All that is gold does not glitter!!

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

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by—J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Immortals!!

The girl in mourning!

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The burnt end of a stick scratches

One line in the dirt: forehead, nose, lips pressed together.

It is a thick line, this margin

Between her face and what has become sky.

The line is charcoal on peach earth.

It is a fragile medium.

Wind can enter the ash, and lift it,

Lift this sorrow out of the personal.

by–Suzanne Clearly

Beardo!!!

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A man with a beard is to me most desirable! A good well-groomed beard brings out the best in a man; to me a good beard can make the most average man look irresistible!

But imagine a beard on a woman. I mean I find it very difficult to picture myself or any of my female friends with a mane. However, Harnaam Kaur from U.K has defied all olds and is a Guinness book record holder for world’s youngest female with a full beard.

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The pictures of Harnaam Kaur all over the internet are very liberating. She has a full grown thick glossy beard with winged liner and perfectly done lips.

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She suffers from PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome), hence the over growth of the facial hair. I or any other female with PCOS will relate to this. I know the pain of hair removal every few days. The embarrassment I feel when I see somebody I am talking to notice my facial hair in between.

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This is so comforting and liberating. I wish I could break stereotypes just like her.

Her beard makes her no less feminine. Her pictures on the internet will tell you that. The bridal shoot that she did is breath taking.

This is to me just a huge huge huge example of being comfortable with who you are. A good answer to body shamers.I know a lot of my male friends cringe with the thought of woman with hair even on the private areas. But, they forget women are human too and have hair growth just like them!

Harnaam Kaur, you are an inspiration and a whiff of hope for me. Thank you!

The Immortals!!

The Solitary Reaper 

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Behold her, single in the field,

Yon solitary Highland Lass!

Reaping and singing by herself;

Stop here, or gently pass!

Alone she cuts and binds the grain,

And sings a melancholy strain;

O listen! for the Vale profound

Is overflowing with the sound.

 

No Nightingale did ever chaunt

More welcome notes to weary bands

Of travellers in some shady haunt,

Among Arabian sands:

A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard

In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,

Breaking the silence of the seas

Among the farthest Hebrides.

 

Will no one tell me what she sings?—

Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow

For old, unhappy, far-off things,

And battles long ago:

Or is it some more humble lay,

Familiar matter of to-day?

Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,

That has been, and may be again?

 

Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang

As if her song could have no ending;

I saw her singing at her work,

And o’er the sickle bending;—

I listened, motionless and still;

And, as I mounted up the hill,

The music in my heart I bore,

Long after it was heard no more.

William Wordsworth

Thought for food!!

What can you add to chicken, mutton, prawns, potatoes, paneer, roti and naan to make them taste charred and heavenly.

TANDOOR!!!!!

A cylindrical clay or metal oven with charcoal or wood fire cooks the food keeping its juices intact. The most common form of tandoor in India is Punjabi tandoor.

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The different dishes that can be prepared using a tandoor are:

Rotis: Tandoori Roti, Tandoori Naan, Tandoori LacchaParatha, Missi Roti, and Tandoori Kulcha.

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Balochi aloo: Potatoes stuffed with cottage cheese, vegetables and cashew nuts, roasted in Tandoor.

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Tandoori chicken: a roasted chicken delicacy that is world famous.

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The others include fish, prawns and cauliflower.

There are food joints in India specializing in tandoor dishes. The subtle and juicy flavors that burst in your mouth pair well with anything.

So the next time you have a house party or just your friends over, try the Indian tandoor dishes and I am sure you will not regret it!

Do tell me which your favorite tandoor dishes!

Thought for Food!!

shawa

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A flat bread or roti with filling of meat and vegetables and tangy sauces, the best part you can eat it on the go. That my friends is one of the best fast food inventions—a roll; and the big daddy of the rolls is Shawarma.

Yes the Middle Eastern delicacy that has taken the world of rolls by storm. Let us see what Shawarma means:

Shawarma is an Arabic rendering of Turkish ‘turning’, in reference to the rotisserie-cooked nature of the meat, which “turns” around an axis.

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Shawarma is a meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, buffalo meat and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate (generally with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or wrap. Shawarma is usually eaten with toppings such as  tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba.

In simple words awesomeness served wrapped up in tangy gooey comfort!

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Here in India we get lamb and chicken Shawarma. The taste varies from cities to cities but the basic flavors remain the same. The next time you are peckish and do not want to eat the usual roti sabzi try a Shawarma, it’s filling and tasty. And do let me know if you haven eaten one and your favorite Shawarma joint and the city! I would love to try it too!

Thought for food!!

biryani

India is known for its diverse culture, which is best depicted in the food. One such dish is Biryani.

Biryani- a word that awakens the senses and soul.

Mutton, chicken, beef, fish, prawns, vegetable and many more… are the variations that one can have.

Some say that the modern Biryani was created in the Mughal royal kitchen, as a confluence of the native spicy rice dishes of India and the Persian pilaf or pulav. One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).

Rice or roast all I know is that Biryani means awesome.

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Biryani may include ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron. For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the chicken and mutton; special varieties also use beef, and seafood.

The dish may be served with dahi chutney or raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of aubergine (brinjal), boiled egg (optional), and salad. Wow, is your mouth watering already?

The different varieties of Biryani we get in India:

Sindhi Biryani: Sindhi Biryani is prepared with meat and an amalgamation of Basmati rice, vegetables and various types of spices.

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Hyderabadi Biryani: Hyderabadi Biryani is one of India’s most famous Biryanis. There are various forms of Hyderabadi biryani. One such biryani is the kachay gosht ki biryani or the dum biryani, where the mutton is marinated and cooked along with the rice. It is left on slow fire or dum for a fragrant and aromatic flavour.

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Thalassery Biryani: Thalassery Biryani, is the only variation of Biryani found in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the many dishes of the Malabar Muslim community, and a very popular one at that.

A pakki biryani, the Thalassery biryani uses a small-grained thin (not round) fragrant variety of rice known as Khyma or Jeerakasala. The dum method of preparation (sealing the lid with dough (maida) or cloth and placing red hot charcoal above the lid) is applied here.

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Calcutta Biryani: The poorer households of Kolkata, which could not afford meat, used potatoes instead, which went on to become a specialty of the Calcutta biryani. Now meat is also served along with it. The Calcutta biryani is much lighter on spicesThe rice is flavoured with ketaki water or rose water along with saffron to give it flavour and light yellowish colour.

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Ambur/Vaniyambadi Biryani: Ambur/Vaniyambadi biryani is a type of biryani cooked in neighboring towns of Ambur & Vaniyambadi in the Vellore district in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu, which has a high Muslim population.

The Ambur/Vaniyambadi biryani is accompanied with ‘dhalcha’, a sour brinjal curry and ‘pachadi’ or raitha, which is sliced onions mixed with plain curd, tomato, chillies and salt. It has a distinctive aroma and is considered light on stomach and the usage of spice is moderate and curd is used as a gravy base. It also has a higher ratio of meat to rice.

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Bhatkali/Navayathi Biryani: The is an integral part of the Navayath cuisine and a speciality of Bhatkal, a coastal town in Karnataka. Its origins are traced to the Persian traders who left behind not only Biryani but a variation of kababs and Indian breads. Bhatkali Biryani the meat is cooked in an onion and green chilli based masala and layered with fragrant rice. The Bhatkali biryani has a unique spicy and heady flavour, the rice is overwhelmingly white with mild streaks of orange. Though similar to the ones in Thalassery and Kozhikode, the biryani differs with lingering after-notes of mashed onions laced with garlic, a few chillies and spices littered with curry leaves does lend a unique flavour to Bhatkal Biryani also not a drop of ghee or other oil additives on any morsel of rice.

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Memoni/Kutchi Biryani: Memoni biryani is an extremely spicy variety developed by the Memons of Gujarat-Sindh region in India and Pakistan. It is made with lamb, yogurt, fried onions, and potatoes, and fewer tomatoes compared to Sindhi biryani. Memoni biryani also uses less food colouring compared to other biryanis, allowing the rich colours of the various meats, rice, and vegetables to blend without too much of the orange colouring.

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Dindigul Biryani: The Dindigul town of Tamil Nadu is noted for its biryani, which uses a little curd and lemon juice to get a tangy taste.

The Bohri biryani, prepared by the Bohris is flavoured with a lot of tomatoes. It is very popular in Karachi.

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Kalyani Biryani: Kalyani biryani is a typical biryani from Hyderabad.[37] Also known as the ‘poor man’s’ Hyderabadi biryani, the Kalyani biryani is always made from small cubes of buffalo meat.

The meat is flavoured with ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili, cumin, coriander powder, lots of onion and tomato. It is first cooked as a thick curry and then cooked along with rice. Then given dum (the Indian method of steaming in a covered pot).

The Kalyani biryani is supposed to have originated in the Bidar during the reign of the Kalyani Nawabs, who migrated to Hyderabad after one of the nawabs, Ghazanfur Jang married into the Asaf Jahi family. The Kalyani biryani was served by the Kalyani nawabs to all of their subjects who came from Bidar to Hyderabad and stayed or visited their devdi or noble mansion.

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I wish to try all the variations of Biryani in India. If I have missed any variation please let me know. I would like to include the same and try it as well. 🙂

Daughters-in-Law as Family Members

“Treat Daughters-in-Law as Family Members, Not Maids”, Says Supreme Court.

This news article is very amusing. I mean we live in a country where the court, the law has to tell people to treat a “family member” in a civilized manner.

Really, have we really come to this? Has the inhuman ways of our society has finally started catching up?

24,771 dowry deaths reported in last 3 years. Is it not appalling? In the 21st century where women are making a mark in every field, marriage still is “buying a groom”!

We have read a lot of news articles where in the bride and her family has taken a stand against the dowry system; but I would like to see a man say NO, NO I am not going to be a deal. I want a marriage and not an exchange of money, jewellery, cars and flats etc…

This is just the tip of iceberg. Even after “buying a man for the girl” the girl and her family is put through a lot. Why is only a woman expected to take care of the household? Why is it difficult to understand that she is a working woman too and gets just as tired as your precious son!

Even if she is not working, why is she expected to take care of everything? Mother in laws were also once daughter in laws! If it was difficult for them, if they put up with a lot of sacrifices, can they not make it easy for the new bride? Do they have to inflict her with the same pain?

I urge all the mothers out there, with young sons please please have a kind heart towards the new bride, just like you love your son, her parents love her too! And to all the mothers of young girls, before you get your girl married and send her to a new home, new family; talk to the family understand them well, see if they can really add to your daughters happiness. Only then get them married.

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Came back!!!

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”

― Jalaluddin Rumi

These immortal words by the famous Persian poet Rumi not only gives hope but also tells us what life is about!

However, these words came true for a woman and her family in India.

Reincarnation is not a concept that a lot of people believe in. I don’t believe in it either. There has been a lot of research done on this subject and the case of Shanti devi defies our believes to an extent.

Shanti Devi was born in 1926 in Delhi, India. She shook the nation with her account of the previous life that she spoke of as a four year old. Her parents at that time discouraged her from talking about her previous life believing that she is creating stories.

She would talk about being married to a Kedar nath from Mathura( a town in Uttar Pradesh, India). She said her name is not Shanti devi but, Lugdi devi and that she died after giving birth to her son. Her longing to see her son and her love for her husband brought her back.

She ran away from her home in Delhi to reach Mathura, however, was found by her family and was brought back. A teacher from her school wrote a letter to Kedar nath in Mathura and to everybody’s shock received a reply from Kedar nath as well. When Kedar nath heard that this little girl claims to be his late wife, he travelled to Delhi to meet her and to know the truth.

To his surprise she answered every little detail that Lugdi devi only knew.

When Mahatma Gandhi heard about the case, he met Shanti devi and set up a commission to investigate. The commission traveled with Shanti Devi to Mathura. There she recognized several family members, including the grandfather of Lugdi Devi. She found out that Kedar Nath had neglected to keep a number of promises he had made to Lugdi Devi on her deathbed. She then traveled home with her parents. The commission’s report concluded that Shanti Devi was indeed the reincarnation of Lugdi Devi.

Shanti Devi did not marry. She told her story again at the end of the 1950s, and once more in 1986 when she was interviewed by Ian Stevenson and K.S. Rawat. In this interview she also related her near death experiences when Lugdi Devi died. K.S. Rawat continued his investigations in 1987, and the last interview took place only four days before her death on December 27, 1987.

I find it hard to believe, I mean how it is even possible, but I guess there are some things that are beyond human understanding!

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