oil for deep frying


Sugar 1/2 cup
Water Just enough to immerse the sugar
Elachi powder 2 pinches
Rose water  1 tsp optional
Lemon Juice 1 tsp


Add the Vanaspati Ghee/ Dalda/ Shortening to the flour, sugar, curd and cooking soda. Mix it well to get a crumbly texture. 

Add water by spoonfuls to make it a soft dough.

Make it to a smooth dough without any lumps.

Form around 10 small balls from the dough. These balls of dough will become bigger when they are fried, so form balls of a smaller size  you'd like your end product to be.

Its time to shape the balls of dough. You could pinch the edges and fold it inwards to make a pretty disc like you'd see in a sweet shop. Or you could be plain lazy like I became towards the end and just shape them into little donuts. Keep these shaped pieces aside for around 20 minutes before frying.

For the syrup, add sugar to a pan and add enough water to immerse it. Boil it till it is of one string consistency ,i.e; if you pour in little water,it should not dissolve and it should lay a fine thread.

Add cardamom powder (elachi) to the syrup. If desired you could add rose water at this stage.

Add the lemon juice lastly, to prevent crystallization of the sugar in the syrup.

Back to the little dough soldiers, heat the oil. To check if it is the right temperature, dip a fingertip into the hot oil. NO, silly!! Just drop a adding a pinch of  dough. If it rises immediately, then heat is just right. Carefully drop the dough pieces into the oil. Cook them on medium-low flame until they are golden brown.

Drain the excess oil and drop the fried Balushahis into the syrup while they are still hot. Leave them in the syrup for a few minutes to be coated evenly. 

Take them out of the syrup and let them cool. 

PLEASE do let them cool!! I had forgotten how agonising the pain is from burns cause by hot, sticky sugar syrup and I touched the syrup by mistake. I have a painful reminder of that absentmindedness on my finger. It was worth the effort though. I'm surely making these again soon!

Wish you a Happy and Prosperous Diwali In advance!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prayers of a Good wife

Isha sat at the window swirling the last bit of coffee in her cup and watching it create patterns. Her dad walked into the room after a quick shower and sat beside her. They had just attended Jenny aunty’s funeral. She was Isha’s mother’s best friend. Fiesty, straight talking woman. Anand had never quite liked her and wondered why, of all the friends his wife had, she was closest to Jenny.

“Missing Mom?”, Anand asked, placing his hand on her head briefly. Isha nodded silently.
“I miss her too..its been 4 long years since she left us but I miss her everyday.” he said. There was nothing he could say to make Isha feel better anyway. “Hey, they’re probably together now, Jenny and Neeta, chatting and laughing like old times..”,  he chuckled and Isha looked at him disapprovingly. Her dad always said the weirdest things when he was trying to console someone. He took her hint and quietly picked up the cup of coffee kept for him.

“Anil called a while ago. He’s attending a seminar in Delhi. He asked me if I have decided what I want to do.” Isha looked pensive as she talked about her husband.

“Have you decided?”

“No. I still cannot see why he feels we should to relocate to Delhi just because his boss hinted there are better chances of a promotion at the Delhi branch. My clients are here in Mumbai. I have just begun to get some decent business here but of course, that isn’t important to him. Just because I don’t work full time at an office, my work isn’t important. He treats me like I am just freelancing for fun. A freelancing interior designer’s work isn’t anywhere nearly as important as a full time Chartered Accountant’s, right?”, Isha glared at her dad. He knew better than to answer that one.

“You’re going to have to decide someday, sweetheart.. “, Anand said cautiously, carefully choosing his words. He didn’t want his daughter to take it in the wrong sense and feel he was rushing her to go back to her husband soon. It had been 2 weeks since she showed up at his house all upset and crying. He had quietly listened to her as she poured he heart out to him like she had never done before. She called her husband selfish and insensitive to her feelings. He couldn’t help thinking of the day she asked if she could bring Anil to meet him. Every father secretly fears the day his little girl wants him to meet the guy who will take her away from him. She could barely contain her excitement the day she brought Anil to meet her doting dad. He remembered distinctly, she was bubbly yet shy. She interrupted Anil quite a few times while he spoke. He wanted to be polite and well mannered to impress his future Father in law while she wanted to tell her dad all she could about Anil and get his approval as soon as she could.

Today her face reflected her disappointment in Anil’s seemingly “insensitive” suggestion that they should relocate to Delhi for a better chance at getting that promotion he wanted. Although Anand could see why she was upset, he wondered if she was being just a little harsh on Anil. Truth be told, she had just got a few clients for some freelance interior designing work. It didn’t seem as bad as she thought it was, to finish those minor projects and start freelancing after settling down in Delhi. She was talented. Anand wouldn’t dare think aloud because he knew how dramatic her reaction could be. At times like these he really missed Neeta. She would have known exactly what to say to their little Drama queen.

                                                                                                   To be continued...