Monday, April 27, 2009

Biodegradable dish ware..

...sounds sophisticated?


..... a new entrant?

It is nothing else but the palm leaves (sheaths) that have been used since ages for various purposes in parts of India and I believe in most Asian countries. It is from the Areca Palm or the Betel tree as it is widely known in India whose nuts are used by betel/pan chewers. In Malayalam the sheath is known as “pala”. The same material is also used to make those umbrella like hats used by farmers that are now almost extinct. As children we used to sit on the palm leaves and be dragged along and even toppled! It was pure fun.

But it is this photo feature on Time that caught my attention and I was amused by the trendy name being given to it. Most of us have used the plantain leaves for our “sadhyas” and for those yummy “pothi choru” during train journeys. I have seen even these sheaths being used for such purposes but it now delights me to know that mass production of it is taking place (I read that it has been there since year 2006) in India and picnic goers in US will now use these instead of plastic plates.

Wonder why we in India discarded these for the plastic plates.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Motherhood... a never ending journey...

Have been tagged by Smitha and IHM; both versatile bloggers and great Moms, to write about motherhood. Let me try and do some justice.

Motherhood…. the word that has the most warmth and hopefulness.

Nothing else in this world can change a person and the world overnight! At first it is the excitement of waiting eagerly to see what one has produced [of course jointly :)]. And can one be blamed if one sees it as the perfect creation? My sonogram taken only since the doctor requested, predicted 90% boy child and hence we were totally surprised and delighted to find our first born to be a girl.

When one embarks upon the journey of motherhood, you want everything to go perfectly. This child should feel nothing wanting; not if one can help it. You strive to be a better mother than your own... and can we ever be? Ah..from there starts the incredible journey of discovering your own mother/father in bits and pieces.

My mother was at home for me but that luxury was something I had to forgo. But then I never wanted to be a stay at home mother until I became a mother! Strange?

The endless burping that kept the little one awake after I fed her.. was it all those oranges that I sneaked in since only a glass of water was allowed? (to tighten one’s stomach they say and with no internet nor my own mother, I was under the mercy of the midwife!)

The first day of work and you have to leave your precious with the maid. I dreaded it and would have done anything to change it.

The endless phone calls with the exasperated maid (and countless thereafter that we had to experiment with) . Can’t I just trust them?

The days flew too fast until we discovered by accident that the next one was due soon! (And was it not for “accidents” we would have never gone for the second and hence would have missed the next bundle of joy!)

The sneaked in kisses to the little one who came in a little too early, so as not to offend our first born. Was it jealousy that I saw on her face? How it hurt me to see that look on her face. How could I ever make her understand that she was equally precious to me? And this task continues; the mystery of sibling rivalry shall never be solved they say. Sometimes they purposely use it to test us.

Then you discover that you daughter just like yourself thinks her father is the perfect one. I pray that she, just like her own mother will do her very best for her dear father. As for son; he knows how to make a fool of both the parents. And after a while you surrender your “know all” attitude and offer “pranam”. Yea we have to grow up and change in time with the kids.

So before I go on and on endlessly let me list the few things that I can remember and love about motherhood, if I have not already stated them!

• It is the most life changing event. Nothing prepares one for it but once you get the little one in your hands then motherhood comes to you naturally. All those tiny doubts vanish and you are left with entirely new ones which you never fathomed!

• If one needs to understand the Almighty then motherhood / fatherhood is the best school. Your kids teach you the true meaning of unconditional love. While we as parents also give unconditional love, showing it is not equally spontaneous ( reminds me yet again to demonstrate the love that I have for them). As for one’s faith.. if one has not developed it along with the ups and downs of motherhood then I think nothing else can do it so well.

• Do you cry in front of strangers? Yes.. motherhood makes you to do that. Motherhood exposes one’s vulnerability and there is nothing that you can do about it. You are capable of emotions (even anger) in an entirely new way. You take interest in every event/article that maybe remotely connected with your children.

• Dreams….you stop dreaming for yourself, and pick up your children’s dreams. (not a good practice?) The dreams can vary as years go by. Son wanted to be a police Inspector until the recent Bombay massacre. Then it was the army or a fighter pilot. As for daughter, we have no idea from where she picked up the idea of Indian Civil Service.. but we keep hearing lofty dreams. “Can I keep those roads perfect if I become a “Collector”?” “I shall ban all the cigarette companies if I become a “Collector”” ah.. If only she knew! Our textbooks, schools and our country have not failed to inspire our children, if only we could keep those flames alive. I dream for my children a country devoid of corruption and where our youngsters will not turn cynical and where their dreams are not quashed.

• Politics was Greek to me and a subject I abhorred until motherhood forced me to look into it. I realized that my children’s future is entwined with the politics and economics of my country and I started paying attention to dear Hubby. Now, the news channel is what gets my most attention!

• Motherhood/parenthood makes one finally understand your parents. Your parents become more precious to you.

Over the years we always wish we could have done it differently! The quest for perfect mothering never ends…...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be ragged or else be damned?

When did we start seeing “ragging” as a part of college curriculum?

Is ragging necessary to mould a student?

I have heard students and teachers justify “ragging”. They say it helps a person to face the real world. Is it so? Will the scars of ragging ever fade? And sometimes the scars can be physical too as in this recent case in a reputed college in Coimbatore.

Another ragging incident jolts India
Sunday, 12.04.2009, 08:29am (GMT)
Kochi/Coimbatore : Ragging extends to be a threat in colleges despite severe stricture passed by the Supreme Court to ban it.

Another shocking incident has come to light this time in Tamil Nadu. The incident dates back to March 8, a day after the medical student buckled under to injuries inflicted by his seniors at a private-run institute in Himachal Pradesh.

A 19-year old fresher at the PSG College of Arts and Science in Coimbatore was ragged savagely, nearly losing his eye.

Akil Dev is now recouping at his home in Kochi, and has underwent two operations in the eyes so far.

New Delhi, Friday 13 March 2009:

In another shocking incident of a student being ragged in college, a girl student of an agriculture engineering college in Andhra’s Baptla town has attempted suicide. The 20-year-old student of the Government Agriculture Engineering College attempted suicide after allegedly being ragged and physically abused by her seniors.
Reports say that, the alleged victim was forced to strip and dance as part of ragging. Embarrassed by the entire episode, she consumed a hairdye solution and collapsed. Some reports also state that it may have been pesticides that she consumed.

The meaning of Ragging:

- to scold somebody persistently or vehemently
- to subject somebody to persistent teasing or taunting

Yes, it is taunting as a start and those who resist the taunting are then subjected to torture.

I remember my hostel days in Trivandrum where one student in our batch was caught ragging her juniors. The punishment that was meted out was for the whole batch and I still remember standing in the open area in the middle of the hostel and writing imposition. We did try to have a little fun out of it, but none of us ever wanted to rag. And none of my friends ever found ragging fun and I don’t remember being ragged. But the scene has changed over the recent years and now students are scared to join some colleges in fear of ragging. I have heard it myself from parents and students. Some parents were forced to seek admission in “safer” colleges for their wards after having paid the fees and when the wards refused to continue. Some students eventually lose a year for this sake. Do we call these students “chicken hearted”? I do not think so. Even if a student end up being a total “nerd” for not having interacted normally with the students, I guess it would be fine than scarring him/her permanently. And our world does need such students too.

I was relieved to find this on the web:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Vishu!

Happy Vishu to all!

Soon after Vishu celebrations will come the Lok Sabha elections and let us hope that the best candidates are selected.

Meanwhile, it is time to think about our vacation since we already purchased our tickets!

This time we are going a little early since there is a marriage in the family.

Hubby is busy checking the roads that he would like to cover this time and I as usual cannot resist reminding him that we make plans every time while only some of them materializes. He has found new roads to reach Calicut through places that we both have never seen. I also keep reminding him that it is a shame that we have never seen Fort Cochin! It is also some years since we visited Ooty and I would like to take the trip to Mudumalai once again and visit Wayanad too.

Last year we could drive down Munnar,

through Chinnar wildlife sanctuary, Marayur Sandal Wood forest, Malakkapara, Sholayar forest ranges to reach Athirampally and Vazhachal.

The drive through the Sholayar forest was a treat!

Although the roads were bad, the thrill of going through deserted roads through the middle of thick forest was a treat. We did see a few wild animals but since we were advised to get out of the road before 6 PM we did not stop much on the way.

Besides we saw fresh elephant dung on the roads and our imaginations ran wild. Hubby who was behind the steering wheels was having a time of his life. The scenes were picturesque and we saw only 2 vehicles during our almost 4 hours drive.

We had a glimpse of the Peringalkuthu & Sholayar Dams and was actually relieved to reach Athirapally; only to find that the waterfall was closed to visitors after 5 PM.

We watched the beautiful falls from afar before driving to Calicut.

Sure nothing is definite these days ( remembering Lehman brothers is enough to drive this point home!)

If all our plans do not materialize the way we dream, the visit to Kumarakom (which is the nearest tourist destination for us) to have another glimpse and taste of the following scene (for which there are takers from the above 70 year category too) cannot be missed at any cost!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vote for BJP!

Why am I saying that?

Did it suddenly dawn on me that BJP is better than Congress? (2 main National parties).

Frankly speaking it hasn’t. Sitting far away from the election heat and die hard voters who may influence my opinion, it was easy to watch both parties impartially. And none of them scored better until I picked up just this from Adwani.

"If NDA returns to power then we’ll force Indian citizens to bring back their wealth to India and use the money here.”

Earlier I did read email forwards on this “Swiss money” but kept wondering if it could be really true. But then the cynic in me told that every political party and their benefactors would have their share. If money can be so easily stashed away by ruling parties then BJP just did not have enough time to siphon it!

But now they have a chance to prove that they are different. If this is not just an election rhetoric and if Advani really has the nation’s interest at heart then he needs to keep no other promise. This money is more than enough to take India on the onward road to glory that it truly deserves.

And today I read this article from S Gurumurthy. His articles have always been thought provoking and at times provocative too. But then truth sometimes hurts.

Secret wealth abroad

02 Apr 2009 08:11:30 AM IST

Switzerland has been accused of giving shelter to black money and there has been a lot of inflow of such wealth from India and other countries of the world.” This is not L K Advani, on election mode, speaking last Sunday, but the Swiss ambassador to India briefing the media in Delhi last year.

The occasion was the 60th anniversary of Indo-Swiss Friendship Treaty. Admitting that Indian black money gets hoarded in his country, he added that the new law in Switzerland would, not stop it, but control it “up to a certain limit”.

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