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Graduate in Maths, Postgraduate in English literature. Worked as a medical transcriptionist, also as a teacher.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Felt like a child on Jan 31st, 2018-Super blue blood moon!

Hi friends,
         If I am back soon after the last post, it is out of passion and eagerness that I am doing so. Hmmmm, not that soon. Again, travel and some other things kept me away from this space. The palpable excitement that I felt on January 31st this year may not be replicated anytime soon, as I considered fortunate enough not only to be alive, but also at the right place to comfortably view the once-in-a-lifetime celestial, astronomical event which was 'super blue blood moon' or as I coined it, the 'BLUNAR ECLIPSE'. Nature had cooked for us an astronomical treat in 'one pot'. The rare ingredients are the totally eclipsed moon, the super moon (moon closest to the earth), the blue moon as it was the 2nd full moon in the month, the pinkish red color which became blood red as the part of the shadow of our earth fell on it. The visual treat was served to us in a platter 'free of charge' to be directly viewed opposite to the complex where we live. All the evening programs were cancelled and everybody was hovering around to get the glimpse of the rarest moon in their lifetime! And just when everybody was starting to get impatient around 6:30 PM, it appeared faintly among the skies in all its pink like a naughty, sweet child playing truant. The skies were thankfully clear and it appeared that they made way for the celestial wonder. The kids were the first to exclaim excitedly when they spotted the faint, pinkish red moon. And of course, many residents in our complex were armed with phones, telescopes, powerful cameras to capture the nature's glory. The moon slowly transformed from the pinkish ball to bloody red ball. I was a child all over again forgetting the mundane worries, delighted in seeing the moon taking the baby steps from the pink baby to the bloody red ball and lastly coming out bright and big from the earth's shadow in all its glory! Somebody suggested that NASA was streaming the eclipse live, but we all know that no amount of live streaming can match the direct viewing of our or  nature's beloved baby giving an incredible, unbeatable live performance. The thin, bright rim which was visible on the bottom right of the moon when it started coming out of the shadow was such a delight to watch. Slowly, people started to head back to attend to routine chores. I stood for some more time in the biting cold January evening till I could no longer bear to stand. I watched the rest of the event from our corridor. The previous celestial event similar to this occurred in the year 1866 and the next may occur in 2037 according to the sources and much water would have flowed by that time. I did not have a good camera and my cell phone could not capture the best images, though I tried umpteen number of times! I know, there will be any number of images and videos on this, but I don't have anything to claim my own. The images and a video I am going to post here are the borrowed ones! I am sure there are many who watched this event all over the world, and many who were not lucky enough to watch. One of those who were not lucky to watch was my maternal grandpa who was aged 97 and passed away 10 days before the super blue blood moon! I would just like to keep viewing more of astronomical events and wonders to forget the big 'I' in myself and remind myself that all our tensions and worries are just infinitesimal compared to the endless and vast astronomical world!!
Image may contain: sky, night and outdoor

Image may contain: sky and night

https://www.facebook.com/deepa.nagaraj.5/videos/10211004900022942/?t=50

Love,
Deepa.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The sticky issue with the non-stick tawas

Hello folks,
                       Happy New Year  and happy Sankranthi, Bhogi, Pongal, Bhigu or whatever to all of you. Hope all my friends had a lovely vacation spending the time whichever way you wanted. Getting back to the routine from the vacation does require an extra push and hope by now all of you are running a rat race seeing the next vacation in the horizon!
                                       The year 2017 just whiffed past with the usual mix of memorable and forgettable, pleasant and unpleasant incidents. We are almost through half of January. Though there were innumerable incidents, calamities, political happenings last year, nothing much suddenly strikes my mind except the arrest of V. K Sashikala, the personal and political companion of the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Smt. J. Jayalalitha. Her death has ensued the political instability in that state with no leader of her standing and charisma. With both prominent parties DMK , AIDMK in chaos and lacking a clear vision, the superstar Rajinikanth seized the opportunity to plunge into politics, though he is 68 years old and comparatively a late entrant. The month of December was notable for the star studded wedding of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma in Italy, though they tried to make it a private affair. Also notable was the death of the yesteryear's romantic hero, Shashi Kapoor. The Playboy man Hugh Heffner's death was both mourned and laughed by world all over, but if there was a death that touched me it was of Hindi actor Tom Alter who acted in Hindi films and serials and died an Indian! I may have to read the diary of events that happened in 2017 to write more.
                                               But I am happy that I have come back to my beloved space at the start of this year. The last year, I felt, was simply not mine. Nothing much was happening personally except in the singing area. My blogging almost stopped with pathetically 3 or 4 articles last year, when it should have been 14 to 15 articles. My other area of creativity which is drawing/painting is at a standstill with one oil painting waiting to be finished. I look at the expectant eyes of the bird that I am painting and the one which is remaining idle for the past 10 months! :(   I wish to finish it and move to new ones! Hopefully, I will restart soon!
                                        I kept this relatively simple topic to lie still for about two months or more for no reason other than the fact that the writer's block in me was at work! I love to cook, though I do not like to spend hours in the kitchen and so I do not make an infinite variety of dishes like my mom and mom-in-law make. Dosa, the ubiquitous South Indian one, is my favourite to this date. Before the onslaught of non-stick tawas, our previous generations used to make dosas on thick iron tawas. The advice that we were given by my grand mom was that you should first pour less batter and make a small dosa, so that if the dosa sticks and becomes one with the tawa :p, the batter will not go waste. After about 4 to 5 fractured dosas, the 6th one may start to come out like a glove and by that time, we, ladies will be tired feeding our family members and waging a war with the sticky dosas, that I will turn off the stove the moment the 2nd dosa is flipped over. Before the advent of non-stick tawas, we have fought  long battles with hard-bottomed iron tawas by greasing it with oil, scrapping those stuck bits and pieces of the 1st dosas with the help of more oil and water. And of course, those pieces were very tasty! :) I have observed over a period of time that the dosas get broken because, generally too much water is added to the water or we do not have patience for the tawa to get sufficiently and uniformly heated.

    Image result for iron tawa and non stick tawa imagesImage result for iron tawa and non stick tawa images


                                                            The non-stick pans are teflon coated and lightweight and the first brands were that of Prestige, Premier. The pan or tawa will be packed along with a detachable handle and a plastic scrubber to clean and maintain it. The ads showing thin, crisp delectable dosas coming out clean from the pan is anybody's dream. But when we start using it, we know as the time passes maintaining it is not that easy. If we want crispy, mouth-watering dosas, some oil needs to be poured. Cleaning it first few times with the scrubber and the liquid cleaner will be easy. But after some days of successfully crossing about 100 dosas, the grease will accumulate around and on the rim of the pan, and the patience wears off to clean by scrubbing it hard. Our maids clean it in a hurried manner, so it does not remain grease-free. After a few months, the coating starts to wear off and the dosas start to stick on the greasy parts. We stop using the wooden ladle and use the steel ones to flip over the dosa, and it removes the teflon coating faster.    We just do not have patience to follow the proper method of uniform heating of tawa, adding right amount of water to the batter. The dosa making is the test of patience and art. After a year or so, we get attached to those pans by 'seeing' them everyday, though they are not attached to us. We will be reluctant to dispose them, despite knowing the harmful effects of tawa in which the teflon coating starts to come out. Finally, we part the ways with it in an exchange offer for a brand new tawa. And the show goes on.

Deepa.

P.S...This post which I should have finished writing about a week back got postponed due to my grandpa's demise last week.   :(