Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wow !!! Thank you Tulika !

I am thrilled and I cant believe it ! 

I have won a prize book from Tulika for review !!! OK, OK. Winning is an exaggeration and the most in-appropriate word :). I participated in the first Tulika blogathon and Tulika has been extremely generous in deciding to give all the participants of the first blogathon a book for review !!! You can read my contribution to the blogathon here.

Thank you, Tulika ! :)

Its been a long time since I won any prize and even a participation award (esp if its a book) gives me a very warm feeling :) 
I am excited and eagerly waiting for the book!

Watch this space for the upcoming review as well !

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kali Kaalam ! Kali Yug !

I am not much of a temple going person. But I am not an atheist. I believe that there exists some super natural power that controls all of us and our lives. I just believe that you don't need to go to temple to pray to God. Praying and thinking about God can be done anywhere and everywhere. So my visits to the temple are less and they usually happen because my parents/MIL ask me to or during special occasions. But Thirumala is an exception here. Some how, that GOD, Venky as I call him , always manages to attract me and I seem to want to go there. But I digress here and this post is not about him.

However, as today happens to be "Sri Ram Navami" and also my dear husband's star (Tamizh) birthday and also that I am at home and not at work, I thought, why not ? Go to a temple today, take Jillu along and she will also find it a change.I checked with my mom and she was also ready to go.

The temple was crowded this evening, as expected. What I did not expect was my purse to be looted. Yes, I had a small purse only for holding cash (Today, there was about 400 to 500 Rs) inside my larger hand bag and suddenly i find that the my bag is wide open, my inner zip where the purse usually is, is also wide open and the small purse has vanished, just when i try to take out some change to be put in the "pooja" tray. I had the purse before I entered the temple for sure because I bought the "archana thattu" before entering the temple. I noticed that my purse had gone, almost after 20 mins or so after 1 round of the temple and we were waiting for the "archana" to get over. Of course, needless to say, retracing our path did not produce any desired results ( in case it had fallen by mistake) and the purse remained lost. 

I am not sure exactly when and how it got lost. It might have happened when there was a crowd in one narrow corner of the temple when Jillu got sandwiched between a few people and I was trying to pull her towards me. Or it could have happened when the "Archana" was being performed and Jillu was constantly demanding me to carry her. I think the crowd got to her and she was unusually cranky the whole time there. She insisted of being only with me and did not even go to my Mom and I had to carry her as well.

And then after I complain to the manager of the temple, the manager comes back and generally announces to the crowd to be careful and that there already has been 3 such incidents reported. My GOD !!! Which means that definitely my purse has been stolen and not dropped by me by mistake.

We cannot be safe in the temple also these days? People CHOOSE to STEAL in temples? The place where people come to pour out their problems, to find peace, solace, to pray. 

I have traveled by bus and train for so many god damn years and have never been looted. And after all these years, to be looted like this leaves a very bitter feeling. I have been brooding over this the whole of this evening and cant seem to get over it. Its not just the money. But what is the world coming to, if people are ready to cheat and steal in temples and holy shrines as well ? Where are we headed to ? 

I am really concerned for our next generation going by all that is happening right now (not just this, bit also the corruption, the crime, the injustice and the wrongs that seem to happen everywhere). 

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel ? GOD only knows !

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forms of Language - Tulika Blogathon

My 2 cents for the Tulika's blogathon topic

(click on the topic to take you to the details)

How different are the written and spoken forms of your first language?

I speak Tamil. I read Tamil and I can write in Tamil as well. And yes, my mother tongue is Tamizh. The last time I wrote in Tamil was 6 months back, a letter to my MIL. This is after a gap of (cant count the number of years) very many long years. My MIL was very happy and she complemented me on my Tamil. I think she was surprised both by my letter and the fact that I wrote fairly good Tamil.

But can I claim to be an expert in Tamil ? No way. I cannot understand the classics in its purest form. I might need guidance to understand the same. Tamizh is a beautiful language with its own set of intricacies and complexity. The written/classical form is so much different from the spoken form. In fact the spoken form also varies based on several factors. The Tamizh language has so many dialects based on the 

- Region - You should just compare the language spoken in Madurai, Tanjavur , Chennai, Tirunelveli etc. Each would have its own distinct flavor

- Caste - The chettinads, Brahmins, Goundar etc have their own way of speaking

-  Immigrants - Telugu Naikars, Naidus, Palagat Brahmins etc

and then there might be many others which I am not aware of. A person arriving from down South to Chennai may take considerable time to even understand the "Madrasi" lingo. I am not even sure if an ordinary tamizh speaking teenager today watches movies of P. U. Chinnappa and M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar , he/she can even understand the dialogues. Thats how far we have come from the original form of the language.
Which brings us to the point that none of these are exactly the same as the formal version of the language. Modernization has played a role in language development as well.

If you want children to become familiar with their first language, which form would you look for in children books - formal or informal? Why?

We speak only Tamizh at home and I definitely want my kid to learn tamizh and be fluent (in all forms) in it as well. In my opinion, the children books for beginners should be colloquial so that their interest is aroused in reading Tamizh books. Lots of kids and even adults these days stick to English only because the difference is not so marked between both the forms. Interest would wane if they see a completely different set of words from what is used in daily life. And then slowly start introducing the formal words along with the in formal with the help of picture illustrations so that kids can co-relate easily. Bilingual books also go a long way in improving the kids vocabulary.

Also, Audio -Visuals is another option because seeing first helps kids in registering and then co-relating with the audio becomes very easier.

I have several of Tulika books and others at home. The picture illustrations are brilliant in Tulika books making the kids easily co-relate and understand. The stories are also about everyday normal things that one would see at home and use instead of some far away happenings which the kids might not be able to relate.

I am yet to buy one of those famous bilingual Tulika books which I plan to do so very soon. Thank you Tulika and I hope we get more and more such fun filled, color filled books for our kids to read and enjoy.

Disclaimer : These are just my thoughts on the various forms the language has evolved and how it stands today. The intent is not to criticize or offend anyone.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Instant Idly - Oats Idly !

I was on the search for an instant recipe for Idly for a very long time! The traditional or the regular idly has to be planned and the dough prepared the previous day which is not really to my convenience. 

The recently found (actually recently tried- but found long long ago, so long ago....The oats packet cover had the recipe printed and I had safely stored it for so long. I got to try it only yesterday! ) Oats Idly is a god send and I was even more thrilled when my family liked the dish ! 

I am always on the search for quick and nutritious recipes and I think this is one that will stick in our house hold :) Not only is it an instant idly, but also fiber rich and nutritious! What more do I need for a breakfast ? So, without more ado, here's the original recipe !

Ingredients :
Oats powder - 1 Cup /azhak/ 200 gms
Rava /Suji - 1 cup
Curd - 2 cups
Salt to taste
Water - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Fruit salt  - Optional
Ghee : 1 tbsp for greasing

Method :
First Powder/Grind  the oats.
Add oats powder, rava , curd and salt in a bowl and beat them well
Add 1/4 cup of water , mix well.
The dough is ready now. Allow to soak for 20 mins

After 20 mins, Add more water only if needed to bring the dough to a pouring consistency. 
Grease the idly plates with ghee and make idlies out of the dough.
If you are adding fruits salt, do so just before making the Idly.

Serve hot with coconut chutney/Sambar.

My variation from the original recipe :  You can grind some coconut, coriander leaves, ginger, green chillies and add to the dough before making Idlies.  Also add some coriander leaves and mint leaves as is to the dough.

1) This dish is best only when hot. So taste and enjoy while it is still hot !
2) The above quantity approximately makes 12 idlies.
3) I am yet to try my suggested variation, but I am sure it will be even more yummy:). Am definitely planning to try it the next time. In the meanwhile, If you do try it, please do write here and let me know how it goes:)

Got any more ideas for a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast ? Please do share.