“Daivathinte Kunjadukal” (God’s Little Lambs)

The sky above was like this when I was lying down on the terrace for my yoga session.

‘Daivathinte Kunjadukal’ is what we called it in childhood. The clusters of white clouds resembling sheep and it’s God’s Own when it’s on deep blue sky.

That was a good way to begin yoga and workout, with something reminiscence, rekindling the innocence of childhood.

Moreover, the best motivation for a strenuous but welcome workout is to be happy about it. What’s better for it than some sweet memories!

“Daivathinte Kunjadukal” (God’s Little Lambs)

Flowering Seasons in Bangalore!

It’s Jacaranda and Gulmohar trees that colour Bangalore in March. That’s not all. Come September, the trees wear colours again.

Here I have four frames of our terrace view of September. The usual terrace view has been the 270 degrees view of the Bangalore skyline across lush green trees of Jayanagar water works and adjacent Nimhans. The trees entice the eyes with a magnificent display of flowers.

The greenery, sanctuary to an incredible breed of birds, sport flowers during March – April (purple and red), May- June ( rose pink) and now September- October ( crimson and yellow).

I have to keep an eye for what it would be during the rest of the months.

It’s stunningly beautiful!

Flowering Seasons in Bangalore!

Herd Immunity! Through A Layman’s Lens.

The world is fighting an epidemic and most of us have no clue as to how to manage it.

Wash your hands several times, social distancing, wear masks etc are precautions. Then there are lockdowns, quarantine, containment zones etc as imposed restrictions.

Herd immunity is something being spoken about. Let me start with what I imagined what it could be! (Caution: this has no scientific backing or verified results, just a figment of my imagination).

Healthy people get the virus. Their strong immune system attacks the virus and make it very weak or kill it. They in turn pass the weakened virus through contact to others. These transmitted viruses are weaker after being attacked by the strong immune humans. The transmitted weak virus gets resistance inside the new body.

This then become the norm and the virus is defeated. This is what I thought herd immunity is all about.

Look at the above Pinterest image. It’s telling something similar.

No blame on anyone who keep people away indoors. But did the lockdowns and quarantine work? Perhaps yes and perhaps no.

Then we’ve the Swedish model where the government just took the backseat and relied on people to take precautions on their own. No specific lockdown and least damage to economy and livelihood of people.

Now Sweden has the least bad news from the pandemic.

Not many want to experiment which could be termed as playing with people’s lives. But the need to survive is getting countries to unlock even before the vaccine.

There will be a spike, but results already show that the mortality rate is majorly down.

People may go bankrupt and die economically if not unlocked. If herd immunity is acquired in the process, it’s a blessing. Albeit, late!

Herd Immunity! Through A Layman’s Lens.

Wellness is Sacred. Business not to corrupt it.

Image credit Pinterest

Wellness is a fundamental right of everybody. Wellness coaches, promoters, researchers are all important in the wellness ecosystem.

It’s a billion dollars business and rightly so. But it’s sacred too. Biased and thus corrupted misinformation should be banned.

Researches and some of them winning Nobel Prize are important source of information. Role of experts then are to communicate these findings to people in simple explanations and advices.

Such experts do well to personalise the expertise by offering coaching and practice sessions and charge for that. That’s alright and welcome.

But there could be instances where such experts with large following, adjust the concept to favour business lobby for extra money. This is dangerous. This could make the wellness efforts less efficient. This should be avoided and prevented.

We need honest advices. Participants should see the truth and adjust their routine to derive maximum benefits.

Be healthy, be happy!

Wellness is Sacred. Business not to corrupt it.

It’s Cricket! Not Quite!

Bats’ in

Kudos to the Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers for conducting this year’s matches among the difficulties of the pandemic.

But it’s not quite the same without the crowds and the cheer leaders in their magnificent costumes, or the shortage of it.

IPL is a bit too much, as it’s every night for many days. But we tune in for the excitement it brings. And when you don’t have a team from your territory, you tend to support your favourites.

That’s why many people like me, support Chennai Super Kings as Mahendra Singh Dhoni is there.

And yesterday’s was a mixed bag, as it was okay for either team to win.

But someone wins due to carelessness of the officials is not exciting finish. Third umpire has the support of digital proofs to take care of any ‘bare eye’ decision of on field umpires and for that matter spectators in the stadium.

But when millions of us are getting the review of the third umpire with the digital replays, it’s not cricket Mr. Third Umpire to make such a mistake. The bat’s clearly in and a team is robbed of the victory by a studied decision which became stupid.

It’s Cricket! Not Quite!

Growing Avacado From Seeds.

Growing tree from seeds is the natural process. But modern planting is about faster methods like budding and grafting. Except of course the staple grains which are broadcast with seeds.

Avacado is good fat and for a Keralaite like me, an acquired taste. Then why not grow avacado!

I have seen the trick of growing it in water and decided to try. Pierce the seed on sides with small sticks so that it can rest on the sides and float on water in a small container or bottle. And i placed it on the terrace for the ample supply of sunlight. The right way is to use three sticks, but I have used only two.

Success, it’s sprouting. First the root came down into the water to draw the nutrients and then the leaves. I have to transfer it to a pot and eventually to the land for my own avacado tree.

Growing Avacado From Seeds.

Unda Payasam. A Traditional Kerala Sweet Dish.

Childhood memories are probably the fondest and naturally there’s a concern when some of the reasons for such memories disappear over time.

One such thing facing extinction is the ‘unda payasam’ a typical Kerala dish. It’s a true Kerala dessert as a key component is the ‘ethakka’ the Kerala banana.

I used to like Unda Payasam, equal to or more than the ‘Ada Pradhaman’ the numero uno of all payasams.

That’s why I thought of making it when I got some ethakka. Of course, I am drawing from memory and taste as to how it would have been made.

Ingredients: 1. Kerala banana ( ethakka) 2 medium size, 2. Rice powder 1 cup, 3. grated coconut 1/2 cup, 4. Coconut Milk (thick) 1 cup, 5. Jaggery 1/2 cup, 6. Ghee 1 tablespoon, 7. Cardamom seed powder 1/2 teaspoon, 8. Salt.

Mix rice powder with grated coconut and some salt and add hot water to make into a smooth paste.

Unda

Take 3/4th of the dough and make into small balls. Make small balls as it will slightly expand on cooking. Place them in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes.

Ethakka

Cut the Kerala banana into small pieces. Heat the ghee in a pan and roast the banana in it. Roasting for a few minutes is sufficient.

Payasam

Take the rest of the dough in a hard bottom vessel. Pour about 4 cups of water and place on the burner. Add grated or powdered jaggery according to the sweetness required. Allow the mixture to come to boil.

Add cardamom powder and mix well. Add the steamed undas and roasted ethakka and allow the jaggery to get absorbed in them too.

When the payasam assumes a slightly thick constituency, add the coconut milk. Reduce the flame and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Unda Payasam is ready. The sweet and slightly sour ethakka is giving the payasam a unique and delicious taste. Also the rice undas make it a rare pleasant feeling.

Mighty pleased at recreating the fond memory and in reviving this traditional dish. Simply yummy and absolutely satisfying.

Unda Payasam. A Traditional Kerala Sweet Dish.

Lauki (Bottle Gourd) Barfi. And I Made It!

I follow the YouTube channel Zaikastreet for some good recipes. Here’s one which attracted me and I can’t believe, I made it!

The channel has recipes ably demonstrated, but some of them are in Hindi. This one is in Hindi and I will try and describe how it’s made.

The ingredients are Bottle Gourd about 750 grams, Kova (boiled down thick milk extract) from a litre of fresh milk, sugar, cardamom powder, nuts and food colour. Silver food leaves (I didn’t have).

Peel the gourd and cut into 4 or 6 pieces. Remove seeds and grate the entire gourd. Squeeze by hand or in a cloth to remove water.

Pour one tablespoon of pure ghee into a pan, and heat on medium fire. Add grated louki and stir till the remaining water is dried out and the vegetable is cooked (15 minutes). Add sugar to taste and stir for another 5 minutes.

Now mix the Kova and continue stirring. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder and some of the broken nuts. I used cashew, almonds and kismiss slightly roasted in a teaspoon of ghee. Add two drops of food colour (I used green). Stir the mixture well till it become into a consistency for spreading on a tray.

Grease the tray with some butter and spread the mixture evenly in it to the desired thickness. Spread the remaining nuts sporadically on top and level using a wooden spatula.

Ideally the silver leaves on top would have made it look more store like.

Keep aside for an hour or so, if necessary in the chill tray of the refrigerator.

Cut into squares and the barfi is ready. I have the best taster at home who’s a fantastic cook too. And Sunu (my wife) said ‘simply amazing’.

Subscribe to YouTube channel ‘zaikastreet’ for more such recipes simply and ably demonstrated.

Here’s the video link to the barfi

Lauki (Bottle Gourd) Barfi. And I Made It!

Coffee Beans And A Chocolate

Amul has done it again! This time with a coffee flavour. Lovely chocolate with the goddess of coffee. I am now a total fan of Amul Chocolates.

Sometime back I wrote about their 55% cocoa dark chocolates. And then they came up with a fruit and nut one. There are other varieties too.

Another attraction is the price. Dark chocolate is ₹100 ($ 1.35) and this one is ₹125 ($1.7). All for 30 chocolate squares weighing 150 grams.

There is added sugar. But then, like the famous statement about Greta Garbo, ‘if mind has to sin, it can at least compliment itself on the best choice’.

Well done Amul. I like what you are doing.

Disclaimer: it has nothing to do with the most famous name associated with the company Amul. That it’s my namesake Kurian with an e.

Coffee Beans And A Chocolate

Fasting Benefits! We Haven’t Seen All Yet

Intermittent Fasting has numerous benefits. Starting with the basic weight loss to such unbelievable benefits like prevention or reversal of deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even Cancer.

There’s one beautiful thing also in there, anti-aging! How cute is that! Especially for someone like me.

A Japanese study in 2019, on four humans,reveal many things. Yes only 4 people, but humans. And if nothing else, it’s sure to lead to extensive studies to make us all look younger.

Scientists found 42 beneficial compounds, 30 more than previously found in 34 to 58 hours of fasting. These compounds that assist in slowing aging are activated some 60 times their normal when fasting extends to 58 hours.

I am already on a 20 hour fasting, daily, hoping to bring in ‘autophagy’ the 2016 Nobel Prize winning revelation that repairs damaged body cells for numerous benefits including anti-aging.

Perhaps I may move to a 58 hour fast, once in a quarter, to look young.

Fasting Benefits! We Haven’t Seen All Yet