Friday, November 27, 2015

Golden delight!

It is Diwali time folks once again thanks to sugar free natura.. but this time without the guilt of sugar and its calories! 

Presented here is an all time favourite from my stable....the delicious fried gram ladoo. Nothing can beat this simple but awesome delight and we shall make it with sugar free natura.
1) Fried gram - 1 cup
2) Sugar free natura - 1 cup or 3/4 cup
3) Cashew - a handful chopped
4) Raisins - a handful
5) Almonds - a few chopped
6) Ghee - 1 cup

Fry the fried gram on low flame till the raw smell disappears
Melt the ghee and fry the cashews, raisins and almonds in the ghee
Powder the fried gram
Mix all ingredients and add ghee
Make ladoos in a jiffy

So...simple and delicious and have the added advantage of sugar free dessert. The hassle of powdering sugar is also not there as we are substituting with sugar free natura!
Tastes like heaven and try it whenever the urge of eating sweets happen!!!
Pic courtesy
Sunita's kitchen gallery

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Much ado about the dish washer!

                               Much ado about the dish washer!

Several weighty issues were bogging my mind, a cauldron of concerns haunting me- will the inflation come down, I mean the prices of the veggies and groceries,  after the deluge, will sanity return in the world after the Paris and Mali carnage and the extremists are hounded out, will the boys do well in the ensuing exams, will my kith and kin appreciate me for what I am ???
Amidst the question and answer session in my brain, the telephone rang and was glad to hear the voice of my dad...”Suni saaptacha?(eaten in Tamil), he began in is usual peerless style and I answered in the affirmative looking at the clock to check on the time since I had my dinner, one and half hours to be precise and ready for the next one and I realized that it was his usual start to breaking the ice.
The conversation veered around cabs and his new found love for the Uber and his incredible enthusiasm to share his enlightenment, knowhow and proficiency among his coffee and vodka drinking comrades who lap it up much to his triumphant gladness! With the exuberance of a teenager who has a new I phone, he exclaimed “ Suni, we have purchased a new dish washer”, the chat had digressed and deviated to a new fangled, in vogue appliance that had indeed taken the kitchens of India by storm.  I was not surprised at this sudden urbanism of my dear parents after all they had the privilege of an NRI son to fund their whims and fancies. But all the same I could not suppress my expression at the dramatic declaration and my tone and pitch matched his animation.
He went on “we opted for Bosch as it was cheaper by a mile plus it has the features suitable for Indian vessels and the shopkeeper said that it is real value for money and the after sales service is good , the power and water consumption is minimal ...” 

 As he swaggered on, I fancied my folks in the appliance store, decorated for the festival with lights and balloons, the quintessential mallu salesman shrugging his shoulders with the symbolic nod of the head, compelled to answer in monosyllables, trying to wield himself at the volley of questions from the prospective buyers.  Meanwhile my mom would be admiring the possible colours and the freebies accompanying the implement and looking around more curiously at its competitors and thinking of ways and means to impress upon her envying neighbours! This brought a smile on my face and went back into the lively telephone prattle and he said”over to amma for more on the mean machine”!
Amma sure was stimulated but did well to masquerade her excitement in a smoke screen and articulated, “it is the same as the one in London you know, but then I did not operate it there for fear of damaging it due to my lack of acquaintance. “ I interrupted her “yes amma, has to be the same, as Bosch is a multinational brand and the elements have to be ditto”. She went on, turning a deaf ear to my interference, and now her talk had the eclectic mix of pride, joy and the accomplished wisdom of knowing the inside story, like a mechanic under the hood of an automobile and emphatically exclaimed that the buy was a worthy one!  At that moment, I could fathom that she had scant regard for the maid, as her tone suggested a feeling of one-upmanship and outsmarting the artful dodgers, the smart class of domestic helps!
“Though it takes long to wash, it does do it cleanly and of course I put it in the normal mode, regardless of the fact that two other modes are also available, and you know Suni, I could wash all the utensils of a marriage party in that time”, that had a touch of cynicism, I thought, as she chattered on and I listened like one curious star stuck child! She further elaborated on the nuances with intermittent indications to microscopic imperfections and I knew my amma would never allow any gadget to surpass or catch up with her skills, talent and cleverness!
Appa grabbed the phone to fill me in further on the unavailability of the vital constituent, the soap combo and the next ten minutes was spent in graphically revealing the adventures of searching for the same from malls to hypermarket to departmental store to the small retailer, eventually ordering it online with Amazon! I hasten to add here, he is up to the minute and new fashioned!

As the tete a tete ended after a good one hour, making the BSNL service provider poorer due to their free talk time in the night, I took pleasure in their attitude and envied them on their adaptability, versatility, being abreast with the modern day era and above all at the domestic device because I am still at the mercy of the wielder of the broom!!!

Image credit:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

#Grandsire greatness

                     #Grandsire greatness

The large black and white portrait of a man in a Nehru jacket with stern eyes and a slight smile welcomed me into the grand Chettinad like home in Madurai, a temple town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. A floodgate of memories opened up like a torrent as I kept my eyes riveted to the photograph and the bespectacled man mesmerized me to an extent that I found my paternal grandfather in flesh and blood, right before me as serious and stern as ever!
 Carbon dating my memories I heard the baritone of my Thatha “common tell, if ten bananas cost 50 rupees, what is the price of one”? The 7 year old curly haired girl trembled in fear and looked at the iron man in a ironed veshti with a spotlessly clean cream coloured shirt to get some clue for the question. The mind was a blank, more so due to the fear of the hard task master than the math itself and bananas seemed never an inviting fruit at that nightmarish moment! “Kittu,” shouted my Thatha, “this girl of yours is not at all alert , I don’t know how she is going to study!”The Q&A session ended even before it started and I heaved a sigh of relief and rushed out to play hopscotch with my buddies.
Every morning I stealthily watched my Thatha meticulously polishing his burgundy shoes and getting ready for the morning walk, the crisp shirt and pants looking new as ever and the walking stick firmly hung by the elbow. In the one hour of his absence, I would rummage his spic and span room delighted by the artefacts. The “Eiffeel tower” paper weight was always an attraction and I would caress it to my heart’s content eager to own it but never risked that temptation for fear of the aftermath. The radio would be next, tampering, twisting and turning all the knobs till a cacophony of signals and waves buzzzeddd...across. The “Hindu” daily paper neatly folded on the “easy chair” was an easy target but for the shrill cry of my mom “Suni....out of Thatha’s room now” and like a scaredy cat I saved the rest of sabotage and vandalism for the next day. Thatha reclined in his easy chair and the cryptic crossword was done in a jiffy looking at his watch to find out whether he had bettered his timings. The flute and violin recital from the radio enthralled him and words of “shabhaash” in appreciation added, to evoke my curiosity. I tried my best to recognize the worth of the music, the musician and the avid listener, but failed miserably on all the three counts!
I peeped bravely at the fully filled black and white squares of the crossword and squeaked in absolute delight and awe at his alacrity much to his exasperation and promptly ticked me off! He had his breakfast at eight in the morning, a meagre meal of two idlis with chutney and washed it down with a hot cup of coffee. He was a slave to the clock and all his activities were ruled by the hour hand! His waking up, bath, meals, radio time, read hours all were timed to perfection.
A strange kind of rapport grew between us, two divergent poles, one, a tyrant and a dictator, and the other a wide eyed snooping meddler! Years rolled by and I graduated from a headstrong fiend to a mellowed desirable teenager imbibing his qualities of straightforwardness, honesty, discipline , determination, punctuality and of course the love for the cryptic and the math but never to come anywhere close to his prowess! In my growing up, I learnt a lot about the grandsire from my dad and the fondness for this paternal forebear grew in leaps and bounds and he became an icon, an unmatched noble character. He lost his wife, my grandmother at a very young age and single handed brought up five children in an impartial manner that started from the same type clothes they wore to the same harsh upbringing with the same quantum of punishment, eventually making them successful individuals. A civil engineer by profession, he worked in the public works department of the government, an upright equitable officer dreaded by those working under him. Nothing could allure him and any attempt to grease his palms was dealt with mercilessly. Many roads and bridges have his trademark style of perfection and the most notable one is the bridge across periyar river in Aluva which stands as a testimony to his greatness.

The iconic bridge built by Thatha in Aluva, near Kochi
His name 'T S Narayanaswamy' etched in the plaque

He nurtured, cared and lived life in his true inimitable fashion that is nonpareil. He rarely laughed, mingled, watched TV or partook in festivals and rituals and kept to himself and his routine. When I got married, he had a natural affinity for my husband primarily due to the fact that he was an engineer, a non smoker and a teetotaller, the basic requirements to get the passing grades from him. My hubby was drawn to him like a magnet for his discipline and meticulousness and both were in awe of each other. When my Thatha fell sick, Sriram nursed him to good health and maintained the same sense of perfection in keeping the medicines and other essentials. And then the Patriarch changed, it was like the Sun rising from the west, he cared to crack a joke or two, woke up Sriram early in the morning and both watched cricket much to my amusement. But his tryst with time continued unabated and his stature as a grand dad grew taller in my eyes.

I was filled with pride at his fair non discriminate virtue and even though I have never sat on his lap, ruffled his hair or hugged him or listened to a fairy tale and enjoyed the warmth and affection of a grandfather, he was made of greatness that left a lasting impression. And when the big banyan tree fell, I wept alone for a Thatha who was unique, rare, exclusive, solitary and one and only one!

So dear readers, what do you think about this 


glorious association? Tell me the answer and you could be the winner!
The #madeofgreat campaign is the first time Tata Motors is undertaking an overall brand association campaign with a brand ambassador. It rides on a strong consumer motivation of ‘Seeking Excellence’ and ‘Self Belief’ which is showcased by the confluence of two global brands-Tata Motors and Lionel Messi. The campaign builds upon Tata Motors’ DNA of trust, authenticity, reliability, simplicity, as well as its commitment to innovation.

Lionel Messi is talent galore with conviction and is an icon for today’s youth. He is a winner who is trustworthy, reliable, pioneering, simple and driven by self-belief, which is what is at the core of Tata Motors as well. Thus, proving to be an ideal fit for the role of Global Brand Ambassador.​