This talented actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, had a fan following all over India, He was loved not just for his acting but for his many other outstanding qualities.
He was a brilliant student who completed studying the 10th standard Physics syllabus, when he was in 8th class. He was a gold medalist in Physics Olympiad and he had cleared the Delhi Engineering Entrance with 7th rank.
He was passionate is so many fields, especially in Physics and Astronomy. He had a large collection of books and an expensive telescope to watch the the ring around saturn.
During the 2018 flood in Kerala he donated Rs 1 Crore and the same year he donated Rs 1.25 to Nagaland. The people of both the states will always remembering him for his helping hand.
That he was hiding a turmoiled mind behind his smiling face no one knew. The dream journey of a small town boy from Bihar had inspired many. He was the pride of the town.
There are two proverbs about how Onam is to be celebrated. Ullathu kondu Onam pole which means
celebrating Onam with whatever little is available; and Kanam vittum Onam unnanam which
means one must celebrate Onam even by selling one’s property.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in Kerala. Onam is a time of bountiful. There is no dearth of food commodities for serving lavish sadhyas (feast) for ten days of Onam. Therefore the term Onam is used to represent abundance. If plenty of dishes are cooked in any house throughout the year then people say ‘for them every day is like Onam’.
Onam is more about food than anything else. What you consume on each day of Onam is almost a ritual. Traditionally after the elaborate cooking on ThiruOnam (second day of Onam), there won’t be any cooking on the next day that is Munam Onam. In some places whatever is left will be consumed as Pazhamkanji (fermented rice gruel) on the fourth day of Onam that is Chadayam.
This year’s Onam for me was the actualization of the first
proverb – an Onam celebrated with
whatever was available in the Kitchen
As Onam was in the middle of the week and Kids were in the
Middle of their mid-term exam, we couldn’t shop for the Onam sadhya. Besides,
our Malayalee uncle who supplies Kerala items at our home every week gave a
miss this Onam season. We had decided to have an elaborate Onam sadhya later in
the week, but, on Thiruonam day, when people started posting images of their sumptuous
sadhyas on WhatsApp and facebook we changed our mind. We decided to prepare a
sadhya with whatever ingredients were available in the kitchen (ullathu kondu Onam pole).
There was green gram, split chickpea, jaggery and coconut
available. So I prepared green gram stir fry (Payar thoran), fried green gram
curry (Payar curry), Chickpea payasam (kadala parippu payasam) and fried
coconut chutney. The accompaniments
included tender mango pickle, banana and pappad. And there was ghee to flavour
the brown Kerala rice.
The frugality in the number of dishes was because I was confined to the four walls of an apartment is a metropolitan city. Had I been in Kerala, even in the gravest of situation, I could prepare some more vegetable dishes by picking up leaves, roots, stems, fruits and flowers from the edible plants around my house.
If there is plantain tree then I can prepare banana fry or stir fry, Banana flower stir fry and banana stem stir fry. Two or three taro stems will be enough for a stir fry. One or more of a variety of edible leaves like Veli cheera (sweet leaves), kuppa cheera (amaranth leaves) and chembila (colocasia leaves ) can be easily tossed into a stir fry. According to traditional medical practitioners, most of the leaves around our houses are edible and nutritious, provided they are washed thoroughly.
Coming back to our Onam in the city this year- it was a high-protein Onam Sadhya. Delicious to the core and the banana leaves
gave a complete feel to the Onam celebration. There were seven dishes,
one-third of the number of dishes normally served for an Onam Sadhya.
The next day Munam Onam (third day of Onam ) we received a pass for Onam Sadhya at Kerala House. It was one of the best sadhyas I had in my life. I felt like I was attending a typical Hindu wedding in Kerala during my childhood days. I was reminded of another Onam proverb Onam und ariyanam which means Onam can be experienced only by having an Onam sadhya.
Indie Cinema Night celebrates the world of animations, films with cultural references and powerful visual arts. On Sunday, May 19th, experience out of the box indie and animated films at Above The Habitat (Khar – West) in Mumbai.
Discover the upcoming media and the new generation of storytellers by experiencing their creative works in the Smartphone Cinema, Creative Visual Music, Animated Films and Independent Films at the Indie Cinema Night. The evening ties in together with carefully curated food and beverage pop-ups reminiscent of going to the movies.
According to Future Fiction, “With the Indie Cinema Night, our intent is to celebrate moving image in all its forms, the current creative energies that build the scene and emerging formats of storytelling”.
The Indie Cinema Night was born out of a need to create a space for the expression and exploration of emerging forms of film, visual art and animation from India and around. “We aim to elevate the experience for artists and create a common space for creators and explorers alike to meet, collaborate and celebrate indie cinema,” says the Future Fiction Team.
Featuring indie cinema, visual music showcases and animation shorts the programming features films across various categories:
9:16 Smartphone Cinema: Exploring the creative potential of the vertical film-making format
Visual Music: Celebrating visuals crafted to compliment creative endeavours in music
Animated Films: A selection of animated works by artists from India and around
Independent Films: A handpicked selection of indie cinema from across the Indian subcontinent
Tickets are at Rs. 499 and are available on Insider – there’s limited seating capacity!
The programming also offers the opportunity to view a British Council curation of British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) shorts. The BAFTA 2019 Shorts programme represents storytelling that reveals the breadth and diversity of British society, together with world-class artistic and technical flair, and featuring some of the UK’s finest acting talents.
Many a time we know a melodious movie song by heart, but we do not know who sang the song. We watch a lot of Bollywood movies, and all we recognise are the actors. Most of the time we do not know who the singers or the directors of the movie. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. We remember the actors we see, but do not remember the singers we hear.
Thanks to social media and Google, I discovered recently that many of the famous songs that we often keep humming were sung by Hema Sardesai. She has sung over 60 Bollywood songs and all of them were super hits. For instance Badal pe paon hai from Chak De India and Awara Bhanware an A R Rehman song.
She has got the rare accomplishment of singing the duet with top Bollywood superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Govinda and Salman Khan. One of the five songs she sang with Amitabh Bachchan is Chali Chali in Baghban. This years women’s day post is dedicated to Hema Sardesai because apart from being a prolific playback singer, she is also involved in many social causes like women empowerment and Save the Girl Child.
In 2017, She gave an audio interview for the Radio Playback India program Ek Mulakat Zaruri Hai. Here is an excerpt from the interview with Sajeev Sarathie:
How was the early stage of your singing career?
Those who work with principles and values will face difficulty in achieving anything in life. I consider my music a gift of God, and so I do not let any harm to happen to that gift. Besides, I believe in giving high status to women. Like in any other industry in the world some people see women as a sex object, and that happened with me also.
Whatever I achieved is because God wished that I achieved that in life. I have a struggled a lot in the industry. Initially, I walked out of every studio. I wanted my voice to reach everyone by doing what was righteous before God. Because God was with me, I could achieve something. I got the opportunity to sing with great singers like Sonu Nigam, Kuma Sanu, Shaan and Udit Narayanan. And by God’s grace, the more than 60 songs I have sung are all super hits.
What is the secret behind your Bubbly posture?
I give credit to my smiling face and energetic song performances to the blessings of my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
How was you experience working with the music directors?
All of them know my mind. They knew that I will work only if I got respect. So wherever I went, I got respect.
Hema Sardesai made her American debut with an International single in English ‘Power of Love’.On this Women’s Day we wish her all the best for her future endeavours in Bollywood and Hollywood.
Thanks to Sajeev Sarathi for permitting to use the complete interview for this blog post.
Sridevi, who was 54 years old died of a massive heart attack in Dubai on Saturday Night. We have seen her in movies for decades so we thought that she is older than what she looked. She was so young and active until her last breath that we never realized that she a going to celebrate her Golden Jubilee (50 Years) in the Indian Film Industry.
Sridevi, Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan was born in 1963, to Ayyapan and Rajeswari in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She began her acting career, at the age of 4, in the Tamil movie Thunivan. From then on she acted in a number of movies in South India. She made her Hindi debut as a child actress, at the age of 12, in the famous movie ‘Julie’. And her first Hindi movie as a heroine was ‘Solva Savan’ in 1979.
In the 1980’s Sridevi became the sensation of Hindi cinema, where her fans adored her for her acting prowess, dance, beauty and timely comedy. She is known as the first Indian superheroine because of her pan Indian presence. Throughout her career, she has given a number of blockbuster films not only in Hindi but also in the South India Languages Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.
In 2013, she was honoured with by the Government of India with Padma Shri, the fourth highest state award. She has won a number of awards both in India and abroad. She has won at least six Filmfare awards.
In a poll conducted by CNN-IBN, Sridevi was selected as the greatest Indian actress in the 100 years of Indian Cinema. She has been described as the ‘Empress of Indian Cinema’, ‘Queen of Indian Cinema’ and ‘Meryl Streep of Indian Cinema’, and so on.
Sridevi was literally a born actress, with natural acting and dancing talents. Even after taking a sabbatical of 15 years, she made her entry with the blockbuster movie ‘English-Vinglish’ – a movie which is going to remember the outstanding performance of Sridevi.
On the final day of her life, she was in Dubai for the wedding celebration of her husband’s nephew Mohit Marwah. Her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Kushi, were with her. The elder daughter was in Mumbai as shooting of her debut film, with Karan Johar was going on. Like a true professional Sridevi did what she was good at until the last moments of her life. She was dancing, posing for a picture and entertaining the guest by meeting and greeting them. Her death reminds of the final moments of Dr Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. He collapsed while addressed students in a college.
Sridevi was at her elegant best even at the last few hours of her life. She has left behind a number of beautiful pictures and dancing videos at the wedding ceremony, as a parting gift. The videos and pictures will be cherished by the fans of the Heroine of the hearts throughout the Length and Breadth of India.
St Gregorios is a Kerala saint. His death anniversary, on November 2nd, is celebrated by devotees who are settled in different parts of the world. There are Churches with St. Gregorios as a patron saint in many places in India and abroad.
During the festival, the devotees bring unniyappam as offering to the Church. And the unniyappam is distributed to all who come to the Church.
Unniyappam is a fried rice snack with jaggery and sugar, prepared in a special mould. My mother’s generation were experts in preparing Kerala dishes. So they prepare hundreds of unniyappam as offering to the Church.
I learned unniyappam by trial and error method. Searching for recipes on the internet and taking tips from mother and aunties.
This year two weeks before the festival, I made a trial version of unniyappam, so as to get myself prepared for the main day when I have to fry more than a hundred unniyappams.
My friend Manju visited me just a few minutes after I finished preparing the unniyappams. She liked it so much so that she asked me to share the recipe on youtube.
I am sharing the trial version itself. Newly married girls who are preparing unniyappams on a large scale for the first time, will find the video useful.
The video is shaky and not of high quality since this video was not initially taken for publishing. I hope the video gives some helps you prepare the large number of unniyappams.
In cities like Delhi, where the devotees lack time, they have found some tricks to prepare large quantity unniyappams quickly. I will share the recipe here.
Rice flour – 2 Glass (All purpose rice flours available at Kerala Stores)
Jaggery – 250g (I used a dark brown, chocolaty taste version. Hence the colour and taste were good)
Coconut – 1 full (cut into small pieces)
Sesame Seeds (Til) – 2 tblsp
Ghee – 5 tblsp
Robusta Banana – 4 Nos
Oil – 1 litre
Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
Melt the jaggery in 1 glass of water. Mash the bananas in a blender. Mix the jaggery and mashed banana.
Roast the coconut in 2 tablespoon ghee, until golden brown.
Mix the coconut, sesame seeds and baking soda in the batter.
Keep aside for 45 minutes.
Keep the unniyappam mould on one gas stove burner. On another keep a frying pan with 2 glass oil.
When the mould is hot add 1/2 teaspoon ghee in each mould. Now fill the moulds with oil. Let it get very hot.
Now pour the batter. If the batter is thick, add warm water or melted jaggery.
When the unniyappam turns brown at the bottoms turn them using a fork or a thin skewer. When both sides are a bit brown, transfer them to the frying pan. Fry until the unniyappam is Crisp and brown. Remove on a plate spread with tissue paper.
With 2 glass of rice flour, I prepared 50 unniyappams.
Diwali 2017 at Dilli Haat Janakpuri was celebrated by organizing a Diwali Mela organized on the weekend before the festival from Oct 13th to 15th. A lot of Diwali shopping could be done at the stalls. Especially at the stalls by NGOs who sold Diwali items made by the underprivileged and visually handicapped children. Children participated in competitions and enjoyed in the play area. And there was a lot of food and entertainment.
Dilli Haat Janakpuri celebrates all the festivals with lots of entertainment for people of all age groups. Dill Haat Janakpuri opened two years back and during every religious, national or state festivals there is all-around entertainment.
One of the highlights of the at the Diwali celebrations were the lamps and decoration items made by:
The visually impaired
Traditional artiste in villages
There was a painting competition for children for FREE!!. Children of any age group up to the 12th standard could join. And they could win prizes and scholarships.
Diwali decoration by Underprivileged Kids
There was a stall of Nidaan Foundation (an NGO) which sold Diwali decorations made by the underprivileged kids. There were little clay pots painted and decorated colourfully. One star attraction was the Diwali lamp or Diya which looked like a lotus. Priyam Mathur of Nidaan Foundation said that the Diya was made from disposable spoons. Another decoration was a wall hanging with icecream sticks and a Ganesha statue on the frame.
Two in one light and scent
This was really cute. When the electric blub is lit and the lamp gets heated then the oil, poured on the top, emanates beautiful scent. There was also the candle version instead of the electric one, where you can place a candle inside the electric bulb.
Wooden crockery from Nagaland
There was beautifully polished wooden crockery made from Teak wood. The crockeries were carved by local artisans in Nagaland. There were also trays made from jute.
Khadi wears for women
The khadi dresses are affordable with prices from the range of Rs 500 – Rs 1200. The Khadi wears are manufactured and sold by a lady entrepreneur.
Diwali lighting made by visually impaired kids
There was also a stall of Diwali items made by the students of Akhil Bharatiya Netrahin Sangh – a school for the blinds. There were beautifully carved and painted diyas. The entire Diwali decoration shopping can be done here as there are Candles, lamps, dhoop aggarbattis and pooja items.
Songs and entertainment at the Amphitheatre
All the while the amphitheatre played loud music that kept the Haat lively.
Kids play area
To keep the children entertained there are a few play items.
Overall the Dilli Haat in Janakpuri is a good place to hang out with family during the Diwali holidays. The vast expanse of the Dilli Haat has got unique architectural buildings. To beautiful landscaping and the amazing architects is a beautiful blend of nature and architectural skills.
The specific demand for Christmas Rum Plum Cake caught in the heads of the Indian population possibly in the last two decades. During School days friends used to ask just for Christmas Cakes. And mothers used to painstakingly prepare a variety of rum-less cakes without using any electronic kitchen gadgets. The eggs were whipped manually. The eggs were whipped directly out of the refrigerator, because eggs froth better when cold. The batter was mixed with hand and the mixing went on for hours. Sometimes Dads offered a helping hand. The most common cakes were the plain cakes with vanilla flavour, and cardamom. Then there were marble cakes with vanilla and chocolate flavoured layers. There were rainbow and tri-coloured cakes. In those days the importance was given for the softness of the cake. The mother who baked the softest cakes was the best cake baker in the town and she was approached for tips: Does she cook at midnight, or before dawn; How does she whip the eggs; What was the order of adding the ingredients; the egg white was added first, or the yolk;….
Now when cakes can be baked in less than an hours time, with whippers, ovens and YouTube videos, the importance has shifted to the unique taste and flavour of the cakes. No matter how many flavours or icings you do throughout the year, as Christmas approach friends specifically demand for Rum cake.
Due to popular demand I decided to bake Rum Cakes this year. I soaked fruits and nuts in rum, a month before the Christmas baking began. Experts say that longer the nuts and fruits are soaked in rum, the tastier the cakes will be. Rums softens the fruits and nuts which makes the texture of the cake softer than plain cakes. I just added enough rum which could be absorbed by the fruits and nuts, so after a month the fruits and nuts look a little shinier, but the liquid just disappeared. Some say that Christmas Rum Plum Cakes cannot be called Rum cakes, because, while baking the rum evaporates in the oven heat. Some experts rate rum cakes based on the measure of rum — little rum, enough rum and lots of rum cake. My cake was rated as ‘little rum cake’.
After experimenting with rum cake I understand that rum is just another ingredients in cakes. Normally, Rum is used very judiciously (1 tablespoon for baking 250 gram flour Cake). But as we Indian, always Indianize a foreign dish, some add too much rum that the fruits and nuts float in the liquid. Last year I heard a youth telling his friend that he was disappointed after having rum cake at his friends home. He though that rum will drip with every bite. This is over expectation. Rum is just a marinating ingredient. As long as the rum is added judiciously there is no chance of felling intoxicated.
How to prepare a Christmas Rum Plum Cake
All purpose Flour: 250g
Salted Butter: 250g
Sugar syrup: 2 tbsp
Garama Masala powder(a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, 1 nutmeg and clove)
Sift the flour and baking powder. Whip the butter for sometime; add the finely powdered sugar. add the whipped egg. Then add the Garam Masala, vanilla and sugar syrup. Now add the maid and mix for some time. Finally add the fruits and nuts.
(Tip: Buy Cashew, Dates, Raisins, Dry Ginger(different for cakes), Tutti Frutti and any other nuts a month in advance of preparation of cake. Cut them into small pieces. Add some Rum and keep aside. The longer the fruits and nuts remain in rum the softer they become. Soak a large amount of fruits and nuts, so that the ingredients are easily available whenever you feel like baking a cake during the festival season. Also the cakes with rum have a longer shelf life of one month, six month and sometimes even one year.)
In an ideal world, the joyous festival of Holi is meant to celebrate the arrival of Spring while the colours used in Holi are to reflect of the various hues of spring season. But unfortunately, in modern times Holi does not stand for all things beautiful. Like various other festivals, Holi too has become ruthlessly commercialized, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation and health problem. Hence many consumers are on the look out for Holi Colours made from natural materials and safe for health and environment.
Toxic Elements/Chemical in Holi Colours
According to many research and previous studies related to Holi colour products, the pastes contain very toxic chemicals/elements that can have severe health effects.You can also get tested your holi colour products at NRCLPI ( National Referral Centre for Lead Projects in India) , St John’s Medical College, Kormanagala , Bengaluru.
Few examples of colour and the chemical content with their few health effects on human and environment:
Harmful Chemicals in Gulal & Harms of Wet Holi Colours
The dry colours, commonly known as gulals, have two components a colorant that is toxic and a base which could be either asbestos or silica, both of which cause health problems. Heavy metals contained in the colorants can cause asthma, skin diseases and adversely affect the eyes.
Wet colours, mostly use Gentian violet as a colour concentrate which can cause skin discoloration and dermatitis.
These days, Holi colours sell loose, in the market and traders are also unaware about the source of the holi colour products as it comes from a group of networked people/sellers exchanging hand to hand from different parts of the country. In few instants, the colours come wrapped that specifically say for industrial purpose/use or without any origin/manufacture details.
Just on 22 March we all observed World Water Day, across the Globe. In the current scenario, when India and the rest of the world is facing acute water shortage, the water wastage in the name of Holi in the extreme, is also being unjusticable. It is usual or general using buckets of water during Holi but please keep in mind that you are not only wasting water resource, but also polluting it with harmful and toxic chemicals. If a single person uses 2 liter of water on Holi on splashing/playing just imagine the number of liters of water used across India with a billion+ population .
So, make sure we don’t waste and pollute water, which is most needed for our coming generations too.
Tips to celebrate a safe Holi
Use homemade natural and safe colours-Learn the art of preparing the colours yourself and enjoy teaching your younger’s and your neighbors too.
Use natural, skin-friendly and herbal colours are the ones made by reputed companies using natural products.
If you opt to buy/purchase colours, commercially be sure to purchase naturally made products from reputed companies also ensure about the source.
Apply a nice layer of oil to your hair before playing Holi so that residue from the dyes does not get stuck to your hair and scalp.
Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. Wash with plenty of clean water should any colour get into your eyes accidentally. See a doctor if the irritation still persists.
If you are playing Holi, apply a thick layer of coconut or any oil on your body and hair until they glisten and you become slippery.
Wear dental caps if possible to protect your teeth.
Avoid flashing on the face and as well protect your face from the Holi colours.
Wear clothes at the maximum to cover your body.
Apply an oil/cream of good quality to protect your skin.
The Holi is an ancient Indian festival of colours symbolizing signs of happiness, joy and growth engaging all ages of people. The celebrations in India cut across section and religious conviction. This festival, now also draws a world attention and many countries are also celebrating the festival of colours and enjoying with sharing of sweets.., love.., peace and brotherly hood.
Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi festival may be celebrated known by different names among people of various states and would be following different rituals & traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit and enthusiasm of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.
This festival celebrates the arrival of spring on Fagun Sud Purnima. Also known as Falgunika, people celebrate the changing season and the beauty associated with spring blossoms by spraying colour.
In the Gita (10/35), Shri Krishna proclaims spring as the foremost season and one of his Vibhutis -forms: Rutunaam kusumaakaraha
The ritual of offering roasted grain to Agni – fire-deity is known as Navaanineshti. In Sanskrit, roasted grain is Holaakaa, from which the Hindi ‘Holi’ is derived. Since Vedic times people availed the newly harvested grain only after offering to the devas. This offering of new grain is Holi.
The Bhavishyottara Puran associates Holi both with man and Yagna. Therefore the Yagna performed for man’s salvation is Holi.
About the Author: Vinay Kumar. C is an Environmental Researcher at NRCLPI – The National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India. He is a multi-skilled professional having an excellent track record of managing complex functional projects in various environments.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.