As we all know, the recent headlines has been that the Women’s cricket team is doing extremely well in the World Cup tournament. Even though the viewership has increased to watch women play cricket or any other game, there is this chauvinistic mentality to not watch women play sports and where they doing it extremely good too.
Any sport is a combination of strength and technicality. Some require a need for greater strength, some need more technical execution. Some sports are a treat to the eyes like synchronized swimming or floor exercise in gymnastics; while visual beauty is appreciated, the hard work behind it for such perfect performance is looked over.
The application of strength or technical precision or a mixture of these two, on the arena or field and to remain calm in a tension packed zone and perform well too – all these require the sports person to be well balanced in body and mind.
So why the bias in watching women’s sports and especially those when they are performing well?
This is the western sky, you see
Which is in glee
After a drizzle spree
Owing to my plea 😀
Linking this with Skywatch Friday!
When the sky is the drawing sheet
Upon which the patterns are drawn…
Crayons were used for this
To create a different effect…
The crayons so white
On a blue sheet
Creates those white cloud patterns
By spreading the wax
With the thumb…
Isn’t it how this picture was created!?!
Many thanks to the dear person who sends me pictures of the cloud and sky, all the way from Scotland ❤
Today is a day of high-strung emotions.
I went to the temple, as always on Saturdays. Just as I was about to start my pradakshinam, I saw a little girl hugging her father so tightly. Her face was glowing with her love. Even though the father found the hug a bit too tight, he was revelling in her love for him.
That moment broke the tear dam, which was holding up for a long time.
I wiped my tears and started the pradakshinam.
Then came running two small girls, in polka-dotted frocks, all smiling and absolutely happy to be there. That was the next moment. The tears couldn’t be controlled.
What’s this with these little girls and their showing of love, that breaks me down!!
When my elder one was little, she used to wait for her Appa to come back from work. She’ll be looking out for him, from the bedroom window. Since her height was an issue, she used to stand on the cot’s head stand and look at the window with wide opened eyes. Among all the bikes that passed our home, she’ll rightly identify her Appa’s with the sound of the engine. And will start shrieking with joy looking at him and waving to him.
Now, there is a role reversal. The father and the mother put together wait to see their little girl run towards them…
I am holding strong. But there are days when that strength fails you in comparison to the love thread in between.
To put in one simple line – an emotionally strung mother is missing her daughters!
Watching the sky, looking for shapes in the clouds started as a mere pastime, which has turned into an obsession now a days.
Have you seen those cricket batsmen looking up to the sky as they enter the ground to bat ? They pray for a good innings score for them or for their team.
Whenever I sit in the car heading out to work, I also look up to the sky, to my front, side, back, actually all possibilities. But my only reason for looking is to catch a glimpse of a beautiful pattern or even a clear blue sky. I love watching it.
Today, has been gloomy so far. The sky is a dull grey. I don’t know if it will rain or not. But here I am trying to post some amazing patterns from my archives, which can make me feel happy and energised in an instant.
A picturesque field, which makes me wonder if its a painting!
When man made structures and God-made coconut trees form a perfect shadow to the beautiful sunset!
Somehow this leafless tree looks so damn good against this backdrop…l love it!
Linking this with Skywatch Friday 🙂
…has been and always will be “Idly maavu in the refrigerator”…ha ha…did you for a minute think that I am going to talk about the man in my life ?? 😉 He is there…always there. But Idly maavu (batter) is for both of us, you see.
With Sundays converted as work days for me, the handy man is the Idly maavu. I can make idlies for breakfast which is quick. And when I get home tired from work, I just have to close my eyes and make dosa and eat and sleep. You see, its a pleasure to not to think about “what to cook” 😀
I just keep making different vegetables for lunch. But this constant Idly maavu is what makes my life easier.
I might get into the mood to make upma, pongal or poori for breakfast, provided the constant is stocked in the fridge always. And when the maavu goes below the mark of “one more day to go”, I get jittery. All I can think that its time is to soak rice and dal for making the idly maavu.
I wonder what’s this funny relationship between me and this maavu or perhaps idly or dosa? These thoughts keep coming to me now and then, edging me to write about it.
Anyway, my constant is FULL now. One more week of utter bliss awaits me. Also with a batch of adai maavu, I feel well stocked…ha ha…the foodie me never stops thinking of food 😉
Awesome colors in the sky
Sunset or sunrise…
People see them
High up above
And think of me
And shares with me
For me to post
And show the whole world!
There are lovely people
Who knows what I like…
I cherish them all
They are a blessing
In my life!
This phrase has been with me for as long as I can remember – malligaipoo mathiri idly irukanum (Idly should be like jasmine flower)!
My amma used to make the softest idlies which I can remember. Those days, she never used a cooker for steaming the idlies. The big iron kadai (irumbu ilupachatti) was half filled with water and brought to a boil. The big circular idly mold (idly thattu) which has molds for 7 idlies was covered in a white wet cloth cut in the shape of a circle. Idly batter was poured on the cloth exactly on top of the mold, which held the batter intact. This idly thattu fitted exactly on the iron kadai. A tomb shaped lid was used to cover the idly thattu. When the idlies were done steaming, the whole house could smell it. That was the power of cooking, which can evoke the senses even before we started to eat. The idly thattu was removed from heat. Then water was sprinkled on the idlies, which helped them to cool fast so that they can fall off easily from the cloth. A big plate was used to collect the idlies from the idly thattu. Using the cloth for steaming helped in maintaining the moisture content so that idlies remained soft for a long time.
These idlies were soft…amazingly. We can bite into it without any great effort. And yet they held on to the shape and they don’t break at the touch of human fingers. Its no wonder that the softness quotient was compared to that of a malligaipoo.
Now, the major ingredient for that amazing softness is the urid dal (ulutham paruppu). The correct proportion of this dal is required for that right amount of softness. Less the urid dal, harder the idlies. Similarly, when the urid dal is more, then idlies are not fluffy – they come out as flat discs. After choosing the right proportion of urid dal, it is important to soak it for the right amount of time. Long hours of soaking will make the urid dal accumulate froth and starts smelling too and needs excessive cleaning. Ideally one hour is enough for the urid dal to soak to the right consistency. And while grinding the urid dal, the right amount of water should be used so that the batter is fluffy and soft. Grinding for a long time will make the batter loose its fluffiness.
Rice can be soaked for a long time, no restrictions there. But the rice should be ground enough that its neither too soft to touch nor too coarse. A light coarseness is good for idlies and for crispy dosas too. A very fine rice batter is good for dosas but not for idlies. A balance needs to be achieved here.
After getting all these proportions and grinding consistency to the right level, the right amount of salt should be added for proper fermentation. Depending on the temperature of the place we live in, the batter should be left out for fermentation. Ideally 4 to 5 hours is enough for a warm place like Chennai. There is another important factor – using our hand to mix salt will induce our body heat to the batter. And accordingly the fermentation will happen faster or slower. We need to watch the batter for fermentation levels and accordingly refrigerate it, so that the batter doesn’t turn sour.
When I write the whole thing down, it sure sounds like a lot of instructions and rules to follow. I’ve grown with all these small tit bits ingrained into the soul by practice and a lot by observing amma and paati. My paati used to grind idly batter for others in the colony and me and my sister were assigned the work of grinding all those batches. Years of grinding it, day after day, to the same consistency makes it a part of the soul.
This batter is sure to give idlies as soft as the malligaipoo and will melt in the mouth too. The softness is so crucial as it can absorb the idly milagai podi spiciness or the tangy taste of the sambar so well.
Today’s idlies came out amazingly soft to touch, melt in the mouth kind and the chef in me is very happy at the outcome!
If you see keenly, you can actually see the air pores in the idly, which conforms that they are light and soft.
Also, I try my level best to make the batter at home. I’ve tried commercially sold batter once or twice and I hated myself for buying it – they were tasteless and idlies came out very hard to bite. Somethings are better when done at home, especially the idly batter.
I touched a chord somewhere in a dear person’s heart, when I wrote about my paati. And when she wanted to share a few things about her paati, I am just thrilled.
Please welcome Ms. Swarna Venkataraman, where she has tried to give words to her emotions on her paati.
My paati – an inspiration and strength
She was so beautiful, inside out! She looked so radiant in her glittering ear studs, which she used to wipe clean everyday with her sari pallu to make them glitter more. Actually it was her personality that glittered all through. Her 9 gajam pudavai felt rightly made for her. And that kumkum pottu on her forehead was such a magnet. She always chose to use the dark majenta color kumkum and somehow it suited her so well.
There are days like these when I keep pondering about her a lot – the way she tied her sari or the way she polished her ear studs or how her mookuthi shone on her nose or the way she sat on that oonjal – small details like that and I am overwhelmed with emotions about her.
My Kunjamma paati! Her actual name Kamalambal refers to the Goddess Lakshmi and she looked and lived like that Goddess – always smiling, always giving to anyone and everyone who came to her. It’s a feat extraordinary to have brought together the families of all her children and their children.
Many a times I’ve prayed for inner strength like her as she held together a family of 9 adults and 19 children! She was a great administrator taking care of every small detail in the running of such a big household. Even though my thatha and mamas were there around, it was always paati who used to organize things for every function or event.
I strive hard every day to make paruppu thogaiyal like her but I can’t compete with a legend. Thinking of that keerai masiyal made in a kal chatti or a vetha kuzhambu makes me yearn for those childhood days!
The most amazing thing that I can remember about my paati is that she can milk the cows at home. And those cows knew her so well that they will not allow anyone else to milk them, of course except the guy appointed for that purpose. The knack and skill she possessed to handle the cows always made me stand in awe of her.
She had an excellent voice and knew a lot of songs. If I close my eyes and listen carefully, I can hear her singing the Dikshitar kriti Akilandeswari set to ragam Dwijavanthi and that is capable of stirring my soul.
Every now and then, I remember her through a song, through a dish, through a sari color, through the passing cattle by my home and I feel so blessed to have been there with her.