Does your food taste better than…?

Does your food taste better than…?

How Good are your cooking skills?

I am not that sort of person to ask such question, but just for my curiosity can you answer this question. When you are answering it, you must be going through all the compliments that you have received for your food so far. Compliments on how delicious that particular dish was, how mouth-watering your gravy was on that day, how yummy that cake looked which you made on your kid’s birthday…. Did any of compliments mentioned, how great you cook in comparison to a restaurant/hotel?

A guy in my office, who basically is of  European origin, asked me in a very serious tone, “Can I ask you a question about what an Indian guy said to me one time?

Me: yeah, sure.

We were at the lunch table, eating and talking about various cultures when suddenly he asked me this question. By the way, he is a great cook, at least that’s what he claims. I have yet to find proof of his claim.

He: Once I had an Indian friend over at my place for dinner, and about my food, he said to me, “It tastes just like restaurant food”.

He: why did he say such a thing? I just don’t understand, was he trying to insult my food?

That was the time I laugh so hard that I almost choked on my food. All of us present on the table were laughing, except my European friend.

He: and, while he was insulting my food, he was smiling and nodding his head, like it was an acceptable thing to say.

Me: (still laughing) don’t worry, treat it as the highest compliment for your food. He was complimenting your food, not insulting it.

He: but, who compares home-cooked meal to a hotel food. Home cooked is special. I put so much effort into it. It was not at all comparable with a hotel food.

Before our laugh riot could go further, I felt the need to explain.

We(Indians) usually eat homemade food, daily. Occasionally we go to restaurants and order something special. Unlike, most of the people here, who eat outside food daily, and cook at home seldom.

For you, cooking at home is special, as you do it rarely, with family. When you are cooking, your whole family is cooking with you in the kitchen. It is a family celebration. It is special. For us, when we cook, we (woman) cook alone in our kitchen; and most of the time, it is a mundane daily activity for us. But, when we go outside to eat; our whole family goes together to eat and enjoy. That is special for us.

Does your food taste better than…?

When you are doing something daily, even when it is an important work; with time it loses its importance. We take the breath every second of our life, but we value it when we have to struggle to take it. Food that we are cooking and eating daily loses its charm after a while, but we realize love and effort put into it, once we don’t have that luxury of eating a home-cooked meal. We appreciate only those things which are hard to get.

After talking to him, I realized how important that food is which I am making with my own hands. It has care and love in it. It is special. It can never be like a hotel food.

Now, my husband needs to find a better compliment than saying, “oh, this tastes so good, just like a restaurant.”

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You are defending the wrong Padmavati

You are defending the wrong Padmavati

Padmavati this name which was the epitome of valor and Rajput pride. This same name has now turned into a controversy where no one knows what they are fighting for? Do they just want to stop the release of a movie, or is there any real cause behind this movement?

Padmavati was a Hindu Queen, a Rajput king’s wife. Ironically, she first came to light in the poetic imagination of a Muslim poet. She was fiction or real, that does not matter anymore, as we have seen a lot of Hindu culture and literature changed when Mughals took over. Without any historical claim, it is hard to say what was fact and which part was fiction; and now there is no way to find out the truth. One thing that I could be sure of, however, would be to treat a talking parrot singing praises of Padmavati beauty and guiding Ratan Singh the way to reach her; as merely a fiction. But as I said, now it does not matter which part of this story was real and which was not. The only thing that matters now is – what are we trying to defend by protesting Padmavati Movie.

I tried hard to not say anything about this controversy but being me, it is a task near to impossible. So, I jotted down a few points of my own, that I want to share with you all. Before I write them, I must tell you that I am not on any side, in fact, there are no sides here.

First, let me ask you, how many of you have talked about Padmavati before this movie was announced. How many of you have remembered her, or have told her stories to your kids? Do your kids know Padmavati? If they know her, what do they know about her – her beauty, her suicide, or there was something more to her that you have taught your kids about?

Those who are opposing a movie without watching it; what are your grounds for protest? I have heard few people say that “They should not have made a movie on a Hindu Queen, why don’t they make films on Muslim ladies?” Seriously, do you think that they are making these films to honor/dishonor anyone? It is a business? They are doing it to make money out of it? Which will generate more revenue, a Padmavati, or a plain love story? Also, free publicity, which you guys are giving them. A movie maker is not thinking of religion when it comes to making movies. He is doing a business; same way when you are running a business it does not bother you if your client is a Hindu or a Muslim.

If they are making a movie, they should not hurt anyone’s sentiments. This is true. No one should ever hurt other’s sentiments, through their movies, or their words, posts on social media or comments. But are we living in an ideal world? A movie who evokes sentiments in a large section of people will obviously generate more profit. In fact, more controversial a movie is; more people try to watch it.  

You are defending the wrong Padmavati
You are defending the wrong Padmavati

The story of Padmavati was about how she chose to burn herself in the fire over accepting the illicit proposal of a man. It will be a blot to her memory and dignity if any movie/story shows her with that man in any scenario (even in a dream). This kind of thing could hurt sentiments of people who have heard the story of Padmavati and have found solace in her sacrifice. But without watching this movie, how can anyone come to this conclusion, that this scene is there in the movie?

I totally agree that we should have a governing body who should stop a movie from releasing if that movie has some hidden agenda, and can hurt religious sentiments. In past, we have seen such movie coming into light who have put a particular Religion and its followers in question. We should have a government agency to identify such movies and scenes, and stop them from releasing until they fit the standards.

But wait? Don’t we already have that system in place. It’s called, censor board, right? And above that, you also have your legal system, courts, who have right to stop the release of a movie if it shows one community/person in the bad light and hurt someone’s sentiments.

What I doubt here is, who are these men, whose sentiments can get hurt through this movie? Rajput? Or, Politicians?

There was one Padmavati who died to save a Rajput’s king pride, and now a Padmavati is marked to be beheaded as she has hurt sentiments of a Rajput tribe.

Those who talk of Rajput’s pride here, do you know that Raja Ratan Singh was already married and still he attacked another kingdom so that he can marry king’s daughter Padmavati; all because he has heard from a singing parrot that Padmavati’s beauty was beyond explanation. What would you call it, Love or Lust? What would you say about the character of that person who marries one woman after another, because he finds that next one is more beautiful.

Polygamy was common among Kings of India at that time; it was common for kings to have more than one wife; then why are you questioning the character of Alauddin Khilji only?

Do you know that Khilji was married to Rajput’s Queens? We have already romanticized Jodha a Hindu Princess marrying Akbar the Mughal Emperor in a movie, even though we know that it was a forced marriage and there was no other option for Jodha.

What is illicit in this case is that Padmavati was a married woman. It was an illicit proposal of Khilji to a married woman. He was famous for his brutality and his lust and this kind of proposal proves his immoral thinking. What troubles me here the most is, if Khilji was already known for such kind of behavior; then why Ratan Singh agreed to show Padmavati’s face to him in a mirror? If a known rapist and characterless person come to you asking to show your wife’s face, would you oblige him? Would you oblige him if he threatens to kill you, or your family?

You are defending the wrong Padmavati

What would have Ratan Singh done; if instead of Padmavati, his Queen, Khilji had asked for a village girl or a maid of Padmavati? Would he had sacrificed that girl, to save his kingdom and life of thousands of people?

If Rani Padmavati, would have been just a wife, and not a Queen of people; what would she have done if she could have saved his husband’s life by giving herself to Khilji? What would you do, if you must choose between this proposal and life of your husband? What is life without honor? What is honor without life? What is honor without love? And, does this honor lies in your body? Where exactly does your honor lie?

Isn’t it the same mentality which force rape victims to rather stay quiet and attempt suicide than to speak out the culprit’s name?

These questions reflect our changing time, and how we value life now and then?

The most important question that I have here is, if suicide by Rani was worth Rajput’s pride?

Was it suicide? or forced suicide? We have all heard stories of how women were supposed to burn themselves in the fire when their husband died. Was she not another victim of ‘Sati Pratha’? she died after her husband, Ratan Singh, was killed by another neighboring Rajput Devpal Singh; ironically Devpal wanted Padmavati too. How degraded can a man be to kill another man so that he can sleep with his wife? Value of life is more than this.

She killed herself in the fire. She chose suicide. In her last moments, she didn’t have a sword in her hand. She was a Rajput Queen. She was supposed to be a warrior, a fighter. Was she? She chose to kill herself instead of fighting till her last breath. Thousands died with her, what if each of these thousand hands had a sword in them; they could have at least killed hundreds more.

If this was an example of bravery, I rather not teach my kids this lesson. If this is what you are defending, I rather not defend that. What I do defend is her right to her will. If she has willfully married Ratan Singh if she has willfully shown her face to Khilji, if she has willfully jumped in that fire to end her life. If not, what is left to defend here?

I would rather choose one Jhansi ki Rani over these thousand Padmavatis.

 

Devi | A Virgin (Kumari), a Mother (Maa), but not a Woman.

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Happy Navratri!!

Durga Puja is going on, and today is the Navmi, the 9th and the last day of Devi worshipping. For these nine days of Sharada Navratri every year, we pray to Durga, the Mahashakti, dedicating each of these nine days to her nine forms.

Shailaputri (Daughter of the Himalayas)
Brahmachariṇi (one who practices devout austerity)
Chandraghanta (One who bears the moon in her necklace)
Kushmanda (the creator of the universe)
Skanda Mata (The mother of Skanda/Karthikeya)
Katyayani (The daughter of sage Katyayana, who incarnated to help the Devas)
Kalaratri (black as night, destroyer of evil)
Mahagauri (doing great penance)
Siddhidatri (Provider of Siddhis, giver of mystic powers)

These all nine forms have emerged from one Devi Durga, and they also merged back into her. Other than these none forms, Devi, or Adi Shakti also manifests herself in Tridevi; three forms of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati/Kali; The Creator, The Preserver, and The Destroyer respectively. Each of these three represents the Shakti, energy of their respective masculine Trimurti. Saraswati as the energy of Brahma; Lakshmi of Vishnu; and Parvati of Shiva. In true sense, God is neither a male nor a female. So, these are just their forms, or to put in more cosmic sense a unification of inactive and active, Nirgun and Sargun.

Why am I giving you a brief upon Hindu Goddesses?

Because if you see closely, all the forms of Devi, whether the nine forms worshipped during Navratri or the Tridevi; they all are so diverse and yet so uniform. Devi has taken so many forms, and still, She is One.

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She is One.

She has everything inside her and she uses each of her forms when the need arises and then each form of her again merge back into her. Have you seen anyone doing that in the real world? Look closely around you.

She is like each of us, or to put it correctly, each of the superwoman that you see around, handling home, kitchen, work, you, kids, parents, society, world, and sometimes themselves; each of us is like a Devi.

Yet, I wonder, why we do not worship Devi in her purest form of as a woman.

We worship her as a Kumari (virgin). We fed kanchaka, little girls, (non-menstruating/virgin) after the completion of Navratri fasts. We wash and touch their feet for blessings.

We worship her as Mother, Maa. We see her as our own mother, one who has given birth to us. In this form too, she is pure, a motherly figure, older than us, a giver, a protector.

But, there is nothing in between a Kumari and Maa.

She could either be a virgin or a mother. We do not worship any female figure who is not either one of these. Even when Goddess in most of her Avatars is neither a mother nor a virgin. She is just a woman, a female figure.

Here I do not want to say that we should see a Goddess as a woman, and not as a mother. But, my mere implication is that, when we transfer the image of this Goddess in our real life; when we say, Every Mother is a Devi, “Maa Bhagavan samaan hai” (Mother is equivalent to God), or, “betiyaan to Devi ka roop hoti hain” (Daughters are the form of Devi); why we do not extend this respect to in general all the ladies out there?

She could be your friend, your wife, your daughter in law, your neighbor or just a girl walking on the road. No matter who she is, she is a form of Devi. If your mother or daughter is equivalent to a Devi, I bet your wife deserve the same respect too.

Why is it so hard to respect a woman who is in somewhat equal stature to us?

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This is not only applicable to males, but also for females. We ourselves do not see the divine in other females. We are the ones who try to diminish and degrade other women. As a woman, we all know what the word ‘Respect’ means for our tribe; still, it will be the first thing that we will tarnish in another woman we don’t like.

Before you disrespect a woman physically, or emotionally, just try to remind yourself that there is a Parvati, a Lakshmi, and a Saraswati inside her watching each of your deeds. Be kind. Be respectful.

Babagiri – All in the name of Religion

This article was originally written by me for Magzim.com

 

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There was a time when parents wanted their children to be Doctors, Engineers, government officials, sportsmen or just suitable enough to have a paying job.

Now, I think it is the time that we start looking in a different direction. Something out of the box, you know.

What if I tell you that there is a profession that requires no, or say minimal financial investment; you don’t have to go to any college; you don’t have to spend hours studying like you did for your board exams; you don’t have to sweat waiting for your report card; you don’t have to create a resume and post it to every existing/non-existing job seeking site; you don’t even have to pay taxes after you got this job.

Is it for real?

Yes, it is.

All of your dreams could come true, by this simple secret that I am about to reveal to you.

Yes, there is a name for this perfect job.

It is called Babagiri, being a Godmen, being a Guru. Most specifically be an Indian Baba.

Prerequisite – You should know the names of Hindu Gods and goddesses. Not all 33 thousand/million/billion of them, but just enough to convince others that you know these Gods personally. Like just say, oh Lord Shiva!!! , I was always a fan of him, since my childhood, you see; I was reciting his Maha Mritunajay Mantra or something since I was two.

Next steps that I am going to tell you now, are quite complex, so read them religiously. LOL.

Now, you have to convince people around you that you are a reincarnation of some previous Baba or some smaller God. Do not make the mistake of going after the big guns like Shiva, Vishnu Brahma etc…. Stick to the basic. Simple is always better.

For this, first thing that you have to do is start making some drastic changes to your life.

Say no to liquor, meat, sex, etc… (at least pretend that you are not interested in any of these). This won’t be too difficult, as in your alone time, i.e. behind closed doors, you can enjoy all of these things, and no one would know.

Now, whenever you are in the company of others, talk of spirituality, and how suddenly you are seeing good in others. You can also take it to another level, by saying that now you are seeing God in every human being. This will not make others God, but it will make you look like a saint.

Whenever you are sitting (not standing, as you may fall), just for some random time, close your eyes, and pretend that you are meditating and is in fact in deep thoughts of spirituality.

When you open eyes, just raise both your hands as if you are giving blessings to others. (note – at this point please put a very small, almost a smile kind of thing on your face)

You have to do these kinds of things for a few days, till people start noticing these changes in you.

Also note, for faster progress try to use all the above tactics on women, especially the ones who have lots of time in their hands, or the ones who are dissatisfied with their personal lives.

What next?

If you can invest some money, then this is the time to invest in media. Open a website, create your facebook page; your YouTube channel; Flickr, twitter; in fact, if you can afford, invest in a team to handle all social media engagement. Announce to the world now, that you are a reincarnation of so and so.

Now, just wait and watch.

People will soon offer you a sprawling place/Aashram to attend to your followers.

You will get food, free of cost.

You will get clothes, free of cost.

You will get money, pouring all over you.

To top it all you will get slaves, oops slave is not a good word anymore so I will stick to followers.

So, you will get followers, who will hold an umbrella just above your head, so you don’t get Sun’s direct rays, you see. Followers, who will clean your laundry, wash your dirty dishes; make your food, and bring you food in fancy silverware. Followers who will do your every silly work.
You are not impressed. Come on, all these followers will work for you, and also they will pay you, for allowing them to touch your feet.

What more can you ask for?

Money, respect and luxury, everything in a single job, and you don’t have to pay a dime.

I love this world. Jai Baba Ki.

You Didn’t Rape Just One Girl

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Sick, twisted, psycho, animals, monsters or I don’t know what should you be called, but you cannot be a human. When you raped that class 10th school girl, twisted and broke her legs, bruised and scratched her body and left numerous biting marks on her; there could not be an ounce of humanity left in you, then how can you be a human? How can one person do this to another person? How can your ears didn’t bleed when she was crying and screaming in pain begging you to stop this monstrous act? How did you manage to strangulate a 16-year-old defenseless girl without any remorse? How are you still breathing this air which is mixed with her screams? How are you still alive?

On July 5, 2017, a class 10th student from Shimla, was on her way to her home while returning from school, when she was raped and murdered. She was not found, but her body was, after 2 days of search in a nearby forest.

This is not the first time and this won’t be the last when this kind of barbaric act has taken place against a girl. It just keeps on getting more and more barbaric, and still, we all see this news with disgust and then forget about them till next rape happens.

It is not only the rape victim who suffers. Every time a girl is raped, its consequences are suffered by each and every woman in this world.

When you raped her; you raped every other girl’s freedom, hopes, and dreams too.

You proved a point to those parents and guardians who do not send their daughters to school. Yes, it is not safe to go out. Girls should not go to school. They should not study. They should stay indoors, away from these outside beasts. You gave power to that patriarchy culture which has always tried to keep women inside, and you crushed every little girl’s dream of becoming big one day.

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A girl somewhere is stopped to pursue further education as only basic education is sufficient for her to get married. Why would she need to study more? She should not go out more than what is needed? She should just finish her basic education and then wait at home till her marriage is finalized. She should stay at home. Home is safer. Outside we have Rapists.

A girl somewhere is stopped from taking her dream job as she is not allowed to travel far, or live in another city. She can work as long as; her work area is near to her home. She should not take a job in another city. Home is safer. Outside we have Rapists.

A girl somewhere is denied going out with her friends for a movie or an outing. Girls are not supposed to have fun. She can be allowed to go out if she is back before 8 in the evening. Before 8 is safer. After 8 there are Rapists.

She can go out and have fun, but make sure there are no boys in her group. Friends who are girls are safer. Friends who are boys are Rapists.

A girl somewhere is married at an early age. As soon as she becomes a problem of other person and not our liability, that would be better. She can have all her dreams fulfilled once she gets married, and if her husband, and his parents, and his relatives, all agree, only then. If she is married, she is safe. If unmarried, she will find Rapists.

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A girl, a woman, a child, an elderly lady; it does not matter what age you are; if you are a female; you will face the consequences of every rape; of every brutality done against women. There is no way out. We all will suffer. We all will feel shame. We all will live in fear. We all will feel helpless and hopeless. There is no way out.

The only way is to go through all this and still dream. Let these Rapists crush all our hopes and muffle our screams, but still shout the loudest we can; still, have hopes in our heart. Despite all, rise. Despite all, we have to Rise. Rise.

Rise, my girl!

Rise!!

Rise, because there is nothing scarier for these monsters than to see us Rise.

 

 

 

 

 

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