Thursday, 26 July 2012


I came upon this almost by accident, while reading a similar piece that has been a favourite for long. This rang true, so I had to share with you all. Specially the last para. Enjoy.

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young
-Mary Schmich
June 1, 1997

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.,0,4054576.column
Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Calcutta Foodie-II

To be honest, this is not a strictly Calcuttan food. But it does happen to be among my favourites. Actually for this post, I was flipping a coin between this, and something with Prawns. But to save myself from the ire of my "strictly-vegan" friends, I decided to pacify them first!

Bengali name? Potol Posto. And before you tie up your tongue trying to pronounce it, the translation : Parval  with poppy seed paste. Since I'm not sure if I can convince you what Parval or Parwal or Potol or Pointed Gourd or stripped Gourd is, it looks like this:

I actually found out all these names for the humble vegetable on the net, so I thought it best you see and decide for yourself what you call it, since personally I have never called it anything but Potol.

Anyway, coming back to the dish. One of the main reasons of me loving it is the ease with which it can be prepared. My dad used to rustle it up in about 20 minutes. Rice, milk and potol posto used to be the perfect meal for a very sleepy me on the days when dinner got late with both parents working long hours at the hospital.

So listing out the ingredients :
  • Potol/Parval - 500 g
  • Posto/Poppy seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Onions- chopped
  • Green Chillies - 2
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp (optional, if you like the heat. I don't.)
  • Salt 
  • Sugar

I remember seeing the poppy plants cultivated in rows along the fields of other staple food when I used to go over to my grandmother's place in the village. I loved the radiant hues. The house is no more, and neither are my trips, but I hope the colours still are there, for some other pair of wonder-filled eyes.

For the poppy seeds, soak then in water for about 2 hours, then grind along with the chillies into a thick paste with as little water as possible. The mixer grinder will serve you well, but even better if you can use the traditional method. I know, I know, takes way too much time!

Peel off the stripe gourd and give a slit lengthwise, rub with salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a pan and saute them in low flame until soft. 
Fry onions in the oil for 2 minutes, add turmeric, chilli powder, poppy seed paste and salt. Little sugar too, if you please.
Add the veggies, cover for 5 minutes, remove, serve with rice. 

And then, enjoy. But you weren't waiting for me to say that, were you, now?

photos courtesy:

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Feathers In the Wind

This is an old folk-tale, attributed to various people. I love it because of the message. As a first hand sufferer in the hands of gossip-mongers, and having seen others suffer as well, I have often wished that people be taught this is schools, rather than calculus. If only it were so easy.

Once there was a foolish woman in a small village, who went about spreading gossip about another
woman. Before long the foolish woman began to feel remorse about what she had
done, so she went to the wise man of the village to ask him what she could do to make things

The wise man listened carefully to her story, thought for a moment, and then told her to
go to the market and buy a chicken. On the way home from the market she was to pluck that
chicken letting the feathers fall along the path. The next day she was to come back and see the
wise man again.

The woman did as the wise man suggested. She bought a chicken and plucked it on the
way home. When she came to him the next day she told him that she had done what he asked
her to do.
The wise man said to her, “Now, I want you to go home today by the same road you
took yesterday, and pick up every single feather you dropped along the path.” The woman was
distraught, and protested that there was absolutely no way she could find and pick up all those
feathers. The wind would have surely blown them everywhere!

The wise man quietly responded, “You are correct...and you see, just as you can never retrieve
all those feathers, there is no way you can ever restore the reputation of the people whom you
harmed with your words.”

The woman was ordinary, and so was the offence, but the remorse is much less so.
The next time you say something about someone that you do not know for yourself to be hundred per cent correct, hold yourself for a second, and remember.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Brown Eyes

If yours locked into mine,
Two pairs of browns,
Would the silence talk
Of you and of me,
In a fragile safety,
With an inflamed hatred,
By a violent innocence?

If yours locked into mine,
Two pairs of browns,
Would you find me pretty
Burnt, broken and beaten
Alive in dead flesh
And Disillusioned?

If yours locked into mine,
Two pairs of browns,
For the space of a blink
Or of a century
Would you hear me plead,
Silent, tortured, hungry
To let me love you
Just one more time?

Was written for someone I haven't found yet. Hope I do. If I don't, oh well.

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