Monday, January 25, 2010

Have a little faith

Author: Mitch Albom

Awesome is just the word for this piece of work! I loved reading every word of this book and I would highly recommend it to everybody!

In concept it is similar to “Tuesdays with Morrie” and is a true story too. The author is asked by his rabbi if he would write his eulogy, to which the author has no choice but to agree. To accomplish that he must learn more about the Rabbi and so begin his tete-a-tetes with the Rabbi. With some hesitation he began this journey and little did he know how much he would learn on the way. He also comes across a pastor during this period with whom he gets associated and even though the Rabbi and the Pastor were so different – one was the leader of Jews and other that of Christians, one was a black and the other a white – there were so many similarities in them.

As the title says, it’s all about what is faith and what it can do; but not in a philosophical manner but in a more story-telling manner. There were so many dialogues in this book that were worth writing down but then I realized that if I did that I would be copying half the book in my post :). There is one that has left an indelible mark on my mind: the rabbi says to get happiness one must “Be satisfied. Be grateful”. So true! I always knew the satisfied part but on reading this line that it is so important to be grateful of what you have. It is only then you realize how much you have and the importance of it. How many of us thank God for having a wonderful and loving family? In fact for having a family? For a good job? The food that we eat and the house that we sleep in? For our five senses, two working hands and legs?

When I list them down, it looks like a laundry list and one would argue do we really need to list each and every thing? Well yes, we do. That’s the whole point. We take everything that we have for granted and keep wishing for/complaining about/comparing all those things that we don’t have. What we don’t realize is that there is a whole gamut of people out there who don’t even have what we have. Trust me - we’re all so lucky in what we have!

Ok coming back to the book :), as you would’ve realized this book is on a topic that is close to my heart – faith and is simply beautiful! I can go on and on praising it but I would rather that you read the book :).

Bottomline: Awesome book!! Must must read!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sweet pongal

This time when I made pongal for Sankranti it turned out just perfect, DH simply loved it and so I decided to record the recipe. Even though  it is from Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin and I have this book, I like to write down what I did because I’m sooo going to forget how I made it when it’s time to make it next year!


The way to remember the proportion of ingredients in this recipe is to benchmark them with respect to the volume of rice. You don’t have to use 1 cup rice, you can use 1/2 cup rice and change the other ingredients accordingly.

I used 1/2 cup rice and it yielded enough pongal for around 4-6 people.


1 cup rice

1/2 cup split yellow moong dal

2 and 1/2 cups water

1 cup milk

3 cups jaggery and 3/4 cup water

cashew and raisin, in quantities you like

1-2 tbsp ghee for roasting the dry fruits


  1. Pressure cook dal and rice with the milk and water and without the weight. Remember to not put the weight, this is very important as using the weight boils the milk. I checked the cooker now and then to see if the rice and dal were cooked. Since we’re not using the weight, it’s easy to open the cooker again and again. Rice and dal should be cooked and should’ve absorbed the liquid. If it’s just moist then that’s not a problem but too much of liquid and you have a watery pongal.
  2. Dissolve jaggery in 3/4 cup of water by cooking on low heat.
  3. If you think your jaggery has too much of impurities, strain this liquid. I skipped this step.
  4. Thicken the jaggery mixture a little. Add the cooked rice and dal to the jaggery and stir. If the consistency is like you want then you’re done otherwise you can cook it a little to thicken it.
  5. Shallow fry the dry fruits in the ghee and add them to the mixture.
  6. Delicious pongal is ready!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Makar Sankranti!

Happy Makar Sankranti/Pongal/Lohri/Bihu to all of you!

Sankranti marks the northward movement of the sun and this period is known as uttarayan; while the karkasankrant (the onset of the zodiac sign cancer) marks the southward movement of the sun known as dakshinayan. This day is considered considered very auspicious and hence people are encouraged to make offerings. [Source: Hindu Jagruti]

{Place holder for the photo of my pongal :) – yes I made it!}

How do we celebrate it? We make sweet pongal and ellu (a mixture of coconut, jaggery, sesame seeds, etc.). I did make sweet pongal but forgot to make ellu this time :(

Tell me how do you celebrate this day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Author: Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

The main focus is to provide financial intelligence to people. It has some unconventional teachings. The byline of the book is that if you like something and you can’t afford it, always ask yourself how you can afford it. Similarly he says that from your monthly salary you should take out your pocket money first and they pay the bills. Not because he doesn’t think paying bills is important but so that if you’re short on money and still have to pay bills  you’ll exercise your mind to earn more money. The book is filled with examples of how he used every opportunity to his benefit.

I think it’s an excellent book to read! On the financial aspect it was too aggressive for me to absorb but I felt that those teachings could be applied to any dimension of your life. And of course if you were keen on getting some financial gyan then  this is the book for you. Apart from hard work, the only other thing that I’ve found common in the advice given by all successful people.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Divine or Demonic?

All human beings on this earth are furnished with either divine disposition or a fiendish one.

Described here are the symptoms of a man who’s disposed towards the demonic.

They have no knowledge of their duties; they do what they like, without caring about what they must and must not do.

They do not believe in the existence of the Supreme one – the one who’s the creator, generator and destroyer of the earth. To them the world was created by the union of man and woman and that is what will keep it going.

All their decisions are driven by desires and sensual satiation. They harbor desires for indulgence and vow to fulfill them however impossible it might be. Thus manifesting their ignorance.

They take refuge in worldly anxieties which have no end and will exist even on their deathbed. In their opinion, the only happiness that they can get is from worldly objects and they spend their life aggregating those.

They are trapped in hundreds of gallows of worldly desires and have thus becomes subjects to the vices of anger and sexual desires.

Their goals and achievements are marked by “I have gained object X” and “I need to gain object Y”; their thoughts are mired by “I’ve so much wealth and I need so much more”.

They think they’re supreme and have all the required powers. The world is because of them, they can do whatever they want to anybody in the entire world. Even when they give, they do so to establish their reputation and not as a deed offered to God.