Tag Archives: India

Loving the daughter I have not met!

8 Mar

I love babies. I love baby boys and baby girls in no definite order. I have a son and I love him the most. Obviously!

And our family is a small family with the two of us, (my husband and I) and our dear darling 7-year-old son. No, we do not have a daughter. Hey, I am not pregnant either, in case you are wondering. So, what is with the title of this article, you may think.

As much as we would love to have a daughter too, I should say, nature has other plans. The three of us is going to be our family and I would like to think we are complete and happy. Yes, we most definitely are.

Now nature decided to bestow upon us a daughter too, a daughter in a different way. I became an aunt to the most beautiful adorable baby girl in the whole world. Yes, that is the mommy (aunty) in me talking! This beautiful baby girl was born almost two months ago and I have not met her yet. And here I write an ode to her and about her.

The pictures I have seen make me want to meet her ‘once’.  Not just once. But at least once.

My niece holding her mother's fingers

My niece holding her mother’s fingers

Her eyes are fiery, like the tempest. Her forehead is broad and shines with intelligence. She has a lot of jet black hair. Her father wishes for her to have hair like mine, straight, soft and docile. But no sir! I do not want her or her hair to be soft and docile like me.

I would like to think of her as a go-getter of the things in the world she wants and aspires for. Cheeky and audacious, bold and vivacious, like all the things and more I was in my younger days.

I wish for her not to be the stereo type-casted woman of India, nor like certain modern-day woman with minimum ethics or morals, but for her to have a delicate balance and show the world what a true woman is to be.

This beautiful baby niece of mine was born and stays just 230 miles away (6 hours’ drive) from where we stay. But I haven’t met her for over two months due to certain personal glitches. Now you may ask, don’t you meet a niece, your own sibling’s child, because of a ‘glitch’? Well, that is an entirely different long story. It requires a separate post(ok, maybe a book) in itself. So, the long and short of it, we planned twice to go see her, and we had to cancel our trip both the times. And now here I whine about not having met her.

I most definitely have the sun and moon of my entire being, my darling son. But now, I also have a daughter, thanks to nature, in the form of my niece. My sibling’s child is my child too in some ways and it is the closest to my having my own daughter. And I have to thank nature (or God if you may call it so) for this gift.

But I hope beyond all the hope that someday I get to meet her, see her for real in person, hold her, feel those tiny palms and fingers which you can see in the picture, and cherish her.

Like I got the daughter which I was never destined to get, I know I will also get to meet her soon too even if fate has other plans.  (???!!!!)

Hey, isn’t it the International day of women today?

Divine Blessings, Ample Happiness, Best Wishes, Great Hopes, Spiritual Grace, Bounteous Joy and all the best of the Universe on this women’s day to the woman (who is yet a baby) and to all the other beautiful women of the world!

Isn’t it Kismet which has made me write about her, today, instead of all the other days, which in itself makes me feel an unusual sense of calm about this beautiful day of today.

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Sweet Potato Recipes from India as part of World Moms Blog and ONE Moms

19 Feb

World Moms Blog is proudly working with ONE Moms as a community partner. As a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog, I would like to share a few Indian recipes made from sweet potato for this initiative.

ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.

Backed by over 3 million ONE members, ONE achieves change through advocacy.

To read more about ONE, click here.

Malnutrition claims the lives of well over three million children a year.

Sweet potatoes have the power to provide much-needed nutrients like vitamins C, A and B6 to undernourished children, helping to avert stunting and ensuring proper growth. On top of that, sweet potatoes are relatively cheap to produce and easy to grow in uncertain conditions, perfect for regions prone to drought and famine.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

Check out some sweet recipes from India. India is famous for its desi curries, spicy side dishes and mouth-melting sweet pies. I have collated three of my favourite dishes here. I have taken help from Awesome Cuisine in preparing this. Yes, that is one awesome recipe site.

Sweet Potato Halwa (Sweet dish)

Ingredients:

Sweet Potato – 1 cup
Sugar – 4 to 5 tsp
Milk – 1 cup
Elaichi – 1 tsp
Cashew nuts – as required
Raisins – to garnish
Almonds – to garnish
Ghee – 4 tsp
Saffron Strands – 1 tsp, dissolved in 1/4 cup milk
Water – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pressure the sweet potatoes for 3 to 4 whistles.
  • Remove the skin, mash well and keep aside.
  • In a pan add a little ghee.
  • Add the mashed sweet potato and milk.
  • Mix well.
  • Add 4 tsp of sugar and mix again.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and elaichi powder. Let it simmer.
  • Once it has thickened add the saffron strands with the milk and mix.
  • Garnish with cashew nuts, raisins and almonds.
  • Serve.

Sweet potato paratha (Indian bread made with Sweet potato)

Ingredients:
Sweet Potato – 1 cup, boiled and mashed
Wheat Flour – 2 cups
Lemon Juice – 1 tblsp
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Mince Fine:
Green Chillies – 4
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Coriander Leaves – little
Mint Leaves – a few

Powdered Masalas:
Coriander Cumin Powder – 2 tsp
Dried mango powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Mix together the flour with a pinch of salt, 2 tsp oil and make a very stiff dough, using very little water.
  • To mashed sweet potato, add green chillies, ginger, coriander leaves, mint leaves, coriander-cumin powder, dried mango powder, garam masala along with lemon juice and some salt.
  • Make a soft dough, break off small balls, keep aside.
  • Take a small portion of the dough, make it into a cup using oil for doing so.
  • Place a ball of sweet potato inside the cup, close, flatten on a floured board and roll lightly into a paratha.
  • Transfer parathas onto a tawa on medium heat, cook on both sides.
  • Apply ghee, raise the heat, and cook further till browned and crisp.
  • Serve hot with chutney.

Sweet potato curry (spicy side dish for breads and rice)

Ingredients:
250 gms Sweet Potatoes, boiled and sliced
1 medium Onion, minced
3 Green Chillies, minced
2 big Tomatoes, grated
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 Coconut, grated
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tblsp Coriander seeds
3 Garlic Flakes
few Curry Leaves
4 Red Chillies
handful of Coriander leaves, sliced
Salt to taste

Method:

  • Grind coconut, red chillies, garlic, cumin and coriander seeds to a fine paste.
  • Heat 2 tblsp of oil and fry the onions and green chillies till soft.
  • Add tomatoes and spices and cook till the oil comes out.
  • Once the oil comes out, add sliced sweet potatoes and ground paste.
  • Put in 2 cups of water along with the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook till the curry turns a little thick.
  • Serve hot.

That is my favourite sweet potato dish. Yes, Spicy curry to have with my leavened Indian bread.You can just boil rice and have it with this curry. That is the best!!

There are scores of Sweet Potato recipes here in this link from INDIA.

Go ONE Moms!! You are doing a great job through this advocacy. As part of World Moms Blog, I am proud share this Social Good work!

Photo Credit/Recipe Credit: Awesome Cuisine

Guest Post: Confessions of an IT professional’s wife

2 Sep

Sreelatha is married to an IT professional. And she talks about the YAYs and NAYs that it accompanies. Oh, did I tell you I was an IT pro myself before I started this blog?

Sreelatha's family

Sreelatha’s family

Being the wife of an IT professional (which I am sure at least 40% of the women are) comes with its own pros and cons. When I got the marriage proposal, it seemed to me and my folks as the most lucrative one owing to the fact that the boy works for one of the big IT firms located in the silicon valley of India (we like to call it that way). The cherry on the cake was the travel that one gets to take around the different continents of the world. So as any smart girl in my position would have done I grabbed the opportunity and married my man. So that was all in the outset but what really goes in is like this – I am sure we women keep hearing this saying that When you marry a man you are actually marrying the whole family but here’s the new thing – When you’re marrying an IT professional you are marrying his job as well.

Let me explain. For one if you are an IT professional too then you are spared because when you’re husband talks to you about how his day went, he is going to be using those big IT words like Data center transformation, virtualization, private cloud (what??) so on and so forth. But for someone like me who has absolutely no connection to IT whatsoever, all these words sounds like ‘Blah, Blah and Blah Blah.’ Oh but you dare not show it on your face because you’re husband probably has had a really stressful day and as a good wife you are supposed to lend an ear to all that he says.

Did I mention to you that he has another wife too, no make that two, his laptop and blackberry? I would consider myself the third one because he literally spends the whole day with his blackberry and the laptop. When he comes back from work you will most probably hear these words –‘ I have two calls back to back today’, ‘got this really important client meet tomorrow so I need to leave very early.’

And one of those days you may also hear something like this ‘Looks like we may have to travel pretty soon, there is a big assignment coming up.’ Now, never ask him how soon you have to leave because you don’t want to hear it. It most probably would be something like this – ‘Visa and stamping will take about 4 weeks. So most probably we’ll leave next month.’ When you hear this you’ll have mixed feelings, one you are excited about the travel; two, you are sick worried that all of a sudden you are going to be in a foreign land and if you have kids then you probably would have had a mild heart attack by then and thirdly you are already stressed out that you have to shut down the current house and start packing. The biggest challenge would be to keep mum about the whole thing. That part is the most difficult one. Your mom and mom-in-law would tell you that you should not blurt it out as it is very inauspicious. Chances are that the whole trip may get cancelled. More than the part being inauspicious, in reality you actually will never know that you are moving out of the country till you board your flight.

And that’s just the challenges that the wives face. Now don’t even let me start on the how an IT professional’s career affects his and his in-laws life as well. A word of caution to all the parents of the soon to be bride of an IT groom. Make sure that you have your passports ready. Your daughter will soon move away to the states or to the kingdom or to some euro destination, the next thing will be that you may have visit her for 6 months because your daughter is pregnant and they will want the child to be born in that country as the medical facilities are better there (Don’t be surprised by this. Once your daughter starts to live there, no place compares to it not even India where she was born and brought up). The same applies to the boy’s parents because once the girl’s parents are back its time for them to get there and get on with their duties. So the other day I met this aunty in our apartment  building and asked her where she was all this while and guess what she says.

But all said and done, today IT professionals are the most sort after grooms for Tambram girls and every tambram boy works for IT behemoths. We embraced this life because we know that this is how it is going to be. On a serious note I want to finish this whole list of confessions by saying that we know how hard our husbands work and as a wife it becomes imperative that we support and stand by whatever they do. And promise that we will continue to board the flight to wherever they want us to go, learn any foreign languages, get used to the fact that laptops and blackberries are not only part of their lives but ours too.

Sreelatha is Purnima’s (The Alchemist’s) childhood friend. They went to the same school for twelve years together. They both resided in the same locality. They spent some holidays together. Sreelatha pursued commerce and management and married an IT professional, whereas Purnima pursued Engineering and married a physician. Life took them different paths and they met again through Facebook. They are glad the friendship is again taking off like never before. Check out more about her Cheelu (as she is affectionately called) here.

Tell us about any of your childhood friends and their spouse. Any confessions? Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

Guest Post – Cultural bonding between India and Indonesia

30 Aug

Next, we have Maureen (TatterScoops) from Indonesia guest blogging about the cultural similarities between India and Indonesia and the bonding it has created between the two nations. The Alchemist (Purnima) met her on World Moms Blog and the friendship took on in an instant.

When Purnima asked me to guest post on her blog a few months ago, I was humbled and quickly said yes. Unfortunately, with a new career path change it had taken me awhile to actually come up with a post for her. First of all, thank you Purnima for having me on your blog.

My mind was reeling trying to come up with some smart witty interesting post to give her then it hits me. Purnima is from India and I am from Indonesia. Our two countries alone have so many things in commons that it would be fun to explore these similarities.

Did you know that India and Indonesia has been friends for ages? The connections between our countries actually dated centuries back as it was obvious the traces of Indian cultures can be found in our famous Borobudur temple, which by the way is one of the 7 world wonders. Mr. Google actually informed me that the India-Indonesia relationships stretch back to almost two millennia ago.

To this modern-day, the influences of India cultures can still be felt in Indonesia and to make it fun let me list them for you:

  1. Dangdut. Dangdut is a genre of very popular Indonesian music. It is strongly influenced by India’s Bollywood type of music. It have several other influences such as the Malay and Arabic.
  2. Bollywood movies. Oh the movies, Indonesian people loves the Indian love story movies. The story lines, the singing and the dancing captivates us to this very day.
  3. Bajaj. These three-wheeled loud little things can also be found in India where it originally came from.
  4. Family Oriented. Both cultures are very big on families. We stick together and take care of our families as best as we can.
  5. Traffic. Although I’ve never been to India before but from what I’ve seen on the news or online, it is very similar to Jakarta’s traffic.
  6. Poverty. There seems to be a similarities between our countries too. Yes, there are those who are financially very well off in both countries but poverty is also still an issues.

I feel so lucky to get to know Purnima and her brilliant writings through World Moms Blog, she is one smart cookie for sure! Of course our cultures also have differences just like any other countries but that’s what makes it so interesting as we got to rejoice in the similarities and appreciate and learn more from the differences.

Again, thank you for having me here Purnima. Hopefully our friendships will keep blooming with times.

Maureen is Indonesian by birth, Westernized by choice, single mom by grace who is currently  still trying to manage the art of co-parenting, blogger and amateur photographer  by passions, I work full-time and trying to balance it all out in the big sin  city of Jakarta, Indonesia. You can read more about her here. Do not forget to subscribe to her blog too.

We would love to hear about you country’s culture too. Post it as a comment to this post or share it in your own blog and post the link here.

If you have not already done, please Like the Facebook page of The Alchemist’s Blog and share your love.

INDIA: Praying for rain – WMB post

20 Jun

INDIA: Praying for rain.

I am over at World Moms Blog today talking about Chennai, its hot sultry weather, what the heat did to my son, the power cuts and a secret… Hush hush. Do you know why we changed the time, the post goes live on World Moms Blog? It has to do with our very own singara Chennai. Click the link, “Praying for rain” and read about it.

Vaccination and me – Yay!! India is polio-free

24 Mar

Child receiving polio vaccine.

Child receiving polio vaccine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 India was once the epicenter of Polio. Polio was carried on from India to even many African nations. In 1985 there were 150,000 polio cases and in 2010 it was at a historic low of 42. But today, as of 2012, India has been declared Polio free with not a single case of Polio having been registered in any of the Health centers. It really is a major task in a nation like India, which boasts of not only the nation with one of highest GDP ratio, but also of the second largest slum in Asia, which is a hotbed of so many known and unknown diseases. 

Immunization, commonly referred to as vaccination is a great wealth we can give our children as parents. Give them good physical health and mental health and they have the capacity to access the greatest wealth in the world. 

When I was asked a year ago by Jennifer Burden of the World Moms Blog if I would be interested in vaccination advocacy as part of Social Good, I said, ‘Why not?’ But ‘how,’ I thought. So, here I am writing about it as one of the first steps. Advocacy is easy. I firmly believe in protecting my son against certain killer diseases. More than a year ago he contacted Dengue fever and little did I know Dengue is life threatening until a fellow blogger’s daughter succumbed to it. It was shocking! I have no words to describe my feelings.

So, for those killer diseases for which there are vaccines protect your child. Give him a future where he is strong, has the capability to fight diseases. Give him that investment where his health is ensured. Vaccination advocacy is easy. The only requirement is your passion, your power to move people.

At GAVI, I was awed to see so many people so enthusiastic about this cause. The success rate in developing nations was stupendous. Check out the new vaccines they have rolled out in many African nations. I am so honored to be part of this passionate cause of securing the future health of a child.

Organizations like GAVI and Shot@Life rock! I urge more people like us with the power to write, with the power to influence people both with their presence in the virtual world/media (Social networking and blogs) and also through their field work to be part of such movements.

Who would have thought one day India would be Polio free? That is the only boost any Indian ever needs to start his pro vaccination campaign.

What are you waiting for? Voice your views

P.S: Ok, my next step in this would be to film a movie with the help of Jennifer Burden, Founder, Chief Editor, World Moms Blog, advocating vaccination . Yay!! Watch this space for more updates on that. If you want to be part of the movie in any way, drop us a note through the Contacts Page.

My passion won’t rest for now!!

 

A small step in breaking the Caste System.

27 Jan

India: Breaking the Caste System.

Peaceful demonstrations against the reservation system. New Delhi, India

Peaceful demonstrations against the reservation system. New Delhi, India

That is my latest post at World Moms Blog. Today in India the most burning issue among the educated is the reservation system in educational institutions and government sector, which is based on the caste system.

As a mother, I would want my son to be judged by what he is capable of rather than which community or caste he was born into. What about you?

A massive paradigm shift in the thought process is necessary to get over this social evil.

Take a small step today. Yes, it will make a huge difference in the upliftment of social equality and human rights.

Please leave a comment on World Moms Blog and let your voice heard against this.

Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dharnaeithflag.jpg

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