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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Children... God's most beautiful creation


A picture is worth a thousand words, i have heard...

But this pic?? ... just two words - INFINITELY CUTE!! (Obviously... only the left half!! :-) )

My niece... Neha

(Unimportant:FYI, for those who don't know me personally... that's me on the right!)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Its Possible!!

There are 'n' books on self help and n^m lines - in them, and in general - which boost (atleast try to!!) your morale...

What do you feel when you read them?? "Aww GaaD..not again!!" ... "Fit for the books... what else sells them??" "hmmphfff!! (and a disdainful frown doused in scorn)"??? Or "Woooow!! Wonderful!!"... "So true... so inspiring!"

Dunno abt you... but atleast I... like many of them!!

I've had read this somewhere a blue moon ago, and thought of trying it out for myself... and now endorse it, when i find it works for me - when you want to achieve something, keep telling yourself that you CAN do it... reiterating you desire, your goal, your vision - to yourself helps your brain believe that you can really do it...

Of course.. it goes without saying, that just dreaming about your goals wont get you there... The difference between the achievers and the dreamers - is that the achievers have got down to their task of reaching their goal and ... just did it!!

Credits: The post i read on my friend Smita's page titled the same - its possible - which inspired me to put up this post

Friday, December 22, 2006

Why all my posts are so long???

All my friends who read this, asked the same thing...

First and foremost, this blog is just an extension of myself - literally - when it comes to expressing my views - talking non - stop about anything and everything. However close a person is to me, i understand that everyone has a threshold for how much they can bear to listen to me. I outmatch everyone's limits so easily, tat unless the person is brain dead, unconscious or plain non-living, his patience is bound to give way at some point!!

Add to this, i can type at 70 words-per-min. So the last barrier - time - which might have been a deterrent for posting often, is conquered.

Thus the dasi speaks... a lot... even on his blog. :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Review: That thing called love


Name:That thing called love
Author: Tuhin Sinha
Publishers: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Misc: 238 pages, Rs 100


My rating: 2.5 /5

Disclaimer: (although redundant) The review of this book, you may feel is biased based on my interests, outlook towards fiction and previous books which i've read (with which i may be subconsciously comparing). I don't disagree. That might be the case

I'll keep this short. Basically, i wasn't very impressed by this book. It definitely was very close to reality - the theme around which it revolves is the face of changing relationships, in urban India - that's why that caption "An unusual romance" along with that title of the book.

The protagonist of the story (based mostly in Mumbai, during the monsoons) Mayank works in an ad agency. He has two other friends Anil - a person who is patient enough to let his wife come out of a broken past relationship, and Vishal - a playboy, who tries to lay every single pretty girl he sets his eyes on. Mayank falls in love with the head of his client agency - Revathi - who he must win, to prevent his boss from firing him. Revathi is married, and her intimacy with Mayank begins to affect her relationship with her husband - and this intensifies to the point when they break up, after 10 years into their marriage.

The story is essentially weaved as three threads of the three friends - Mayank's story being in the limelight most of the times.

If you ask me, i'll tell you, this book is just timepass.

Statutory warning: (especially to girls): If you ever read this book, Please (Please!!) avoid reading page numbers 222, 223, 224. There is an account of intimacy between Mayank and Revathi, which even I - a person who has read such things n times in many books - felt embarassed while reading and swore "what the f***!!" . Explaining something in a sensous manner is something. This one borders on vulgarity - more like a lesson in anatomy!!

So, if you still want to try the forbidden fruit (which the devil in a human being's mind cant resist), don't say i didn't warn you!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chicken 'dasi'

If you follow my blog, or know me well - you'll call me self-obsessed!! To be so narcissist, as to name a recipe after yourself - too much!! eh??

I concocted this recipe on the fly, while preparing chicken one day at home... I was in a very mischievous mood that day, when i told my mum that i'd prepare the chicken gravy for lunch. I had made up my mind to add every single type of masala item in the kitchen, in that preparation - of course, in good proprotion based on my 5 years of cooking experience... When mamma saw me adding all and sundry things, she just threatened me, that if it turned out to be non-edible, she'd make me empty the entire thing, without feeding the dogs.

And the rest, as I say, is history!! :-) My mum, did something she doesn't do too often - Praise my cooking lavishly, and even tell her friends about it!! Proof enough for you to try?? :-)

For the vegetarians: You can replace the chicken with paneer or soyabean balls and prepare the same.

Chicken ‘Dasi’

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 -1 ¼ kg

Ginger Garlic Paste

3 Tablespoons

Onions

4 large

Tomatoes

2 large

Green chillies

5

Garam masala powder

2 tsp

Coriander powder

3 tsp

Kasoori Methi

5 tsp

Curd (thick)

1 cup

Chilly powder

As a supplement, to your liking

Ghee

½ cup

Coriander leaves

For garnishing

Refined oil/ghee

For frying

Salt

To taste

For gravy:

Grated coconut

1 ½ cups

Pepper

2 tsp

Poppy seeds

1 tsp

Tamarind

About half the size of a TT ball

Jeera

2 tsp


Method of preparation:

Cut the chicken into small-medium pieces, and clean it. Add the thick curd and ginger garlic paste to it. Mix it well and keep it aside for 1-2 hours.

Gravy - Heat the grated coconut, pepper, and jeera (be careful not to burn the jeera) (separately) lightly on an open pan. Add poppy seeds and tamarind and grind it with the appropriate amount of water.

Dish: Cut the onions (vertically) and fry it in refined oil/ghee till golden brown. Cut the tomatoes and green chillies to it and sauté for 5 minutes. Now add the chicken and sauté for another 5-8 minutes. Add garam masala, coriander and chilly powder (chilly powder is a variable quantity, and can be added to suit your taste) powders and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the gravy, and appropriate amount of water. Keep stirring it for another 5 minutes. Add the Kasoori Methi, and close the lid of the vessel. Cook for 20 minutes (may vary, depending on the vessel used for cooking, and the degree to which you like your chicken cooked!). Add salt to taste, ghee, and garnish with coriander leaves. Goes best with rotis or as "kori rotti" (Coastal Karnataka style).

Monday, December 18, 2006

An hour with a leader

Learning - something that's perpetual in life - of course, that is only if you wish to. But among all the various sources you learn from, the experience of other people is a tad different. If you are wise, you will be able to absorb from what that person has undergone, and improve your knowledge and awareness profoundly, without needing to undergo it yourself. And this, atleast I strongly feel, is one of the most productive and efficient ways of learning.

Books by great leaders, for me, have always been great sources of inspiration. But, a chance to have a tête-à-tête with one of them??

When Ranga sir, one of the senior-most employees in our company called me for one such meeting, i just jumped at the chance and set out to meet him right away. We met over a cup of tea, and the next one hour with him, were my best 60 minutes for the day.

It started off with the feedback he had to give me on the performance of our music band, on last Saturday, at the family day celebrations of our company - Utsav . Incidentally, his son Rishab had sung with us in our performance. [One line on him - An immensely talented 10 year old, who, i'm sure will be a great singer one day.] I got several insights and pointers from Ranga sir about our performance and the way we conducted it.

From there the discussion just took off to various things. Ranga sir, is one of those people who have been associated with our company since its infant days. For a wannabe leader like me, getting an opportunity to listen to him was like giving a candy to a kid. He was willing to share his experiences with me, a thing that is a mark of a truly great leader and people's man - developing future leaders. From new ideas for technical innovation, to his story of his initial days with our company, in its initial days, to good books, to the team of colleagues who have worked with him, to efficient ways of tapping your own potential - when it ended, the gratification I felt was just like the high you would get on good whisky.

Surely, there cant be better ways of spending one hour of my time. I learnt as much in an hour, which would take me many months or years of my own experience to learn the same. I am looking forward to learning more from him.

Thank you very much,sir...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

15th December 2006 :-(

The day that one of my best friends (earlier my teacher) got wedded. And it will remain etched in my memory for all the wrong reasons.

One day.start 4 45 am.End 12 30 am (early next morning). 620 kilometers. 19 hours of continuous travel, with just two hours of relief in between, during which i attended my friend's wedding. 270 kilometers each on a bus and an express train. 70 kilometers on my bike - 10 kilometers of which was coz i lost my way. A back, stretched to the extent of snapping in the middle.A team tee shirt which was based on my design, wrongly made. Started the day with missing my train in just 1 minute. Ended with breaking a bottle in 1 second.

A girl.Friend.Aide.A late night cab missed. A request for a drop home. 20 kilometres of tar and bitumin. 2 kilometers of tar out, rock and potholes in. Lots of talk, but no kiss. Bad roads and 'n' jerks but a hug i miss.all for my four day old dear friend.

Thank God, i'm still alive, and most importantly, still on my feet!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Need for speed??

Better late than never ...
Speed thrills, but kills ...
Prevention is better than cure ...

Cliches... the above ones are... i agree - but they are very much true, all the same.

Lots of people love to speed on the road. Me too... the high you get while flying on a good car or bike, on a good road is unmatched.

Enjoying thrills is one thing. Being reckless is another. I have ceased being the latter, after a painful experience. The trauma of losing one of my best friends in an accident, and worse, the suffering of his parents, that i have witnessed, has driven home one point straight into my head.

There are many people - parents, siblings, best friends et al... who would miss having you as a part of their life, if you aren't around. They all love you very very much. The pain of losing you is something they would never want to experience.

So, one suggestion you can take from me - whenever you get reckless, just remember... if not for yourself, atleast for those people around you, for whom you mean a lot - be responsible!! They don't need to lose YOU, to learn a lesson!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Being an Orange at HTSL Utsav 2006


Fourth best place to work in India

Grow Talent Institute (USA) - Business World India survey, 2006

Being a part of the company which has this recognition to its credit, is a great experience. Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore - the place, where i have been spending almost half of my 24 hours in day (nearly three-fourths, in the last 40 days!! :-)) for the last 16 months.

One of the best parts of our company culture... mmm...rather the best part of our company culture, is the encouragement given to an active life-after-work. And the event, which is the culmination of it all - Utsav - the annual cultural festival held in the months of November and December. I don't know of any other company which has a 40-day (or anywhere close, for that matter) gala as part of its calendar. (Mind you, this is other than the monthly Friday blasts we have!!)

And during these 40 days, we have around 25 competitions that held under five tracks of our cultural wing - "Wings" From Adventure, to Mindsport, to Fitness and Personality, to Performing arts, to Sports - you name it, we have it!! With the entire organization randomly divided into 8 teams, and fighting it out - the joy of meeting new people, working with them, sharing the victories and losses together, the nights spent in preparing for the events... trust me... the experience is unparalleled and simply inexplicable...

This time, the theme for the teams is colors - the seven colors of the rainbow, along with Black. (last year, it was prominent mountain ranges in India, and birds, the year before that). This year, i have been a part of the Orange team. Telling about the experiences i've had with my team in the last one month would mean writing several reams on it :-) But in short - the victories in Dumb Charades, Volleyball, Cricket, Mock Press and Treasure hunt have been as memorable as the (bad :-P) losses in a few others...

The 9 second clincher in the last round which propelled us from fourth place in the penultimate round, to being the winners in Dumb Charades (thanks to Nandita's on-the-fingertip knowledge of company punch lines), the Rakhi Sawanth character played by Arif bhai (in micro mini, with his legs waxed!!!) in Mock Press, which had several mails like "hi babe..." "wanna come out with me..." "what's your number..." flooding his inbox, the five consecutive days, when the team led by Ranjeeth and Kshitij sat overnights - literally - (till 7 am in the morning) to crack the online treasure hunt, the nine runs scored in the last over, by Nawaz and team, to win the cricket finals, the thundering smashes by the Subhash - Abhishek duo... (one of the names there familiar??? issshhhh... i'm blushing!!!) which won the Volleyball title, the numerous falls and acrobatics in Matka phod (krishnashtamy ishtyle), the dash by Khusroo in the 400 mts track event, the marvellous designs by Ranbir supported by Rachana, Nandita, Isha, Ruchi, Amit, Kshitij and Ranjeet in the fashion show - all of these in which we were the runners... the list just goes on.. and on... Not just that... just sitting back and closing my eyes, makes all these moments run in front of my eyes like a movie... There are many names, which i haven't mentioned here - but all of who, have helped the team win every single valuable point, on our way to winning the championship...

There's another week and another four events to go,a neck-to-neck fight with Violet, Indigo and Yellow for the championship will ensure that these seven days too will be as memorable as the days gone by. Whether we win or lose, that time will tell. But the spirit with which we have fought, is embodied in the team T Shirt (designed by me... issshhhh... blushing again!!!) This is what will have made Utsav 2006 very unforgettable. The entire festival will have its climax on Dec 16, at Palace grounds, Bangalore, where there will be the final day celebrations.

I'll be back in a week with more on the who became the winner and the blast we had on the final day... and yes... hopefully with the winner's trophy... :-)

On "experience"...

Some of the best quotes i've read...

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. ~Aldous Leonard Huxley, Texts and Pretexts, 1932

Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself. ~Alfred Sheinwold

A person who learns from other's experiences is wise.
A person who needs to learn from his own experiences is naive
A person who does not learn even from his own experiences is a fool.
~ Modified by me (based on something similar i've read some where)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Lemon 'Leela' pickle

Name : Lemon Pickle

Complexity Level High

Duration of preparation 2 weeks+ 1 hour

Quantity : approx ¾ kg











Description:
The first thing that will strike you will probably be the name. I've dedicated it to my aunt, who taught me the basic form of this pickle. After preparing it for four times, to date, with constant experimentation, I have evolved it to its present form it is. So, it still is... my own recipe!! :-)

From a point of severe dislike of lemon pickles, I have reached this point, where I script my own lemon pickle recipe. Sincerely, its a measure of how good it is, and how sure I am of it... Please DO TRY it, and give me your feedback.

Ingredients:

Lemons

25 large

Salt (Crystalline – not table salt)

150 – 200 grams

Coriander

3 tsp

Jeera

2 tsp

Methi (mente)

2 tsp

Mustard

50 grams

Red chillies (deggi mirch)

100 – 125 grams

Pepper

3 tsp

Garlic

4 full

Asofodeita paste (hingu)

Little

Sugar

6 – 8 tsp

Sesame oil (ellenne)

For frying


Directions:
Wash, wipe and cut the lemons into small pieces. Heat the crystalline salt lightly in open pan, and mix it with the lemons. Keep this aside for 1 week - 10 days in a closed bottle / container.

Masala: (to be prepared after 10 days). Heat coriander, jeera, methi, mustard, red chillies, pepper and asofodeita separately, and lightly. Powder all of them together.

Peel the garlic, and fry the flakes in sesame oil.

Add about 4-5 large spoons of sugar to 3 cups of water and boil it. After it is completely cooled, add it along with the masala, and fried garlic, to the lemons.

This recipe makes approximately 1½ kg of pickle. The pickle is best, after 10 days, and before 3 months of its preparation.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

The pain of being a perfectionist...

"Perfectionist".

What comes to your mind first, when you hear this word?? Diligence? discipline? dedication?? A natural awe for such a person??

Or, are characteristics like haughtiness, conceit or difficult-to-get-along-with some of the things you would associate with a person who you know is / tries to be one such??

Although i confess, that i don't see myself as a perfectionist (even i cut corners a lot of times :-) ), i do set very high standards for myself - be it any kind of task - and strive to achieve them. Some wise man has said "never judge a person by your principles, but judge him by his own" But then, its human nature, that we tend to see the world through the glasses of our own principles. Even a person who is cognizant of this fact, is often, if not always, not an exception to this.

I, from my own experience have had several instances when i've actually felt sad of this attitude of mine to try and achieve high standards. This seldom has anything to with yourself and more, with what you try to "impose" on others. When you begin, to expect similar standards from people around you, forgetting that they might not be as capable of you to do it, and you admonish or chide them for it, it breeds a lot of resentment in the other person, and he may even show it to you. And several times, he does. Not just that, this happens even if you are setting different standards from them, which may actually be lower than those of your own. So who is the culprit here??

Its none other than human ego - a very dominant part of a person's character. It is this ego, which makes it difficult for him accept a mistake or under-performance, even though, deep inside, he knows it himself. And many times, it also makes him so resolute, that he tries to defend himself, convinces himself that he is not at fault, and makes a conscious effort not to improve himself.

The other facet of this, is that when a perfectionist attempts to point out mistakes in a person, it creates even more frustration, because the person listens to several complaints from him, but cannot find enough faults in the perfectionist, to satisfy his ego.

Having faced such situations many times with none other than my most loved ones, i'm slowly learning to avoid pointing as many mistakes, or learning to use grossly euphemistic ways to do the same... and i hope, i will adapt soon. Cause, sincerely, i look to put the point across to that person, than to score a point against him.

(Almost) Perfectly yours,
dasi :-)