Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bread balls - an easy to make nutrilicious eat

Bread balls are a sure to satiate food when hunger strikes you. No heating, no sauteing, no grilling ,baking or cooking . You just have to mix and  assemble the ingredients and in a jiffy, your food is ready!

 My children often made  this during their  childhood years to drive not just  hunger pangs but to keep them occupied creatively during holiday times. It has all the tastes, the sweetness and salty taste of the bread, the sourness of the curd, the spicy chilli,and the goodness of coconut milk from the freshly grated coconut. 

An any time eat - Bread Balls

This is  the foodle (doodled food) and handwritten recipe

Here goes the list of what makes it how to make it in detail.

Ingredients: ( to make one)

  1.  A slice of milk bread
  2. Freshly grated coconut - 2 tablespoons
  3. Finely chopped chilli - 1/2 teaspoon
  4. Thick curd -  2 tablespoon
  5. chopped coriander for garnishing
Steps to make
  1. In  a bowl, combine finely chopped chilli,  grated coconut and keep aside.
  2. Knife out the crumbs from the bread slice, Soak  the slice of bread in water for less than 10 seconds, squeeze out excess water by gently pressing between the palms.
  3. Put the coconut-chilli mixture on the flattened bread, wrap the mixture from all sides with the bread  and shape it into a ball. Ensure the filling is completely covered. 
  4. In another bowl, Whisk the curd and keep it aside.

Serving tip:
Place the coconut bread ball on a plate or a cup. Pour the whisked curd over the bread ball and sprinkle a few chopped coriander and you are ready to relish.

If you have time and ingredients to variate, you can
* substitute milk bread with brown bread or multigrain bread
* spice it with imli -date chutney or mint chutney over the curd.
* add roasted jeera powder and a little red chilli powder for garnishing
* top it with finely extruded sev or finely chopped onions.

Chef's advice:
Milk bread would be ideal since it has some sweetness in it.
Freshly grated coconut, preferable( than refridgerated)since the mild sweetness of the coconut milk adds to the flavour. 

An easy to prepare and sure to satiate any time food. 

Recipe courtesy: the creative junior master chef at home( my daughter)
My doodle recipe is a part of  Easy Doodle Recipe contest  at Blogadda in association with

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From grading to yarning and more......

 A few months back i was working as a freelancing online grader. Although, it was called a freelancing job and had flexi hours, we had to clear the queue of grading essays uploaded at the US. Sometimes, we would work on festivals, Sat and Sunday too.  After an year and half,  The job got monotonous.  To break the monotony, i would take breaks to read the  updates on FB and on twitter.  I had subscribed to TIME, The Hindu and  follow some of my favorites like musicians, artists  and get news much before the news mag/paper hit the stands. Similarly,on FB, i was not a great contributor by posting photos and status updates, but i used to check the status updates, check deals, participate in online promotional contests, like some photos and wish people on their birthdays.  All these during the little breaks that i would take between work.

 This continued after my work hours too since i had activated the social sites on my phone .I slowly realized i became a slave to virtual life .I would play a few games endlessly that i would'nt even know that the whole night went by. In the morning,  after my routine, i would come back to the monitor again to resume my work with severe wrist, neck and shoulder pain. It would also end in throbbing head ache.  Social life was also cut off. When i went down for a walk or when my friends met me they would say " Id ka chand bhi dikta hai, tum to dikti hi nahin ho".  They all would think work was keeping me busy. But only, i knew that i was addicted to virtual world.

The hitting point  came  when i was checking FB updates one day  and my daughter peeped into the phone screen and said " Ma, are you so jobless? that you are always on FB or twitter". And to think it came from my child. Actually, children are supposed to be chatting and addicted to such sites and parents are supposed to hold them back. It was ulta in my case. My children though played Farmville some 4 years back.  During the initial days, we had restricted their timings to one hour each in the early morning(summer time), but they soon got over once the school started and they got busy. They are now totally out of such sites and chatting. Sometimes, i tell them to check their updates and they refuse saying no time and here i was totally on it.

But then, Was i jobless?

I had so much to organize, sort and above all my domestic and official work took so much of time. Socialization offline was totally nil for me except during my yoga class when i met a few friends.

Then came  the month of May  and I was off to my home town. My parents home does not have a computer and so the Husband suggested i take my laptop but i refused saying "extra luggage" and that was the best thing i did.

I socialized, went around the town,  taught  a girl to read and write english and did so many constructive work. Even when my hands were tempted to use a system, i did not use my sister's or my cousins machine. Except for an ocassional mail check, i stayed away. The best thing i did was learn crochet. The colors and my creations were like a therapy. I learnt the basics from my mom and when i returned back, i de-activated FB, whatsapp, skype and other online chats. Now, i have ample time to attend to my priority jobs and other hobbies. I spend time with my friends. Now, when free, i turn to the yarns and do some yarn work, photography or go for nature walks in the nearby cantonment. Reading books is something i have to resume.  I still spend time online but constructively, i have restricted my timings only 15 minutes for FB and ocasionally on twitter. I am still recovering. 

BTW, this is what i did with that stack of colors which i mentioned on my crochet post. I loved this when i saw it on a blog site and immediately followed the tutorial. This is a crochet bunting. The tutorial is from Jacquie's beautiful blog called bunnymummy. I am now her huge fan. There is even a fest for this in UK called Yarndale. If interested catch the photos. The place looks like a fairyland.

BTW, did any of you notice this in my golu pic? :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Get armed with " Smart Suraksha"

We hear about it in the newspapers, news channels, in social circles and other social sites.  The news is omnipresent screaming  “ Women in India are not safe anymore”.    The statement hurts any Indian with pride.  As if , to add salt to injury, we see  some NRI’s posting messages that they are safe in   foreign countries and would  rather not  raise their children in India. Some go to the extent of calling India as “Rap(e)ublic of India”.  Not a happy situation, we know.

Women across various cross sections – educated, uneducated, rich, poor, young ,old  even differently abled and mentally challenged are not safe and spared from physical violence.  Nirbhaya, Sowmya vishwanath , Pratibha murty, The Bombay girl and there are many more unreported cases of  women and little girls. If on one side, these women are unsafe in public, Girls like Aarushi Talwar are not safe in their own home. Then there are  thousands of women suffering  domestic abuse  in the confines of their homes  in the hands of their own parents, in-laws, children, husband and other. Some are burnt for dowry, some are burnt for not obeying. Some are mere puppets, slaves and walking corpse.

 Many of you like me feel helpless while reading such stories. Many  vent  their anger on social sites, blogs etc  by stating security is not provided by the government, law and order are not maintained, men have to be taught to respect women, women should behave well, songs and movies have to be banned  and some such gyaan.    Our status, posts and messages garner a few comments and likes. Nothing much changes after that except that  candle makers make business courtesy candle light vigils and lawyers out of the courtcases.

 We should know it is not possible for the government to provide security to every citizen of India 24/7 in every nook and corner of the country. Law in our country has its own limitations and  takes its own course. The change has to come from within each and everyone of us. And that too we know it cannot happen overnight and nobody likes lectures and unsolicited advice, even it is for one’s own good. It will take time for people to realize and change.  Till such time, we will keep hearing such stories  or maybe many like me will stop reading the main broadsheet of newspaper and skip the news channels. This is escape from reality. ( I read the supplements though)

So, What do the women do in unsafe and troublesome  circumstances? 

Some I know carry safety pins in public transport to poke when the men misbehave. Some carry pepper spray.  Recently,  Just after the Nirbhaya  incident a similar incident happened in Hyderabad. A  girl came out of her office in Hi-tec city and took an auto to her working women’s hostel at 7 in the evening. There were two men in the driver seat, the driver and his friend. While the auto was on its way, the other man beside the driver shifted to the back seat and tried to play dirty with the girl. The girl luckily had  Pepper spray . She sprayed it on him and jumped out of the running auto. The police on investigation found that the driver and his friend were drunk.  Luckily passers by helped the girl.  This incident was soon after the Nirbhaya incident. Fortunately,here the girl had pepper spray and escaped. What if she did not have and the place had no passerby ? 

Under such circumstances  when one is attacked by unforeseen troubles and adverse situations like in the above case, “‘I wish She had Smart Suraksha with her’ 

The Smart Suraksha App is an Android Application that aims at making the women feel safe. This App, at the press of a single button, sends your message of help to five pre-chosen contacts from your contact list. An additional feature of this app is that along with your message for help, it also sends across your location even if the GPS on your cellphone is switched off. Thus, the women can be reassured that there is help available at all times.

Most of the Indian Public has a mobile phone, so get armed with this app. I am glad I came across this app through blogadda and  as a fellow citizen, If I am able to create awareness and publicise this app, there perhaps can be lesser incidents like this.

And why only women, even men  and little boys are not safe. If only, Nirbhayas companion had this app, he could have saved her.

We have to be  our own policeman and security guard for we know not when troubles happen. They come unannounced. Take care of your safety as well as your loved ones. 
Download this app here from google store.

I am participating in   Blogadda's Seekin Smart Suraksha

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

River walk across Bhadra - Reliving an old travel tale

One of my most memorable journeys is from  a bus trip to the Western ghats of Dakshin kannada region. We were passing from one town to another in this 3 day trip and  the intervening journeys  in this  western ghat region are simply some of my best . I relived one of the experiences to  a friend recently when we were talking about Saraswati temples in India and I was tempted to write that as a post.

We were a bus full of relatives numbering 53,  My family( my parents, sis and I)  along with my  aunts, uncles, cousins and  extended relatives  had hired a bus from Bangalore to visit some of the famous temple towns, beaches  and hill stations of western ghats in Dakshin Kannada.

After visiting  Malpe beach, we reached sringeri in chikmagalur district . Sringeri is one of the few Saraswathi temples of India and it is also one of the Shankar mutts found By Adisankara. The temple is at its best during navaratri.
                          Sringeri one of the few saraswati temples in India on the banks of River Tunga

We were here  on a misty winter morning in 93. Yes, this is an old dusty tale but the memories are fresh.
We dropped our belongings in a huge dorm room, freshened ourselves and left for the temple. It was noon when we returned from the huge Sharadamba (Saraswati) temple, river Tunga, vedic school  and the beautiful Vidya shankara temple.

After lunch, we left to the nearby  Kudremukh region , A UNESCO designated world heritage site. Kudremukh( it has a horsefaced peak and hence the name) is one of the scenic spots which is a plum blend of adventure, nature, secluded holiday spots and serene little temple towns. You will come across deep valleys, natural grasslands, tea and coffee estates in this  thick rainforests. Agumbe, the second largest place which receives heavy rainfall after Cherrapunji( or Maysynram) is in this area. So, this region is interspersed with rivers, water  falls and brooks .This place was also famous for  Iron ore mining which was  closed in 2005 with pressure from eco warriors who felt the bio-diversity of the rainforests was disturbed.

All through the ghat journey, we were marveling at the shimmering waterfalls, breath taking valley views. The velvetty grasslands, the drifting mists over the hills, the tea/ coffee and spice estates while the bus negotiated the hairpin bends and curves. Often, we were bracing the water sprays from our windows while  we were  playing Anthakshari in the bus. Those were sprays from the little streams which flowed from the hills and crossed the roads.

                                                 The rolling velvetty hills of Chikmagalur

  We were on to our destination  Horanadu, another beautiful valley temple. It was almost sundown time  when we reached the banks of River Bhadra The bus stopped on the banks. When the driver enquired the route to the temple, the locals said, the big bus cannot cross the river and so all of us had to alight from the bus to cross the river. Many elders and  little children stayed back, while many of our elders and us crossed the river.

We walked down the slopy river valley in the twilight hour . We crossed the knee deep water of River Bhadra   with light from the Technicolor sunset.  We held each other’s hands and formed a human chain. The river which is known for wicked rapids, marsh crocodiles and has high energy  in another town was shallow and calm here. There were cries of ‘ooh’,  ‘Aah’, hold tightly etc., some of us were giggling, some of us tripped, some of us felt the water was softly tickling our feet, but none of us were scared or frightened, blame it on our  young age or the fact that we were secure with our family. The riverwalk was complemented with sound track from  the mountain breeze, the river water,  tweets, calls,  and the chirps of the various forest life. Finally, we  reached the other bank after the riverwalk.

There was a rattling mini bus which made weird sounds. The sounds  added to the fun but the bus  served our purpose. We  reached Horanadu Annapoorneshwari temple. And this little temple and the goddess was another visual treat. People say two eyes are’nt enough to soak the beauty of the god and I can authenticate that statement.   There were no frills or fancy barricades, praharams or commercial motives, all that was between us and the God was a thick rope. It is an instant connect if you have faith. One of the most beautiful temple dedicated to the goddess of nourishment and food. The uniqueness of this temple is everybody who visits this temple is provided with prasada bhojana( breakfast, lunch and dinner) and also place to sleep in the temple dorm.

River Bhadra, Tunga and Nethravati rise from The gangamoola hills near Kudremukh

 There are plenty of temples here, they are not architectural or sculptural marvels but you will sense the peace and calm in the various temple abodes that will recharge you spiritually

.We left the place quickly since we had to cross the river to reach our bus. From here we went to Kalasa, another simple temple with a rich legend and finally to our dorm at Sringeri.

The rest of the journey and the interesting legends behind each place  and the scenic delights which need multiple eyes is a sublime experience, but this river walk across Bhadra was one of a kind travel experience in this   Western ghat odyssey.  

A 3 day trip would’nt suffice to this region. There are nearly 50 beautiful places like hill stations, waterfalls, temple towns some of which are discovered and popular like Agumbe( a prime movie location, prominent being Malgudi days), Jog falls,  Kodachadri, madikeri, babubudangiri, Udipi, Murdeshwar, Tirthahalli,  and there are many lesser known places too.  
Agumbe receives the second highest rainfall in India after Cherrapunji or Mayswnram

If you have been here, you will want to keep talking about the various sights over and over again along with the many interesting temple legends, food tales (Malenad kadubu, Malenad kashaya, neer dosa, Chikmagalur coffee)  and travel tales to tell. If not, next time around Bangalore or Mysore,  extend your stay, take time to explore this beautiful region. 

 An ideal place for naturalists, adventure seekers, water sport buffs, photographers , explorers, travel buffs and spiritual seekers.  Even If you aren’t any of those , make a trip to just breathe, relax and regain your sanity. You will even forget where you have come from for this region of Westernghats is frozen in time and faraway from the concrete world and will reboot your well being.

Image courtesy: Google images

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Navaratri, Durgapuja, Dussehra.....Call it by any name......

....the essence is the same, the celebration of 'good over evil.'

Of all the countries in the world, I believe no other country celebrates life like we do. Be it food, nature, seasons, gods, saints, lights we just celebrate everything and this season it is  the celebration of Good over evil.  A pan Indian festival which has different names in different regions. 

In Southern india, the display of dolls called 'Golu' is a practice followed in most homes.
This is the golu at home this year.

The thanjavur painting, the dancing shiva, the ganeshji, the marapacchi toys, the chennapatna toys, the rajasthani couple, thanjavur  bommai, the brass kitchen toy set
                                            Each doll has a little story to tell....

                               /ganeshji writing Mahabharat in Sage Vyasa's hermitage, a kondapalli creation(Andhra Pradesh) beside is the bobbing thanjavur Raja Raja chola doll in blue.
The marapacchi toys(redsanders) and the tiny brass kitchen set from the 1940's

                             even the yarn lights that you see here has a story to tell. This was made by my daughter. She dyed the jute threads and wound them over a balloon smeared with fevicol. Once dried the balloon is bursted while the yarn takes the shape of the balloon.

This is one of the oldest golu bommai, which was passed on to my Mil from her grand mom. more than 100 year old heirloom, made in Mannargudi.   It is a decor piece at home, for which i am not able to find an antique polish.
                              The aerial view of this park/village created by my son has industries,wells, pucca houses, buildings, roads( all from old 'the game of life' board game)  cars and bullock carts:)I loved his explanation for each. 

So, that's golu at home for the next 9 days, one of my favorite festival.

Meanwhile, From my home to yours....

Shubh Navaratri.....enjoy the festive season:)

Friday, October 4, 2013

If in Bangalore, Add Bimba to your life this Navaratri

 This would be a unique experience if you are in Bangalore and love  art, culture, Mythology and theatre. 

I have already written about Rasalok and Bimba the art hut (click on the links). 

This is their new invite for this year(2013) 

Rasalok -Still Theatre of Miniature Art 

All are cordially welcome to this universal experience of a dramatic moment in time in miniature - a holistic solo classic theatre tradition

Shankaracharya -a sacred throw of dice (artist Uma Nagraj)
Garudaagamana- a trumpeting surrender (artist Deepika Dorai)

All days Oct 5- Oct 14, shows 75min start 1130am/4pm/645pm
in English/Kannada in Aangana at Bimba The Art Ashram
Call Deepak 08026622639/08041489354

Rasalok is now recognised as a distinct solo still theatre tradition from Karnataka by ICCR a culture wing of GOI

Pic courtesy: Deepika's FB page.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hooking the colors of the rainbow

During  my school days, my mom and her friends  would  spend their leisure time  by knitting, stitching, canning jams, squashes, pickles etc., Crochet was also one of their leisure time activity.   My mom, a seasoned crocheter has hooked lovely ponchos, mufflers, tops,  baby booties,  table  mats,  etc.,. They would exchange ideas and designs from various magazines. And, also the nearby City central library had a good stock of international design books.  Seeing her work with those yarn, hooks  and needles, i too have dabbled with it during my younger days.   

Not just my mom,  I have even  observed my grand mom  make lovely crochet bags whenever I visited her during vacation.  She would make them out of  discarded packing material. My mama worked with a  pharmaceutical company and so they had lots of  drug cartons stocked at home.  The cartons were packaged with a  broad  cream colored stiff  fiber.  My grand mom would immerse the discarded fiber  in water and soak them for a while. The yarn would then turn into strands that  were pliable. She  hooked  them along with little colored embellishments like beads and tubes to make beautiful bags. To make colored bags, she would even dye the yarn.   Readymade wooden handles would be fixed to it to make  a beautiful shopping bag. These were then distributed to all her daughters and relatives.

So, I was familiar with this craft but never perfected or  practiced it.  But, in the summer  vacation gone by, i picked up the basics again from my mom and improvised on it. Now this is my new hobby that I am trying to perfect.  My daughter too learnt it from my mom and has crafted some beautiful gifts for her friends as key chains,Cell phone pouches, lovely flowers as an  embellishment for their dresses. 
These days when I see the balls of colored yarns in the basket or even while during my evening walks, my mind is always working on what permutation and combination of  colors to use with the limited stock that I have.  Now, I am on a crochet overdrive:)  I don’t know how far I will travel, but for the moment I am enjoying the colors and my creations. 

These are some of the things that I hooked in the past months. 

Flowers in my yarn garden. 

were stringed  into a garland(unable to rotate the pic)

                                                             to  adorn  the lord's feet

                               The colored granny squares can be hooked into a  little(baby) blanket, shawl or cushion cover( project in progress)

                                              The big granny square in the above picture was made bigger with the rainbow colors...

                                 ....  to add color and warmth  to the bedside table in the children's room

                                               which combination to work with?

                      This owl keychain  and the flower below were hooked by my daughter for her friend on her birthday.  Her friends want more now. In  the first pic, do you see a hair band?  a button can be sewed to the white hairband and the below flower can be plugged onto the button. It will make a beautiful  Navrathri gift for little girls who visit home. we can change the color of flowers to match the dress.  Many more simple gift ideas can be made with crochet what with navrathri round the corner.

                       I will let you know what i did with this  stack of colors in my next post.