Nostalgic Memories : The Moon

The incredibly beautiful mysterious moon held me captive along with the night and the earth as she glided in the sky with a star studded garment trailing behind her. I watched as if in trance. The magnificent full moon, unusually large and low, was drifting carelessly behind the fluffy night clouds.

It was not just another full moon night for me. Lying down on the terrace, overlooking the majestic Himalayas, it brought back memories of someone special of all those happy times spent together. The solitary moon was as lonesome and alone as me despite being surrounded by millions of stars. I wanted to talk to her, to reach out and hold her. Her watchful gaze held mine and I let its cool calm light envelope me lovingly in its embrace.

My train of thoughts took me down the memory lane, to my visit to Kinnaur and the moonlit campfire on the last night of our stay there. Six friends, a little lad and lots of happy unforgettable moments together, as the sparks from the fire flew to meet the moon which had slowly glided past the nearest mountain and was hanging on one of the open branches of the tall trees which surrounded the campsite, as if to be a part of us.

It was one of the most romantic, intoxicating nights, pregnant with strong emotions and memories of my love far away. I wondered if he too saw the orange mystical moon that night through his window and thought of me just as I did. Walking away from the laughter and chit chat, I walked to a boulder near the edge. I wanted to be part of the silence.

The entire place was under some spell and my heart ached for someone special. I wanted to share the moment with him, to be wrapped in the warm embrace and live the dream we often shared. I let my thoughts reach out to the goddess of the sky and wished upon the bright evening star which accompanied her, hoping that some day my wish would come through. Rising I stretched myself, taking in all the positive elements from the cosmic magic around me.

I could hear the faint rustle of the leaves and the happy gargle of the river Bapsa flowing like a silver serpent in the valley below. I smiled to myself and felt awed by the beauty that the nature held in store for us. Instantly I felt warm all over. I smiled and went back to my friends.

It was getting cold and the soft sweet breeze from the Dhauladhar Mountains was becoming a bit strong, so I cuddled on a rocking chair on the terrace wrapped in my Angora wool shawl. Nothing could make me spend the beautiful night indoors.

The moon and I share a very special relationship and I often seek solace in its company. It invokes the spiritual side in me and makes me connect with myself and the universe around me. I often sit and meditation under the light of the full moon. It has a very calming effect as if all the negative energies are drawn by the glorious moon, leaving me refreshed and cleansed from within.

I began to reflect on what the moon had taught me in all its different phases. True love happens only when you are not consumed with yourself. When you are full of your own sunlight, you may do many good things, but not love. Become a moon, and you can contain and love each other.

The full moon means being full with the one another. The feeling of incompleteness allows you to become the most complete. It made me humble and let go of the ego and taught me not to get consumed by it. I learned not deny or eradicate weakness, difficulty and pain, to acknowledge it despite the pain. It helped me to be illuminated from within and to stay calm and serene even in the most difficult of my phases of life.

My fascination with the moon was not just limited to the romantic; every phase of the moon ignited my imagination in some way of the other. How much my thoughts had changed since I was a teenage girl charmed by the moon’s darker side. I always thought of werewolves and spirits and it evoked some strange energy in me.

Every surrounding brought out a new aspect of the moon. The many shades of the moon, the sea, the mountains, the city and the open fields and their special bond with the moon above transformed my inner self in different ways.

Even today I make it a point to connect with the moon and become a part of its mysterious self when I need inspiration, love or just peace.


Wet Street – Memoir

From the window of my apartment I look down at the gleaming wet streets in contrast with trees suffused with misty light. The twilight effect is mesmerizing. It has rained all day as if the sky wanted to share my hurt and loneliness.

Now the night is slowly slipping in. The neon lights have made a pond of brilliant bluish white light around every light post. A lonesome dog shivers and looks around for a dry place to spend the night.

Shadows fall on the glistening wet street, a magical display of dark and light. A car zips pass making a splash from the puddle. The water slowly settles down again. The loneliness stretches its dark shadow over the slippery wetness.

The dark clouds have moved away leaving a cleansed night sky. Soft thin cotton clouds drift lazily revealing a yellow full moon. I can see the naked stilettos of trees dark and mysterious against the lights in valley below.

The lights like fire flies seem as if a galaxy of stars has descended on earth. The sweet pine-needles are scattered on the wet streets release an intoxicating fragrance mixed with the smell of the wet earth and tar.

I decide to walk the lonely road. My bare feet feel the cold and wetness of the dark serpentine street. They seem to be numb, devoid of all feelings like the street itself. A little ahead the street glistens in  reflection of a solitary gaslight. I seem to be the only person living. The dark, lonely, dismal, deserted wet street weighs upon my spirit and sorrow.

I try to see my reflection in the moonlit puddle on one side. A phantom like image stares back at me. I pick a pebble and drop it in the water disturbing the dark face filled with agony and pain.

My shoes make a squeaking sound at every step which echoes through my mind. I try to cut out the sound. I love silence of the quiet wet street. I stop at the turn and gaze at the winding glistening street flowing down the valley. It is time to return. Reflecting on the events of the day and thinking of how we had walked in joy those very rain splashed streets I let a tear fall and mingle with the wetness.

The brilliant moonlight had draped the wet dark street with a thin silvery sheet. It gives me a sign of hope, of a new day about to come. Of a change that will help fade away the darkness of my soul and heart just like the moonlight did with the wet street. My feet shine as I walk on the wet silvery street of hope.

Temples Of Khajuraho

A visit to Khajuraho takes one into the land of super consciousness. It is a journey everyone should take. The temples of Khajuraho have the most erotic, sensuous, and graphic, sculptures that can not be found anywhere else in the world. The facade-walls, windows, pillar brackets, and ceilings are intricately carved with figures from mythology and history. All the figures are perfectly proportioned though they are not masculine like the Greek sculptures.

The innocent depiction of love and sex and the celebration of women are the main theme of these sculptures. Various facets and moods of women, her beauty, seductiveness, compassion, love, desire and innocence is depicted beautifully in each sculpture. Each temple depicts the creative energy of ‘Shakti’ who is considered to be the feminine counterpart of Shiva and all the other Gods of the Hindu Pantheon. There are about sixteen types of female figures engaged in various activities like tying anklets, looking into the mirror, carrying a baby, writing a letter etc.

The female nudity is considered as a potent fertility charm. The Jain, Buddhist and Hindu religious sect all believe in the fertility cult and erotic symbolism can be seen in their art forms everywhere. Here in Khjuraho, it is more evident and open. Fertility has a deeper meaning than just procreation. It means happiness, wealth, prosperity, and auspiciousness.

I learned some important lessons of life and developed a new way to look at the most common thing everyone talks about-Sex. Through these sculptures immerges a deep sense of energy that changes one’s outlook towards sex and meditations, religion and worship. In my opinion each town must have one such temple so that people can rise above the beliefs and norms that they have set about sex. This will also end the suppression of sex which has made the society so ugly.

During the construction of these magnificent temples the artisan lived in a society free from inhibitions and they were also secular craftsmen. All the activities of human life were celebrated and one can see the love for life in every sculpture here. They got their inspiration from the world they lived in.

The origin of the name Khajuraho comes from the ‘Khajur’ or the Date Palm tree which is found in abundance in this region. It was the first capital of the Chandela rulers in the 10th to the 14th centuries. The Chandelas believed in the Tantras which called for a person to work inward from the erotic to the pure spiritualism. One can see the presence of both the Tantra and the puranic elements here.

There are different theories about why these temples have erotic sculptures on the outer walls and none inside the temple. Some people believe it to be the depiction of ‘Kamasutra’ while others think they were created as a part of educating the masses about sex but I disagree because there is much more to these sculptures that sex. One can find dancing couples, musicians, potters, farmers and other folks along with deities etched in stone. Only 10% of the Stone carvings at Khajuraho temples contain sexual themes. If we examine these temples carefully then there is more of a celebration here than education.

I was overwhelmed by the joie de vivre that can be seen in sheer abundance here. To me these temples are the finest examples of India’s glorious past. There is also a story about the Brahmin woman falling in love with the moon God and getting pregnant by him. The baby boy born to that woman founded the Chadela Empire, the creators of these awesome temples.

Osho’s explanation on this matter seems absolutely correct to me. He says, “These temples have, on the outer side, beautiful women, beautiful men, and all in love postures. Inside there are no love postures. Inside you will find the empty, not even a statue of God. The idea is that unless you pass through your sexuality with full awareness, in all its phases, in all its dimensions — unless you come to a point when sex has no meaning for you-only then you enter the temple. Otherwise you are outside the temple, your interest is there.”

Osho’s Quote is from his book ‘From Unconsciousness to Consciousness’ (Book Title)

The temples depict the energy which transforms sexual to super consciousness, from lowest to highest form. There is a serene calm on the faces of the men and women engaged in various sexual positions as shown in the sculptures. The idea was not to suppress sex but to use that energy to reach the ultimate level of consciousness.

Meditating in front of those sculptures frees one of any sexual desires and with that purity of mind, body and soul one goes into the temple. This was a path to Nirvana, a path of renunciation or ‘Moksha’, to leave the visual and sensuous pleasures and move ahead without attachments, desires and regrets. I feel that the logic was to show people a correct way of life through the enjoyment of ‘arth’ (material wealth) and ‘Kaam’ (sexual pleasures) while perusing the ‘Dharma’ (Duty) while on the way to enlightenment.

The temple town of Khajuraho in the state of Madhya Pradesh is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is famous for its remarkably intriguing erotic sculptures. This celebration of the carnal which weaves beautifully with the austere Jain religion is just amazing example of the level of super consciousness of people living at those times. Many of these temples are based on Hindu religion. These temples were built over 1,000 years ago. The unsurpassable stark beauty, grandeur, and art of these ancient temples leave one in awe of those who created them.

Khajuraho temples are set in an archeological park with mowed lawns and landscaped gardens which is very different from its original setting of semi desert like environment and palm trees which gave the place its name.

The intricate detailing and artistry of the sculptures is worth noticing. Each temple has a distinct layout and features although there are some common factors also. They are architectural delights made of granite and sand stones built on high platforms. All the temples have a sanctum sanctorum or ‘garbha griha’. The temples are constructed in famous ‘Nagada’ style of architecture dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The famous western group of temples which are entirely based on Hindu religion are the most exquisite among all. The figures have a unified design and a harmonious rhythm in them. The horizontal bands of carvings are in perfect alignment with the vertically towering main structure. All of them follow the strict convention of ‘shilpashatra’ (the epic text of sculptures) and temple art. There are cult icons, surrounding figures, ‘Apsara’ or the ‘Sursundaris’ (celestial beauties) and the erotic couples. There are many auspicious and luck bringing motifs.

There are relief panels depicting the king at court, the royal hunt, domestic scenes marching armies, dance processions, teacher and students, traders with camels, and sculptors at work etc among others. Nandi (Lord Shiva’s Bull), mythical animals, elephants and wild boars are some of the animals which are carved on the outer walls.

Some of the finest temples are that of Kandhariya Mahadev, the Chitragupta Temple that is dedicated to the Sun God, the Vishwanath Temple which has a three-headed image of Brahma (the Creator of the Universe) and the superbly decorated Lakshmana Temple.
The eastern group depicts the marvelous Adinath Temple whose lavishly embellished sculptures mesmerizes you the moment you set eyes on them and the Parsvanath Temple which is the largest Jain temple here.

The temples of Khajuraho originally consisted of eighty five temples of which only twenty two exist today. They are stunning examples of art and architecture of that period. Each temple is different from the other.

As I watched the beautifully chiseled faces of those human beings etched in time, a sense of calm began to seep in. Somehow one feels like withdrawing into complete silence and close the eyes to all that is momentary.

*( Image and material researched from  Google images/ search results. Full credit to the photographer. )*

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Dream Diary : The Run

This is so difficult to explain. I still do not get it  why I always dream of old, ruins of forts, havelis , an empty road leading somewhere I do not know of and sometimes people whom I have never ever seen or heard of. After a series of such dreams I decided to write about them. Vivid as they are and most parts I do remember for days.

Yesterday was a tiring  and trying day for me and I decided to take that much-needed afternoon nap. Here is what I dreamed.

Me , hubby and my two boys are in a car driving past a place called Moti Bagh ( those who know of Delhi will be able to visualize the area with govt. houses and nothing out of ordinary but he the place I associated with Moti Bagh had a series of road side shops dealing in iron stuff especially  utensils, keys, huge locks and the dominating thing was iron griddle (tawah) , loads of them kept upside down, their shinning metal catching the brilliant mid day summer sun.

We are driving on this usual route and suddenly my hubby who is on the right side drive leans out of the window on the left side and picks up a huge bundle of old keys.

“That’s stealing, WTF you think you are doing. ”

I am stunned. The next moment he notices a low floor A/C  red color bus following us. We take a quick turn in to an area called R.K.Puram which again is a familiar place with Govt. Flats.

The bus keep following so I open the door and start running towards the market. Strange , because I have no idea what made me jump and run. I meet a man who guides me towards a park area which is safe. ( who is this man, why does he guide me )?

I run until I reach the park gate , it is late evening by now but the light is still there. I am tired . The park is empty and I see a gate leading to the other side and cross it to face an open road , dusty, never-ending and lined with old havilis and some portions of old forts etc. Hardly a tree is visible. I do not know what’s on the other side but I can feel the sand.

It is hot, humid and dusty. I run blindly on that road. I can hear noises of jeeps and some other vehicles but see nothing.

After a mile or two I spot a better looking haveli with nice winding stairs leading up to the terrace. I  take a turn and start climbing the stairs .My calf muscles ache( they really did ache, I kept rubbing my feet and could feel the heat and sweat) .

After climbing at least three-story , I come to a terrace where there is a mother dairy booth. ( mother dairy is the name of a govt milk booth in Delhi). I go inside . It has only one section where a man is sitting with all the machines, the other section where the milk is sold does not seem to exist.

The man does not seem to be bothered by my sudden appearance and on asking for a safe place he readily agrees to hide me there. I look outside from the Jharokha (a type of overhanging enclosed balcony used in Indian/Mugal architecture) and see a few open jeeps standing at the road. there are some men running around and one tall person wearing a maroon Kurta and jeans with dark round sun glasses on his eyes is giving instructions with his arms. I do not know any of them. ( Are they searching for me ) ? From where did this Mother Dairy spring up on top of the terrace ?

All this I have no idea.

My heart beat quicken and I look at the man next to me. An old man in simple white shirt and black pant. He smiles and tells me that the glasses have films that makes sure that people from outside can not see inside. Amazing I thought, technology in the midst of old ruins.

I watch the scene below and suddenly there is a sound of footsteps. I look around the tiny room for a place to hide. The man opens a small door in the back area and I enter a vault kind of thing. the door is left slightly ajar.

From that crack I see my elder son .

W TF I say . “where did he come from and how did he know I am here?”

He inquirers about me by showing a picture and weeps. I come out and hug. No words are exchanged.

We hear the roar of engines and the jeeps go back in direction from where I had come.

I thank the man and we run down . It is dark but we can still see the steps.

On the road again we start running towards the same direction from where we had come. There is no place to hide. The havelis on right side appear ghostly , on the left it is an abyss. Dark and unfriendly.

We spot a gate which seems to be freshly painted in white. I do not remember seeing it while I was coming on that road earlier in the evening.  Again a question mark.

We enter the Haveli through a spiral staircase. We knock on the heavy wooden door and you won’t believe who opens the door.

Gul Panag. ( She is an Indian film actress)

What it is she doing there?  Again a white shirt and blue denim). Without a word she lets us in.There is a table and chair with some papers . Maybe her working table. We run up the stairs leading to first floor. There are tourist. Some monkeys are sitting on the jharokhas with their little ones.

I look at my son. He has no answer to this. Suddenly a child throws a stone at a group of monkeys and hell breaks loose. people are running ,screaming, moneys are attacking and snatching their things. We manage to run down and meet Gul Again .She too does not seem to be perturbed by all this  as if it is the usual thing

I ask her what is she doing at this God forsaken place and in reply she opens a back door.

There are children, old men, women , a family living there with a patch of kitchen garden etc. Normal household stuff. Kitchen Garden in desert area ?

She closes the door and we leave the place.

Out on the dark road we are left alone. Where have all those tourists gone ?

It is quite. very quite.

We begin to walk slowly.  There is a phone ringing somewhere. It seems a familiar ring tone  of a mobile phone.

I suddenly realize that it is my phone. I wake up with a start, the phone is right next to my pillow ringing loudly.

Later when I thought about this dream I noticed many similarity between this one and the last two. Same, intermingling of past and present, old Havelis, me on the road and much more. Many questions remain unanswered. I had not watched any movie of Gul or seen her Picture etc any where in past many weeks.

I wonder what it all means and why I keep having these dreams. Maybe some one can explain.

Triveni : the three line poems or Triplets

I am an admirer of Gulzar Saheb. He is my muse too. Triveni is unique poetry style developed by him. The trivenis are written with three misra’s (three lines of poetry) where first two lines forms a complete sher and the introduction of third misra(line) gives the sher a new dimension or meaning

Triveni examples of Gulzar


maa ne duaaye di thi…
ek chand si dulhan ki….

aaj footpath par laete hue… yeh chand mujhe roti nazar aata hai!


kantewali taar par kisne geele kapde tange hain

khoon tapkta hai qur naali me beh jata hai

kyun is fauji ke bewa har roz ye vardi dhoti hai


aaise bikhre hain jaise raat din

motiyon wala haar toot gaya

tumne mujhe piro kar rakha tha

Here is my attempt of writing Triveni. I just call them three line poems, they do not follow the uniqueness of Gulzar Saheb’s work but still it is a first attempt towards a new verse form. These triplets do not have the same pattern as the Triveni of Gulzar.


Paani ki ek mauj
aayi aur chupke se baha le gayi
pyar ka ret gharaunda

beti ki kilkari
nadi ki satah par kuch bulbule
aur phir sab shant

Shaam ke surmayi adhere me
phighal raha hai dheere dheere
uska gum e tanhayi

sharabor hain bageeche ki deeware
barish se ug aati hai kayi unpar
yaden hari ho gayi hain

Kabhi yunhi jek jagah tham jata hai samay
jad pakad leta hai
darakhton ki tarah

Thak kar ghar jate huye maan me ek sawal
kisko khilaun, kisko bhookha marun
aaj ki raat

door vadi me khile hai
gul bahar ke phoor
jaise jal uththe hon lakho diye ek hi sath

Syah raat
ghati se bansuri ki aawaz aur ek jalta diya
shayad koi premi hai

ek ujda purana makan
gilehri, parinde, kutte
naye bashinde

sookhe darakht
phir se dikha
wahi neela samandar

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Recipes: Cooking with Mangoes

Mangoes are one of the most loved fruits all over India and are full of nutrition. Raw mangoes are used in many recipes and dried slices of raw mango are powdered to make aamchur (dry mango powder) which is used in some of the dishes to add tanginess.

Green unripe mango has a large amount of starch which gradually changes into glucose, sucrose and maltose as the fruit begins to ripe. It is a rich source of pectin which diminishes after the stone is formed. Unripe mango is sour in taste because of  presence of oxalic, citric and malice acids.

The raw mango is a valuable source of vitamin C. It also has more vitamin C fully ripe mangoes; it is also a good source of vitamin B1 and B2 and has good quantity of niacin. Raw mango fruit is acidic, astringent and anti scorbutic.

Health benefits:

The unripe mango protects men from the adverse effects of scorching winds.

It is highly beneficial in  treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Eating one small tender mango with salt and honey is said to be effective medicine for summer diarrhea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, indigestion and constipation.

Eating green mango daily with honey and pepper cures biliousness. It also tones up the liver.

Here are some interesting recipes from my kitchen made with raw mangoes.

1 Aam panna (A cooling drink)

A must have during the hot days of summer. A natural coolant which is heat-resistant and full of nutrients.


500 gm raw mangoes medium size

4cups water to dilute the pulp

1 tea-spoon dry roasted cummin powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

Mint leaves

Ice cubes


Boil or steam the mangoes till soft and done.

Peel, stone and pulp them with fingers. Let it cool.

raw boiled mangoes with spices


In a deep glass bowl place the pulp and add water, sugar, and salt and cummin powder

Dissolve and pour in a glass jug

Add ice and mint leaves

Drink for a soothing cool effect.

(The adventurous can add Bacardi rum 30ml or vodka to a glass .It tastes like heaven)

2. Spicy tangy mango delight


Raw mangoes -1kg

Jaggery or sugar-according to the taste and required sweetness)

Onions-4 big

Black pepper corns 8-10

Red chili powder -1teaspoon

Salt (to taste)

asafoetida – a pinch

Cummin seeds -1teaspoon

oil 3 tablespoon


Wash, peel and cut raw mangoes in thin slices.

Cut onions in thin slices

Grate the jaggery

In a heavy bottom pan put oil and heat.

Add asafoetida and cummin seeds .Let it crackle.

Add black pepper corns and onion slices.

Stir on slow fire till golden brown then add sliced raw mango .Stir it to mix all the ingredients.

Add salt, chili powder.

Once the mango slices soften add Jaggery or sugar.

The taste can vary according to the liking .One can keep it sweet or sweet and sour.

Cook it on slow heat and stir to avoid sticking. Once all the ingredients blend properly, let it cool and fill in a bottle.

It can be kept for a week in the fridge and eaten with parathas( Indian flat bread).

3. Mango Fizz


Dash of light rum, sparkling water, and around half cup of mango purée


In a jug, combine mango and rum.

Stir together thoroughly.

After stirring add sparkling water.

Pour them in glasses.

Serve with an iced-tea spoon.

I will be posting the photographs of the other two recipes in a day or two.

The Pumpkin Delights : Two Recipes

Rich in Beta -Carotene  which helps us fight free radicals , potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and many top quality essential nutrients, Pumpkin is one of my Favorite vegetable. I love its flashy orange color and the brighter it is the better it is. The best part is this gorgeous veggie is very low in calories too.

It is a super food and the only richest  single source of   carotenoids. Rich in dietry fiber Pumpkin helps us prevent and cure many diseases.

I just love it for it’s taste and the variey of dishes one can make from it. Pies, cakes, soups and our own Indian sweets kaddu ka meetha ,Kaddu ki Kheer, and also mouth watering khatti sabzi ( sour vegetable) with grinded mustard seeds. It goes very well with Poories.

I got a remarkable bright orange pumpkin today and converted it into cooling Kaddu raita ( Pumpkin Raita) and Kaddu ka meetha ( pumpkin Halwa or sweet)

Sharing the recipes with you. Both things were instant hits as my boys are very well aware of their heavely taste.

Pumpkin Sweet ( Kaddu Ka Meetha )


Grated Pumpkin – 2&1/2 cups

Milk -1/2 cup

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Cardamom – 5

Cashew nuts – 10

Almonds ( blanched) – 1o

Raisins – 10

Ghee – 1/4 cup (melted butter)


Soak the almonds in warm water, peel the skin and cut very fine . Keep Aside with raisens.
Roast the cashews in ghee until it becomes golden brown.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat 1 tsp ghee, add the grated pumpkin to it and stir well in low flame till the raw flavor is gone and the color changes slightly golden.
Add milk and cook till the pumpkin is tender and the mixture thickens a bit.
Add sugar and stir constantly on low flame .
Add 3 tsp ghee to it and stir well, put in low flame till the mixture leaves the sides and the aroma comes.
Add the roasted cashews, almonds, raisins  and grounded cardamom mix well and leave it for 5 minutes.
Serve hot or warm.
One variation of this meetha is without the milk. One can just roast the grated , steamed, mashed pumpkin in Ghee and add sugar and dry fruits. It all depends on how coloie concious you are 😀
I love it rich 😀
Pumpkin Raita  ( Kaddu ka raita )

2 cups red pumpkin (kaddu), peeled, steamed and mashed

1 teaspoon cumin seed power roasted (jeera)

2 to 3 green chillies, chopped

1 cup fresh curds

1 Onion – finely chopped

1 teaspoon ghee
salt to taste
For the garnish
2 teaspoons chopped coriander

For the seasoning

saron seeds ( mustard seeds) – 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh Kari patta – 5-6 leaves

Asafoitida ( Hing)  – a pinch


Heat the ghee and add asafoetida, mustard seeds, kari patta.

When they crackle, add the green chilles and saute for 15 seconds.

keep it aside

Peel, steam and mash the bright yellow pumpkin.

Let it cool completely.

Whisk the curds till smooth and add to the cooked pumpkin, onion, salt and the seasoning. Mix well.

Serve chilled, garnished with the coriander and roasted cumin powder.