Friday, December 24, 2010

November: my favourite month

Hi everybody, congratulations and very best wishes! Tomorrow is Xmas, the gala day for the whole world. December is already on its way out. We will very soon welcome the New Year-2011- hoping and wishing that it would be luckier for the world community.

It is getting colder everyday. We have already armed ourselves with our thicker woolens and had to exert a lot rummaging through the recesses of cupboards and through piles in the big boxes meant for storage to find them. (I always forget where I have stored what.)

The following short article I penned down last month, articulating my feelings and observations about November.

November has gone by and December is slowly meandering into our lives with memories of hazy mornings and the dreaded smog which sometimes does not clear till mid day and throws life out of gear. November to my mind is the most gratifying and a very special month. It is comfy warm and not hot, it is cool but not cold. The sky stays clear blue, minus pollutants. The slight nip in the air makes the morning walk a treat. For a retiree like me (with due respect to the early morning walkers) going for a walk early in the morning is no compulsion either. Rather I prefer to venture out around eight, when the soothingly mild sun appears to be extending a gratuitous invitation to join him in his exploratory spree. The tête-à-tête with the sun continues during the brisk walk followed by a set of stretching exercises in the neighborhood park- an antidote for minor aches and pains- which bucks one up for the day. Both the mind and the body feel fresh and invigorated in the company of the objects of nature around.

However the icing on the cake is the sight of children of nearby villages, enjoying the November air, attired in their school uniforms marching happily to their respective schools. This human landscape indicates a fast improving literacy ratio and a hope of a better future for these children.

Festivals and special days abound in November. Diwali, India’s most colourful festival falls in this month followed by Bhai Dooj, Vishkarma day and Guru Nanak Dev ji’s birthday. It is auspicious for weddings too and spreads cheer and goodwill continuously.

The Western countries have Thanksgiving Day and November 11 is celebrated as Armistice-a day to remember those who died in World War-1. November 14 is world‘s Diabetes day and Jawahar Lal Nehru’s birthday. I am certain many more culturally specific events are associated with this month the world over.

November is an epicurean’s delight, as it has an enviable position in the cuisine front as well. There is surfeit of winter vegetables and fruits. For the initiated, it provides a great opportunity to cook and serve gourmet dishes and soups. Who can ignore the mouth watering, steaming hot paranthas’ stuffed with finely minced fenugreek leaves, grated cauliflower or radishes with dollops of butter and a bowl of perfectly set home made curd. And then sumptuous dinners signed off with finger licking carrot halwa garnished with generous handfuls of dry fruits. Seasonal specialties like sag and makki di roti- the hot favourites- are relished by children and adults alike.

November is kind to plants and other vegetation also. The trees in our colony are intact with their green power yet. My chrysanthemums are holding their heads high with lustrous flowers in red, yellow and white adorning their tops. Rose bushes in the park laden with fragrant blooms are a visual pleasure. My most prized herbal plant Tulsi stands strong, but I am devising a plan to save it from fast the approaching cold months. I always need its leaves to enrich my morning cuppa of tea, to which I have gotten used to over the years.

All said and done, I thank you November for your numerous benedictions and bounties. May your tribe increase!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

29th November: Reflections

Hi everybody,

This is the penultimate day of the month and I am in a reflective mood. During this month our aloneness was joyfully filled by the visit of our son for a few days. The continuity in the relationship got restored after a gap of more than two years. We enjoyed listening to the progress made by our grandsons in different spheres. We miss them terribly. So many times their innocent and sweet faces appear before my eyes and make me shower silent blessings. Distance does make heart grow fonder. No phone conversation can transmit the depth and warmth of your kinship with your near and dear ones!

November is also significant for the pleasantest weather.Morning walk is a treat. Basking in the mild sunshine upto 12 o' clock is invigorating and bucks you up for the day.Plenty of winter vegetables are available for savouring home cooked soups.Our mouths start watering at the sight of makki di roti and sarson da sag. One can see mounds of kinnows being sold on the road side. Lucky to drink fresh juice daily.Papaya ,apple and banana too are ubiquitous in this month. Bye bye Nov. and hail Dec for being always instrumental in ushering the new year!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drawing Room Monologues

Drawing room social interactions are no longer what they used to be some years back. In these days of fast paced life it is quite infrequently that one gets invited along with a few others for a cup of tea by a common friend or goes their by oneself on a once monthly visit. The lamentable scenario is that there is no more a friendly sharing of views in a relaxed atmosphere for the enjoyment of all. Instead an irritating proclivity to hijack or monopolize the conversation by one or two individuals has become the rule rather than the exception.

The nouveau rich class seems to have become afflicted with this malady to a large extent. On a visit to them one will be bombarded by their description of their new acquisitions including flashy cars, high class bath room fittings and updated wardrobe et al. If one dares to interrupt their drunken flow of ‘duck speak’, one’s voice is drowned in the unstoppable cacophony.

The sudden quantum jump- in salary packages of those in service or those whose children have landed lucrative jobs in fast expanding Indian economy- has metamorphosed them into immodest charlatans. In no time such families have been catapulted from a middle class social ladder to an upwardly mobile centric position. Their egos have soared sky high and good manners required for the smooth flow of a dialogue have taken a flight. Especially the ladies in such families have turned so disagreeable since the family’s income has more than doubled that their common sense has correspondingly dipped abysmally low. Wherever they are they never get tired of indulging in boastful talk and narrating inane and insipid personal details ad nauseam to the genuine but concealed mirth of those present.

Then there is another specimen who the moment you open your mouth to say something would compulsively cut you short half way and start recounting endless stories about himself with the sole purpose of being in the centre stage. The egotistic exhibition would ironically end up making him look sillier and insufferable. Out of courtesy the victims choose to suffer in silence than putting him in his place. But evidently the thick skinned bore does not ever learn his lesson and would keep on mauling the unsuspecting victim mercilessly even without a breather.

Now the question arises why some people indulge in such social insanities when contrary to their expectations this aggressive and crude behaviour on their part lowers them in the eyes of those who paradoxically they wanted to impress. Don’t they know that people actually start avoiding them and would turn the other way to save their skin from such inveterate and conceited bores.

Perhaps it stems from their internal insecurities which they try to hide by resorting to such unbecoming show off. In the run up to one-upmanship they end up becoming a pain in the neck of their listeners whom secretly people despise. Surely they urgently need to do some introspection and learn to behave in a socially acceptable manner. Rather than acting a monologue be advised to participate in a healthy dialogue.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mobile Mania

Talking on the mobile is the latest fashionable mania in India. It appears that mobile users have suddenly unearthed, hitherto, unknown relatives, friends and acquaintances and, by some magic have developed such camaraderie with them that chatting has become compulsive, bordering on addiction. It is hard to understand how, all of a sudden, people have attained the traits of being jolly, friendly and inseparable from each other at least through the airways. Like a smoker who touches his pocket every now and then to make sure that he carries a packet of cigarettes, the mobile users may forget anything but their set. It is a common sight to see a group of ladies having a walk with mobiles in their hand. For some, the use of the instrument has become as essential, as eating and sleeping. It is always a mystery to me, who, on the other end is so free and available, to be ready to indulge in the craze at all times. This tiny machine has made inroads into our personal lives in an unwholesome way. It enables young boys and girls to fix their rendezvous with each other very conveniently, circumventing the prying eyes and ears of their elders. It has become a sort of status symbol for the modern teens. The mobile companies leave no stone unturned to lure the youngsters through their innovative advertisements. “Don’t you think this newly created bonhomie will soon be translated into ‘too much familiarity breeds contempt’ syndrome?” A redeeming picture however -which is observable- is the constant smile which plays on people’s faces while engrossed in conversing.

The other day I witnessed an actual maddening act, on the part of a motorcyclist that would provide a novel idea even to the stuntmen. The man had tilted his head to an angle of 90 degrees and ensconced between his bent head and shoulder, was the object of this discussion. In this dangerously precarious position, he was busy chattering to glory, totally unmindful of the grave danger; his idiocy was posing to himself and others. None dared to intervene, because of past experience of lack of support by other road users, and the fear of what the roguish offender may do to you.

Another uncommon , but surely the one, which would be ubiquitous soon, is the picture perfect scenario of two persons on a scooter, and the one riding the pillion, holding the mobile near the ear of the driver who was talking incessantly, as if there is no tomorrow. People glued to it on roads, pathways, parks, rickshaws or driving a four wheeler is too common a sight to be mentioned.

This little object has taken away the element of surprise from our lives. When my children ask me for some ‘navi tajji’ (any news), I smile and point out that talking on phone so very frequently does not leave any new thing to be shared. We no longer sleep over any news. It has to be transmitted instantly and the mobile provides the perfect chance by its easy proximity. The peculiar emotion associated with waiting and being patient is replaced by instant satisfaction. Likewise the visual media has robbed us of our peace of mind, 24x7 keeping us excited by flooding our drawing rooms with minute to minute news of the world.

One of the major gainers of this invention to my mind is producers of family serials which are churned by Television channels day in and day out. For the writers of the daily episodes it has become so much easier with the pizzazz of machinations and conspiracies hatched and executed within the four walls, thanks to the perennial availability and various misuses of this very instrument.

It certainly has become a potent weapon for extortionists, kidnappers and rogues of all types, to scare their victims to compliance of their demands by issuing threats with the simulated blood curdling pitch of their voice from anywhere, anytime.

No doubt this medium of communication has helped the growth of small businesses and many other benefits accrue through it. But the wastage of time in frivolous talk is no prudence and should be religiously avoided. All said and done, life without this petite wonder now is unthinkable!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rain in the Mountains

I had come to the hills-Kumarhatti to be precise- to beat the heat of the plains. However, I was dismayed by the unexpected, unending dry spell. The morning walk was a stifling routine, sans pleasure; dust powdering the face and hair with the passing of every vehicle. Fortunately, last week of June proved blissful and heavenly for us and the withering vegetation on mountain slopes and sun scorched earth. For two successive days the rain gods showered their benedictions profusely. It drizzled, it rained and it poured. It was a much needed respite for wilting plants, shrubs and trees; yellow lifeless grass and parched soil. The spell of rain kindled life into tiny blades of grass which turned green overnight as if by a conjuring trick. The majestic pine trees regained their glory with pine needles exhibiting well rounded confidence. The hopes and prayers of hill people fructified and they got back their cheer and charm. Their hand pumps resumed pumping water and womenfolk were saved the back breaking chore of bringing water from distances. The dried up natural springs, water channels and rivulets sprang to life and beckoned the passers by, “Oh! Splash our water on your hot bodies and cool yourself inside out.”
The magic wrought by nature has to be seen to be believed. The refreshing walk after the rains threw a veritable visual feast of green shoots of plants and foliage which appeared suddenly and winked naughtily at us as if saying, “Aren’t you convinced now that this is Dev Bhoomi where gods and goddesses reside amongst simple, pious and uncorrupted people”. The lines written on the backs of their vehicles like jai Santoshi Ma, Bhawani Ma, Gango Ma, jai Shiv Bhole Nath and scores of others amply prove their unshakeable faith. The bounty of timely rains further strengthens theirs deeply religious beliefs. They express their gratitude through special prayers and midnight bhajan congregations. Many houses are afloat with tiny temple like structures on their roofs with red or yellow flags fluttering overhead.
After this, much sought after downpour, the tenements of locals looked washed and bright. The mood all around was upbeat and nothing could upstage the healthy, soothing and tickling cool of the weather, which was going to herald rejuvenation of man and nature in equal measure.
While lounging on the sofa and looking through the window, I could sense the hill slopes fully animated after quenching their thirst and having a tête-à-tête with the rain drops falling musically on the earth. While eavesdropping I could make out what the rain drops were murmuring to the slopes, “Don’t you worry, we would always be there for you to redress your grievances.”
Rains are the lifeline of agriculturists in hills. Over the next few days I saw neatly prepared small beds on the slopes being planted with rows and rows of tomato and bell pepper (Shimla Mirch) saplings and also seeds being sown for maize and other crops.
Since July the rainy season is in full swing. The rhythmic fall of raindrops lulls me into a wonderful feeling of inactivity filled with sweet day dreaming off and on. The sight of milky white sheets of clouds over the clear blue sky, after the rain stops and when sun tries to peek through the drifting clouds showcases a visual canvas of nature’s deft strokes. This game of ‘Hide and Seek’ between the sun and clouds is played many a time during the day. In the backdrop of approaching dusk the shapely tops of pines; swinging from side to side in the breeze gives the illusion of befriending the skies. The charisma of such wonders of nature instills hope in the human heart and leads one out of the furrows of day- to- day existence.
In hills rains have a distinct personality. Normally they come and go at their own sweet will. No warning is proclaimed in the form of rumbling and gurgling of thunder and flashes of white light of lightning. Even in the course of a single day the number of visitations of this beautiful entity can be counted. They arrive like a guest who is always welcome and is extended another invite before he departs. Unlike in plains it rains here in straight lines as if it passes through a mammoth sieve up above. Also it produces a soft and friendly musical beat minus slants and sweeps.
Thanks to the elixir of abundant rainfall, different varieties of flowers, bordering the flats have started blooming unannounced in a kaleidoscope of rioting colours in our complex. The journey from bud to blossom was sudden and short like a young girl’s developing curves and bright skin tone quite abruptly on attaining puberty.
Now and then, within minutes the whole area gets engulfed in mist, rising from the flanks of the mountains and visibility is considerably reduced. And at other times the outside is clouded with haze selectively and only parts of the scene are discernible. And then in no time mist is blown away showing everything so clearly once again. And one exclaims, “What a sight!! Is it Alice’s Wonderland? ” “How could Ruskin Bond not get inspired by such picture perfect natural settings for penning his inimitable short stories?”
In the midst of such splendour and indescribable beauty my head bows in gratitude for the munificence which nature bestows on us and my mind echoes John Keats’ line, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bond Wagon Pub.Tribune 25March2010

Bond Wagon
We are K. S.Sidhu and Mrs. M.P.Sidhu
Relationship: Husband and Wife
Time Together: 40 years
Same to Same: We were both in the same profession. He was teaching Chemistry at the University level and I was teaching English language and literature at the College level. We are retired now and we both are sticklers for perfection and believe in doing good deeds. Whatever we take on ourselves we put our heart and soul to accomplish it. We are wholly dependable and keep our promises. Though because of this trait we have been taken advantage of, but we carry on nevertheless.
We both love poetry and occasionally indulge in reading sessions together. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” is his favorite poem and mine is A.H. Clough’s “Say not the struggle not availeth.” In Punjabi we fully savour Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poetry - his magical and deft threading of words to express human pain, sadness, despondency and dejection intensely, lyrically and rhythmically.
Yet Different: Above apart we have opposite traits. Though he has mellowed down considerably with the passage of time, yet even now instinctively the man in him reacts in the negative to my opinions and assertions. It is another matter that he comes round to my view after some convincing. He is very intelligent and with his mathematical proficiency can manipulate numbers in his head whereas I fumble even computing vegetable bills. He is pragmatic and is ever ready to take up new challenges and is capable of bringing them to fruition. I largely evaluate the pros and cons of an action before embarking on it. He loves watching hockey and cricket on T.V. I almost skip the sports page of a newspaper.
Unforgettable Moments: I have many but I will share a few with you. On the day of our marriage-a long time back of course- immediately before the garlanding ceremony he presented me a bouquet of beautiful flowers. It was a pleasurable surprise and I was deeply touched as he had ordered it a few days back through somebody from a Chandigarh florist.
Other unforgettable moments are connected with our trip to Jammu and Kashmir way back in the first summer break after our marriage. We explored the heavenly valley driving in our Volkswagen, staying in rest houses and meandering through the exquisite gardens spread over Kashmir. For the first time we experienced staying in a house boat that too in the Dal lake of Srinagar.
The birth of our two children were the happiest moments of my life and most memorable. (M.P.Sidhu)
When I met her for the first time there and then I decided that I am to marry this girl. The other moment is at the time of the Doli ceremony when my daughter sat in the car with her husband to go to her in- law’s house I became so emotional that I cried profusely. (K.S.Sidhu)
Special Something: He is very, very special. He is my man ‘Friday’ and I am his most reliable assistant. When he fixes my leaking taps I stay at a calling distance to hand him over the wrench while he adjusts the washer at the right place. I hold the stool when he replaces my fused bulbs. When he hangs a picture on the wall I am at his side to pass the drill to bore a hole and also point out the marked spots-I can see them better from a distance- and then the hammer and the nail in the correct position to be struck in the hole. Consequently the job is impeccably discharged (unlike uncle Podger’s crooked effort).He is a sort of connoisseur in food tasting also and most of the time tells me accurately what is required.( M.P.Sidhu)
I am indebted to her the way she managed her professional and private life so very earnestly. (K.S. Sidhu)
Funny Takes: When she naively explains something very simple minutely I am amused but pretend that I am listening. (K.S.Sidhu)
Though he had been in and out of the kitchen many times yet would ask in a childlike manner what is for dinner, which makes me laugh! (M.P.Sidhu)
Wishful Thinking: “If wishes were horses beggars would ride” yet I can certainly state that I had had a wonderful life and absolutely no regrets. At the moment I only wish for his love, care and concern, nothing more and nothing less. (M.P.Sidhu)
I want her as she is! My only wish is she should work less hard and take care of herself more. (K.S. Sidhu)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

2nd anniversary celebrations of Eternal University, Baru Sahib, Himchal Pradesh, India.29th April 2010. There was a grand function organised which included cultural events such as classical dance, musical medley,solo music performances, a farcical comedy'The man who marries a dumb wife' a skit in Hindi on the scourge of superstition and a Himachali dance ',Natti'. I was the master of ceremonies and incharge of the preparation and rehearsals of all stage performances. But with the grace of God and co-operation of team members the programme was executed meticulously to my immense relief.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring’s Bounties

Spring the king of seasons is at its peak at the moment. Vegetation which was smarting under the bane of intense cold is back to its full glory. It is amazing to see the change wrought by nature around the house and mesmerizing to feel the beauty unleashed by assorted plants, shrubs and trees.

Spring ushers the rebirth of nature and brings hope to mankind of better days to come. A poet has echoed this sentiment so aptly, “No matter how long the winter spring is sure to follow.”

Around my front lawn lilies are in a rage of full bloom. While enjoying the sight in the fresh morning breeze and closely watching them, I noticed an unbelievable nature’s marvel. There were many reed like stems sprung up almost unobtrusively-in a short span of time- with a stylish bud on top of each stem which has loosened itself into full blossom in three days, first a pair then the third and lastly the fourth exactly in that order.

The few rose bushes, which I have, display a riot of colour not in the yard alone but in my drawing room also. I am crazy about the sight and smell of roses. I carefully remove some partly blossomed ones, cut their stems at an angle and let them float in a wide brimmed glass bowl filled with water. It provides soothing aroma and a visual delight for days together.

Chrysanthemum plants are already showing signs of rejuvenation after the onslaught of winter. ‘Curry Patta ’bush has come up with glistening leaves and tiny white flowers on the ends of the branches which are attracting buzzing bees and flitting butterflies. In due course of time these flowers will mature into seeds and fall along side the bush resurfacing in almost a crop of baby saplings in the rainy season.
I am an aficionado of growing household herbs and have two potted Aloe Vera which I grow for medicinal purposes. It has multiplied and stalks look healthy and fleshy. In a few days time, I am going to cut the stalks, scoop the flesh from inside and preserve it in the fridge. Where a few months ago stood my Tulsi plant burnt with cold has now a mushrooming of tiny Tulsi saplings. I am waiting for them to grow a bit more before I start using the fresh leaves in my morning cuppa of tea. Mint bed is filling itself again with dark green fresh looking leaves ready for pudina cutney season.

Two huge Neem trees grow along the outer side of my house (mine is a corner house).They too are having new shoots now but after inundating the area with shed leaves to the chagrin of my gardener. The bougainvillea shrubs nearby are in full splendour of pretty looking yellow, pink, red and purple flowers. The squirrels are having a field day scurrying up and down the neem. The cuckoo is already in a joyous mood and coo coos perched on the mango tree budding profusely.

The cycle of renewal is so spontaneous and automatic in nature that we hardly notice its movement. Though we have evolved in the midst of nature but in the race of life have severed our umbilical relationship with it. This sentiment is succinctly expressed by W.H .Davies in his poem ‘Leisure’, where he says “what is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” By abusing the flora and fauna man is inviting its own annihilation. It is heartening that so many organizations are coming forward to save the planet earth through the medium of their various campaigns. I hope they succeed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Women’s clubs serve a useful purpose

(published in Life Style magazine of The Tribune dated 25th February,2010)

Women’s clubs have become ubiquitous in upper middle class communities and are considered to be an important medium of social networking. In the modern day fast pace life when leisurely visits around neighbourhood have become few and far between these provide opportunities for the ladies to meet and interact with each other once fortnightly or monthly. The members are mostly a medley of all adult age groups. The meetings are hosted by turn and the menu is always kept simple: a cup of tea and two healthy snacks.

I am a member of two such clubs and always look forward to the periodic get - together. These are running very successfully and make me feel a part of the neighbourhood.

Apart from the socializing and entertainment angle (we play two tambola games and it is such fun) the attend freshens me up and updates me about the goings on in my locality. There is always a healthy exchange of views on household remedies, cooking tips about individually tried recipes and pros and cons of certain specific exercises for common problems faced by many. The gaiety, cheer and camaraderie which are generated prove a
stress buster for all.

There is generally a tête-à-tête about important tasks which require attention and efforts are made to pass on the suggestions to the appropriate welfare association of the area. Such steps lead to the redressal of grievances.

Most importantly such kitty clubs act as a sort of anti-depressant particularly for non working ladies by giving them a chance to escape household drudgery and enjoy some change of environment at least for a short time. Definitely it helps all to unwind.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Amber, the Little Nymph

When Amber arrived in the world there was rapturous joy and jubilation. We had stayed put in her parents’ house waiting with bated breath for her, our angel’s arrival. We had the first glimpse of her at the hospital when the nurse placed the cherubic bundle in her mother’s lap to the unbounded pleasure of all gathered there. There she was resplendent with a peach and pink complexion in contrast with the milk white wrap around her and a glowing serenity pervading on her face. It took sometime for the truth to sink in that our darling Amber for whom we had been waiting for the last many months is actually before us.

Her first bed was the crib beside her mother’s bed and a slight nudge on it startled her as if conveying that the realties of this harsh world were too much as compared to the secure haven of her mother’s womb.

Finally after a few days Amber was homeward bound sitting in the infant seat of her papa’s car. With her homecoming the atmosphere in the house changed dramatically. There was a flurry of activities around her. All four of us started scurrying to and fro in tending to her needs which were a lot many.

Our moods went up and down based on her condition. We were happy when she was smiling and cooing and our faces fell immediately when she threw up most of the milk while burping(which was as essential as the milk itself).But when she burped without spilling our faces lighted up as if with a sense of great achievement.

Thus was spent the first semester - alternating between moments of sheer joy , her bouts of colic pains and our panic reactions. All this and much more went into making Amber grow into a sweet, cute, charming and chirpy little princess.

Now whenever her parents ask her to say cheese before clicking her picture her face instinctively broadens into a bewitching smile and takes on the contours of a classic beauty. Already her precociousness comes to the fore through her passion for books and her communication skills. She goes to the children’s library with her mom and selects story books by intently looking at the illustrations (she does not know how to read yet).She is going to be four soon and what a joy to us! We her doting grandparents only wish and hope that she attains excellence in whatever she takes upon herself to do and in the process makes a difference somewhere!

Friday, February 12, 2010


It was a cold January morning a few years back when Ma crossed the threshold of life and embarked on an unknown journey never to return. For the last some days memories of her love, courage, selfless service, simplicity and high integrity came flooding, submerging my being with the thoughts of her.

Marriage to the youngest son of a large joint family at the tender age of sixteen was no cake walk for her. With an absentee husband-he was serving in the army-who was not allowed to take her along- she suffered ill treatment at the hands of her in- laws. But Ma weathered it all stoically for the sake of her two children.

I was four years when my father took premature retirement. By that time we had shifted to the city. We had hardly settled when he purchased a farm in Uttar Pradesh and went on to live there. Once again Ma was left alone with five of us under her wings. I recall how single-handedly and courageously she managed the household, us children and our education. She had such strength of character that I don’t remember any occasion when she had brooded or felt irritated for being encumbered with so many duties. Father used to join us in between the sowing and harvesting season with a lot many goodies though.

In the early sixties father sold his farm and we moved to Chandigarh. Once more Ma’s determination and grit was put to test when our house was being built and she bore the brunt of resettling for a short period in a cramped accommodation in a part of the adjoining house.

Herself a great cook for whom making pickles and sweets and many fancy dishes was second nature, she wanted to teach me her culinary skills. She always impressed upon me the need to learn household chores along with my studies. She saw to it that I learnt everything and in the process gifted to me a life long asset which is a tribute to her foresight from a grateful daughter.

Ma was an extremely giving person. After all of us were married and left home, she would celebrate our birthdays by cooking something special and visiting the Gurudwara to offer prayers and Prasad. On our every visit to her she would always keep ready a dish of my choice, some money in the envelope and dress material to gift me at the time of our departure. She would reproach me if ever I took something for her. “Don’t you know I have enough of everything?” The word ‘lack’ did not exist in her dictionary.

She felt deeply lonely after my father’s demise but her resilience and indomitable spirit won and she declined to stay with any of her children. To compromise on her dignity and freedom was never an option for her. God had been kind to her and she remained physically agile and mentally alert till almost the last days of her life. Her commune with her Maker was through her love of nature. Watering and tending to her potted plants and sprawling rose bushes was her pastime and her passion which she never missed. She knew parts of Gurbani by heart and would recite it at a fixed schedule in the mornings and evenings. She was a prolific story teller also and when we were young she used to narrate to us incidents from Mahabharta and life histories of Sikh Gurus.

Ma would watch TV for news and her favourite serials and would express her opinion on them with the conviction and confidence of a well read critic. She was proud of me and loved me immensely but did not hesitate to remind me when I was taking her around my newly built house that it was a blessing of Waheguru and I should always thank Him. She was absolutely sans hubris but would not stand lies, hypocrisy, rapacity and  stayed truthful under all circumstances.

She would dreamily talk about her own death without even a hint of regret or remorse. The call from above did come one day and she passed away after a brief illness. Ma has merged with the Almighty but her sweet presence seems to be pervading the atmosphere around me perpetually, blessing me, inspiring me and exhorting me never to lose heart and carry on.

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”
George Washington 

This beautifully sums up my feelings for Ma!

Friends, welcome here as always!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Home Remedies

This is the second post on my blog. Like yesterday today too is a cloudy and dull day and I am sipping ginger tea after hair bath and typing this. When I was a young girl I remember my mother taking ginger tea in the evenings and tulsi tea in the mornings .She would cajole us to drink some but we always spurned her offer. Later on in life I faced many health problems and the herbal remedies suggested by her and reinforced by my own research, experimentation and experience helped me a lot in getting relief from many ailments without paying visits to doctors.

I wish to do the motherly act of sharing those home remedies by putting them in words to be read by all the daughters in the world.

The benefits of Tulsi: it is a very valuable herb and is grown in many homes in a vacant spot or in a pot .It has numerous medicinal properties and helps to cure cough, colds bronchitis and fever .It is anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and general feel good herb. While preparing your morning cup of tea, add a few leaves of fresh tulsi to the boiling water, reduce heat and let it simmer for a minute; you will love the green hue of the water and then prepare tea in the regular way. It will be refreshing, rejuvenating and energizing. You will feel the effect within a few days. In case of mild fever due to cold or exhaustion, drink a cup of hot tulsi tea, lie down and cover yourself with a blanket from head to toe, try to relax, in no time you will break into sweat and fever goes away. Daily intake of tulsi tea detoxifies and clears intestinal worms. Because of its manifold qualities it is worshipped in many homes. In my next post I will talk about some other important herb. Do let me have your feedback.