Aviyal-bit of everything

Archive for September 2009

Pulling off from the school driveway this morning, I was thinking that I want to be pleasant school bus driver in my old age. Or If I have to pass a driving test (yet again) for that, I want to be a traffic volunteer (who helps the kids to cross the roads in the school zone with a stop sign in their hand).

 Nothing specific triggered these thoughts this morning. Basically, always I knew I want to keep working, for long. I have a strong feeling that I will live long, healthy and active.

 Then came to work, read this news of Astrid celebrating 100th birthday working,  like any other day. Coincidence! What an inspiration!

 At the age of 88, Hazel McCalion the 3rd term mayor of my city (assumed office 1978) does a brillaint job. She is a treat to our eyes with all her wrinkles and joy to the soul .  She refused to be driven around till last year she had an accident.

McCallion credited her faith with giving her the energy her job demands. “Having a life filled with purpose and meaning and living my life in a Christian-like manner helps to motivate me and keep me energized,” she said.She also revealed that she does everything around the house herself. “I do my own cleaning, grocery shopping, gardening… The assumption is that people in my position have others doing all these things for them but I like to be self sufficient. Housework and gardening are great forms of exercise and keep one humble.”

Well, that’s how I want to live.

Growing up, our family had been often ridiculed by the extended family ( aunts,uncles and kids from dad side) for our eating habits. Unlike most Christian families, we did not eat meat or fish regularly ..mostly for special religious occasions like xmas, easter etc. So much so that when we attend weddings and functions, where meat is an essential dish, we often got stomach upsets (and we were ridiculed even more). Having regular non veg dishes were also considered kind of a richness symbol, I guess. It worked for us, we were not rich and most our veggies came from our own farm/land.

 But we ate veggies a lot. I can not say mommy is a great cook ( who do you think I blame, for me not being a good cook) but aviyal, sambar, cheera /muringa ila thoran, moru curry..any vegetable dish for that matter, did not go wasted at our home in spite of them being made in big pots ( now we joke big kuttakams).. we needed less quantity of rice and more ( and more) of veggies.

 So when my friend UL asked here, ‘ that’s all you have for lunch?’, I was  like ‘you have no idea of the quantity girl. I don’t eat them as a side dish to go with rice. It is my main dish( and mostly no side other dish or another veggie). Also told her, I blame it on mommy and ‘what is that tale’ she asked. This is the tale.

To brush my secret pride: even without eating much non veg, we kids did better than all of them; studied reasonably well (hey none of have Ph.Ds- mommy thought I will make it..I can hardly write mommy), ok settled.

 Eating habit is one among many things we blame her for. In all, whatever we are today, well, we blame it on mommy.

 Chakkara umma mommy. You have no idea what you did to your kids!

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray and Love is being made into a movie. Just like what I was thinking when I was reading the book (if this book is ever made into a movie Julia Roberts should play Liz), they listened to my proposal. Julia Roberts is in India shooting for the ‘Pray’ part in Pataudi, Haryana.

 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Julia-Roberts-names-children-after-Hindu-gods/articleshow/5047870.cms

I love vegetables specially leafy vegetables (may be this has to do with mommy- she told us that people who eat vegetables become smart; and you should have seen my little sister washing down Muringa leafs ( drumstick plant) thoran with a glass of water- we are still wondering any one of us became smartJ).

 Anyways, I love yogurt too. Like all my cooking, I make quick stuff and here I combine both leafs and yogurt.

 -          Roughly chopped leafs (washed spinach 8oz packet or beet root leafs or the Red cheera ila-don’t know English name, we have it in the backyard every summer)

-          Sputter mustard seeds in oil, Sauté chopped ½ onion in it, add ginger garlic paste( add chopped green chilies if you want to have some fire). When done add bit of turmeric. Now add the chopped leafs and add salt. Mix it together and cover with lid and can turn of the heat. Leafs wilt in no time(2-3 mts).

-          I let this cool off and add 1 cup of plain fat free yogurt.

-          Good with rice or roti or just by itself as I do for my lunch.

 When I take it for lunch, it reminds me of Jayashree S. She was with me in school from grade 6-10. A petite Brahmin girl, big dark eyes and thick black knee length hair (always wet and open with kulipinnal with tulsi kathir on it). Contrary to what mommy told us, for a vegetable eating Brahmin she was not good in studies, struggled to get pass marks in most subjects. But that is beside the point, it is her lunch I am talking about. Her lunch box always always had rice brimming with leaf curry and yogurt- and I still can picture her dripping fingers.


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