Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This story illustrates the devotion of an aarkt devotee.

Draupadi was the daughter of king Drupad and was born as a result of a yagna. She was very beautiful, talented, devoted to her husband, ideal housewife and a true devotee of God. She considered Krishna as the supreme God and Krishna too didn't hide his supreme powers from her. On the orders of Duryodhan, Dushasan tried to insult her by dragging her in front of everybody in the court and unwrapping her saree. Seeing that no one was coming to her rescue, Draupadi found herself totally helpless and prayed to Krishna. She believed that on hearing her faithful plea, Krishna would definitely come to save her. When Krishna heard her prayers he took the form of her cloth. So that her saree became a never ending piece of cloth. Hence, by being there at the right time Krishna saved Draupadi from the humiliation and Dushasan finally got tired and gave up.

Monday, October 22, 2007

San Diego wildfire

The north eastern part of San Diego county is engulfed in flames due to a wildfire that started in Ramona. Most of the schools, universities and offices are either closed or have advised their employees to work from home. Thousands have been evacuated and heaven only knows how much damage has been done. The air quality is very poor and we know that not because we read it in the news but by personal experience: there were ashes falling on us yesterday when we were outside. One always feels sad to read about people affected by natural calamities but for the first time I can really understand what such people face because this time it's people whom I talk with everyday that have been evacuated from their homes. Some of them had houses 2 blocks away burning down to ashes. Just imagining how would one feel leaving their homes and knowing that potentially their home might be burned down, sent shivers down my spine. I always talk about that one should learn to be thankful to God for what one has and I always do; now I do even more.

My sincere prayers are with these people and all those who're suffering in this catastrophe. May God give everybody the strength to endure this. I request everybody who reads this to also pray for these people and the firefighters.

Read more about this fire here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Green Olympics

In order to clean the air for the Olympics and reduce the traffic on the road China is taking the following measures:

In one move, the municipal government has called on local residents to take public transport more instead of driving private cars through axing bus and subway fares, hoping to reduce the pollution from automobile exhaust.

Citizens who possess vehicles such as motorcycles, passenger cars, sedans and trucks have been taxed more as of Oct. 1, with the rates ranging from 200 yuan (26.7 U.S. dollars) to 600 yuan ( 80 U.S. dollars) a year, almost doubling the sums before the change."

I agree that it's a very drastic change but I think if it benefits the environment then we should go for it. It might cause inconvenience in the short term but in the long term people adapt to such policies and would realize how much good they've done to the environment. I think such measures should be adopted in the US too. Unless it hurts the pocket, majority will not resort to means of transportation that are eco-friendly.

Best things in life are free

Came across this article in the news which uses research to prove what I always believe in: it's the small and inexpensive things in life that bring most happiness to your life. The above study found that what brought most happiness to people were things like listening to music, taking a stroll, spending time with the family and so on. Maybe we can apply the 80-20 rule here. 20% of the things that we do everyday bring us 80% of our happiness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Baby Corn and Gobi manchurian

I tried Sia's recipe (with minor modifications) for one of my favorite dishes, baby corn manchurian or manachurian in general. I also added cauliflower to it so that it was a mix of baby corn and gobi manchurian. Everybody liked it. Though it didn't come out crunchy like the original recipe so I'm yet to master that.

What you'll need

10-12 Baby Corns
3-4 tbsp all-purpose flour (maida)
2 tbsp Cornflour
1 tsp dry red chilli powder
1-2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
3-4 spring onions, chopped
2-3 Green chillies, chopped
3 tbsp Tomato sauce
1 tbsp Soya Sauce
2 tbsp Coriander leaves,finely chopped
Oil to deep fry
Salt to taste
  1. In a pan take little oil and fry ginger-garlic paste and chillies.
  2. Add spring onions, coriander leaves,tomato sauce and soyasauce(if you want it to be more spicier add chilli sauce)
  3. Cut Baby Corns length wise and keep aside.
  4. Make a little thick batter with maida, cornflour, chilli powder, salt with water.
  5. Coat the baby corn with the batter and then deep fry at medium flame till they turns golden brown.
  6. Drain them in paper towel to remove excess oil.
  7. Add the fried babycorns with the sauce you have prepared and mix well.
  8. Garnish them with chopped coriander leaves and greens of spring onion and serve hot.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


This story is from Bhagvad Gita, illustrating an arthaarti devotee.

Swayambhuv manu's son, Uttanpaad, had two wives: Suneeti and Suruchi. Each gave birth to a son, who were called Dhruv and Uttam respectively. Suruchi was the favorite queen of Uttanpaad. One day, Dhruv came to his father and sat on his lap. Suruchi didn't like this. She took him off his father's lap and humiliated him. She told him, "You are unlucky and hence mothered by Suneeti. Had you been mothered by me, you would've got to sit on the throne; but all you can do now is to pray to Shri Krishna. Only then will your desire get fulfilled.". Her tone was mocking. Poor child Dhruv was heartbroken. He went to his mother and related the story in tears. His mother advised him that his step-mother was right, only Shri Krishna can fulfill his desires. So he must pray to him. On hearing these words from his mother, he decided to please Shri Krishna to get the reins of the kingdom. With that in mind he set off from his home. On his way he met Naradji who tried to persuade him to return to his home but he was adamant. Finally, Naradji gave him a mantra and his blessings. On the banks of river Yamuna, Dhruv started his meditation. Numerous factors tried to deviate him from his meditation but he was strong-willed and nothing could disturb him. Pleased with his prayers, Shri Krishna appeared in front of him. In the kingdom, when the king heard about his son he started off along with his queens and his other son to bring back Dhruv. On the way he met Dhruv, who was returning now that he had seen Shri Krishna. Elated to see his son, he hugged him and with great pomp and show brought him back to the kingdom. In the end, he made Dhruv the king.

This story depicts how an arthaarti devotee believes that only God can fulfill his desires.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Looming Tower

Author: Lawrence Wright

An in-depth account of people and events related to 9/11, it primarily focuses on Osama binLaden, Ayman al-zawahiri and John O'Neill (the FBI personell working on this case). For the former two, the story begins at the very beginning when the two were just kids.
So it was very interesting to read how Osama and Ayman came to be what they are today and the forces behind them.

The writings vividly reflects the comprehensive research accomplished by the author. I would recommend this book to any curious mind, interested in knowing what factors lead to the creation of: organizations like al-qaeda, people like Osama and Ayman and their followers.

Bottomline: A must read.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

Forest Rights Act 2006

I recently came across this petition by Vanashakti which targets the withdrawal of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.

If you're wondering what is the FRA then here are snippets from various articles that summarize it:
  • " ...is a historic legislation, the first legislative measure in India's history aimed at addressing the seizure of the homes, lands and livelihoods of tribals and forest dwellers through the declaration of 'government forests.'"[Source: FPP]
  • "...The new law recognises the right to homestead, cultivable and grazing land (occupied, and in use since December 2005), and to non-timber forest produce..." [Source]
  • "...This Act will give away up to 4 hectares of forest land to each tribal family and others dwelling in reserve forests, sanctuaries and national parks..." [Source: Vanashakti]
This act has antagonized many conservationists and environmental agencies and on reading their argument I felt rightly so. As Vanashakti says, the forests do not belong to any section they belong to all. However the FPP claims that these forests are not the uninhabited wilderness that they are being portrayed as but are home to forest communities. What both parties do side with is the denunciation of the act: by FPP because the act supposed to benefit them is being misused and by organizations like Vanashakti because they believe that it would lead to large-scale deforestation.

My take:
As always, I think, it's not the act that people are against but government's evil designs that have made people skeptical. With FPP on one side and the environmental organizations on the other, it's hard to say who's right and who's wrong till one can dig the true story; and that I haven't been able to.

If anybody has any insights on this topic, please share them with me. Or if you have an opinion and why.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Methi Thepla

I got this nice recipe for methi thepla from Vegetarian Delight. The thepla was very tasty. I didn't have fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves so I used kasoori methi instead; they are dried leaves. Even then they were delicious. We took them on a camping trip and we were thankful that we had them! I'd made them sometime back and didn't get a chance to log it since then so I don't have a photo; next time I make them I'll upload the photo. So here's the recipe by Sneha.

What you'll need

Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Rava/Sooji - 2 tbsp
Besan - 2 tbsp
Fresh methi - 1 bunch
Jaggery, finely grated - 1tsp
Sesame seeds (Til) - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic - 6 cloves
Green chillies - 3
Red chilly powder
Salt to taste

Let's make

  1. Wash the methi well, pluck only the leaves and chop it finely.
  2. Grind the garlic, ginger and green chillies into a paste.
  3. Mix the wheat flour, rava, besan, methi, ginger garlic paste and everything else except the oil. Knead it into a soft roti-like dough with curd.
  4. Keep the dough aside for an hour.
  5. Make small balls and roll them out (slightly thicker than fulka roti).
  6. Then fry them on a griddle(tava) using a few drops of oil, like the usual parantha.
  7. They are typically served with a light touch of ghee(optional), curd, chutney and/or chhoondo.