Tag: NaBloPoMo Nov 2014

Trusted Companion

The alarm began to ring. My friend searched for the button to put it off; politely apologised the group she had joined for lunch.

An alarm in the afternoon was something unusual. But, hers was a reminder set for a task she had to complete. She rejoined the group after making a call. “Life has become easy with the mobile.” She exclaimed.

Indeed, the smartphones have become the inseparable us.

I had replaced a phone long ago. With it had lost some important information too. My memory appeared to have had a seizure. The mundane duties assigned with passwords were unreachable. Of course, the endless contact list of family, friends, and acquaintances stored in the mobile phone was safe somewhere. I could not recollect the codes and numbers though.

Wandering in the wilderness of the dreams, the ability to identify the real may seem a task itself. At times the sleep takes us on the unknown paths and we also see the real world we live in. On one such “eureka moments” I happened to see the mobile phone dumped along with the used and ignored gadgets.

Within moments I was holding my phone. Old and worn out but still strong at heart. It was as if finding my soul mate! After giving it a complete care, I was back in action, searching, transferring files and documents.

The photos of family and friends smiled out of the phone. They were all clicked on my mobile phone at one or the other occasion. Apparently, every photo had one or the other pose with their mobile phone. How significant; better to describe the photos as a get-together of extended families of friends and mobile phones.

A few hours of happiness were captured in good memories. The information remained stored in the phone. But my mind needed to refresh its memory with the help of a phone! Ironically, changing a mobile phone for another smartphone had not worked wonders on my memorising skills. I was no different from my friend and her reminder set on the phone.

Is it the Mind or the Brain?

“Your mind has always been empty. Isn’t it?”

An argument that went on to become a humorous statement saved the miseries of a fight. There was laughter around. A single comment about the state of “mind” was somehow the comic caper.

Mind can be humorous; especially when I look at the range of idioms and phrases to do with mind and brain.

“Clear your mind” and “don’t sit to pick my brains”. “Rack your brain” and “I changed my mind”. You had a “brainwave” and it was “mind-boggling”. But “don’t beat your brains out”, now “I’m in two minds”.

Indeed idioms are figurative for often when looking at their literal meaning, we may find them a matter to laugh at.

Science clearly identifies brain as “the three pounds of “convoluted mass of gray and white matter” in our heads “serving to control and coordinate mental and physical actions.”” “The mind is part of the transcendent world of wisdom and thought. Although the brain is the organ most associated with consciousness, the brain does not completely contain the mind.”

However, everything from being intuitive to creative and consciousness to awareness is the attribute of the mind. Little wonder then that mind needs clarity and emptying and it is very essential for our well-being. Mind can capture and rapture, and leave us dumbstruck in the passage of our own thoughts.

While working on clearing my mind of the thoughts boggling my mind, I’m left wondering as to why should someone be called “brainless”.

Ordinary, Yet Extraordinary Collectibles

The bit of a travel ticket got caught in the zipper of the handbag. While I tried to pull it out, the side with the date printed fell apart. A decade old!

Of course the bag was laid to rest a long time ago. Couldn’t even recollect when did “she’ travel with me last. But as I sat to clean it up, there came spilling more tickets, menus, passes, bills and the travel lists prepared for trips.

“Oh, how careless of me” , didn’t pass my thought. I was simply enthralled.

There I was stuck in time, in recollection and remembrances. The places and the faces; the sea and the dune; the museums and the monuments; and the multi-cuisine experiences that cast a spell of a lifetime.

Those hours had made way to a year and in a span had become years. Those items were the things of past with little or no significance, except for being the unintentionally saved collections.

Interestingly, there are many amongst us who save tickets, clippings, or menus – “the items intended to last only briefly but often placed in scrapbooks.” The dictionary terms such collectibles “ephemera”. The word that has its origin in Greek explains to “lasting a day”.

A friend of mine is fond of the “Ganesha symbols on the wedding cards”, and another collects the shiny wrapping papers. They are passionate about their collections little knowing the term ephemera.

However, these collectibles are not the typical artistic creations or valuable artworks. They are the ordinary things in life that becomes extraordinary. And they acquire value in the long run.

Though, I may not have acquired such collections, I had set aside a few leaflets as token. A beginner in ephemera.

Stew Your Way

Having reached home late in the evening, sometimes it becomes difficult to decide on the “what to cook” part. When things don’t go as planned, we search for alternatives. But without agreeing to “order food” from outside, we may find the solutions at home itself.

There is no dearth of options when it comes to making sandwiches. Yes, just to be on the safer side, ensure that the fridge is stored with at least the basic vegetables. If eggs are there we stay worry free.

At one such time, I discovered that a vegetarian ‘stew’ can be a great option. A few potatoes and onions sautéed in oil are cooked in coconut milk with nothing but ginger cut to julianne, green chilies, salt and a sprinkle of pepper to taste. A tadka (incidentally ‘tempering’ is the suggested translation of the Hindi word) of mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves makes it perfect.

Since, I don’t have the habit of stocking coconut milk or coconut milk powder; my vegetables are cooked in water, and mixed with plain milk. The well mashed potatoes make the gravy thick and I find bread or buns to accompany it.

A pressure cooker does the job well. Microwaves also help to quicken the process.

In fact, stew is one of the most relished dishes in Kerala. Often, it is served as a side dish along with delicious aapams (made from a fermented batter of rice and coconut). An assortment of vegetables and garam masala (Indian spices) is a variation. An addition of poultry or meat to the onions and potatoes with masalas (Indian spices) and other condiments is yet another variety within the stew.

Interestingly, stew has a universal appeal. The method, preparation time and ingredients vary but, stew is a rather fulfilling accomplishment world over. And it has been regarded as “”comfort” foods, everyday dishes served to family or close friends in an intimate setting.”

What more can one ask for if a simple stew, cooked in less than 15 minutes and served hot in the comfort of the home. I relax to enjoy the complete meal.