Posted in Books

Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett

Ken Follett has done it again. This is the last time I am reading this arrogant haughty fellow. Lost all respect for him. I doubted he must be racial for the way he wrote about World war II painting the US and allies like saints and trivializing the Hiroshima Nagasaki bombing in Japan by the US (Winter of the world). Such a fellow can never be trusted, I must have known.

For someone who glorified the democracies and villainified communism, it is therefore natural not to write a page about how the USSR remained a reason for PM Indira Gandhi to crush the nefarious designs of Nixon and Kissinger who sided and plotted with Pakistan. Mrs. Gandhi taught the duo the lesson they never forgot in life. Mrs Gandhi was there lot before Margaret Thatcher became UK’s PM. She bifurcated Pakistan into two and created Bangladesh out of the eastern half. The terror supporting elected governments of the US always favoured Pakistan over India that remained neutral (as a non-aligned nation at least officially). The looming threat of USSR which was India’s ally thwarted any US mischief from fighting/invading India on behalf of/along with Pakistan.

What kind of author is this man who seems to be suffering from selective amnesia for the only reason that he wants to show only US/West in good light. He underplays the work done by communists and overplays the democracy card (read America). Communism has had its advantage. Indian state of Kerala is a standing example. China, even if India’s dire adversary, has developed uniformly because of communist principles only. Is democracy a panacea for all. Capitalists are bloodsucking leeches basically. They are no better than communists who are the polar opposite.

This Follett fellow must write about the British atrocities as well if he is so bent on writing from pages of history. How about starting with Jallian Walah Bagh. Queen Elizabeth shamelessly sports the Kohinoor diamond stolen from India. If UK is to be stripped off all the stolen wealth from native people and nations some day, then they will go bankrupt before sundown. Gives me ample satisfaction that the Pakistanis are now taking over the UK. Soon England will become the first ever caliphate of Europe. Serves them right.

Day is not for when all Brits will be on welfare. Karma is best served cold. Asians are ruling the roost everywhere. We need no certification from these racist fellows. How many native human races/aborigines as well as wildlife these Brits have rendered extinct. Ethnic cleansing.

There wasn’t an iota of sympathy in the book for the blacks – it is mere superficial and inaccurate recording of events. It is a coincidence that the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining momentum now, with Trump losing the US elections. Follett’s racial reference to Saudi diplomat referring to Indian servant is deliberate racial slight.

US invading smaller nations is open secret. How many countries destroyed. How many economies devastated. How many societies plundered for gain. All in the name of Democracy I hope? Who made with the oil and gas in Iraq or Syria. Who stands to gain from fallen nations. UK is the main ally note.

DON’T READ. DON’T WASTE A PENNY ON KEN FOLLETT. How he even saves the face of Germans from Nazi era portraying them as decent (Franck) family! Sickening. This guy is not bothered about values. He is only for making money. He will touch any low.

India is now a heaven for good writing including in English language. Such a rich literary culture we have. Soft power that never lived sucking others’ blood and making a living on the grave of native races. Proudly an Indian, proudly a Hindu. Churchill was No.1 scoundrel who bled nations and shamelessly built his country stealing from hapless defenceless Asian African nations. And if this Churchill is portrayed as kind of hero in UK, then we will have scum like Follett only, what else.

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I was not even in standard 5 (in 1970s) when I heard my granny and my mom discuss Kennedy’s assassination (which happened before my birth). My granny read the Warren report. She was born in 1926. Our relative took our copy and never returned.

One more snippet from such an innocent pre-teen age. My granny told me, Jackie Kennedy threw her wedding ring into Kennedy’s grave which meant she ought not to have (re)married Onassis! My god, she (my granny) hardly studied upto third standard! Years later may be in 1990s, there was a news in local media that one of the Kennedy children and Jackie happened to live anonymously at Mahabalipuram near Chennai in a seaside villa. After an year or a couple of years they were found out when they flew back to US. This is unconfirmed report. I don’t know how my brain has retained this kind of information from my very young years to this day! Especially such very specific details!

My political interest i owe therefore entirely to my granny. She read both the Hindu (English paper) and the Tamil newspaper Dina Thanthi every single day. She showed me once a photo and lead story in Tamil newspaper and told me about Bhutto’s hanging. That was the first time I heard about Pakistan/started taking note of Pakistan. My granny told me Zia hung Bhutto.

My little women! My granny and my mom were very intelligent, sharp women. I take immense pride in that, my mom was working in 1965-66 a good half century ago. Very strong unflinching character. The kind of info they processed and the books they read! Clearly women in sari donning a bindi in forehead are not as naive as some fools in the west think. Yet our women were very homely and devoted to family.

In 1999-91 I was doing my masters in Econometrics in Madras University (final year) after graduating with a degree in Maths in 1989. So my economics knowledge was not too great but I tried best to learn. With Math background, economics was like greek and latin to me.

What I cannot forget from my PG days is the visit to my department by a professor from University of Kiev, Ukraine. He was on a tour of India and for his last leg, he was visiting Madras. He spoke to us for 2 hrs. In 1990/91, India was not even in globalization phase. Yet, even I remember how rich India was. The professor told our class, he was bedazzled by the kind of foodstuff (vegetables, fruits), spices, handicrafts, wealth (gold, silks etc) and merchandise that India boasted. All local made. No shortages, no queues anywhere. He did tell us how they in USSR had to stand in queue for even buying their daily bread which was their staple food. He couldn’t believe that India was portrayed a poor country in USSR or elsewhere in the west including in Europe. On contrary he found that everything was in abundance in India. He said, he just couldn’t have enough of India. He saw big hoardings of the Hindi film “Brashtachchar’ starring Rajnikanth in the metros and asked the hosts the meaning for the title of the film. When he was told the meaning was ‘corruption’ he couldn’t believe Indians had this kind of liberty to make film on govt corruption to be screened for masses. He was moved relating this story to us. He said he was shopping at Raymonds, shopped for all things made in India, crafts, silver, whatever. He was dumbfounded by the quality of merchandise, the textiles, the spirit of India, the magnetism and spirituality of the Hindu dharma.

This professor came visiting to lecture us on communism and Russian model economy but he found that India had a robust mixed economy from grassroots level. He said he was taking back home lessons from India. From India model.

He also told us about Gorbachev who was their president then. I vaguely remember the words Perestroika and Glasnost from newspapers in those years. He asked us whether we knew about it all. It amazes me only now that we had firsthand information on the Balkanization of the Soviet Union right from the horse’s mouth. Perfect timing. Right then, I must say I did not appreciate that I was one of a kind of witness that day to history unfolding in our very times, in front of our very eyes. My department was lukewarm but hopefully the story in Delhi campuses was different. In that age when information was not spread like wildfire, we were aware of only the bringing down of the Berlin wall, not much else. Besides, India is always consumed first by our own domestic events and happenings. A lot was happening with Rajiv Gandhi gearing back for midterm elections. My personal life went for a toss. Last on my agenda was interest on Soviet Union matters. The Kiev professor said soon Ukraine would be a free independent nation. But he also was concerned about those like Lithuania, Estonia etc., that he doubted may not be faring well without help from Russia. Despite myself I enjoyed the long interactive session although we were all being lulled to our inevitable daily dose of afternoon siesta. Our classroom faced the Bay of Bengal and the gentle sea breeze was blowing sweet.

After the Ukranian left, the cold war came to an end and the USSR broke up into handful of independent nations that started looking towards west.

I was thinking about this professor whose name I cannot recall as I toured Georgia and also Azerbaijan in last 3 years that look like poorer cousins of European countries. I had a firsthand view of the Russian infrastructure that looked perfectly fine to me.

As far as I am concerned, these breakaway nations from the erstwhile USSR are not yet commercialized or corrupted because, they were under the protective wings of Russia. Even if supposedly human rights may have been stifled by the Russians, the kind of REAL development we have in these countries is astonishing. Marvelous. My husband is an engineer by profession and he has decades of rich experience in industrial engineering including in O&G, expressways with flyovers and underpasses, even reservoirs. I value his views therefore. I loved even the soviet cabs. They were roomy and unlike anything you might ever have seen in US or Europe or Middle East or India. Automobile engineering of a different but sophisticated kind. Highways are another league no way inferior to US. All other European nations (that i have toured) are like beggar nations really compared to the truly wealthy Georgia and Azerbaijan that are rich in mineral resources, nature and beauty not yet corrupted or stolen by the greedy west. Rivers are lush. Population is less. No absolute poverty. Ideal and idyllic lifestyle. If given an option, I would rather choose to live in Georgia over Switzerland or Austria! Simple but heartwarming peasant lifestyle still with a good standard of living. Hundreds of Indian medical aspirants attend universities in Georgia. I hope these breakaway Soviet nations remain cautious and don’t let their guards down. Let it not be the case of frying pan to fire. Azerbaijan highways omg! Totally a different level of engineering and technology including when it comes to oil & gas! Georgian wine! Even food is native not confined to mere burgers and fries. The west is fake. Dear Soviet block nations, do not trust America or UK. Never.

Our Georgian cab driver presented us with a big bottle of home brewn red wine from his cellar. As we were flying back to Doha where we could not bring liquor, we polished off every drop right there in Georgia! I relished the vegetarian Georgian cuisine that was so authentic, and their homemade energy bars with local dryfruits and nuts. Unforgettable holiday! Cheap and best! Highly recommend! Georgian villages were charming. The leeside of the Ural mountains is awesome. This country is underexplored and not high on tourist radar. Do it before it becomes one more sore tourist spot. Slightly affluent Azerbaijan is dangerously inclined towards Iran which is not healthy. So far so good, but we have to wait and watch. Big bro Russia kept everyone in check no doubt.

Dear Georgia and Azerbaijan, kick capitalist trademarks Marks & Spencers, Burger King etc., out of your nations and close your doors to the west even if you do not want to be with Russia. These are no saints but wolves in sheep clothing. You will be fine on your own. Don’t be in a hurry to sell yourselves to US for peanuts.

Posted in Extras

Please someone send me hot hot samosas, bhajis, filter coffee & masala chai NOW!

(at this moment greatest relief is that, idli batter is fully stocked in fridge, and all podis such as paruppu podi, karuveppilai podi and all thokkus such as tomato thokku are ready with vathal/appalam in tins. Rice & atta in good reserve, all dals there. Coffee, tea there. Channa etc., there. Broken coconuts half a dozen in freezer. Dry red chili, tamarind there. Even if lockdown is announced right now, can survive without milk for a month hahaha!)

After many years, Chennai is blessed bountifully with both the South West Monsoons (July-Sep) and North East Monsoons (Oct-Dec), because we are having this continuous wet spell right from August first week. There has not been a day when it has not rained since, that it reminds me of typical ‘kaar kaalam’ we used to have in our childhood when Monsoons did not necessarily mean cyclonic storms. Months of monsoons is happening now only once in a couple of years of more, never every year as it used to once upon a time…

Monsoons meant hot spicy bajjis and bondas and rounds and rounds of filter coffee and masala chai. From granny’s kitchen, that came steaming right from the stove nonstop. However, now to realize that you are expected to supply all this to your family in the rains is tooooooo muchhhhhhhh….! Never be born a woman!

I am tired, bored! Please just courier me hot plates of samosas with pudina chutney, onion bhajjis with sambhar and coconut chutney, strong hot & steaming filter coffee and also masala chai that i will finish my evening tiffin with!

Even Swiggy & Dunzo not working !!!

Braving your MIL and telling her in face that only Paruppu Podi saadham on menu today is not easy! Managed that! Still had to fry the papads and roast Seppam kizhangu! Also make dosa and coconut chutney! Absolutely didn’t feel like getting up from my bed this morning when it was pouring cats and dogs … but thinking of the souls waiting hungrily for your food got me reluctantly out of my comfy bed… puja is there then… Just finished the lunch assignment!

Before being summoned for next round in kitchen, let me take a break! Already working out in mind, what to do for dinner and for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch!!! Thankfully, oily bhajji ruled out by family otherwise I must be now deepfrying Vaazhaikkai bhajji in this rain!!! Tv also taken over by MIL and the kids!

Btw, love the monsoons! 60 hours of nonstop rains is in very distant memory now. Last had it may be in 2015 when I was in Doha, so I completely missed it.

For Varada cyclone, i was returning via Dubai. In Dubai my flight got suspended and I had to spend over 12 hours at DxB but the airport is very good there. I was offered hotel accommodation but I wanted to reach Chennai fastest. Opted to stay in the airport. Slept sitting in waiting lounge. Restrooms were fine and unlimited supply of snacks provided, so I was saved. I comfortably chose a spot near the charging point.

Reached Chennai around midnight then. Neither me nor my hubby could reach anyone via phone in Chennai. Four days earlier, I called my regular cab fellow and told him about my arrival that was to have been the previous day. I walked out of the airport and couldn’t spot a taxi. Landlines alone were functioning but a long queue. My house was locked and I didn’t know where to go in the midnight. Unsure, I trolleyed my baggage to outside airport. Lo and behold, my regular cabbie waved to me, looking tired and spent! He told me, he was checking every flight they allowed after Varada after I called. I was not taking a straight flight. I flew in via DxB but I was alert enough to put in a word to him. His phone was down, he could not talk to my folks, he could not talk to my hubby or me, but he parked near Nanganallur and returned to airport for every flight landing in Meenambakkam. That is how he spotted me. His thorough professionalism and also humanity really amazes me even now.

Four days earlier I had also alerted my MIL, after which I could not reach my people via phone. She had taken cue and had arrived a day early in the storm keeping the gate open for me. She was there to open my door when I rang the bed in unearthly hours. There was no way I could call her in advance. Quite an adventure!

All the way I could spot the havoc wrecked by Varada just the previous day. Every standing tree in Chennai was down. Many roads blocked. My cabbie cleverly maneuvered his car avoiding flooded streets and those blocked with fallen trees.

I missed the 2015 flooding of Chennai but I did get to see the immediate after-effects of cyclone Varada in 2017. That was also to be the last time I flew in and out via Dubai. Soon UAE closed their doors to Qatar residents. Earlier I used to routinely switch flights in Dubai or Sharjah or Bahrain because their airlines were cheap and best. Now switching flights only in Colombo or opting for straight flight, whatever the ticket price. Hopefully with Biden, the situation in Middle East also gets resolved. Unnecessary travel hassles to third party NRIs. I miss switching flights in DxB. Facilitywise it is best. In very few airports you can last 12 to 18 hours nibbling on burgers and chips. I had my laptop, phone charger, cell phone, and the knowledge that their restrooms are clean gave me peace. We women have to factor in a lot of things. Doha airport is one level up now. We have the best, best in the league. I miss being there. How I wish my country can ensure this level of comfort to all air passengers.

Btw, i could have postponed my air travel, but the concerned airlines that I do not want to name, gave me false assurance that flights operated normally in Chennai then. They were eager to dump passengers and avoid cancellations, as I realized later. I wanted to rebook but they said onward flights were on. They weren’t bothered that I would be stranded in DxB for more than 12 hours in midnight. My fellow passengers shared a similar fate.

Flying in this weather… omg… Imagine being stranded in Colombo or Meenambakkam or even any of our local airports!!! Finished!

What I hate about men: Even in Doha or wherever, whenever we return from somewhere including shopping or walking or a tour, always trust your hubby to fix him his chai or coffee first!!! Just hate men for their insensitivity! And there they curl up to go back to sleep whereas you load the washing machine and start the next round of cooking because, after all you’ve been eating restaurant food for days when you were on holiday! And being a woman, you just can’t go to sleep without a care in the world as men do! I can’t! Unless I guess some semblance is restored in the house and the suitcases are unpacked I can’t sleep in peace just like that!

Posted in Food For Soul

going vegan… from vegan silk to vegan leather…

Many of us raised vegetarian from birth still have no qualms about leather or silk in our everyday life. We try to rationalize our guilt trip justifying, our belt or purse is ethical leather. We can’t be without dairy either which is far more horrific than even leather industry or meat processing where the cattle/sheep die a single death.

Is it time to move away from our phony vegetarian values and adopt a sustainable, humanitarian lifestyle.

Try as I may, I am unable to grow out of my obsession with silk living so close to Kanjivaram (Kanchipuram) geographically. Traditionally too, ours is a silk weaving community, mostly hailing from Kanchi and Arni, although our folks have almost completely weaned themselves out of our native occupation in recent times. I do still have a few relatives left out who have installed ‘thari’ or handlooms in their ‘thazhvarams’ and ‘mithams’ (front yard, courtyard, backyard etc., in traditional tiled ‘ottu’ veedu or house typical of Tamil Nadu that are fast disappearing even from our villages – that are big and airy and impressive) and keep weaving as family: daughter-in-law to mother-in-law to son and daughter – as they did their chores like cooking, cleaning etc., side by side. One lady told me they wove this way one or two handspun Kanchi silks watching our tv soaps in the evenings as dinner was served! The men tended to the marketing/business part.

In fact, our family tree grew along this silk road to success! Arni is my father-in-law’s hometown. Even now there stands his ancestral home with 4 grand entrances in 4 streets, with a family temple close to one gate (where outsiders were not allowed up until very recently), a second one dedicated to business deeds with big enormous ‘thinnais’ that served like modern day showrooms in the bygone era…, one entrance reserved for women alone and one for servants. Erected in late 1800s, the colossal palatial edifice stands today as a testimony to the family heirloom and wealth that was spun out of Kanchi/Arni silk business by our forefathers. Silk is therefore much more than a simple attire to us. Silk meant food and livelihood for centuries.

Senguntha Mudaliars built their fortunes with silk industry which was patronized by the royals, the British and the temples all at the same time. Very conservative and pious community, they diversified soon to become successful doctors and engineers by the turn of the century. Now very few families stick to the traditional profession. Astonishingly, the business has been taken over by Naidus and Reddys of Chennai! Sengunthas started owning huge estates with money made from silk business and donated heavily to upkeep of Hindu temples around world war times. I know because my grandfather gave away dozens of houses within Chennai city limits to various temples as my family signed on the dotted line without asking a single question. My in laws families too gave up. We are blessed not to have an iota of regret for what we have given up. All the silk money is gone and with it we lost our native occupation as well to new ventures that are doing extremely well. Times change. Life changes. A 2000 year old familial knowledge and heritage and customary practice is now not in our hands.

Markandeya is believed to be the sage who gifted the art of weaving to Sengunthas as we believe, hence mostly Markandeya gotra. Pazhaiyana azhidhalum, pudhiyana pugalum. Absolutely no regrets about the modern day transformation.

My mom who taught until the last day of her life deaf and dumb middle school girls, had a severe aversion for silk. All her life, she wore silk only on 2 occasions: on her wedding day and for our house grihapravesham. A true vegetarian.

However, I have never been able to resist the temptation of silk, any silk for that matter. Give me anything be it Benaras or Tussar or Mysore or Maheshwari or Assamese or Chanderi or Patola or Bandhni or Uppada or Gadwal or Jamdani or Kota or Kashmiri … hahaha I will take it without a second thought!!! Of course, my reigning queen in Kanchi Silk !!! Not only because we have an emotional familial bond with Kanchi silk that bred my ancestors, but also because, from experience of traveling and shopping (even if not much) a little bit I can tell you, Kanchi is No.1 silk in the world that women and designers and fashionistas outside India are dying to lay their hands on! Undisputable No.1. To think that my forefathers perfected this Kanchi silk weaving art and robed the Gods and Goddesses and Kings and Queens, makes me proud kind of.

So Vegan silk always raises for me these uncomfortable questions. Profound shaivites who thronged temples, Sengunthas still wove silk out of the silkworms drowning cocoons in boiling steaming water. Every single traditional vegetarian family in south still draped this sinful silk most importantly on auspicious occasions like family weddings and pujas and other celebrations, and to temples. Why this self-contradiction.

I have heard of Ahimsa silk which I believe is only partially less evil. In regular silk, the silk worms in cocoons are boiled in a cauldron. For Ahimsa silk, the silk worm is let out and the cocoon is separated for silk yarn. Tragedy is, prematurely ejected from the cocoon, the silkworms die a torturous death after a few hours of miserable life on earth, before being brushed enmasse onto garbage. In what way is Ahimsa silk better than regular silk.

Talking to someone who shunned silks and leather entirely in last few years, I was disturbed to learn how the tearful vibes of the millions of silkworms that sacrifice their lives in most crushing cruelest manner get spun into the silk robe you drape. Same holds true for leather. Every leather accessory we may use still may moan quietly with the tragic vibes of the animal (cow or sheep or goat or buffalo) whose life was violently snuffed out by skinner-butcher. At least a fraction of such a bad vibe can get transformed into our soul and influence our own aura. This can have a lasting effect on our spirituality and even perception of things, life. There is therefore a compulsive need to grow out of silk and leather. It asks for greater mental strength to rise about these materialistic temptations, but I guess I could be ready.

Vegan silk I believe is a great alternative because it is mostly made from plant cellulose. In specific cases, microfibers may be woven into the vegan fabric/textile upon request or as situation/design demanded. For the first time ever, I am going for Vegan silk that is completely animal abuse-free. I can have a clear conscience donning the silk. I am trying to stop silk shopping completely now and switch over 100% to vegan silks. Because vegan or whatever, my fascination for silk continues! At the same time at the back of my mind I recall that this Kanchi silk is what fed my ancestors for generations and generations. I am here because of Kanchi silk to say NO to Kanchi silk! What an irony. But this is something that has to be done without sentiment or prejudice. Sooner or later….

Vegan leather too similarly is mostly made from plant cellulose that is bio-degradable. Great alternative to leather. Leather industry with its toxic chemical dyes for effluents also is a great pollutant of our rivers and other water sources. All the more a good reason to say a big NO to leather, ethical or whatever. By the way, what is ethical leather. The hides and skins used by ethical leather units reportedly are procured from meat industry through regular channels. Does that make leather ethical by any means?

I also have always owned leather purses, handbags, belts etc up until now. Somewhere we must make a beginning. Stopping forthwith, leather shopping.

What is very testy is, giving up dairy. I gave up coffee for 10 months but it was torturous. Then I decided that no Mother Goddess wanted me to give up coffee!!! So saying ‘excuse me, i am starting coffee Ma 😀 ‘ to Her one fine morning, I restarted my coffee routine! Similarly living without milk or panneer or curd or buttermilk seems next to impossible! As a vegetarian I find dairy to be my greatest comfort food! Can’t just do with Almond milk or Soya milk – which I have tried in futility in Doha.

As for eggs and meat, many are switching over to organic eggs and organic poultry as well. The poultry industry breeds caged broiler chicken that are pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones. Something our younger generation must keep away from, because this can be very damaging. And to think about what the poultry birds have to go through! Meat consumption has gone up in India only in recent years. Earlier when I was a kid, meat was a luxury reserved to very rich few. Others saw meat once or twice an year only. Biriyani is the greatest health hazard to our youngsters. Unhealthy with spicy content that can cause heartburn and bathed in oil, this foreign food needs regulation. I am that rare vegetarian who can turn out the best mutton and chicken biriyani from my kitchen (as certified by guests) without ever knowing how it tastes, but I only use organic meat. Seafood is better than river fish as river fish swallows a lot of toxins.

Size of fish in Doha and size of fish in India raise another important question. My husband favours Shankara (red snapper) fish which is of 6 inch plate size end to end by length in Middle East, caught from the Arabian Gulf seas. In India the same fish is much, much smaller in size almost only half in size, which indicates we are overfishing. Very soon our oceans could be running dry of fish. Scary.

So back to basics, finally…

I will post updates on this one, as to how well I am doing with my Vegan silk and Vegan leather. As for my existing silk and leather, I am keeping them because I have invested heavily in them over years. But no more fresh buy where it concerns silk and leather. I would like to spread the message.

Let us think of a Vegan silk India and Vegan leather India. My only request to vegan businesses is that, please don’t go easy on polyurethane or other such micro fibers in vegan leather or silk, in which case original silk and leather will look like top-of-the-line always. We are all for eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle but we will not give up silk and leather for microfibers and plastics instead. Make sure, the vegan leather and silk are one hundred percent plant based. Reforest/afforest the deforested ranges that your industry derives raw material from. This is a very important angle we have to look into.

Always after silk, cotton is my immediate next choice. Sustainable, bio-degradable and suiting Indian climatic conditions, and 100% desi, Indian cotton is one more No.1 in the world. Absolute class when it comes to the yarns and weaves we have from different states of India. In foreign residence, climate may require me to go for manmade fibres but given a choice, my vote is always for pure silk/cotton. However from now on, it will be Vegan silk and Vegan leather. Let’s see.

Posted in food as therapy..., Welcome to my blog!

Mixed Millet Idli & Dosa

Mixed Millet Idli & Dosa

Ingredients for batter :

Varagu (Kodo Millet) (Kodra) – 1 cup

Kudiraivali (Barnyard Millet) (Jhangora) – 1 cup

Saamai (Little Millet) (Kutki) – 1 cup

Quinoa (Seemai Thinai) – 1/4 cup

Thinai (Foxtail Millet) (Kangni) – 1/2 cup

Kambu (Pearl Millet) (Bajra) -1/2 cup

Cholam (Sorghum) (Jowar) – 1/4 cup

Urad Dal – 1 and 1/4 cups to be soaked with 1 tsp Fenugreek (Methi) (Vendhayam) seeds.

Salt to taste (Pink Himalayan Rock/Crystal salt used)

Water for grinding

All millets used in this recipe are organic. Only Urad dal is not certified organic. All these listed millets are also native to India except for Quinoa. Before rice and wheat consumption became fashionable this century, our forefathers mostly ate millet three times a day. Even now, villagers in India have millets for main course. Ragi Mudde is popular in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu peasants have Kezhvaragu koozh for breakfast.

I left out Ragi/Kezhvaragu (Finger Millet) (Mandua in Hindi) because, mostly in roti flour I mix Ragi flour 1 tsp and flax seed powder 1/2 tsp. Moreover, Ragi will make Idli appear very darker. Consistency also may not be upto mark on grinding the batter. May be a handful can be added.

How to grind the batter?

Mix all millets together and rinse clean. Leave standing water for soaking overnight. (Eight hour soaking recommended)

Soak urad dal and methi seeds together.

Grind to buttery consistency the urad dal first.

Grind to coarse consistence, the mixed millets. Little millets may remain unground, but it is fine.

Pour the mixed millet batter on top of ground urad dal and stir well. You can salt at this stage.

Keep aside. No need to add baking or cooking soda or yeast.

Batter will ferment and raise well on its own just like regular Idli/dosa batter in a couple of hours (or more).

Refrigerate and make Idli/Dosa like regular Idli/Dosa.

Millets are rich in vitamins and minerals. Totally gluten-free and are slow to digest. Therefore ideal for the diabetic or pre-diabetic. However, Millets may be consumed with caution in case of thyroid malfunction. Perfect weight-loss diet.

Power breakfast to kickstart your day with! Sumptuous, nutritious, filling, lighter at the same time. Soft, fluffy, melting in mouth. Best served with Mint-Coriander (Pudina-Dhaniya) Coconut Chutney and Lentil Sambhar and Urad Dal Vada.

Posted in food as therapy...

Murungai Keerai Pirattal (Moringa Leaf Curry)

This is very basic, still I thought this must have a spot in my blog.

Murungai or Moringa is poor man’s vegetable in south India. Moringa is our native tree. Lower middle class homes have the tree almost always in their backyard or frontyard. Hence there is an abundance of murungakai (Moringa veg) and murungai keerai (moringa leaf) supply anyday in local markets.

In my case, my street has many homes with Mururgai tree so i get both Murungai keerai and Murungai kai free most of the times.

Moringa is also considered auspicious vegetable! No wedding feast without Murungaikai sambar.

Murungai health properties are well documented. Besides being a terrific immunity booster, the murungai family is rich in essential nutrition that keeps cancer away. Cheap and best, Murungai is naturally an integral part of south Indian cooking. Kirumi nashini (germ killer).

My interest in Moringa grew manifold when I started noticing Moringa based beauty products in Bodyshop in Doha. Ever since, of course, I started including Moringa more into my food routine. (As we Indians continue to sleep, many of our traditional medicinal recipes are being patented for profit in the west).

Although many of us have Murungai sambhar and Murungai poriyal pretty often, not everyone has an appetite for Murungai Keerai. However, it is mainstay of my kitchen always.

For Murungai Keerai Pirattal, I took a big bunch of Murungai branch leaves that my housemaid plucked for free (!) from a neighbour’s tree!!!

Here are the ingredients:

Murungai Keerai bunch

Onion medium -1

Garlic – a few pods

Dry Red chili – 2 or 3

Coconut scraped – 1 or 2 tbsp (optional)

Peppercorn – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste (used Himalayan Pink Rock/Crystal salt)

Water a little (optional)

Oil for tempering: I use either Gingely oil or Coconut oil both coldpressed 2 tsp

For tempering: 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp broken or whole urad dal

Method:

Pluck the Murungai or Moringa leaves carefully from the stems. Rinse in running water and keep aside.

Grate onion fine

Crush the garlic. I use a stone pound (what we call ‘ammi’ in Tamil)

Break the dry red chili and de-seed.

Crush the pepper corn. You can do this while crushing the garlic.

Heat the oil in a kadai (I use either cast iron kadai or clay kadai only)

When the oil is about to smoke, temper with mustard seeds and urad dal and dry red chili.

When the seeds splutter, add the onion and saute to golden brown.

Add next the crushed garlic-pepper corn.

Finally add the rinsed moringa leaves.

Add little water but mostly not needed.

Cover and cook to a crispy tender. Won’t take more than a few minutes. Under 10 min precisely.

When the murunga keerai has no more water retention, add the grated coconut.

Salt to taste.

Stir well and switch off fire.

Result: the Murugai Kai Keerai Pirattal (pic) which can be had as a subji or be mixed with rice for main course. Serve with a tsp on ghee with rice.

A must for teenage children. Moringa is a staple vegetable in our families always. But of late, our traditional vegetables and greens are hardly appreciated by the younger generation. Today we see many women in twenties with ovarian cysts etc. Infertility is on rise. Moringa is one tree that is truly organic because, it grows right in your backyard. It is pesticide and chemical fertilizer free. One good reason to make Murugai keerai and Murungai Kai poriyal/sambar a compulsory part of your weekly diet. Moringa or the Murungai family is credited with natural fertility properties and other medicinal values as per Ayurveda. It is not without a reason that our families have traditionally made Murungai a vital part of our everyday menu.

So is Murungai Keerai yummy? Not sure about that! Mostly it is acquired taste for us hahaha! But today’s Murungai Keerai Poriyal was too good which is the reason I am posting it here in my blog.

PS: Btw I just loved the subtle fragrance of Moringa moisturizer in Bodyshop !!! Was like none other! So original! I can’t believe the MNCs took the Moringa out of India to make cosmetics from face creams to perfumes!

Posted in food as therapy..., Food Porn

what’s cookin’ : straight from my tawa and kadai

I stopped posting recipes long back because, (1) am not a foodie (2) not a gourmet cook (3) just a regular everyday housewife left with no option than cooking (4) mine is literally hole-in-the-wall 9×6 tiniest minutest kitchen (5) don’t find cooking captivating though cathartic at times like writing this blog (6) prefer eating out during weekends (7) jelebis and halwas and laddoos and murukkus are best at Grand Sweets and Shree Mithai hahaha !!! so why give them competition !!!

Even so, decided to add one or two authentic recipes here that i have perfected on improvisations over traditional methods …. No new found passion for cooking. There are many many more with such a crushing devotion and interest in cooking. Mine is average/normal fare as i said sans any frill – just the mundane run-of-the-mill stuff minus the paraphernalia such as window dressings like presentation while serving, topping etc., etc., displaying your cutlery and table/dining ware that you hardly use otherwise (only guests are lucky in our homes to sample our precious dinnerware!!!)

Food for me must be sumptuous, nutritious and delicious at the same time. I don’t believe in dieting. Eat heartily until you burp. Then work out. That’s my fitness mantra.

Will try to pull up a few old ones too from a previous blog.

Posted in Mylapore Musings

Anandhi

In the times of Kamala Harris for VP and feminism, I would like to share a real life story from Mylapore from the late 80s-early 90s.

It is about Anandhi, our housemaid. She was from a village in rural Tamil Nadu. I can’t believe that I never even once asked her about her nativity in all those years she was with us.

Actually I don’t think she would have been older than me by more than 10 years. She was married off as an 18 year old when she was still working their farms, to a rickshaw puller in Santhome area. He was an alcoholic who also physically abused her, not earning a single decent rupee. Anandhi’s mother-in-law supported her and the humble lower middle-class home of theirs was her in-laws. Owing to poverty, Anandhi walked to our house, a few streets away for helping us with our domestic chores. She was picky about who she worked for. In our case, she was taken in by the fact that two teenage motherless girls cooked, packed lunch, studied on their own as their saintly father never spoke a word to them. ‘Paavam pa nee’ she used to tell me often then.

Anandhi was very thin herself that I almost felt guilty taking her help for our laborious menial work at home. However, she never took a day off except for one month in summers to go back to her hometown for a vacation. She also slightly limped.

Anandhi told me that her husband had undergone vasectomy for government money of 500 rupees during Sanjay Gandhi period. He married her without disclosing the truth to her. So Anandhi was childless. Often she was sick as well. She also worked for my aunt family. My uncle opened a bank account for her. Anandhi hid the information of working for me to her husband and saved her salary every month in the bank.

Life went on. Life was all consuming. Life was trying. Life was tough.

Finally it was time for me to get married and move over to my in laws’ place. After my marriage I came to know that there was no news on Anandhi’s whereabouts. She had simply vanished from the scene without a trace. It was a time before the cell phones became commonplace. We knew where Anandhi lived but somehow missed finding out about her.

One day when I was visiting Mylapore with my 2 year old son, there was a knock on the door. My aunt opened the door to greet Anandhi carrying an infant boy. We were all shocked and surprised and confused at the same time.

Anandhi had disappeared around the time of my marriage. Next 2 to 3 years there was no information on her. We even feared the worst about her. That probably her drunk husband had killed her in rage in one of their regular nightly spats even if Anandhi was very, very softspoken. So imagine our delight on seeing her! But the baby?

Anandhi then stunned us relating to us what happened to her since 1993.

Around the time of my marriage, she found that she had advanced TB. Unwilling to upset her rural and aged and poor folks, not wanting to disturb us or her family, she quietly got herself admitted in government Tambaram Sanatorium TB hospital as an inpatient without a single penny in her hand, where she resided convalescing and recouping for more than an year. A shy villager who could not read or write, she still was one very intelligent woman. She knew how fatal TB could prove to be if left unchecked. She got herself fully cured with patience and forbearance and used this time to learn about the reversal procedures for vasectomy for her husband and plan for their future.

One fine day, after complete recovery, she returned to her husband’s home unannounced. Mother and son were taken in by surpise. She used the euphoric moment to persuade her husband to go in for vasectomy reversal. The surgery was a success and Anandhi, cured of TB, conceived immediately. Her mother-in-law transferred the title deed of their humble dwelling unit to Anandhi’s name, not her son’s. Soon she passed away. And there was our Anandhi, waiting for her son to turn one year or so, healthy enough to visit us.

We really cried rivers of joy on hearing our Anandhi’s story with a happy ending. My uncle brought out her passbooks for bank accounts. She refused to take them with her. We gifted her generously and as her son was one year younger to mine, I passed on to her a whole range of toys and clothes and other nice things. Anandhi said, she was now unfit to work so she had machines to do her domestic chores at home. She rented out a portion of her small house that gave her a regular though meagre income. Her husband was still not yet totally reformed. He lapsed back to his old ways now and then. Without her mother-in-law’s moral support, she was feeling tired and alone but the little boy brought her so much cheer.

At three years, Anandhi admitted her son to a christian convent in Santhome. I left for Malaysia. My uncle handed over her savings entirely at that point even if she refused to take charge. That was the last I saw of her.

Today her son would be 25 years old. Whether Anandhi is still alive, i do not know. I do think of her sometimes. May be I should find out. Too much happening in life ever since that we hardly have time for everyone sadly.

Anandhi who took her husband for reversal of vasectomy and got herself admitted alone in TB hospital severing links with one and all for more than an year completely, always makes her the boldest heroine to me somehow. A total illiterate who knew nothing but sowing seeds, weeding, washing clothes and dirty dishes, who wouldn’t utter a word but give you only that silent smile, was so brave and strong-willed in real life where and when it really mattered. Her quiet courage, confidence and conviction amazed me because, she never even boarded a bus on her own until she was diagnosed with TB. Her decency and concern in not revealing her health condition to everyone fishing for sympathy or seeking help or not even causing distress with the news, showed to me the refinement in her character. Her compassion for two motherless girls and their widower father even if she was only a housemaid, would be touching. She barely spoke a word or two. But in those two words she always managed to convey to me her total love and affection. In that age and time, that was so very heartwarming to me no doubt. That silent company. That shy presence. But that heart that always cared.

How to go invisible and remain unobtrusive if situation demanded. This knowledge and knack many of us have not mastered or are unwilling to learn. Coming from peasant background, Anandhi knew the etiquette without having to be told about that. Setril mulaitha senthamarai really.

I hope Anandhi is well and happy wherever she is, if at all she is. Her frail health always remained a concern.

Today we hardly have such genuine affectionate people around us. People who make real sense. People who are of substance. I used to share my morning coffee with Anandhi for years in our house ‘mitham’ (mutram) where she would be washing our dishes as early as 6 am. I do miss that kindness even if it came only from someone who worked for us for a paltry sum.

Posted in Mylapore Musings

The Chimney Glow

Watching period serial ‘Stories by Rabindranath Tagore’ (that by itself is worthy of a post), I was reminded of the Chimney light days from my childhood in Mylapore. May be we had this light at home as a spare until I turned 10 or 12. We had no zero watt night bulb then.

I have this memory of filling kerosene in two such small chimney lights for two rooms in my house. That evening duty was mine. Kerosene was in a tall narrow necked glass bottle tightly screwed shut, stored away in a shelf. The wick would be pruned by my mother and both the lights would be readied by 6 pm for lighting. No bedrooms for couples in those days. We slept in rows in the living!!! Sleeping on the handspun straw mat was the comforting bedding ever for me! I have no memory of my parents sleeping alone or together as a couple sorry!!! What a sacrificing life our parents and grandparents led for our sake!

By 7.30 to 8 pm, we would already be ready to retire to bed, because tv was barely there. And also because I had a working mom. We got our first tv in 1977 when i was in class 4 only. Before going to bed, I would light the chimneys sometimes or my mother did. The glass lamps served as our night bulbs hanging from a hooked nail in a corner off the wall that was safe from breeze from the partly open windows and fan and anything combustible.

I still remember the mini chimney lights but i can’t find exact replica images in the net. I will keep looking for them. I used to go to sleep focusing on the small glow from the open top of the glass chimney. The bottom part that held the fuel was metal with a screw and wick. I also think that the chimney glass part with (sometimes jagged) circular opening on top to let out smoke often broke. There are faint memories of pushcarts in the streets selling those glass chimney tops. Or may be we had these in the platform shops in Luz or Mylapore tank. Did we have different colours like burnt orange, brown, bottle green? Although all I can recall from the one at home is plain colourless glass chimney.

Carrying the lit chimney lamp around the home in eerie darkness with shadows lengthening or shortening was another reason to delight! Mostly this was whenever the power was out which was pretty often in late 70s.

If I ever slept with my granny, I would be listening with her to Ceylon Radio Tamil broadcast in the soft light of the oil lamp. Mostly I did this in summer hols. Late evening 9 pm was considered like midnight in those days!!! Watching the chimney shadow flicker on the wall opposite was another childhood pastime as I would doze off into bottomless dreamless sleep that only kids are capable of.

When did we grow out of this chimney light habit? I guess until my mother’s time we had it at home. Later the yellow zero watt night bulb substituted the glass and metal chimney light that used to leave a very light black smoky shadow on the wall.

Slowwwww days and slower peaceful nights. The chimney light era reminds me of such a comfortable age when nothing was done in a hurry. Makes me nostalgic. What a charming old world that was! The dancing flame of the chimney lights on windy thundery monsoony nights surprisingly still stays fresh in my memory…. as the long nights during some power-cut days when we cooked, ate and laughed and lived in the mellow shadow of the chimney glow…

Posted in Political

Raaman Aandaalum Raavanan Aandaalum….

a picture is worth a thousand words. Indian CEOs in US: single proof of altruistic relations between the US & India irrespective of successive governments and heads of the state in both the countries…

This piece was originally written hours before Joe Biden decisively won the US elections. Hopefully he proves to be good for India. His personal life tragedies, I trust, could make him by far the most compassionate US president in a long time who knows. Those of us who have walked a bed of thorns think differently. I look forward to better India US relations because America is family for me now! I will love America as much as I love India… started loving America like India the day my son set foot in America. Let the world recover smoothly from coronavirus and let us wait for the dawn of happy times yet again. Indians have vested interests in America. The States is like a second home to most Indian families who have a son/daughter/sibling living there. Indian community has enriched America in myriad ways. We have given America astronauts to top surgeons to software professionals to nursing staff and even hoteliers. Sundar Pichchai and Satya Nadella are not born everyday. To the US with love, INDIA.

However I don’t share such generous views on VP Kamala Harris even if she shares Tambram genes equally as Jamaican. She never identified herself as half Indian all these days. Why sudden Indian/Tamil affinity now. Villagers in Mayavaram are crazy holding prayers for her victory. Anything for the daughter of the soil.

*******************************************************

What a debate the Trump Biden neck-to-neck contest has triggered in our midst.

India is very much concerned because our economy is directly tied to the US. Latest flashpoint has been the H1B visa renewal revised to every year from every three years badly affecting the IT sector and the fresh graduate Indians in the US. Mostly therefore we look at US elections from micro levels because Indian professionals rule the roost in America in key sectors such as IT, Medicine etc. We are more concerned about our kids going for masters to the US, H1B quota for the IT industry and US$ exchange rate over who is good for maintaining the balance of power in the world. Biden may be a better choice but how many of our liberals and leftists pause to think what a damage the Democrats have done to us Indians over decades. Republicans have fared far better (excluding perhaps Nixon). At macro level, for the Indian nation, Republican presidents have always been somewhat favourable politically.

For the leftists I have these questions: So immigrants are fine in Europe, America and India ( with Rohingyas). But why not in Middle East. Name a single islamic country/Arab nation that has taken in Palestinians or Syrians. How dare you. Come to the gulf. You can see thousands of Palestinians without a passport. What an intellectual dishonesty you guys have! You dare to question Trump, Modi, Macron everyone but you have not an iota of conscience because you never raise the flag as far as the islamic nations are concerned. You talk of islamophobia when you know none else in the world issues a ‘fatwa’ calling for death to fellow humans. Nowhere else in the world are pre-teen non-muslim girls abducted, raped and force converted to Islam as it is happening in Pakistan. Yes, every single non-muslim working/living in middle east cannot even proclaim his/her religion in public or criticize ‘the faithful’ lest he/she may rot in jail for rest of his/her life or worse, be stoned to death. And you talk of human rights in secular nations like India and the US. I am challenging you: try eating a pizza or even a pack of peanut in public in Pakistan during Ramzan in broad daylight , leave alone in Arab countries. I will talk to you if you are not already mutton kheema.

Black lives do matter but minorities cannot ever take law onto their hands whatever the pretext. Playing minority victim card is such a regular scene even in India. Just like our liberals/leftists have no word on conversion mafia/hawala fundings, they maintain a stoic silence on crimes committed by the minorities as well. How good is that Vatican keeps pumping millions of dollars into India for conversion guys? Or are you sleepwalkers with selective amnesia. Is it within human rights for foreign/desi missionaries/evangelists to venture into our tribal lands and convert indigenous natives?

Most of us who have been residents in the middle east are aware of the Trump mischief when he visited Saudi that triggered a commotion in the region and threatened world peace a couple of years ago. Trump was no way saint. Yet, that someone had the nerve to call a spade spade was admirable. Have you ever noticed a single leftist/liberal write or talk on triple talak or UCC (uniform civil code) or suppression of human rights in middle east. The leftist sense of justice: Shout out to Rohingyas but go silent on Yazidis. Raise a storm over Ram Mandir but go quiet on reclaiming church lease estate on expiry of 99 years. Even Hongkong could have gone back to China but not a single church may return to government fold. Law interprets itself differently in India. Or for secular democratic nations in general. Same law holds different again for communists and islamists. No audit for madarasa and church fundings but keep the temple administration with ruling government. If this does not smack of hyprocrisy, what does. My take on world affairs altered after i grew cynical on happenings in India.

Nationalism is not born without a reason. You feed it and then you cry foul.

Dear leftists/liberals today you can wag your tail proudly because Hindu dharma has bestowed such a freewill upon you. Democracy is very much incumbent on demography of a nation. Don’t let population jehad reduce you to minority. Then let us see whether you will even have any scope to exist. How many of you have it in you to admit to this bitter truth, a possibility within this century. Has happened in Egypt. Happening in Turkey presently. How long before it happens in India.

The same leftists who call the Dalit treatment a historical injustice, have no word for forced conversions or jiziya or razing of Hindu temples by Moghuls or the islamic anarchy that bled the Hindus for centuries. When you have no sympathy for the Hindu ancestors who suffered persecution under Arab/Moghul/Turkish/Persian marauders and sadistic invaders, you have no right to talk about the caste discriminations in the Hindu society prevalent for centuries. Both cancel out each other. Both were the prevailing dharma of those times. Even slave trade was the norm and dharma of a bygone era. Don’t hold the current generation responsible for the crimes and injustices and atrocities committed by their forefathers – because you never want to hold Indian muslims responsible for anything from past. Let the past remain in past NOT SELECTIVELY but.

If you want to be chummy chummy with muzzies, you are welcome, but don’t ever wag a finger at us Hindus. We have had enough. And now, we are finally on the offensive, having been on the defensive for too long.

In this context, I have always viewed Trump as a plus for India. His actions on immigration could have cost us a bit even if we are legal immigrants in the US (as white collar workers), but he had every right to regularize immigration in his own country. Average Americans welcomed his reforms, at least to my knowledge and thinking. If trump faulted, it was probably in the management of covid 19 pandemic.

I wouldn’t want to judge a man by his words. Rather by his actions. Trump succeeded in securing maximum benefits for the US economy pushing for lowering of trade tariffs in India, China etc. He did what was good for his country whether be it about Climate change or whatever. In spite of signing up for Climate change, what is India doing for a better environment. What are the efforts for greening the planet by the signed nations.

Trump’s scathing remarks on China are true 100%. His fears about China well founded. His warnings on terrorism were not out of place or time. Democrats such as Obama are known for emboldening terror elements. Just see who is rejoicing with Biden win. Our Paki neighbours. Trump stopped the US from financing terror nations and minced no words issuing a statement to that effect. US economy registered a robust growth in last 4 years.

I am very skeptical about Democrat for POTUS because our history is not rosy as I said. These democrats go soft on terror. Our international policies would be at loggerheads. As for the IT sector in India bringing us valuable foreign exchange, it may however be time to cheer with Biden winning the presidential race and it might be good news for our masters aspirants and research scholars and other immigrants, but we need to wait and watch how these guys are going to take our relationship further.

Mostly Joe Biden will be a mixed bag for India.

Those of you who associate Republican presidents with war scenarios forget that the following Democrat presidents never exercised the option of calling back troops but instead supplied additional troops to war fronts.

Health care reforms are fine but we also have south American economies like Venezuela ruined by socialism. Nothing is free in this world. You have to earn every single penny. Unchecked freebies will take any economy to Venezuelan-like crisis.

May be he was haughty and boorish and hated openly, yet Trump was good for India because he was a thorough businessman. You can deal with this kind. It is the dillydallying ones we have to stay wary of. The suave and sophisticated scoundrels reap all the praise because they have it in them to hoodwink the so-called elitist intelligentsia who fall for these nonsense charms head over heels. As for the general janata such as me, it takes a lot more of convincing to consider someone for what they are truly worthy of.

Too early to predict anything further. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted in Pictures Desi

Why Is ‘Metti Oli’ Still No.1 Soap In Tamil Television.

Lockdown saw return of the old guard as far as tv soaps are concerned. ‘Metti Oli’ made one more comeback to our homes and is concurrently doing two channels easily even after all these years. How can it be possible to retain such a rapt audience interest during repeat telecasts?

Well, for these very simple and at the same time thought-provoking reasons:

*For truly middle class values.

*No glamorous or cosmetic content

*Down to earth portrayal of characters, characterization and scene settings

*No erosion or watering down of morality or ethics of the community in general

*No graphic or violence content

*No vulgar content

*Family oriented underscoring relationships and family and old world values

*No hidden agenda underlying the script and screenplay

*Honest portrayal of circumstances without exaggeration

*No villainification of family members deliberately pitted against each other

*No hero worship of a singular character

*Every character is fallible and no character is too perfect

*No spite or vengeance or intense hatred or malice beyond acceptable standards

*No sister-in-law planning to poison the new bride

*No brother-in-law rooting for his sister-in-law

*No daughter-in-law hatching plot to oust her mother-in-law

*No mother-in-law pining to strangulate her daughter-in-law

*No maligning of characters or character assassination

*No kids talking too much for their age

*No customary prison scene

*No alcohol consuming or smoking character

*No extra marital affairs

*No clandestine affairs

*No home breakers

*No brother-in-law scheming to usurp family business

*No plotting of murders in temple precincts

*No sense of hopelessness

*New hope even in dire situations

*No overt negativity

*Relatable to our very own lives and environment

*Nothing flashy or fancy

*More forgiving, more generous

*Dignity and earnestness in character portrayal

*Immense patience and tolerance and goodwill in/of characters

*Over-all feel-good factor

*Wholesome family entertainment that you can watch with family

*You watch this serial for the story content not for the glamour of characters or their clothes.

*No single hero/villain. Equal importance to all role players.

*Joint families crux of the story. Joint families are fast disappearing in India replaced by nuclear families.

*Life humbles characters. Life overwhelms characters who swallow pride and shame frame to frame to keep the family in-tact. Which is what matters over anything and everything. Family stays united at any cost.

I hope there is a lot to learn from this very decent and grounded and low-cost/budget production. You don’t need to invent conspiracies to cheat and kill and dupe and shortchange to have a roaring audience. I don’t watch soaps at all but years back, Metti Oli on its very first run was compulsive enough for me to let down my guard and watch some episodes from midway. Recently I caught my mother-in-law still hanging on to the old do over others. I leaned over from my dining to take a peek at what was playing in the tv screen and found that Metti Oli is still charming and appealing to my heart. This is the secret to success. It is easy to warm hearts without damaging anyone or pouring poison into someone. Let each one of us remind ourselves of this. We can take a leaf or two out of Metti Oli even for our very personal life.