Raw Mango Poha (Flattened Rice Flakes) – Two Versions And A Bonus Recipe


The good news is that poha is gluten-free and it is full of nutrition. I did not know that it is also a good pre biotic and probiotic food. Sangeeta Khanna is a Delhi based food and nutrition consultant and a very versatile food blogger (No, not the fashionable sorts). Her blog is informative as well as a treasure chest of easy to make healthy recipes. It is from her posts I came to know about the probiotic qualities of poha (flattened rice flakes).  The microbial flora, generated after parboiling and fermentation in the process of making flattened rice, provides superior food value as well as partially digested proteins and carbohydrates. (Thank you for this valuable information dear Sangeeta. )

Poha has been a part of our daily meals since childhood and we make various versions of it from matar poha, kanda poha (onion poha), batata poha (with potatoes), dadpa poha, poha with mixed veggies, dahi poha or tak poha (with buttermilk), doodh poha (with milk)  or the healthy toasted chivda mixture with peanuts, curry leaves, roasted gram etc as a snack but today I will share two very different recipes with raw mango. I used a raw mango which was in a hurry to ripen and had a very delightful flavour and sweet-sour taste. I love mangoes in any form and use it raw as well as cooked in variety of dishes. Green raw mango is full of B vitamins, Vitamin A and Vitamin C  which is highly beneficial in strengthening the immunity system of the body. It of course has great taste and many curative properties too. It is also a good source of calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. You can make a  variety of pickles, aam panna (drink), chutney (with mint and coriander or coconut), salsa, or toss it in salads, rice, poha, daal (amti) as a souring agent and for flavour. Many local indian cuisines use raw mango in food preparations. Manhi from Himachal Pradesh is one such side dish.

What you can do with ripe mangoes, apart from eating them with total passionate devotion, is mind-blowing.

 Kairi Poha or Raw Mango poha ( version 1 ) 

 

You will need :

Poha (Flattened/beaten rice) – 100 gms

Raw mango/ kairi/ ambiya – 1 small  diced in small cubes ( I used the one which was firm, green but slightly ripeing. It had a slight sweetness to the basic sour flavour)

Red onion – 1/4 cup (optional)

Asafoetida (Hing) – 1 pinch

Mustard Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

Dry Urad daal- 1/2 teaspoon

Dry chana daal – 1/4 teaspoon

Fresh Curry leaves – 4-5

Whole red chili – 1 small

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

 

Fresh coriander leaves – For garnish

Grated coconut (fresh) – For garnish (optional)

Oil – 1 tablespoon ( I used Olive Oil)

Lemon – To squeeze the juice as garnish if desired

 

Method –  

Take clean poha in a sieve or colander and wash it under running filtered water. Gently puff it a few times. Set it aside. fluff it wit ha fork or fingers to keep them from sticking together.

Heat the oil in pan. Keep the flame on low.

Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal. When the seeds begin to splutter add curry leaves, red chili  and finely chopped onion (optional) If not adding onion then add raw mango and poha and stir. If adding onions, let them become translucent before adding raw mango pieces and poha.

Add salt, turmeric powder and stir well. ( You can use little red chili powder and chopped green chilies too. It all depends on what flavour you prefer. )

Keep it covered for five minutes and remove the lid. Stir gently and add chopped fresh coriander leaves. Mix.

Take it out in a serving bowl, top up with some fresh coconut if you like it and squeeze some lemon juice if required. Eat when its hot and fragrant.

Mango Poha  ( Version 2 ) – A summer Salad

This recipe was originally posted at Healthfood Desi videshi by Sangeeta Khanna) . She used ripe mango while I just changed it to the sightly ripe raw mango.

This one is a delicious salad and can be assembled in a jiffy. I loved the taste of the rawness of the mango in this. Perfect cooling meal for summer days and for days when either you don’t want to churn up a full meal or want to give your tummy a small break from all the spicy meals you have devoured. The poha as I said earlier, is gut friendly and often helps it to calm down.

Ingredients – 1 cup poha

Raw mango (slightly ripening) –  1/2 cup cut into small cubes

Red onion – 1 small, chopped roughly

Fresh coriander greens – 4 tablespoon

Red chili powder – A pinch or (finely chopped fresh green chilli as i used)

Raisins – 8-10 ( I didn’t put peanuts)

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of lime juice

The idea is to balance the heat from chillies, the sweetness and sour flavour from mangoes and the hotness of red onions, as Sangeeta mentioned in her recipe. Adding raisins replaced the use of sugar for me.

Method –

Take clean poha in a colander or sieve and wash it properly under filtered water. Keep aside to drain.

If using the thick variety or the brown one you will need to keep it for a longer duration.  Fluff it up a bit to keep the flakes separate.

Meanwhile chop onions and put them in the mixing bowl. Dice mango into small cubes, cut coriander greens and green chilli and add to the onions.

Now, add the soaked poha, salt, pepper, raisins and mix well. Taste a little to adjust the flavours.

This recipe is no fuss, no cooking required  kind and is delicious to say the least. The fresh flavours of all the ingredients make it a really winner.

Serve it at room temperature and immediately after preparing. The cold pieces of sweet sour mangoes taste divine with mushy raisins and smooth poha.

Do try. It can’t get easier than this and the sinful taste of raw mango drizzled with just the right amount of red chili or cayenne pepper is simply divine.

Bonus Recipe :D

As an added bonus I am having Dahi poha (Curd Poha) too. Blame it on the weather and Delhi belly. Here is a quick recipe for that too.

1/2 cup flattened rice or poha

1 cup beaten curd (preferably homemade)

salt – to taste

mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

fenugreek seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

curry leaves – 5-6

Whole red chili or fresh green chili broken in two pieces  – 1 medium

Oil – 1 teaspoon

Freshly grated ginger 1/2 inch

 

Prepare poha like you did for previous two recipes. Take fresh curd in a large big bowl and beat it with a little salt (to taste). No lumps should stay. If it’s too thick you can add a little water, tak(buttermilk) or cold milk) to make it just the right consistency.

The poha soaks up the curd so keep the proportions in mind. Curd should be double the amount of soaked poha.

Now add the soaked and drained poha to it and mix well. Add freshly grated ginger.

In a small cast iron/iron skillet heat some oil and add mustard and fenugreek seeds. When they sputter, turn off the heat , add curry leaves and red/green chilli. immediately pour the tempering on the curd rice and cover so that the flavours seep into the preparation. Keep for 5 minutes , open and stir well.

You can keep it in fridge for it to chill or use chilled curd to make it. It tastes best when cold.

This is a perfect comfort food.

Make Flattened/beaten rice flakes a part of your daily food. Explore the possibilities of making it more exotic and flavourful. Do share your experiences with us.

 

 

 

 

Sprout Salads With Raw Mango – Two Recipes


I love sprouts and make salads, chaats, usal, sprouts kadhi, I also toss them in soups, fill them in sandwiches, stir fry them, add to pulao, omelette, scrambled eggs or just grab a handful of raw sprouts to munch along with the breakfast.

I have the methi( fenugreek sprout) vegetable recipe on my blog  which you can try. I usually sprout, moong (green gram), kala chana (bengal gram), lobia ( black-eyed beans), Moth/matki ( turkish beans), masoor(whole red lentil) and methi (fenugreek).  One of my favorite street food used to be the mong bean chaat or the bengal gram chaat sold by the khomechewalas. Spicy mix of sprouts, chaat masala, salt topped generously with lemon juice was something I enjoyed eating.

Who wouldn’t be tempted by this sight :) ?

Sprouts are considered super-foods and are concentrated source of protein, minerals(iron, potassium), enzymes and vitamin C. As we usually eat them fresh we can be sure of getting optimum nutrition. The ‘living enzymes’ make them easy to digest. They also contain antioxidants and fiber among other things.

Here we will make the two salads or chaats whatever you prefer to call them. You can use the same method for other sprouted lentils, beans like moth, masoor too. I have used raw mango/ kairi. ambi in these salads. This raw mango had ripened slightly so had a sour-sweet taste that went very well with the other ingredients.

I used to eat the sprouts raw but these days due to weak digestion I steam them a bit just to take away the rawness.

To make the sprouts:

Wash the beans/lentils properly under running water.

In a clean utensil soak them with enough water covering them. Keep them overnight or till they split. Keep them covered with a lid.

Once the lentils/beans have swollen, drain the water and gently put the lentils/beans in a sieve and wash them under clean running water. I use the filtered water.

Place the sieve on a small container and cover with cheese cloth or muslin cloth for the sprouts to appear. You need to keep the lentils/beans in a dark, warm place.  Once you get the desired length of the sprouts wash them again and drain properly.

Keep them in the fridge. The sprouts will continue to grow but very slowly. I prefer to make them in lesser quality and use them fresh.

For the Bengal Gram Sprout chaat/Salad and the Moong Bean Sprout Salad/Chaat you will need :

Bengal Gram  sprouts – 1 cup

Raw mango diced – 1/4 cup

Red Onion – 1 medium roughly chopped

Tomato – 1 Large  chopped

cucumber – 1/4 cup diced small

Green Chillies – 2 small finely chopped

Fresh coriander leaves –  For garnish

Fresh mint leaves – 1 teaspoon finely chopped

Black pepper Powder – 2 pinches

Salt – to taste

Chaat masala – optional

Lemon – 2

You can add finely diced red, yellow bell pepper, boiled potatoes to too but I prefer it this way.

To make the chaat / salad 

I steam the sprouted lentil/beans but you can use them raw. If you are steaming, make sure they retain their crispness and don’t become mushy.

In a bowl toss the bengal gram sprouts, diced tomatoes, chopped onion, diced cucumber, chopped green chillies, finely chopped mint (if available), finely chopped fresh coriander, diced raw mango (this one is a bit sweet sour but you can use the totally raw kairi too). Add a few peanuts if desired. mix well and add salt, pepper powder and salt. Squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice and toss the chaat/salad.  I use very little table salt as the chaat masala too has salt in it. You can toss in pomegranate seeds too. They taste awesome in this salad. Once everything is mixed well your sprout salad much bowl is ready. I often eat it as an evening snack. To make it look like authentic street side chaat serve it in a pattal or paper plate like the one in the pic below.

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For the Moong Bean Chaat/Salad 

Just replace the bengal gram sprouts with the moong bean sprouts. You can make any sprouted chaat like this. You can combine some sprouts to make it even more healthy.

Colourful, tangy, nutritious these chaats/salads can be had any time of the day.

TIPS –

Mix all the ingredients at the time of serving or the chaat/salad will turn watery and smell. 

 I sometime add saunth to it just to make it lip smacking good. You can read the Recipe here. Add a little warm water to 2 tablespoon of this thick saunth and mix well to make it thin. (optional) 

An interesting variation is to fill the golpappas/panipuri with the sprout mixture, top it with beaten curd and saunth and enjoy it as an evening snack.  I will post a photograph the day I make it… :D which will be very soon. 

Ten On Tuesday – Notes To Self


1. Learn to be with yourself and like it. Do things alone. Treat yourself to a coffee or a meal. Explore the city including the gardens. Visit the exhibitions, fairs, museums.

2 Let go. With grace. If someone decides not to love you anymore there is nothing  you can do about it. Stop chasing.

3..Love yourself. Love your body. Treat it with respect. Treat yourself with respect. Sleep well, walk, drink plenty of water, excercise. Shed worry and fear.

4. Learn something new everyday. Teach something new to others. Try something you haven’t done before. Solo travel is one of them.

5.. Resist the temptation to respond immediately when hurt, provoked  or in anger. Never dignify an insult with a response.

6. Read more. Write more. Repeat.

7. Get your act together and forge ahead. You do not have a choice. There is no middle path nor one that will lead you back.

8. Life is too short to have toxic people around you. Get rid of them.

9. Stop being a hypochondriac. You don’t have all the diseases listed on the internet.

10. Remember how Leonardo DiCaprio taught Winslet to spit in the movie ‘Titanic? Just practice that when you are free so that you can use that skill when people judge you. (Thanks Farida for this valuable tip)

Mediterranean Chickpeas Salad


 

I love chickpeas in salads. Full of nutrition they are a storehouse of protein, folate, fiber and iron. The chopped fresh veggies give the salad a unique crunch and color. Feta cheese crumble and oregano makes it simply out of the world. I make various versions of chickpeas salad depending on the availability of vegetables. The crunch in the veggies blends beautifully with the creamy texture of the chickpeas. It is a very versatile recipe and pairs perfectly with Grilled Chicken Breast. You can serve it with warm pita bread or pits chips too. You can also fill it in a pocket pita or a sanwitch and eat it drizzled with wonderful tahini. I had it with whole wheat pasta and the flavours were just terrific. You can serve it on a bed of greens such as butter lettuce.

All through the summer and monsoon I make this colourful salad.  Filling, healthy and quick to make. Go ahead and indulge.

To make this delicious salad you will need

11/2 cups of boiled chickpeas (I soak them overnight and pressure cook them with a little salt till they are firm yet cooked. Usually two whistles are good enough)

Red bell pepper – 1

Yellow bell pepper – 1

Orange or Green bell pepper – 1

Cucumber – seeded and diced small

cherry tomatoes – orange /red  or plum tomatoes – diced small

Onion – 1 big chopped coarsely

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dried oregano – 1 teaspoon

Lemon Juice – 1/2 cup

Fresh chopped Coriander – 1/4 cup ( you can add chives, parsley or basil too)

Fresh cracked black peppercorns – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt – to taste ( I don’t like to add table salt to salads)

Cumin seeds – roasted and ground ( 1/4 teaspoon

(you can add Olives too)

Garlic – 1 big clove pressed (optional)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 table-spoon (optional )  You can use a flavored one for dressing)

To make the salad :

In a bowl toss together the salad ingredients ( all ingredients must be chopped fine and in equal size). Now whisk lemon juice, olive oil and oregano and other herbs in a separate bowl and stir it in the salad. Add crumbled feta cheese. Use the salad as a side dish or just enjoy it as a light meal on a hot summer day. If you are preparing this in advance for a lunch or dinner,  just cut all the ingredients and keep them in separate bowls. Assemble just before serving. The water in the veggies causes the salad to lose its crispness if prepared and kept for a long time.

Enjoy this bright flavoured salad any time of the day.

 

Recipe – Instant Raw Mango Pickle – Maharashtriyan Style


Summer drips in mangoes in Delhi. The king of fruit floods the markets, homes, bakeries, cafés and restaurants. Everything else becomes a blur. I love the juicy ripe mangoes too but one can’t ignore the raw one. Kachchi kairi.. the sour and sometimes sweet and sour taste of raw mango dusted with salt and cayenne pepper.  I love to use it as refreshing aam panna, or sometimes add to the daal or veggies giving them just the right tang, or make chatpati chutnies and chunda  or make manhi,  a Himachali side dish.

I love kairi cha lonche or in simple words raw mango pickle. I like all the variations of the pickle from the delicious panjabi one fragrat with fennel seeds and kalonji to the aromatic north Indian one(a speciality from kayath kitchens). This particular recipe is from my maternal grandmother’s kitchen. My aaji tought it to mom who in turn passed it to us.

It is instant and has all the right flavours. One can keep it in the fridge for a month or just make fresh small quantities regularly during the season.

Goes beautifully with parathas, simple varan bhaat ( dal &rice) , mathris or just about anything. :)

In all the Indian houses one can find the traditional pottery pickle jars (Barani) kept in the sun with fresh pickles or lined up in the kitchen with lip smacking pickles of various sorts. They were made in summers when the heat from the sun was strongest. The UV rays killed unwanted bacteria. The high temperature provided environment for ‘low temperature pasteurization’, and diffusion of flavors in the oil.

I have fond memories of pickle making at home. The whole process was like poetry. Most of the time women from neighbourhood would gather and pickle the fruits or veggies with careful precision and expertise. It was a occasion for sisterhood bonding where the younger generation learned the art of pickling under the watchful eyes of the elder matriarchs. Strictly prohibited, the children would often linger around for a chance to steal a little of the flavourful spicy treat. The main barni was handled by ony one person. Small portions of the pickle were taken out in smaller jars/bottles for daily consumption. Everytime a pickles jar opened the whole house got filled with the aroma of various spices.

There was nothing instant in those pickles and they stayed carefully preserved for years. The pickle was always served on the top left side of the plate and without it the meal would be considered incomplete. making, preserving and serving spicy, tangy, deliciously aromatic pickles full of flavours is an integral part of the indian traditional cuisine.

In these times when everyone is in a rush, the art of pickling is slowly fading away. People rely on buying them from the stores or using the pre mix pickle masalas which isn’t bad but there is a certain joy in making your own fresh pickle. Here is a simple recipe that anybody can use and it is sumptuous.

For this no fuss, foolproof pickle you need

4 raw medium size mangoes

Yellow mustard (peeli sarso dali hui )- 2 teaspoon (slightly dry roasted and coarsely ground)

Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida (Hing) – 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Red chili powder – 2 teaspoon

Salt – to taste (slightly dry roasted)

Oil – 1/2 cup

For the tempering

Oil (Mustard, sesame oil) –  1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 full teaspoon

Asafoetida – 1/2 teaspoon

 To prepare the mangoes –

Choose hard and raw mangoes. Wash and pat dry them. You can peel them or just cut them into little pieces with the peel.

Add some salt to the cut mango pieces mix well and keep aside.

*Always use dry utensils for making or storing pickles and keep the pickle away from moisture.Keep your hands wiped dry.

To make the pickle

In a small pan heat the oil till it smokes and turn off the gas. Let the oil cool till it becomes slightly warm.

Meanwhile from the same oil , take a tablespoon full and heat in the same pan, add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida powder and the moment seeds turn slightly brown turn off the gas. Grind this mix of Hing and methi seeds coarsely.

In a shallow plate take the prepared yellow mustard, turmeric power, chili powder and add the mustard,Hing, oil ground mix. Rub all the ingredients together till all everything is mixed well.

Add this mixture to the mango pieces and stir will. Make sure that all the pieces are well coated with the masala mixture.

For the tempering take another tablespoon from the oil we had prepared and heat it. Add mustard seeds and the moment the seeds splutter add hing and pour it over the mango mixture. Add the remaining warm oil. Mix well.

Spoon the pickle into an air tight bottle. It is ready to eat.

This pickle stays in the fridge for 15-20 days, that is if you can resist the temptation to eat it with almost everything. :)

Alternately, you can also heat oil, add asafoetida, mustard seeds, yellow mustard dal, roasted fenugreek powder, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and then mix them well. Turn off the gas before you start mixing the ingredients. Add mango pieces and once at room temperature, spoon in the air tight bottle.

Roasting of dry salt and other ingredients ensures that the pickle stays good for longer period.

You can use this pickle instantly with your favorite dishes. You can ajust the ingredients according to the quantity of mango pieces.

Do try and let me know how it tasted.

Receiving And Giving – The Healer Friend And The Magic Of A Dream


This is a very special post for me. A token of love and gratitude to the friends who have made difference in my life. Once in a while you come across someone who touches your life in an unexplained way. Someone who is a giver more than a receiver. I feel that is very inspiring. Not many give so unconditionally and freely.

I came to know Penelope and Slim Chandra-Shekar via Facebook. I felt an instant energy exchange. Strange, isn’t it, how a social network can become a channel for healing, for receiving and giving, for sharing and expanding in all possible ways? That itself is indicative that life opens up many ways to heal and to blossom. Love changes forms, negative turns to positive.

Healing works through spirit guides. If you are open and receptive distances don’t count.   Even though I have known Slim for sometime, I met him, for the first time, in June. He was visiting India to celebrate his father’s 99th birthday in B’lore and after that for three days he visited Delhi to meet friends and relatives. His physical presence was such a joy. They say when the student is ready the master appears. It is the same with spirit guides. They will be there when it is time. In that short time we spent together, I learned some meaningful life lessons, had long conversations over good food, listened to his amazing story of life transformation and how he and his wonderful wife Penelope are touching one life a day to bring joy and love through their work.

The Magic Of Gayatri

You know, sound is a very powerful medium of healing. The vibrations can actually dissolve the negative in you within no time. You just need to be in right energy frequency.  I still carry the essence of the positive energy I received through our interactions. Slim is shaman, healer, nutritionist, hypnotherapist and a wonderful human being. You can know a little about him HERE. Meeting people who are selflessly doing healing work is a gift that life brings. Apart from the love, care and understanding Slim gave me a token of spiritual love that I will cherish all my life. The Magic of Gayatri.  Gayatri mantra has been part of my life since childhood and I am aware of the immense peace and light it brings when chanted the right way. You will find many versions of it on the internet but the reason I found this particular CD worth listening is the profound energy vortex it creates within you. The calming voice of Slim, the introduction to the mantra the soothing music and the sublime rendering of the mantra makes it a wonderful vehicle to meditate, relax or just be inspired. The mantra works at whichever level you need help – physical, spiritual or emotional. For me, it opens my mind and heart when ever I chant it.

This isn’t a promotional post and I am not being paid to do this. This post is in gratitude, in love, in honor of what I received from my friend. It is important to spread the magic of Gayatri so that more and more people can benefit from it. You can let it play in the background as you work or sit quietly and let  the words wash over you. Since ancient times people have always used and still use the sound-vibration of chants for healing purposes. Many of us just chant the mantra mechanically and are deprived of the true value of Gayatri Mantra. Listening to Slim explain it with such simplicity made me chant it with intent and with an open heart. I am not a religious person but this mahamantra is a universal prayer that spiritually connects us. Frequently listening to it creates a permanent template of peace in our consciousness and even if you are not chanting the mantra it stays in you creating the inner calm. This, of course is my personal experience. I believe that we are all energy beings and we are all fluid. it is in our inherent nature to flow. If we don’t we rot. We need to keep expanding our vibrations. I don’t know if this makes sense but do think about it. I also feel that one needs to be watchful about what’s being said or repeated and this is not just for mantras, chants etc but in daily conversations, the sounds we hear and produce for they impact us in a very permanent way. Gayatri Mantra is next to chanting ‘Om’. It unblocks a lot of energies as it permeates through consciousness. The knowledge of the science and philosophy of Shabd brahm is an integral part of Indian spirituality. The Gayatri Mantra has a specific sonic pattern coded in syllables and vowels to carry the cosmic energies of sound and act as a spiritual tool. I feel that the chanting of mantras scientifically helps in healing as well as strengthening our mind-body-spirit triad. Filling us  with eternal calm and love.

When I talk of calm and love my thoughts turn to Penelope. I have not interacted much with Slim’s wife but followed her insightful writing and lovely art work on FB. I think the meeting with Slim expanded my inner horizons to receive more. I had always felt connected to Penelope at a different level. Many times I would just browse her pictures with grand children, friends, her husband or look at her paintings and other artwork and it would instantly fill me with calm and strength. Beautiful and talented as she is, one can feel her paintings through the screen. Slim and Pen are perfect examples of people for whom age is just a number. It is an inspiration that one can pursue one’s passions at any age. You are never too old for anything.

Here is another example of how the fragrance of healing comes to you. When we are open and even when we are not or think we are not, we are in relationship with everything around us. It is for us to consciously recognise and choose the positive and be in it.

Abstract Painting is one of the gifts Penelope has. She works with acrylic and mixed media. Her art has this strange calling. There is much more that what is clear. Art as a medium to heal is a concept I love. I reviewed a book sometime back where a doctor has introduced and infused poetry, music, art with medical care. It is exciting to know people are opening up to complementing and alternate healing therapies along with the modern medical care. The mind, body and spirit need to be in harmony for a wholesome wellbeing. Art in all forms – dance, music, painting, creates that harmony. Neuropsychologists believe that art and music heal by changing the person’s physiology and attitude. It changes from fear and stress to deep relaxation and inspiration, helping the person to change his/her perceptions of their world. Art, prayer, music and healing come from the same inner source of our body and are associated with similar brain wave patterns, mind-body changes. They all are deeply connected in feeling and meaning and take us to our inner resources of healing as we know that all healing comes from within.

I am struggling with a lot lately. I have a nervous temperament and am very vulnerable to everything around me. Life is challenging when you are a woman, rebel and have a mind of your own especially when living in Indian society. The fact that I trust so easily and open too soon is cherry on top and yet that is all I know. I am still learning to consciously be attentive to my emotions. To choose which emotion to act on, which to drown in and which to let go. To love, and bring myself up again.

On one such day, caught between the emotional and health issues, I had a very beautiful and life affirming dream. It was about Penelope. She came to me as a mother, a confidante, a friend. Women, I think are born healers. Some of us may not know it and hence not use the energies in positive ways but those who know, do amazing work. I have never spoken to Penelope, nor interacted with her much but still she found me as I sought the spirit who could guide me and she responded, a healing inspiration across time and space. I am a lucid dreamer and have earlier also connected to spirit guides in various forms and each time is special. It doesn’t have to be a human. It can be a spirit animal.

Let me introduce you to Gyp at this point. She was a Dingo, an animal companion of my very dear friend and mentor, author and artist Kris Saknussemm. Kris introduced her to us on FB through photographs and little stories about her and I always felt a calling. It was as if she was there, in the shadows, watching over me. I told Kris and he was very pleased. She was an animal spirit guide for many who met her or came in contact with her in some way. I often go and read this Article Kris wrote in her memory. The moment I read it for the first time I knew why we felt connected. Another female spirit , brave and wild, who was inspiring lives through her energies. Do click on the link and read.

Coming back to the dream, I shared it with Slim over the phone and he suggested writing to Penelope. I was hesitant but at the same time excited. The love I felt needed to be shared so I wrote to her. Here is what I said,

“I have been through difficult times and am still dealing with challenges, trying to bring on the positive in my life and this dream is a new beginning, new insight for me. Positive warm thoughts coming from you.”

“In the dream, You were making a painting with bright blue, fluorescent colour butterflies, fireflies etc. A beautiful scene from around where you stood. Not sure of the place but it was some lovely hilltop. I am sitting on a rock watching you paint.
The creatures you painted weren’t around us. You said “Tiku, if you believe in goodness of life it comes to you. Even inanimate comes to life.” I said , I believe you Pen, but how can inanimate come to life. It can have a different life, an aliveness about it but it can’t live like us.

You said, “like this” and as you gave the final touch to a wing of a bumblebees everything you had painted began to fly out, crawl out of the painting. Birds, butterflies, fireflies, bumblebees, the air got filled with a fragrance I can’t explain but I felt it. The canvas became white again as I watched awestruck. The voice I heard was soft, motherly voice. Something I crave for. It filled my heart. Not a shrill sound but light as a feather.”

“Wrapped in the fragrance and the sight I slept but I remembered the whole scene after waking up. I felt relaxed and the message came to me so clear , to move on, to cleanse myself of all the negative about myself, people , places. All the while we talked and I watched you paint Slim was in my thoughts too, as if validating the good vibes we shared. I loved the healing bond we formed.”

She responded with such love. A new bond was formed. She was even inspired to paint the dream and trust me, it is exquisite.

Tiku's Dream

Posted with the permission of the artist. (Penelope’s painting)

What can be more fulfilling that this? A blessing from the universe. You ask and you

receive.

Life unfolds in so many magical ways. One can only be grateful for such events and imbibe from them. That is the true gratitude. To learn from what you seek and flow with it. Heart connections are always way above the geographical distances. I always believed in this and now it’s proven in yet another amazing way.

Thank you Slim for connecting me and Penelope. For bringing to me the Magic of Gayatri, for your friendship and for the tremendous love and light you bring in so many way to so many people.

Thank you Penelope for making me aware of the immense possibilities that lie within me, for the dream visitation, for the awesome support work you are doing to touch so many lives and for being a strength, a solace and a source of light.

Thank you universe for your benevolence and for the challenges that make me strong.

For the gift of vulnerability in me.

The more we journey inwards, the more we shine outwards.

Let us create more space for healing. Do please listen to Magic of Gayatri and if anyone who is reading this wants to help Slim in making the CD available in India, please leave a note in his ‘contact me’ on the site link above.

“The things you take for granted are the things others are praying for.” Be generous with  gratitude. Be in harmony with yourself and with all.

Digital art by me. All rights reserved.

Digital art by me. All rights reserved.

Ten On Tuesday


Today I am not really in a mood to write. This year has been a mixed bag of good and bad. In equal measures. “Well, Something’s lost but something’s gained in living everyday.” Remember the beautiful song by Joni Mitchell?

Today I have decided to post ten random things from the various drafts lying in a folder left orphaned since one day everything changed. Lines that could have become poems, stories but now they just lie abandoned, waiting. Just as I am.  The opposite of love is not hate, it is the abject indifference. People may say, “this too shall pass” but it doesn’t, it seeps in the hollow of your bones. Half of July has passed and I am tired of being brave. I can’t go on pretending. Right now dealing with reality is impossible so don’t mind if my conversations seem wounded in love.

1. “I am getting acquainted with your absence. I write as much as I can to write you out of my system but it doesn’t happen. the sorrow doesn’t turn into poems. The phone remains silent as the mornings turns t afternoons, which into fall into dark and then the dark too goes quiet, just like you. I stare into nothingness, even the breathing becomes inaudible as I grieve about the parts of me you buried while they were still pulsating with life.”

2. “Even though it hurts, I will stay open and vulnerable. The beauty of the human life lies in its fragility and I wont give it up or give it away.It is the real strength and power of being human, to accept your brokenness, to put it all back together. To fill the cracks with gold of love and move on. Cracks are the wounds indicating you have suffered and have overcome that suffering. Courageous risks are life-giving and the rewards are deep.”

3.

“I bring to you my poems

a clumsy bouquet of words

unbefitting for your tastefully done life

wildflowers, a wealth of perfume…..”

4. “Delhi summer drips in mangoes. The summer seasons opens officially with mango blossoms and the entire two months are ruled by the king of fruits, canopies of gulmohar carried forward from the spring into summer alive with cuckoo birds. Watermelons swollen with the red summer heat inside them. Flamboyant Bougainvillea exploding on walls in vibrant colors. Blinding sun, dust winds, road rage, power cuts, melting asphalt, chuski licking, water trolleys, sweat and grime, white sky and chilled lemonades signifies the summer in Delhi. City is a color palette with the golden amaltas, gulmohar, tesu, kanak champa, silk cotton, coral tree, all in full bloom and the neem trees filled with tiny starry flowers. Who can’t fall in love with the lilac spread of kachnar and the beautiful Jacaranda. In me, the summer drips with the memories of you that evoke painful secrets. It is a funeral without a shroud.

5. The horizon makes her lonelier than she is as  she stands looking down at an unspoiled landscape of sand. Now a tree, she once was a woman, a keeper of the words,  a story-teller, a mystery from time immemorial.

6. Age is catching up with the Neem trees (Indian Lilac) in central Delhi (This one is part of the canopy of lush green trees that line up both sides of the Aurangzeb road). It is a beautiful experience to drive down the roads, esp when the vehicular traffic is least, with so much green surrounding you. There was a time I would walk down these roads and simply gaze at the spread of many shades of green above me. One could hear so many bird calls in those days. Each season brings its own dramatic change to the landscape. Each one more beautiful than the other. For once one forgets all the chaos that surround us.

These trees are a legacy of the colonial raj. Ten thousand trees and one hundred and thirteen km of hedges were laid out by an expert from Kew Garden London, with each major avenue having one species. Tamarinds on Akbar Road, Arjuna trees on Janpath, pipuls on mandir marg, and Neems on Aurangzeb road.

We stopped under the shade of this tree waiting for the signal to turn green. In the midst of the thick foliage, high up on a branch was nest, now empty. One can not see it in the photograph though. Life is all about holding on and letting go. Dont know why but a line from Blake’s poem instantly came to my mind.

“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”

7. “Whatever you give comes back to you.
I gave myself. Love is a boomerang I never learned how to throw correctly.”

8. Not even for a moment forget that I am a river.
No matter what you put in my way,
i will still find a way to break free.
Don’t assume that I will be on this narrow road forever,
your perception of my exterior
may not match what lies beneath my surface,
I am holding a fiction inside me
if you think you know me, think again
what is visible is camouflaged
what is hidden is true
we are kind of schizoid, aren’t we?
containing multitudes within.

9.

each of us

for all our lives

live

so bitterly

misunderstood

10. I carry a raven in my chest. You, a songbird. Isn’t it clear who should fear the cage?