post 28: Mustering up words

English Standard Version (©2001)
“My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:” – Psalm 39:3

If Like me, you are from Delhi, India & living in North America then you’d agree that the last month has dealt a double dose of tragedy. First with the Newtown School Shooting  and then the brutal gang rape in Delhi . The details in both cases are shocking to say the least. Even with the high of Christmas and the holiday season I cannot stop thinking about the victims in both the cases.

I felt ashamed for all the times in past I chose to remain silent about being eve-teased as a young girl in Delhi. I felt sorrow for the families going through the loss of their loved ones. The questions that comes to mind again and again is  ‘what has this world come to?’. Even though , I do not have an answer, I firmly believe that there is still some goodness left in the world. Even if the bad seems so strong, eventually  the good will emerge victorious. In trying to articulate what I was feeling , I came up with the following few lines:

Would you believe if I tell you ’cause I know this is true

there is a God in heaven who knows you through and through

He knows all your questions; He knows all your complains

He sees all of your sorrow and he feels all of your pain

 

The lives that were taken on that  dreadful friday morn

are not lost, are not forgotten and surely not alone

a life was violated, out of a moving bus was thrown

he knows that too and with you he does also mourn

 

if he hears our cry for mercy, for justice and solution

why does he not act right now and remove our confusion

why does not he save us now from crime and persecution

reveal himself and take away our spiritual pollution

 

Would you believe if I tell you ’cause I know this is true

God has a plan and in his time he knows just what to do

Though we struggle now in due time we’ll surely understand

how sorrows lead to the fulfillment of, his plan- good and grand

 

With so much pain abound in the world ,you ask , how it can be

that God is good & true, but Have you not heard of the enemy?

We must think, find answers and some action must be taken

but in the midst of all our doubts, God should not be forsaken

 

The battle rages on so strong in the heavenly realm as we speak

Wait my soul, on him do trust, and his wisdom you do seek

There is grief and pain on this earth but there is peace in eternity

And one day we will overcome and rejoice in God’s victory

Over the past few days I have read some articles with facts that have shocked me and words comforted and have resonated with me. I am listing those out for you in the hope that some of these might help you articulate your own questions and feelings on these issues.

A message from Ravi Zacharias on Newtown tragedy

this film maker verbalised the questions we all have about the Delhi Gang rape and what it tells about a nation.

This editorial made me think about safety of women

One poem on the Delhi Rape case 

Another poem on Newtown tragedy

Shocking article on What some Indian policemen think about rape.

Phir Milenge!!

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Post 26: Christmas Art

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas season is upon us. For some it means a time for religious contemplation and deliberation, for some others celebration and partying and for some of indifference.

While I admire and enjoy all the celebrations, decorations and traditions surrounding Christmas or the holiday season, I cannot help but reminisce about my early Christmas experiences. I grew up in a lower-middle class Delhi in India. Ours was a Christmas without the bells and whistles. It was about Jesus and him alone. The renewed awareness of God coming to earth in human form to save the souls brought with itself an added awareness of the great commission and so followed many weekends of prayer, outreach and carol-singing. A celebration despite and in-spite of our circumstances. There was no christmas tree – they were to be found in some big churches as decorations; No Santa Claus –  he only came to award the excellence in sunday school or church activities, and no stockings stuffed with stuff. Our celebration included coming together as a church over a pot luck meal and as family meeting over dinner and it was a joyful time.

Okay, I did not start this post with this lecture on mind (may be I`ll do that in a post later) rather to share with you two drawings that I created for the Christmas time.

This would be my daughter`s second Christmas and my nephew`s first. I know many moms are looking online for Christmas graphics for the first and second Christmas celebrations to use in scrapbooks, table tags or cards and I thought of sharing with youfun and and whimsical little graphics that I created. second christmas first christmas You can print and frame these images in mini frames and hang them with ribbons on the tree or use them in the baby`s scrap book.

The last image I want to share with you is of the nativity scene from my house this year. I traced my daughters hand and drew Joseph, Mary and the three wise men in the fingers and the baby Jesus in the palm. This idea features finger puppets, henna patterns and Madhubani drawings all rolled into one.  I am very happy with how it turned out in the end.

image 4

As always your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 25: Oh the innocence !

English is not my first language and as such sometimes my understanding of certain things is incomplete or incorrect. For some reason I assumed the phrase “child is the father of man” meant something like “our children are our wisest teachers”. Laughable …really ! I am wiser now and understand that this Wordsworth statement perhaps means that the qualities exhibited by a child will deepen and appear in a marked form when the child grows up into a man. However, I believe both statements hold some truth. I can see how my little daughter is developing her own personality- her likes and dislikes are becoming more concrete and her character is shaping. I can also say I have learnt so many things from this little child of mine.

One of things that has always fascinated me about little children is their sense of wonder. Author and apologist Ravi Zacharias, once related an incident about his three kids where the youngest responded in amazement at the very simple act of the opening of a door. He made the point that as we grow older our sense of wonder diminishes. You just have to see my daughter’s eyes open wide at every christmas decoration and light to know it’s true. Our sense of wonder is truly a great gift from our maker.

I am equally amazed by little children’s innocence. They are so quick to forgive and forget and do not hold grudges. Sometimes I feel little kids can look beneath the surface and into our hearts. I am amazed how often my daughter looks into a person’s eyes to befriend them. It is important for her to look into their eyes to recognise someone completely. I was video-chatting with my mother via skype and the camera was positioned in such a way that only the lower half of her face was visible. When the angle was changed to include her full face, my daughter jumped with recognition and called out to her …”amma”! My daughter ascribes person-hood or life to anything with eyes. I once drew two eyes on a balloon she was playing with and she started to playing with it as if it were a person. Now she was not only bouncing around with it but also talking to it as if it was her companion in play. For this little one eyes truly are the window to the soul.

DSC_0064 (2)

This sense of wonder and innocence is perhaps the reason the good shepherd implored us to be like little children to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

May be this advent season would be a good time to recapture that innoncence and the sense of wonder in my own grown-up heart.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 24: Chutney

One thing I have realized since the time I have been blogging is that I would not make a good food blogger. The reason is simple. I forget to take pictures while cooking and whenever I go dining else where, I cannot resist the urge to jump on the food before taking pretty pictures of presentation. Most of the recipes that have been handed down from my mother do not come with standard measurements and have to be based on what you see and taste while cooking. so why another food post? – Blogging about food has been a good way to chronicle some of the recipes that I have learnt.

The word ‘Chutney’ or ‘chutnee’ (pronounced CHətnē ) refers to a condiment made of fruits or vegetables, usually savoury with some tangy flavours thrown in. The chutney is very often ground to a paste like consistency (a barring a few recipes that are chunky in texture). The chutney is usually tangier or spicier than the food itself since it is supposed to enhance the favours of plain dishes. Here are two of the chutney’s I have learnt from my mother-in-law as they happen to be my husband’s favourite condiments to go with idli’s or dosa. Whoever said ” the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach”, knew what she was talking about.

Tomato chutney

You’ll need:

Shallots- a handful

Green chillies- to taste

Tomatoes- 2 medium sized, diced

Garlic -6-7 cloves

Mustard seed- 1/2 tsp.

Curry leaves

oil

salt to taste

Grind together the garlic cloves, green chillies, tomatoes and chopped shallots or mini onions (you can use onions if you want but choose the one that is not sweet) to a fine paste. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the tomato-garlic paste, salt and let it cook till the chutney thickens to a desired consistency.photo 1-1

You would know the taste is right when you can taste the tang from the tomatoes and a slight flavour of garlic. This chutney serves as a good marinade for chicken and will remain in the fridge for upto a week. I often use it as a base for curries when I am slightly pressed for time.

Ridge Gourd Chutney:

Ridge gourd or turai or beerakai is a common vegetable in India. You might know it as Luffa. yes , Luffa…the bathing loofah is made of this vegetable once dried. You may find different regional variations of the ridge-gourd chutney online but the recipe I have learnt only uses the outer skin of the vegetable.

ridge+gourd

Image via.
You’ll need:

One medium sized ridgegourd- peel the skin(or the first few millimetres with a paring knife)

Garlic cloves-5-6

green chillies,

salt to taste

mustard seeds and urad daal – 1/2 tsp.

tamarind- 2 marble sized (Soak in water and extract the pulp)

Curry leavesphoto 2-1Heat Oil. Add mustard seeds, urad daal and curry leaves followed by the ridge gourd skins, green chillies and garlic. Cook till the skins start to soften. Add salt and cook some more.

Let it cool and grind with the tamarind pulp. add the tamarind pulp in small portions , taste often to check that the sourness does not overpower the flavour. A good chutney would have a balance of spicy and tangy.

The remaining vegetable can be cut into chunks and used in sambhar or mixed vegetable preparations.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 23: Laying down the law

This post has been prompted by the news of an Indian couple in Norway who are facing Jail term for harshly treating their children (the term being used is ‘abuse’ for strict punishment) and have been grabbing the headlines in the Indian newspapers for some days. The general response from the Indian government (and the public ) was that if the law of the land has been broken, they must face the consequences. Some time back another Indian couple in Norway had found themselves in the eye of the storm for co-sleeping  with and hand-feeding their two kids. This case had evoked a different response; that of empathy. Many felt that the couple failed to adapt their parenting style to the new place as feeding kids by hand or Co-sleeping is a common phenomenon in many Indian families.

They say ” When in Rome, do as the romans”. However, some times what might be a common practice or common understanding in one culture  is a lot different from other cultures of the world. As immigrants it takes a lot of time to understand the intricacies of the law and the general cultural rules of a place. I don’t think new immigrants with kids check the law about disciplining the children. It is far down the list of things to learn about and to do. When I became a mother, I honestly did not look at baby centre for disciplining laws.

Being a parent is not easy. You only have to watch the  televison for a short time to understand what the media tells us. “a mother knows”, ” you want the best for your child”, ” you are there for the child, so is (insert product name here)” or similar thoughts make up the taglines for all toddler and kids products. Much of parenting is considered instinctive in nature Yet so many laws have been put in place to protect us from our instinctive reactions and responses. Our instincts in part are informed by our experience (or inexperience) and because of this very reason the law lays out an even field. In the nature v/s nurture debate, the focus seems to be much more on nurture these days.

I felt the load of responsibility of being a parent a bit more heavier after reading this news bit.  I did my due diligence and looked up canadian family law regarding child discipline. As a parent, my accountability towards my faith and beliefs, my husband, the family (and now including the law) has increased.  The good book has been quoted often regarding discipline as favouring punishment:

” Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24

But  The Bible also goes on to say further, ” Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

I think , Parenting all about striking the delicate balance. Doing what is best for the child and in a way that is right and lawful.

Phir milenge!!

PS- By the time I published this post, the Indian couple in norway have been sentenced.