Hey! Hello! Thank You Car!

That’s so sweet! So you care for me!

I was driving back to Kochi from Bangalore and this message popped up on the car. And I felt very happy, that my car is concerned about my well-being.

I am seeing the message for the first time. But then, I have never driven continuously for over 5 hours. A tea break is usual after say about 3 hours.

It was raining heavily last evening and I thought the usual break could wait for the rain to get over. (Also, I like driving in the rain).

And indeed, I obeyed the gesture and pulled up at the next joint for a coffee. How can I resist her loving signals!

Love you my car ❤️

Hey! Hello! Thank You Car!

It’s Different When We Are Afraid!

Afraid! It’s synonymous to when one is scared or lack in courage.

Fearlessness is a virtue of the brave. And we all want to be brave to do the good things our hearts want us to do.

So, good things happen when people, societies, organisations and governments are brave and fearless to stand for good things.

Freedom is a birthright, more than a fundamental right and which is often taken for granted. The thing about freedom is that you feel it only when it’s denied.

Freedom is denied in many parts of the world. But still some rights are protected through law and independent institutions.

But when such institutions get off the track, the protected get afraid. And everything become different.

Then people lose the ability to react to injustice. The fearlessness is gone. We become silent spectators to innocent people getting smoked out of their dream homes, writers getting handcuffed for being brave.

We don’t then react when we are denied of our rights. We suffer terrible infrastructure and watch helplessly when the responsible try to pass the buck and get clapped for blaming subordinates.

Perhaps the dream homes would be standing if facts are presented correctly and wrong doings accepted. Roads would have been in good shape if responsibility is owned and the buck is not passed down. Bridges would have eased the traffic if money was used to buy cement instead of buying personal properties.

Actually we the people are the masters, but we are afraid to react, as we don’t know who will help us in time of need. Not those who we pay the salaries through our taxes nor the ones we voted to work for us.

Afraid because they may consider us enemies and use the machinery we paid to build, to silence us, if we react.

Like the ‘Frankenstein’s monster’.

It’s Different When We Are Afraid!

Road Trip- Kochi to Bangalore

“Kithane Admi Thay” (How many were there?) the most famous dialogue by Gabbar in the all time great movie Sholay was ringing in my ears when we were passing Ramanagara en route to Bangalore.

These rocks are part of the Ramanagaram hills where the movie scenes were filmed.

Though it’s my fourth drive to Bangalore, I have not done it for a few years. With the result, we forgot some of the mandatory checks before the journey.

If we had checked, we would have avoided the Kuthiran climbs and road, but had to face the block abruptly. I thought it was some major accident that caused the jam and innocently asked a policeman passing by as to what had happened!

He gave me a long smile and later I realised the meaning of his smile. It’s obvious that you are to crawl in there.

I must take a different route on return.

The road after that is good, but heavily tolled. I have collected the numerous receipts and should find out how much it came to, when I find some time.

Just a thought, why don’t the national highway authorities use smart cards where road users can ask for and get the cards loaded with the toll amount depending on the destination. For example I ask for toll loading till Bangalore and use the electronic and automated gates and barricades, instead of waiting in the queue for a dozen or more places.

Last time the highways were under construction, but it’s all mostly complicated now.

Of course, there are these overloaded trucks, like buddies walking on the roads each occupying one of the two available lanes as if they are holding hands and walking in the park.

Truly painful when they struggle with a climb, and maintain the uniform 8 kms per hour speed.

Road Trip- Kochi to Bangalore

Book Review: Roads A Journey With Verses

Roads, A Journey With Verses by Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath.

Publisher: Notion Press

My Review

I love poetry and even wrote a few here and I thought I could also come out with poetry, as well wishing friends commented positively on them.

Then I was reading some of the comments elsewhere from people who are good in poetry, rubbishing random people like me writing crap in the name of poetry.

That’s when I came across this book, Roads. Frankly, the first thing attracted me was that the authors are both ex-bankers like me.

With that connection established, I got the book and started reading.

The collection of poetry has one striking feature. The authors start with a summary giving a background to the poem that follows.

For me poetry has the superiority over literature as the reader gets to interpret the lines in a beautiful way. The verses add to this edge.

The book is of 60 poems arranged under nine virtues. I think the poets have contributed 30 each. Of course I didn’t count, which is a deliberate decision.

But then, one may not be able to find out who the poetess is by reading the poem as both have similar styles for a reader like me trying to follow their expressions of the heart. Perhaps all hearts speak the same language. In fact the poets have hinted that it’s a reflection of their life journey.

Though not an expert, I can say that I enjoyed reading each and every poem. Bankers also can be good poets. And the poems here are really good.

By the way, I am sure that the experts that I spoke about initially will endorse these beautiful poems.

The banker colleagues have made us proud.

Pages 159

Available on Amazon also.

Rating: 4.5 ⭐️

Book Review: Roads A Journey With Verses

Apple Strudel, Adjusted Adaptation!

It was not a planned one, just that I had some excess apples to be handled in the house. The three AAAs are also accidental but convenient solution. Apple, Adjust and Adapt.

That’s what happened, when A is for Apple and Apple is for Strudel.

Adjust and Adapt for convenience is a better way to put it than to say it was innovation.

Another compelling reason was that I have not shared anything for sometime, with my friends in whatsapp broadcast group ‘Cooking Exotica & Fitness’. And some of them were asking, which is a pleasant surprise, as I didn’t know!

Making it the Viennese style needs real skills. So I took the easy way. Chappathis were available and I quickly made the filling.

Two apples, skinned and cored were sliced fine. Took a fistful of ‘craisins’ (dried cranberries) instead of raisins and made it drunk in some brandy instead of rum. Added to these were a couple of sliced Nagpur orange peels with flavedo and albedo, instead of lime.

(New words for me but apparently the orange peel consists of a thin outer layer called the flavedo and a thicker, fibrous inner layer called the albedo).

Smeared the baking tray with virgin coconut oil and applied melted butter on the inside of the chappathis. Carefully rolled the chappathis with the filling nicely spread inside.

Baked on slow heat (180 centigrade) in the oven with heating on top and bottom for about 20 minutes.

The easy and desi (domesticated) Apple Strudel was done. It was a little burned on the top but still soft and moist. Perhaps I should keep the top burner off.

I clearly forgot a sprinkle of cinnamon, but it was still good, I am sure, as I saw my wife taking a second one.

Apple Strudel, Adjusted Adaptation!

It’s Thali Meals; It’s Fish Thali

This time it was not a planned visit to a seafood speciality place, we went there for lunch as it was near to the place where we had to go yesterday in Kochi, Kerala.

And we stumbled upon a novel food plan. This place must interest a thali food lover, particularly the South Indian thali.

For the uninitiated, thali is a wholesome meal served with several small portions of side dishes for the main item rice. And the best of the thalis are usually vegetarian.

We were served the food in the exact style of a thali meal with several small portions of side dishes, pickles and the must have pappadam.

Instead of the usual vegetarian items, the thali had five side dishes of seafood. There was a mackerel fry, fish curry, seafood avial (meen peera style) with fish and calamari rings, dried and powdered prawns, and kallummel kaya (Kerala mussels dish).

Of course there were vegetables and even kappa (tapioca) with ‘uppum mulakum’.

Many of the diners in the packed restaurant were ordering special dishes where they select the fish from the fresh fish display and get their favourite preparation done in the kitchen, like in the oriental style.

We didn’t go for any such specialities as we were in a hurry. But enjoyed the meal thoroughly. A highly recommended place.

Of course there was payasam (kheer) for desert.

And then the price is ₹ 150 for the meal (just over $2).

It’s Thali Meals; It’s Fish Thali

The Black Monkey. Protected Resident in Thekkady Forests.

‘Karim Kurangu Rasayanam’ (Black Monkey Potion) was touted as a health enhancer and sold to those seeking health many years back.

A definition on rasayana says:

‘Rasayana therapy enriches rasa with nutrients to help one attain longevity, memory, intelligence, health, youthfulness, excellence of luster, complexion and voice, optimum development of physique and sense organs, mastery over phonetics, respectability and brilliance’.

It sounds good but this particular one had the beautiful innocent monkey as ingredient.

That’s pathetic, humans used to kill these beautiful creatures for cure of sins out of bad living habits and seeking better health.

Thankfully it’s all changed. Co-existence is the norm, warmly embraced by all good people and forced on those, if any living, with the evil intentions.

I found about 20 of them visiting the beautiful nature resort ‘Spice Village’ in Thekkady, Kerala.

And one can see them moving effortlessly from branch to branch on the forested shores of Periyar lake while taking the magnificent boat safari through the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary.

By the way, it’s said that the black monkey, when cornered by the gun pointing wicked hunter, used to fold their hands pleading for life before the trigger was pulled.

Ashamed of such cruelty.

The Black Monkey. Protected Resident in Thekkady Forests.