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Spoorthi food issue

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Spoorthi Food Issue is about Food and the thoughts of various writers about it, with different flavors and different blends of seriousness and humor. Adding to that are the regular columns. It's a …

Spoorthi Food Issue is about Food and the thoughts of various writers about it, with different flavors and different blends of seriousness and humor. Adding to that are the regular columns. It's a Feel Good Magazine :-)

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  • 1. Food JULY-AUGUST 2013SpecialISSUE 4 FEATURES: • FoodforLife • FoodandHunger • TheSecretLyingBeneath • TheArtofEating The Feel Good Magazine
  • 2. 22 CONTENT 4 Cover Story: Food for Life 6 Invincibles: Search and Rescue Operations in Uttarakhand 7 Topping the Troops: Vandana Shiva 7 Achievers: Sanjeev Kumar 8 Specials: Towards Healthy Eating 10 Fulfilling Art: Stanley ka Dabba Movie Review 11 People Next Door: Events on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway 13 Youth and Spirituality: The Secret Lying Beneath 14 Musical Healing: Music has no Language Barrier 15 From Across Two Oceans: Carribean Flavours 18 Modern Day Fables: Junglenagar: The Pashupal Bill 20 Traversals: Travel and Food 22 Hearty Tales: Food Vendor of Flooded Neo-Malgudi 24 Ageless Verses: Meanders 25 Picture Power: A Dazed Daisy 26 Guest Column: Food and Hunger 29 The Burning Question. SPOORTHI TEAM Editor: Fazeela Mollick Sub-editor: Aman Arora Quality Assurance:Tauseef Ahmed Back Cover: Richa Nigam SpecialThanks: Shaunak Patel Cover Photography (Taken from Creative Commons): Single red grape sitting centred on top of two intertwined stainless steel forks, black background, taken 19 December 2009 by Tomas Sobek Design and Layout: Raghav Gautam Front Cover: The grape symbolizes a healthy diet, and the two linked forks represent the positive connection estab- lished when eating together or sharing a meal. Back Cover: The Obento box is the Japanese concept of a lunch box. The food is presented in a fun and attractive way. Learn more in our new section“Do it Yourself”coming in the September issue of Spoorthi.
  • 3. 3 Do you love animals and have a place for them in your heart and wish to tell us about this unique relationship? Do you have any worthwhile stories re- lated to animals? Is there someone you know who has done something signifi- cant for the care and love of animals and whose work you feel should be featured in our magazine? Your story can be socially relevant, emotional, humorous or fictitious. We also wel- come any good book and/or film review on the subject of Animals, our theme for the upcoming edition. Please send your submissions to ‘editor@spoor- thimail.com’. If we like your work, it will be published in our next edition of Spoorthi. Remember, the last date for submission is July 31st, 2013. “Please, sir, I want some more.” - a most famous line from Charles Dickens’ book, Oliver Twist. Young Oliver, driven by hunger, overcomes his fear and dares to ask for more food from the cruel master at the workhouse. A beggar comes to my door almost every Saturday morning and his words never change, “Ah hungry (I’m hungry), ah want something to eat.” I comply with a cup of tea and a sandwich for his immediate meal. For later, I give him a bag of essential items like flour, oil, sugar, salt, rice, pulses and some spices that will last him a few weeks. In literature or real life, hunger is painful to witness. In every corner of the world human beings daily experience the pangs of hunger, many dying because of hunger-related issues. It is especially painfultoseechildrensufferanddieforlackoffood. Our cover article, “Food for Life”, urges us to become aware of the hungry among us and, furthermore, to take action by sharing our food with those who have no access to regular meals. Suggestions from “Food and Hunger” guide us as to how we can do our part to eliminate this scourge affecting not only us, human beings, but by extension, other creatures who inhabit the planet. In the Achievers and Topping the Troops sections you’ll read about two extraordinary individuals who have both used food in different ways to make their mark. Food, like water, is a basic need. While we’re relishing the taste of a biryani or drinking a thirst- quenching lassi, let us not forget those among us who struggle to obtain a decent meal. Sharing food with the needy is an act beneficial to both the giver and the receiver. For the giver it creates good will, increases humility, reduces pride; for the receiver, it demonstrates that people care. And if we think our actions are too small and will not have any impact, just remember the words of Margeret Mead, American anthropologist,“Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Fazeela Mollick FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
  • 4. 44 Food for life I had no work to do on a lazy Sunday a f t e r n o o n . Having stuffed myself with e n o u g h delicacies from a special lunch, heavy enough for me to skip the palatable yet unnecessary evening meal, and while idly turning the pages of the newly arrived weekly magazine, a striking photo suddenly catches my attention. It captures two lives. Although very young, their faces look grim and serious. Eyes that should be shining, full of dreams, appear dimmed through the lenses as witnesses of struggle since birth. Scantily dressed against a dirty and gloomy background, their bodies reveal extreme signs of poverty and hunger; their surroundings bear a resemblance to hell! Theshotisinblack.Thereisnowhite.Thereisnocolour either.There is no light.The faces are dark. On paper, the words that depict their grief are even darker. They point at us, the readers. The words bold, sharp and strong pierce through our thick flesh, through our insensitive minds to our otherwise sensible brain. The words make us realize where we stand. It is a report on the latest UNICEF data and it shook me. It claims that worldwide, one in three malnourished children is found in India with 42 percent of the nation’s children less than 5 years of age, underweight, and a total of 58 percent of children under 5, stunted! The NGO that published the report claims that India is “doing worse than sub-Saharan Africa”. In disbelief I put aside the magazine and rapidly scan through the Internet to see the correctness of the data. And to my utter disappointment I discover the true condition of nearly half of my very own countrymen. I found a report published in 2010 that presents an even gloomier picture. It states that as many as 8 Indian stateshavemorepoorpeoplethan26ofthepoorest African nations combined! It is extremely painful for me to believe this. At the time of our independence in 1947 countries like India and South Korea shared similar average annual income. By the 2000s South Korea became a developed country, but India, even after 65 years of independence, seems content with and even proud of the status, ‘developing nation’. Although per capita food availability rose every five-year period during 1972-1991, it has sharply declined every five years without exception from 1992-2010. It seems the present scenario ridicules our very existence, ridicules our freedom. I remember the saying of S Radhakrishnan, “freedom is a mockery so long as men starve, go naked and pine away in voiceless anguish.” I am aware of, and acknowledge the growing advancement of my nation in the field of cutting edge research and I appreciate our achievements thus far, but this report makes me worried. And I’m aware that it reflects only the tip of the iceberg. Although Government runs various planning schemes to help the poor attain self-sufficiency in food production, the present scenario undoubtedly shows such initiatives to be far from being enough. Besides, corporate social responsibility has been shamefully inadequate with only 10% of funding coming from individuals and corporate houses thereby raising fingers at us, the privileged citizens, who enjoy the many luxuries of life and good food, while others are deprived of the basic necessities. This brief report, alarming and true, contains facts that we always overlook; facts we don’t tend to listen to; facts we deny when they demand justification from us. However, we are silent when asked for solutions. And turn away without answering. We don’t look for answers perhaps because the problems do not seem to bother us. Starvation is a weapon used by us in well-fed societies.Westarvetoprotest,togetourselvesheard. We starve to stop any injustice being done to us. Food for Life by Jayeeta Ghose COVER STORY
  • 5. 55 We starve to get our demands fulfilled. We starve to get our due rights. We never starve for the underprivileged, the hungry. They starve alone. They have no weapon. Not even starvation. Still they starve. They are weak. They have no voice. They cannot protest. They cannot demand. Their right to food is denied. Their dream, the simple desire to daily feed themselves therefore remains unfulfilled. They continue to starve simply because they have no option. I realize that the young faces in the photo are just two of thousands. These faces are common. We comeacrossthemveryofteninourdailylives.Never before have I noticed these faces. Never before have I thought about them. Never before has my mind wandered out of my comfortable self-centred territory into a world which is not as gorgeous, not as happening, and not as alive as mine. My vision moist, I can no longer see the faces on the thick and shiny pages of the magazine. I can no longer look into their eyes but I’m very aware of their presence. NeverbeforehaveIfelttheirpain.Neverbeforehave Ifeltguilty.NeverbeforehaveIfelttheurgetoreform things in my own small way. Never before have I understood that what is happening is not right. As I move towards my windowpane I see it is already dark outside. The streetlight opposite my house illuminates a face, that of a poor old man sitting beside an untidy, unhygienic, most filthy broken bin. His thin, worn hands were frantically searching for something. Among the debris of torn papers, plastic bags, crushed cans and toxic waste the restless hungry eyes continue searching, searching for something to eat to assuage his hunger. I see this man everyday doing the same thing, once in the morning and once at night. Never before did it occur to me that this man is trembling because he is hungry. It never crossed my mind that this man is now too old to earn a living. Although I see this man everyday, I know nothing about him. With hunger being the major cause of death worldwide and with one third of the World’s hungry living in India, the afternoon meal I gorged on suddenly seems excessive. I decide that from now on I can happily skip my daily evening meal without any risk to my health. I do not need it, and it could be of benefit to some hungry person. Allhumanbeingshavearighttofoodandwhetheritis easily available or not, we all feel hungry. Poverty has no boundary. Hunger knows no citizenship. I wish and pray that all my friends who are on the same side of the windowpane as I am, can also see and know that man sitting opposite our houses, the man who does notbelongtoourworld.This recognition provides no solutionandisincapableofchangingthelivesofthe unfortunate many, but every effort to brighten up one face, to feed one starving person is a small but vital step. Hopefully, our collective efforts can ease the burden of hunger for many others. Ultimately, it is ‘a life of good food’for a few of us but for most people it is the other way round, ‘food for life’.
  • 6. 66 On one side, floods devastated the lives of many pilgrims and tourists of this holy place. On the other hand, the world witnessed one of the biggest human rescue operations led by the Indian military. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has claimed a world aviation record by airlifting close to 20,000 civilians in 2,140 missions during the 15-day Operation Raahat to rescue victims of flash floods in Uttarakhand. The operation consisted of two phases. While the first phase was limited to pulling out stranded pilgrims and bringing them to safety, in the second phase the efforts shifted to sending relief and rehabilitation help.The mammoth rescue operation sufferedaminorsetbackwhenahelicopterairlifting thevictimstosafeareascrashedand20peoplewere killed. “Our forces are conducting a heroic task in rescue and relief work in Uttarakhand. Continuing their work would be the best homage to them,”said PMManmohanSingh. ThecrashoftheIAFhelicopter clearly underlines the risks involved in undertaking a search and rescue mission in treacherous weather and in a hilly region such as Uttarakhand. When Indian military forces and other voluntary agencies were performing heroic tasks, politicians came forward and claimed to have rescued thousands of stranded pilgrims by flying into Uttarakhand in their helicopters. These claims were later proved to be false. As one reporter wrote in the Economic Times, “Politically motivated claims also undermine the stellar efforts of the armed forces.” And in the same article, Rohit Prajapati, founder of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, an NGO is quoted as saying, “This is nothing but exploitation of people’s pain for their narrow vote politics even in such a man made disaster situation.” In more recent news, a report in the Economic Times dated 12th July indicated that the Supreme Court has asked the National Disaster Management Agency to report on the status of rescue operations in Uttarakhand. Search and rescue operations in Uttarakhand by Purnank Kaul INVINCIBLES Uttarakhand Floods
  • 7. 7 Environmental Hero Vandana Shiva Beneath her infectious smile and unassuming personality resides a powerhouse of wisdom and thought provoking vision for the future. An environmental activist by profession and at heart sinceherinvolvementwith the Chipko Movement in 1970s, Vandana Shiva has authored 23 books and received worldwide recognition. She said in a critique of GMO food, “We have an old model of disconnection. That’s whatisworkingtodestroy the food system.”She is an advocate for the rights of Mother Earth and organic farming and said that‘’seeds must be in the hands of farmers.’’ Shiva is also a proponent of eco-feminism and believes that through engaging women, more sustainable and productive agriculture can be achieved. In 1987 She founded Navdanya, an NGO that campaigns for biodiversity, organic farming, rights of farmers and seed saving. Part of Navdanya’s mission statement reads:“The defense of seed, food and water sovereignty (Bija Swaraj, Anna Swaraj, Jal Swaraj) is necessary for fulfilling our mission of bringing prosperity to communities of small agricultural producers thus sowing the seeds of peaceandprosperity.”VandanaShivaisawomanwho continuestostrivetobethechangeshewantstosee. Sanjeev Kapoor, innovator of contemporary Indian Cuisine. Sanjeev Kapoor, the Khana Khazana man, through his ambition and resourcefulness became a household name in India. Today he’s accepted as a master chef with his own product label, Khazana. In the traditional Indian psyche, feeling and touching, being in contact with the item, leads to acceptance. Kapoor penetrated this barrier as proven in the continuing demand for his products online. The Khazana line is also exported to many parts of the world, including Trinidad, the home of Spoorthi’s editor. His TV show, Khana Khazana, aired for the first time 20 years ago and with over 2000 episodes his presence is felt in millions of kitchens, transforming cooking styles in India and South Asia. It is perhaps through his example and influence that young Indians have been inspired to become chefs. Sanjeev Kapoor successfully launched his 24-hour lifestyle and food channel Food Food in 2011. Internationally recognised among the top five celebrity chefs, Kapoor believes that regional Indian food is beginning to get genuine recognition. He says, ‘’It will get healthier; hybridisation will continue. It will be more inventive, more bold, it will change as we change.”2000episodeshispresenceisfeltinmillions of kitchens, transforming cooking styles in India and South Asia. It is perhaps through his example and influence that young Indians have been inspired to become chefs. Sanjeev Kapoor successfully launched his 24-hour lifestyle and food channel Food Food in 2011. Internationally recognised among the top five celebrity chefs, Kapoor believes that regional Indian food is beginning to get genuine recognition. He says, ‘’It will get healthier; hybridisation will continue. It will be more inventive, more bold, it will change as we change.” TOPPING THE TROOPS ACHIEVERS 7 Aman Arora
  • 8. 8 A joy that even persons performing 9 to 5 jobs can look forward to in their daily routine is eating good food. The reason I express food as a source of joy rather than a basic need (as I should in a country where a large population starves) is that I am focusing on the middle class in this article, to which I belong and relate, and to I’m addressingthisissue. These people can afford the daily requirements of calories and nutrients and can chose from the available alternatives to acquire these nutrients. I am not telling you to follow a balanced diet chart and feed yourself with the same quantity and same type of food day in and day out. You probably have no time and would skip this article if I tell you that. India is a country that taught the world to add spices to their food, so I do not want to dismiss the joy of taste. Your tongue is there for a reason. There is no end to the dishes that can be made from wheat, rice, milk, maize, vegetables, pulses and fruits. It is the same as seven chords in music creating any number of songs or 10 numbers being the base for mathematics and physics and a set of alphabets for languages. I make a rational assumption that everyone wants healthy, hygienic, cheap and tasty food, and these prioritieswillbedifferentfordifferentpalates.Inpractice though, availability and accessibility overshadow your priorities. You choose from what is available in your market. You would know the difference between milk that you get in a village in Huryana and milk from a city like Delhi and the same applies with vegetables and fruits of two distinct regions. But, your access has a limit. You won’t travel to Tamil Nadu to have coconut or to Shimla for apples. You take what is available in the market. You have no choice in the matter. Or do you? Technically, the market refers to the number of buyers and potential buyers. So, you are the market or a considerable part of it. You do not have a visible voting right but each of your purchases is a vote on whether you prefer a particular product or reject it. You can control the market. Producers, sellers and marketers (advertisers and PR) do not influence rational consumers. Our modern lifestyle that allots time to each of our acts does not prioritize health. We are always in a rush, skipping our meals and not taking enough exercise. It is not in our culture to see a doctor when we feel a symptom of an approaching illness and to get regular health checkups. That is why you find many doctors in Bollywood films saying, “You have been just a little late in coming to us.” Butbeforeyoucure,youprevent.InancientIndia,arich civilization that boasted of an abundance of doctors and surgeons there was both prevention and cure. In post-independent India, because of the after-effects of colonization, the attention paid to curing an illness was severely diminished but the focus on prevention was still at a high level.The quality of food, which is the chief fuel for the maintenance of healthy bodies, was theprevention.Thevegetableswereofanaturalcolour, themilkwasthicker,gheewasused,packagedfooddid not exist much and the families made sure that they had personal doctors who always made home visits. The prevention also included mothers, grandmothers and aunts, who cooked food for the family, oiled your hair and body, provided desi nuskas (homemade remedies) for every small problem and so on. It is not worthwhile to travel back in time. The modern society is different with different needs and aesthetics; Towards Healthy Eating by Aman Arora The Old Beneficial Lassi SPECIALS
  • 9. 9 more working mothers, nuclear families and a diminishing focus on grooming. There is not sufficient time for cooking, especially for those migrants who live without their families for study or work. The fast food culture has taken over. Maggi, Nescafe or even easier, just dial a number, freshen up after work and your dinner is awaiting you at your door in 30 minutes. You eat to satisfy your hunger, not to nourish your bodies. Without entirely giving up our modern lifestyle, we can mold it a little for our own good by making conscious efforts to adopt the right eating habits. A simple diet of 4 chappatis, a bowl of rice, one and a half bowl of pulses, a green vegetable and half a liter of milk is sufficient. What is not simple is to begin this habit. Habits are picked up early in life and children are influenced by what their families eat at least until they’re ten or twelve years. If parents are themselves having fast food, can much be expected of their kids? Children must eat with their families where they are compelled to eat healthier stuff. I do not understand the purpose of teaching a balanced diet, and health and hygiene to third or fourth grade students. It is their parents who must understand the importance of healthy choices because eventually they make the decisions for the children. To help change the way parents feed their children, sessions can be arranged to teach them the importance of healthy lifestyle choices. We need to understand the food we eat, its ingredients and nutritious value, and the requirement of our bodies depending upon the environment we live (people living in hills, plains, plateaus have different needs). In so doing, we can choose better alternatives. Jalebis, fruit chats, sprouts, moth, chana and Jaljeera, lemonade, lassi, chacchh (buttermilk) are some examples of traditional food that are healthier than modern street food options. Jalebi for instance, made of sugar and fried in oil, can be an instant source of energy. Sprouts, moths and chana are rich in proteins. Jaljeera and lemonade are good for digestion. Lassi and chacchh cool a dry throat in the hot weather. As with eating habits, cooking habits must improve too. Food preparation can be made interesting by experimenting with ingredients. Knowing how to cook ensures that a person is self-dependent if he has to live away from his family home. He has a better chance of having a proper diet when he cooks his own food. Indian men, in general, do not cook and that needs to change. Jobs today are very demanding with long hours and in the case where a man and his wife are both working, the burden of meal preparation should not fall on the wife alone. Eventually it comes down to being food-conscious, to know what you are eating and constantly finding healthy sources of food.
  • 10. 10 Stanley Ka Dabba captures the innocence of childhood, takes you back to your classrooms, the fond memories of playing football with your friends, sharing tiffin with them and turning ordinary moments into memories. In the late 90s, films like Satya and Vaastav set the benchmark for real life cinema, based on gangsters and violence; Stanley Ka Dabba also portrays real life but without the violence. The issue of hunger is expressed through the dreamy eyes of Stanley, who does not bring dabba or tiffin to school. He is a brilliant boy, a natural storyteller, who holds his listeners’ attention and amazes them with his tales. For his wit and amiable self, he is a favourite among his classmates and applauded for his imagination by their English teacher, Rosy Miss (Divya Dutta), of whom Stanley is fond. The story revolves around Stanley and the Hindi teacher, Khadus as he is popularly known. Khadus’ focus is eating from the tiffins of his students and colleagues, rather than teaching. He is funny at the beginning but later you start hating him. Such is Amole Gupte’s skill in playing this role. The movie has a simple plot but the director (who, for a change, is the captain of the ship in a Bollywood movie) manages to brilliantly convey its essence as the story unfolds. At the end of the film, you may forget the scenes, dialogue and songs; what would remain would be the emotions that the captain of the ship wants you to feel. Despite making you smile throughout, this film makes you a little sad at the end.You realize that dabba is not a mere container for carrying food. It symbolizes love and care with which a loving person prepares food,andanexperiencethatpoorStanleydidnothave. The cinematography stands out. Also interesting is that the film was shot with a DSLR Canon 7D so that the children weren’t scared of big cameras. And no special lights were used, only natural lights. Until now, no mainstream movie has been shot in a DSLR so it’s a step forward, and reduces the budget. It’s a credit to the team they shot the movie on Saturdays and Sundays, without disrupting the school activities or the students’ curriculum, all for the convenience of the children. Surely it’s a movie production with children in mind. Deepa Bhatia’s editing is first-rate as per the director’s expectations. Special mention must be made of the 2-D chalkboard animation in the beginning. It sets the mood brilliantly, and in a very simple way. Stanley Ka Dabbba Movie Review by Aman Arora Partho_Gupte. The Old Beneficial Lassi FULFILLING ART
  • 11. 11 We are not the heroes in this story, Raghav Gautam and I. We were the victims of a self- created misfortune born out of foolish and careless behaviour. Altogether a comedy of errors though it was not very funny at the time! On May 1, 2013, we took a two-day journey from Delhi to Jaipur to attend a friend’s after marriage reception. It was the same day when the latest edition of Spoorthi released, so a large part of our discussion was the responsetothemagazine. Anyway, our trip was spontaneous and not pre- planned. At midnight, we took a local bus and expected an uncomfortable journey, especially for Raghav, as seats in the local buses are not friendly to long legs. But we were not prepared for any major discomfort. It was 4am, when the bus stopped at a roadside dhaba on the highway. It was a rest stop, a place for passengers and the driver to takealittlerefreshment.Raghavsteppedouttousethe washroom. In the meantime, I heard the conductor say that the bus would stop for half an hour so I decided to step down too.We took tea and a dona of pakodas, the only food available at that time.We discussed, with not much success, what exactly the pakodas were made of and I also badgered Raghav to ask the man on the next table to quit smoking. No, not forever as I know how to mind my own business, but just for the time being as the intense smoke was affecting our noses, much to our disgust. We made a note that we had time, and went to a shop to buy a packet of Lays and 2 cans of Pepsi. We did that and went back to our bus. But it was not our bus. It was same colour, white but two out of the three buses that stopped at the dhaba almost at same time were white and one of them had gone - ours. Our luggage and a part of our cash were in the bus that had left the place after only 15 minutes (remember it was supposed to stay there for 30 minutes). We exercised our right to react and our choice was to panic. Nevertheless, we inquired from the man selling tea and pakodas about our bus. He informed us that it had left just “a minute ago”, and suggested we could go to a nearby place where the bus stopped to pick up new passengers. Ready, steady and off we jogged to the bus stop, repeatedly asking each other and ourselves how this happened. We could not find our bus. In the darkness it was difficult to distinguish a bus from a truck because of bright, glossy headlights. The bus ticket did not have any contact details or even the name of the depot. We felt lost, at 4.30 in the morning on a highway. We wanted to recover our luggage. Our only hope was to wake our friend at that hour and ask him to send someone to get our luggage as we remembered the color of the bus and number on its number plate. He did not pick up the phone. We tried his cousin’s number, the only other person we knew in Jaipur. But, he too did not respond. We did not blame them. In the meantime, we kept walking, thinking that the bus would stop at another spot and we could inquire from there. Walking on the highway at that hour was not the smartest idea. In our anxiety it did not occur to us we were in danger. Raghav looked at the bright side and kept saying that it was an experience worth writing about. We were convinced that it was not just a failure of our senses to miss the bus, but also a failure on the part of our saarthi to drive off within fifteen minutes and leaving us, and furthermore, not even missing us! Was the failure deliberate? Did they want our luggage? Honestly, we looked well fed, and because we chose talking over sleeping, we could not be the passengers’ favorites. But, any way we looked at it, ultimately we were irresponsible. I told Raghav that I have a history of carelessness, losing my wallet once, and stationery and sometimes even myself. I’m geographically challenged. I told him that I would not be allowed to go alone even on my honeymoon if I tell my parents what happened. He assured me that I wouldn’t be going there alone anyway. Walking along the highway was scary and Raghav mentioned the threat of being attacked. By whom, I asked him. Truck drivers, who he heard were gay. The theory was that Events on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway by Aman Arora The Old Beneficial Lassi PEOPLE NEXT DOOR
  • 12. 12 because they spent most of their nights driving, they made no distinction between genders when they felt horny. I knew he was joking, but I gave it a thought. We had walked two kilometers to the next dhaba, an insignificant place. Not many buses stopped there. Learning that the next dhaba was eight kilometers away, going ahead was not an option. Thankfully, our friend returned our call. Embarrassed, we told him (just one day into marriage) what had happened. He told us not to worry and instructed us to take the next bus to Jaipur. We walked back to the point from where we should not have moved. Raghav suggested that we could have boarded another bus and give extra money to the driver to chase our bus. It sounded thrilling, but a post-event idea is of no use. Our friend gave us the phone number of the person he had sent to meet us, and we contacted him for details. One of our fears was of the phone batteries becoming low. Android! We waited for the news. I looked at a packet of Lays with longing. It occurred to me our journey was proving too costly. There was immense hope though because of our belief in the people of Jaipur. The last time we travelled there, friends known only to our friend, took great pains in extending their hospitality. “Kesariya balam aavoji padhaaron mare desh” At 7.30pm, we got good news. Our luggage was recovered. When we reached the place 1 hour later, we met two “rescuers” instead of one. Shubham, the younger one, did not look more than twenty, but appeared very mature and responsible for his age. He was driving the car. With him was Raju who was more funloving.Hewastheonewholaterspenttheentireday with us. They took us to a restaurant and we had great pakodas and lassi as our breakfast. A Delhite like me alwaysenviesthequalityofgoodlassifoundelsewhere. They were very quiet about our carelessness. Their concern was our comfort rather than their discomfort at being woken so early in the morning and waiting 30 minutes for the bus with our luggage and another 30 minutes for the arrival of our bus. During our two- day trip, we were taken great care of, from bed tea to dinner. We went to the famous Chokhi Daani, a desi Kingdom of Dreams, for the comfortable and soothing atmosphere it provides. Our trip ended in laughter and peace despite the early setbacks.The hospitability was so amazing that the only complaint I had was that we werenotallowedtouseapartofourluggage:ourwallets. “Kesariya balam aavoji padhaaron mare desh”
  • 13. 1313 My heartiest greetings to every soul who has decided to become a part of this spiritual journey. As I stated in my previous article, I was looking forward to talk a lot about this incredible energy that leaves us with a feeling of fulfillment. My experience with the world has taught me that only the mind suffers; the body tries hard to forget the suffering and often succeeds. The healing of the mind is much more important than the healing of the body, as it doesn’t heal itself as is the case with our bodies. We all have experiences we regret; we have suffered betrayal, pain, agony of separation from a loved one and what not. These experiences greatly damage our soul. The healing becomes imperative in cases where the pain never dies from those memories. It also causes what I call an unnecessary layer of emotions on the soul that can also be thought of as a layer of thick dust covering an object that ought to be removed. That layer of emotions hampers our ability to let go of our past, experiences that we hold on to for such a long time that they tend to integrate themselves withinoursouls.Thiscausesachangeofouroutlook and perception and may even evoke feelings of remorseorpureanimositytowardstheworld.Butthe worstpossibleeffectisifwestopgrowingspiritually. Have we ever thought why something interrupts us from the inside when we’re about to do something wrong and we realize it? This is our inner voice, our conscience that tries to stop us. This is the divine guidance coming through the universe and with our soul as the medium. The inner voice starts diminishing in frequency once we stop listening to it, stop treading on the path of spirituality. The inner voice, therefore, should never be ignored, as it’s the first step towards spiritual progress. It shows that we are capable, that we possess the strength to feel the oneness of the universe in us and can achieve eternal bliss for ourselves. We are all old souls with consciousness and subconsciousness lying within us. There is a lot of information within our subconscious mind that is yet to be possessed by us. All the knowledge already resides within us; it’s only our fear and sometimes ignorance that prevents us from accessing it. This is what needs to be uncovered. To become positive and generate positivity towards others helps in freeing our mind and releasing our Chi. The best way to do this is to sit down very relaxed, void your mind of every single thought and concentrate on your breaths. This might be very difficult for a beginner but it will become easier as time progresses. Think of Chi (or Kundalini – serpent energy) as a source with different channels lying within our bodies for years but inactive. Now we’re attempting to open the channels for the flow and suddenly the mind detects it, and it opposes it. The mind that was uncontrollable, until now, recognizes we’re trying to become its master. It starts quickly drifting away as it doesn’t wish to be dominated but as we practice again and again, it eventually accepts its defeat and becomes our slave. It can never go out of our control and never recall unpleasant memories rather it will bring inner peace. I do believe only the most worthy ones can activate the serpent energy through a lot of effort. Finally, I would like to present these beautiful lines given by Swami Vivekananda, “You have to grow from inside out. None can teach you. None can make you spiritual. Only you can.” The Secret Lying Beneath by Pranjal Malav YOUTH AND SPIRITUALITY
  • 14. 1414 Good music and bad music is just relative and subject to one’s p e rce p t i o n . Some rate death metal good, some say film music b e c a u s e e v e r y t h i n g is done in 10 minutes. C l a s s i c a l m u s i c i a n s explore a raaga every time they perform. All these genres have lyrics to support their music except instrumentalmusiclikeSitarsolo,Tablasolo,Saarangi solo, Western classical music and many others. However,anytypeofmusiccanbesupportedbylyrics. A meaningful composition of music can make lyrics even more beautiful. Music adds emotions to the lyrics. I guess most of you have heard the song ‘Maa..’ from ‘Taare Zameen Par’. https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=anonHtYQFxs (If you haven’t, click on this link). When I heard this song, tears rolled down my cheeks and I’m sure most of you have had the same experience. There are poems that can be sung but there are some poems that can only be spoken. A musician can attempt to put a poem to music but it won’t have the same effect as when it is read out loud. Certain raagas produce particular emotions. When they are used accordingly, they give much more meaning to the lyrics and greater pleasure to the listeners. So music and lyrics may sometimes go hand in hand to make a delightful package. As Kannada poet Gopal Krishan Adiga says, “Writing poetry is like giving birth to a child. You are not sure whether the child will be a genius, dumb, deaf, blind, mentally challenged or normal but still the mother carries the child in her womb for 9 months hoping for the best. The mother makes a lot of effort and takes care to ensure the health of the unborn child. Similarly poetry is written with the utmost care, passion and effort.The poet is not sure whetherthepoemwillbeacceptedorcriticized.Still he writes.”Likewise, every song, every performance requires great effort by the singers and musicians. So defining anything as good is relative. There is an English Movie‘The Music Never Stopped’ based on Oliver Sacks’ essay The Last Hippie. The film tells of the father-son relationship between Henry Sawyer and his son, Gabriel, who suffers from a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories. Henry, unable to understand their strained relationship, tries to reach him through music. Henry likes the classic music of the 50’s and 60’swhereasGabriellovesthemodernrockmusicof the late 70’s and 80’s. Though the father doesn’t like thistypeofmusic,hefindsawaytoconnecttohisson throughit. Irecommendeveryonewatchthismovie Whateverthelanguageandmusicalgenre,whatever thereasontolikeasongoraninstrumentalpiece,music that touches the heart will forever be remembered. Music has no Language Barrier by Sameer Havaldar MUSICAL HEALING
  • 15. 1515 I love to eat and there are few foods I won’t try. The exceptions are those in my faith- based dietary restrictions and curried baigan (aubergine or m e l o n g e n e ) . Otherwise, I’m eager to sample the culinary flavours of all countries and continents. I even enjoy what we Trinis label as “plane food”, food served on board an aircraft. On a recent trip, the service and meals on board Emirates Airlines seemed like heavenly comfort to a traveller crossing two oceans to arrive at her destination. The Caribbean, with its mixture of ethnicities, has influences from Africa, India and Europe in its indigenous foods. Notwithstanding the influx of restaurants, within recent years, serving authentic Italian, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, local dishes have maintained their appeal and continue to be the choice for daily meals and snacks in many Caribbean homes. Fast foods have a global presence and in the islands one can find American food franchises such as KFC, Macdonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Subway. Yet, Jamaicans still crave their meat patties and Trinis, their “doubles”. FruitsarealsoapartoftheCaribbeandiet.InTrinidad, oranges, grapefruits and bananas, watermelons, pineapples and pawpaws (papaya) are sold alongside imported fruits like apples, pears, grapes, kiwis, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. A free market economy enables these fruits to be found in abundance in groceries and street-side fruit stalls on my lovely tropical island. Mangoes, brought here by indentured workers from India in the 19th century, are seasonal. Support for fruit cultivation and agriculture on the whole, is minimal, so fruits like padoo, grou-grou bef, cocorite, gri- gri are a rare sight. Perhaps if one is lucky, a drive through ruralTrinidad may bear fruit. Pun intended! In an effort to stimulate local food production, from time to time, successive governments have promoted slogans like “buy local” and “grow your own food”. Some nationals have heeded the call, but many still frequent the markets and groceries for their fruits and vegetables. Wherever ingredients are sought, it’s certain that the imaginative cooks in any Caribbean kitchen will createfoodstotempteventhemostdiscerningtaste buds. And in Trinidad, the greatest compliment a cookcanreceiveis“youhaverealsweethan’(hand)!It meansthatthepersonhascookedaverytastymeal. NowIpresenttoyoualittlepreviewofwhattoexpect ifyoueverfindyourselfonvacationintheCaribbean. Trinidad:“Twodoubleswithslightpepper!”That’sthe order for vendors of this delicious snack to quickly put together channa, bara and various condiments including pepper sauce for customers. I’m told “doubles”is similar to bhelpuri. “Doubles”is always available, night or day, and you can never eat just one “doubles. Roadside vendors supply “doubles” to eager customers who will patiently stand in line to avail themselves of 2, 3 or more “doubles”. And Trinis living in North America are not without their “doubles fix”. Enterprising “doubles” makers have set up shop in cities where there’s a large Trini presence. They bring joy to many Trinis longing for a taste of home. “Doubles” I like, but one of my favourite meals is the typical Sunday lunch menu in many households in Trinidad – macaroni pie, callaloo, stewed chicken, boiled plantain and a green salad. Callaloo is a combination of spinach or bhagi leaves, ochroes, slices of pumpkin, local seasonings and the optional hot pepper, all boiled to make a soup-like concoction. It originates from West Africa and there are variations of the dish throughout the Caribbean. In the Trini dialect callaloo means a “blending of unlikely elements.” Caribbean Flavours by Fazeela Mollick FROM ACROSS TWO OCEANS
  • 16. 1616 No river lime (social gathering) is complete without the curry duck preferably cooked at the riverside. If the lime is at Maracas, a popular beach in North Trinidad, shark and bake is a favourite sandwich prepared with fried shark topped with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and various spicy sauces. Tobago: Trinidad’s sister isle, a haven of gorgeous beaches and easy island life, is famous for its curried crab and dumplings. Food kiosks located at the popular Store Bay in southwest Tobago, serve this dish relished by locals and foreigners alike. Once, my office colleagues and I, to celebrate the birthday of our manager, ordered 2 huge basins of curried crab and dumplings. Not a morsel remained. Eating crab and dumplings can be a messy business but who cares? There’s always soap and water to clean the fingers. And then there’s the post-meal sublime feeling of a well-fed stomach. Barbados:TheLandoftheFlyingFishasit’spopularly known and home to the famous cricket ground, Kensington Oval. Although the flying fish is no longerplentifulinthewaterssurroundingtheisland due to over fishing and other factors, it remains a delicacy in the island’s cuisine. The town of Oistins hosts a“fish fry”lime on Friday and Saturday nights. With loud music in the background, tourists join the locals to sample the fried-fish meals from various stalls, dance, chat and generally have a great time! Fast food is available too from a Barbadian chain of restaurants called Chefette. Broasted chicken and pizza are staples on the menu. St.Lucia:There’snothingexceptionalaboutSt.Lucian food except perhaps the unusual combination of spices and seasonings that give their dishes an exceptional flavour. For those who prefer natural drinks, fruit juices made from local fruits are always available. Juice made from Golden Apple or pomme cythère has to be a favourite. It’s perfect for cooling the throat on a hot Caribbean day! North of the capital, Castries, is the town of Gros Islet, location of the Beausejour Cricket Ground. On Friday nights, there’s a street party and the area is cordoned off to facilitate free movement of party- goers without the inconvenience of having to dodge vehicles. Barbequed seafood and meat are cooked and sold from restaurants that resemble the charming old- time houses found on this pretty Caribbean island. No one is immune to the joie de vivre that erupts on Friday nights! The sea breezes mixed with food aromas;reggae,soca,calypsoandrockmusicblasting from the DJ’s speakers; beverages to accompany the atmosphere, Gros Islet Friday night limes have everypossibleingredientnecessaryforagoodtime! Derek Walcott, St Lucia’s most famous poet and playwright,andNobelPrizewinnerforLiteraturelives just outside the town of Gros Islet. It is here Walcott set most of the scenes for his epic poem “Omeros”. Antigua: If you’re a cricket fan and you hear the name“Antigua”, you’ll immediately think of the man known as the “Master Blaster”, Sir Vivian Richards. He’s probably the most famous Antiguan thus far in the history of that nation. Like many islands in the
  • 17. 1717 Caribbean, Antigua is a popular tourist destination. It’s also the first place where I sampled Vietnamese food at a restaurant in Hodges Bay. Many years have passed but the memory of that dinner is lodged in the “good food” directory in my brain. Seafood, particularly lobster, will be found on restaurant menus around the island. One of the best lobster meals I ever had was at a once popular garden restaurant called Brother B’s in the capital, St. John’s. The national dishes of Antigua are fungee - cornmeal and ochroes (bindi) cooked to a paste in salted water, and pepperpot, a mixture of a variety of meats and vegetables such as spinach, eggplant, ochroes, onions, spices and seasonings, boiled to a soup-like texture. Jamaica: The Blue Mountains in Jamaica is where the best coffee in the world comes from. So said Jeffrey Dujon, a Jamaican and retired wicket keeper/batsman for the West Indies cricket team. I’ll take his word for it since he’s apparently a connoisseur of coffee. With this excellent coffee, is served a typical Jamaican breakfast of ackee and saltfish (salted cod). Brought to Jamaica from West Africa in the 1800s, ackee is a fruit that’s used as a vegetable in this much-loved dish. Those not used to its appearance say the cooked ackee resembles scrambled eggs but the taste is far from egg- like. Rice and peas, curry goat, bammy (a cassava flatbread), jerk meat and of course the Jamaican patty are all part of the Jamaican food scene. If you have an adventurous palate come to the Caribbean and savour the taste of the islands. But be aware of this saying from Trinidad, “Those who eat the cascadura (a thick-scaled, bony fresh-water fish) will, the native legend says, wheresoever they may wander end in Trinidad their days.”
  • 18. 1818 MODERN DAY FABLES: JUNGLENAGAR The Pashupal Bill by Aman Arora Billu the bear was becoming e v e r y o n e ’ s favorite. The whole J u n g l e n a g a r was pleasantly astonished how a fat, food-loving bear of yesterday had today become so responsible to fight for the rights of animals of Junglenagar. “Corruption is at its peak. Lakkha’s government we must beat”. It was the popular slogan throughout Junglenagar.Amovementthatstarted in Sector 4, Junglenagar by Billu the bear, Fatima the fox and Cheeka the smart chimp to pass a Pashupaal bill, had spread over Junglenagar like jungle fire (obviously). The most inactive communities were getting involved in politics, coming to the roads, chanting slogans, lighting candles in Jungle-Gate and fighting for their rights. If Billu was lazy, Fatima was the most cunning and cooleststreetlevelthief.Sheusedtostealwallets,mobile phones and tabs. Cheeku was a computer genius, the most unethical hacker in the all of Junglenagar. It was for a change that such evil geniuses were using their wits to do something good for Junglenagar. “Perhaps they owed this to us,” said the old wise Elizabeth the Elephant, the most respected citizen of Junglenagar. Deeku Cheeku the mixed offspring of a father deer and mother cheetah was the only one to oppose the movement. His reason was his distrust of the leaders of this movement. Billu and his friends had several times stolen food from his garden. Fatima had stolen his wallet and tab. And Cheeku had hacked his web portal “The voice of Junglenagar”. “But they have changed,” said Diya, the pink- eyed beautiful girlfriend of Deeku Cheeku. Diya wanted to be a part of the Pashupaal Movement but didn’t because of Deeku Cheeku’s disapproval. They had several discussions on this while watching news on their 41-inch high definition TV. “I like the idea of high definition. Now I can watch their forgery with more clarity.” “What forgery? You know Lakkha’s government is corrupt. And they are in power because of ignorance of our public. They buy votes, capture polling booths, cheat the poor oxen, cows, camels, donkeys and horses and the entire working class. What wrong are they doing in warning our public against them?” “Two wrongs don’t make a right, pink- eyedangel.YouaresonicetobelieveBillu andhisgang.Iwillnotbesoeasilyfooled.” “Fooled? Oh, you say I am a fool. Everyone is a fool except you. Isn’t that so? I am going. You better prove that they are wrong or forget me forever.” Deeku Cheeku was not concerned about Diya leaving. They had an on and off relationship for several years and so now her going away didn’t bother him. He was more concerned about the growing popularity of Billu and his friends. He countered it by writing strongly against their members and their work in his web portal. However it was still not clear to him how exactly Billu and team were wrong. One evening while walking home, Deekhu Cheeku was talking to himself. “Maybe they have indeed changed. They are not humans after all. Whom am I fooling by questioning their loyalty when I have found nothing against them in two months? Elections are only a month away. The way it is going, Lakha’s government will lose power and Titu and his party would come to power. And the right Pashu-paal bill shall be passed.”
  • 19. 19 Dheeku Cheeku’s thought process was broken as he heard some whisperings from Lakkha’s old cave. He knew this place from childhood. It was deserted for some years. What was going on here? He tiptoed to a safe side, peeped in and listened. Billu the beer, Fatima the fox and Cheeka the chimp were there, video conferencing with Lakkha the lion. The jungle seemed to sway beneath Deekhu Cheeku’s feet. “You will get your money alright. Just continue this for another fifteen days. We must time the extinguishing of our bomb.” “You are playing with our reputation… aww!” yelled Billu as Cheeku elbowed him. “We do not have a reputation,”snapped Fatima. “Oh such a relief to have a bad reputation. You are expected to be evil and when you do evil, it is alright.” “And you get gold coins and money from my treasury and all the donations you collected from public in name of protest,” added Lakkah the lion. “Your Divine, we are so blessed in your rule. Hope you rule Junglenagar till the stars exist.” “Till the stars exist,” echoed the whole group. Deekhu Cheeku understood everything. Lakkha had employed Billu and his gang to protest against him. They will run away with the money they took from public. Lakkha will then become a hero, win the confidence of the public and the elections and Pashu-paal bill will never be passed. Such evil brains. Dheeku Cheeku was perplexed in this political drama. He did not know how to fight with the mighty Lakkha. The days were going by when one hot afternoon Dheeku Cheeku disclosed his frustration to the Banyan tree and told it the whole story. Omar, the wise owl, listened to everything from his perch at the top branch of the tree. When Deeku Cheeku sat down by the side of tree and got busy playingTemple Run on his I Phone 5, Omar sneaked by and wrote a quote on the tree with charcoal. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. What could it mean? Deeku Cheeku kept thinking and thinking and got an idea. One month later. Titu the tiger and his party had won elections. The Pashupaal bill was finally passed and Lakkah and his party was defeated. Deeku Cheeku was partying with his 3 new friends, Billu, Fatima and Cheeku. Diya was astonished at this development. So Deekhu Cheeku explained to her Lakkha’s plan and how he told everything to Titu the tiger who gave Billu and his gang twice the money Lakkha gave to continue the movement. In this way they got rich and their reputation was saved.
  • 20. 20 “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people,you might better stay home.” – James Michener Following my preference at times to go for favorite foods and not local foods, and my habit of labeling people before knowing them, the above quote is apt for what I’m going to write about - travel and food. Nepal is the only country I’ve visited and I don’t have many memories of that trip, so mycommentsonfoodareconfinedtoIndia. When visiting the regions you need to accept there will be differences and be willing to try the variety of flavors each region has to offer. As the saying goes, “When in Rome do as Romans do”. On my trip to Hyderabad I ate food that was not of that region. I frequented pizza corners, cafes and Chinese joints that can be found in any city and this may probably show a bias for foreign food. As a traveler and someone who appreciates food, I should have eaten from food stalls where vendors sold local food. Obviously hygiene and health are important and it is wise to be mindful of this when eating from street vendors. I’ll try the local cuisine on my next visit. At Dharamshala, I found my favourite snack, momos, in the village of McLeod Ganj. The restaurant was a simple, unassuming place, a small cottage with a seating capacity for about 5 or 6 persons. Imagine, in the cold air, the delight of white crescent-shaped delicacies with steam still emerging out of them served with a pungent red sauce made of garlic, tomato and onion among the main ingredients. It was a feast to the eyes and a delight to the senses. The first two bites were the tempting beginning of a meal only surpassed by the magical taste of the most appetizing momos that I’ve ever had. . I loved them so much that I bought packets of the chutney they’re served with. For a few months thereafter I found the taste of momos in my own hometown quite unappetizing! Imagine if I’d shied away from that eating-place, allowing its size, simplicity, unfinished exterior and décor to influence my choice, I would have denied myself the pleasure of tasting those mouth-watering momos! In Jaipur, the Pink City, the lassi and onion kachori are of the best quality. Available almost everywhere in Jaipur, lassi made from simple curd is so delicious that the taste appears almost inherent in the hands of the maker and not the drink or its ingredients. One of my friends inquired whether such thick lassi can be found in Delhi. I have had it and enjoyed it but that’s more because of Old Delhi’s charm than the drink itself. As for the onion kachori of Jaipur, it surpasses the flavour and quality of kachoris found in Old Delhi. Now, do an Internet search for Chokhi Dhani and put it on a must- list of places to visit (evenings and night) in Jaipur. Among the features of this resort is the amazing setting of a typical Rajasthani village with all its culture, traditions, cuisine and entertainment. It may not be pleasing to all but eating is done in the customary Indian style, sitting on the floor. Food is served in a traditional pattal (plate made of dried leaves), vegetables served in a dona (bowl made of dried leaves) and the beverages served in kullad (small glasses made of mud). Ghee floated through the food. There was also a variety of desi makhan, (local Indian butter) in unlimited supply. The chapattis, served hot, were of three different kinds. Daal, kadi, gatte ki sabzi, aloo ki sabzi and other types of sabzis, with sweet rice, khichdi (with lots of ghee and powdered sugar) and imarti, so much to eat in one big serving. And to aid digestion, to end the meal, there was buttermilk. The waiters at Chokhi Dhani were warm and jovial, putting their pagdi (turban) on the heads Travel and Food by Raghav Gautam Traversals The place where they serve the best Momos
  • 21. 21 of everyone who asked to wear it. The ambience was spectacular with sand-covered ground and lit by lanterns that cast a soft and pleasant glow. Chokhi Dhani is certainly worth more than one visit. For most of my stay in Chennai I ate pizzas, sandwiches and chow mein. I didn’t try a lot of South Indian dishes. My stomach cannot tolerate a lot of rice, but takali sadam (tomato rice), curd rice, lemon rice, tamarind rice, and the idlis and dosas are brilliant choices for a traveler. Imagine a plate filled with red colored rice (tomato flavored), cooked with local herbs that have various health benefits. Add to the plate hot sambhar, spiced similarly, served with hot vegetables and papad in a Tamil style. Replace that rice with yellow colored lemon flavored rice, or curd rice, topped with more curd. There are more flavors of rice in Chennai than one can imagine. Try the experience of dining at a local eatery where you have trouble explaining to them what you want because they don’t speak anything other than Tamil; that should be fun! The truth about local foods is that they not only offer variety, but they also suit the climate and the geographyofeachplace.You’renotacompletetraveler if you fail to interact with local people and enjoy the flavor of local food. We’ll talk about people some other day. In the meantime, go and enjoy some tasty food!
  • 22. 22 Food Vendor Boat of Flooded N e o - M a l g u d i This was the second flood in two years in Neo-Malgudi. The vast destruction of forests and change in the structure of the city caused by modernization produced the floods. In the midst of all the pain and distress, emotions were simmering, ready to explode. In one of the first multi storey houses on Market Road, a family of four is taking refuge on the terrace of their home. There’s a father, a mother, a grandfather and a small girl aged 13. They’re waiting for the food boat to arrive. They had to depend on a boy who could’ve been anything from 15 to 17 to deliver to them their necessary items. They indirectly depended on him for their survival. The girl, Selvi, was always excited meeting this boy. He was always in hurry, yet he talked to people who were stranded at their homes. He knew he had more than a simple distribution job to do. He would daily bring news to them, always hopeful news. Even in the midst of persistent rains, he would say that things are getting better; the weather department predicted it would stop soon. One day, while he was giving Selvi a packet of some cooked food they began to talk. “It’ll end very soon, all this. The Meteorological Department said that. Besides, there would be better things to eat now that the help is coming faster,” said the boy. “How soon?”asked Selvi. “Very soon, madam!” “You say the same thing everyday,”Selvi complained in a voice that is half childish and half mature. “Madam Ji, don’t worry, it’ll be fine soon. Don’t you believe me?’ “Not much.” “I say you’ll believe me when you see it happens.” She was fond of him, even though she never believed him. The food vendor was always there. Although he had been ill for two days, he never missed handing a single person their rations, mostly the packet of food that was not very tasty. In fact, it tasted very bad. But when children like Selvi made a fuss about the taste, he’d tell them that soon it’ll be okay but until then they have to eat the available food. She’d rather have this food even after floods subside if it meant having to listen to him. One day, they asked him to help them make a roof, and then call a doctor if possible. Selvi had a fever. When he was fixing a temporary roof out of cardboard and planks of wood, Selvi asked, “Will I get well now?” “Sure Madam, you will!” “I don’t feel I’m going to live long, with these rains.” “Madam it’s not nice to say these things, you’ll be fine, I’ll get a doctor, I know one who’ll come.” “You sure?” “You don’t believe me?” “No.” “You’ll believe me when I get you a doctor in an hour.” He was back with a doctor exactly as he said. The doctor examined her, and diagnosed it was probably pneumonia. It was not possible to arrange for tests, she’ll have to take medicines for pneumonia, and for that, they’ll have to wait. “But Doctor Sir, it’s urgent I think,”said the father. “I know, but we’re as helpless as you.” “When will the medicines come doctor?” “May be today, may be tomorrow.” “Doctor Sir, I’ve got some medicines, come with me, they’ll last three days at least,”said the boy. “And you’re sure they’re for pneumonia?” “Yes Doctor Sir, come with me.” “You sure you’ve got the medicine?”asked Selvi. “Yes, don’t you believe me madam?” “No.” “You’ll believe me when the doctor gets you medicine.” “Won’t you come?” “No madam, not this time.” Food Vendor Boat of Flooded Neo- Malgudi by Raghav Gautam HEARTY TALES
  • 23. 23 “I know you’ll come back and say “Believe me madam, I will get the medicine.” Thenextday,after3dosesofthemedicine,Selviisfinally feeling better. And the rain-Gods have shown mercy. The sun is out. But there is someone else distributing food that looks better than the previous packets. She asked the doctor who came by on a visit, “Didn’t that boy come?” “He died last night,”he replied. “How?”The shock and fear echoed in her voice. “He died of pneumonia. You remember there were no medicines?” “Yes.” “He was not well if you remember and was taking the medicines but he gave them to you because you had to wait.” Selvi silently looks for a packet of food left from yesterday. She starts eating the old food and puts aside the new packet of food.
  • 24. 24 ageless verses Meanders by Kaushik Paul Friends of mine from childhood days, You stood by me through life’s different phases. Do you miss the fun times we spent, Or are they just sands left on the meander’s bent? O’sweetheart of my early youth, You were once my love in sooth. Do you still remember the love I sent, Or are they just sands left on the meander’s bent? Relatives of mine, seniors and small, You taught me to smile and to stand tall. Do you remember our sharing moments, Or are they just sands left on the meander’s bent? O’my dear foes and arch-enemies, You helped bring out the best in me. Do you still turn green with my each ascent, Or are they just sands left on the meander’s bent? Of this world, O’people, so fine, To whom I leave behind these absurd lines. Would you remember what this poet meant, Or would I be among the sands left on the meander’s bent?
  • 25. 25 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 123 A DAZED DAISY A girl lost in thought during her daily rounds of getting water for the house. Is she reflecting on the future or on the past? Or just simply lost in the present. Varun Kalkal is a Strategic Planner by profession, but you would find him hunting for pictures on most week- ends and holidays. He believes every picture has a story, an emotional compelling one, and he likes to bring out these stories. It is when everything comes together to bring it alive for that decisive moment. picture power
  • 26. 26 Food and Hunger When someone asks us to define food, we would simply say, anything that is edible,solidorliquid, that satisfies our hunger, or we would also say, anything that is nutritious and provides the energy to perform day to day activities. Yes that’s absolutely right, hunger is a direct connection to the need for food. Now,whatishunger? For the more fortunate (most people in developed countries) being hungry is only the feeling in the stomach that says, “it’s time to eat” or it’s the uncomfortable feeling people get if they skip a meal. For the less fortunate who don’t get enough to eat each day, they feel weak and tired; they cannot concentrate and even become sick. All they can think about is their next meal. For hundreds of millions of people worldwide, this feeling lasts all day, every day, except they never know if and when this feeling will go away. For them, hunger can lead to illness and temporary or permanent damage to their health. They have insufficient food to keep them active and healthy, and they don’t get all the vitamins and minerals the body needs to function well. This is chronic hunger. When hunger is extreme and after days of insufficient or no food, the body begins to feed on the only thing it can: itself. It breaks down its own fat and body tissues, which eventually leads to starvation and death. When this uncertainty over food happens, not knowing where the next meal will come from is called “Food Insecurity”. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) located in Rome (Italy), defines food insecurity as: “A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.” We can think of the human body as a car. Look after it and it will serve you well. To run smoothly a car needs to be maintained and when things go wrong we need to fix them. But even if parts of the car become defective, it may continue to run for a time and appear to be working normally. If the wiper blades are worn, the lights are broken, the exhaust is cracked, the brakes squeak and the clutch faulty, the car will still keep moving. But eventually if these accumulating problems are not attended to the car will not work. The human body is the same. A person who is chronically hungry can continue to function at a basic level but eventually malnourishment takes its toll, leading to critical illness and premature death. On average, a person needs about 1800 kcal per day as a minimum energy intake. If we don’t get that we are likely to be suffering from chronic hunger. Death is inevitable, we can’t avoid it but we can prevent starving people from dying of hunger-related diseases such as tuberculosis, dysentery or typhoid that a weak body is unable to fight. Young children and old people are particularly vulnerable. Food Insecurity directly affects a nation’s progress. When hungry, our bodies, particularly our brains, will not work efficiently. We might have heard the saying, “more study time, more chances to become weak” (if we don’t take something nutritional at regular intervals). The reason is the nutrients in our body will form a molecule called glucose that supplies the energy for the body to properly function. The extra glucose we consume will be stored as glycogen. Whenever we need energy glycogen would break into glucose and will be transferred to the region that requires it. Unfortunately, neural cells that function in the brain will not break down glycogen, instead it requires free glucose,soit’svitalthatfoodiseatenatregularintervals. Food and Hunger by Dr. Maharajah courtesyofPHOTOSOURCE GUEST COLUMN
  • 27. 27 Improving nutrition means that we can concentrate on our tasks and students of all ages will perform better. Who are the hungry? Most hungry people are the rural poor living in developing countries – villages in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, 65 percent of the World’s hungry live in only 7 countries. And why are so many people in the world hungry? To a large extent, the availability of food is not really a major problem at this time because developed and developing countries have made great strides in increasing food production. Hunger exists because of poverty, natural disasters, earthquakes, floods and droughts and the maldistribution of available food. Hunger exists because of conflict and war that destroy the chance to earn a decent living. It exists because poor people don’t have access to land to grow viable crops or keep livestock, or steady work that would give them an income to buy food.  According to UN-FAO, more than 1 billion people are hungry.  More than 2 billion are suffering from ‘hidden hunger’; i.e., malnutrition.  More than 70 percent of theWorld’s 146 million underweightchildrenunderage5liveinjust10countries, with more than 50 per cent located in South Asia alone.  10.9 million children under 5 years die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-relateddiseasescause60percentofthedeaths.  India is failing its rural poor with 230 million people being undernourished — the highest for any country in the world. Malnutrition accounts for nearly 50% of child deaths in India as every third adult (aged 15-49 years) is reported to be thin (BMI less than 18.5).  United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), reports that more than 27% of the World’s undernourished population lives in India while 43% of children(under5years)inthecountryareunderweight. The figure is among the highest in the world and is much higher than the global average of 25% and also higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s figure of 28%.  The UN survey says that in India there are more than 200 million people - or 1 in every 4 Indians - without enough to eat.  To make the stats simple and straightforward, by 2008 it was estimated that every single day about 7000 children die in India. And this figure is increasing exponentially. Rubbing salt in the wound. As researchers, we go walk this painful and unbearable path.The data that comes to us is becoming worse and finding the solutions has become more challenging.  AccordingtoIPCC-IntergovernmentalPanelon Climate Change- temperature rises by 2.5 C and it will accountfor30%ofanimalandplantspeciesextinction.  Unfortunately we are facing two diverse problems – extreme drought and devastating floods.  Several farmers, breeders and researchers through their great dedication and commitment inspired the Green Revolution. Most of the plants were developed and bred through molecular breeding to withstand heat, drought and salinity, and possessed resistance against many insects and other pests. Unfortunately, now, the plants we earlier thought to be heat or drought resistant are no longer since the globe is becoming hotter producing more drought and more deserts. In addition, new pests and insects are evolving rapidly, so we are in a high-pressured situation to find solutions.  If things continue like this, life after 2025 will be tough, and after 2050 it will be next to impossible So what can we do? We must change the way we live. We must live in harmony with the environment. We must live so that other creatures will survive and the balance will be maintained. Put simply we live and let others live! We have the responsibility to live a life that is highly sustainable. In simple terms, we should pass on the blessings and good things we receive to the next generation without any compromise. And right now we are failing to do that. Inourhighlysophisticatedandbusylife,wehardlyhave time to think about the energy resources. It is really a pity that many today think that rice comes from a pot!
  • 28. 28 In the last 2 to 3 decades we lost thousands of plant species and hundreds of animals. The next generation will think of them as extinct, like dinosaurs. For example, when I was young, I use to see lots of ‘darner’ (dragonfly) and now I am hardly seeing them and especially not where I live. Unfortunately, we are the sole reason for the extinction oftheseplantsandanimalsanditistoourshamethatwe don’trealizethisandsoourbehaviourhasnotchanged. In the last meeting I attended at the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) and WFP (World Food Programme) in Rome (Italy), scientists discussed the importance of public awareness, as being crucial in the movement for change. Most people need some motivation to help others. People in general are good but sometimes they need to know this. Share your meal with your neighbours. Foodandwaterareindeed the first love gift for the newborn as well as the last offering to the dying. The kind of food we consume, who works to grow and prepare it, the way we acquire it, who we are sharing it with are all extremely meaningful forms of culture and communication. The food we eat, beyond merely nourishing the body, inspires and strengthens the bonds between individuals, communities, peoples and countries. The language of food is universal. Food safety and security are of paramount priority for mankind, because they have a direct impact on human health and can positively influence cleaner environmental policies to protect our planet. Almost 70 % of the World’s population lives in rural areas. Hunger still affects more than 840 million people, whereas 300 million people cannot drink clean and safe water. This human tragedy is more dramatic because it directly affects children and, by extension, the future of our planet. For this very reason, The Millennium Campaign was launched by the United Nations in order to effectively increase global awareness and public campaigns with the goal of eradicating hunger and poverty in the developing countries by 2015. On the other hand, the focus on nutrition in developed countries, where food disorders are rapidly growing, has great importance for the health and the wellbeing of their citizens. Tosolvehealthandnutritionproblemsgloballywemust gobeyondournarrowfocus,joinforcesamongnations, work together with the international organizations. Eradicating World hunger is not rocket science. We have the tools, and the technology to put an end to hunger. There is enough food to go around at the moment, so what needs to change? To begin with, we need to start talking about hunger, and not just when there is a crisis somewhere in the world. In these days of economic upheaval, it makes sound long-term financial sense to ensure that the population of all nations have adequate food and that no one goes hungry. I kindly request every one of you to join the petition to put politicians underpressuretoendWorldhunger. The available food is not reaching the poor people. The global food system needs better governance at national and international levels. In food-insecure countries, institutions must be established based on the principles of the Right to Adequate Food. These institutions must promoted transparency and accountability and the empowerment of the poor and their participation in decisions that affect them. For hunger exists because there is not yet the political will and commitment to make the changes needed to end hunger, once and for all. Please join http://www.1billionhungry.org/. The World Food Programme feeds an average of 20 million children every year. I am sure many are already on this path to eradicate hunger. Let’s join together and make our planet a better place to live. It’s time to feed our planet!
  • 29. 29 burning question Should educational institutions and business organizations provide gym facilities and healthier food options? Junaid Robi Yes, educational institutions and business organisations should provide gym facilities and healthier food options. Healthy eating and regular physical activity play a sub- stantial role in preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke etc. Rahul Chauhan In today’s world, people have become very aware of the need for physical fitness. Most people spend the majority of their time in business organisations and educational in- stitutes. So organisations and institutions should have gym facilities and also healthy food in their canteens. A fit body leads to a fit mind, and employees are looked upon as assets of the organ- isation. Also, students learn better if they are physically and mentally fit. This makes physical exercise and healthy food even more important. A fit and healthy body leads to increased efficiency that is very much required to survive in today’s competitive world. Therefore, educational institutes and organisations should provide gym facilities and healthy food. Mridul Saxena Today we consider the only good food to be homemade food. With our life styles we pay minimal attention to ourselves. The body is called the temple and we are making a mockery of this god inside the temple by having unhealthy food habits and no phys- ical activity. Maybe we are busy with our day-to-day life but it should be a concern for institutions to maintain the health of their employees. I do support this concept of good food and gym facilities in institutions and organisations because a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. Charuka Wickramasekara It’s true that today we live in a busy society and some people have no time to go to a gym. Lots of people are stuck at their desks for about 12 hours everyday so yes, I think providing gym facilities is a must. Doesn’t matter the age everybody should do exer- cises. In the long term we can benefit from the results. But I don’t think healthier food options will work. I don’t feel it is practical. There are some people who only eat meat. And some are vegans or vegetarians. So if organisations and institutions don’t provide what they want they will eat from outside, then providing healthier foods won’t have any meaning. But the food must be clean and hygienic.
  • 30. 30 Piyal Matilal I believe that educational institutions should provide gym facilities and healthier food options because it’s part of their duty to help keep their students healthy and fit. It is also better for society and puts less strain on a nation’s resources. It also makes society a more active one. This can lead to external benefits and have a trickle-down effect causing others to recognise the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I also believe businesses should provide these facilities as they have a moral obligation to society. It could also help improve produc- tion in the long run since a healthier person will have a longer attention span and be able to attend to his or her duties in an efficient manner. Raghav Gautam I don’t see a reason for putting restrictions. Good food must be provided, but the theory of relativity holds true, there’s nothing good without having bad. A school is supposed to edu- cate; it shouldn’t act as a dictator. Schools should explain the reason for having the right food. Alcohol, cigarette and drugs aren’t provided in schools and colleges and such places, yet students have them. How come? Education is important, that’s what schools are for. The same applies to work places. If employees don’t have junk food in their canteens, they can always go out and have it if it’s their habit. Educate and explain, don’t force. Tauseef Ahmed To keep the employees motivated is an area of concern these days for a lot of organizations, and the top HR management teams are devising many ways of doing so. Having healthier food options and gym facilities certainly can be a way of motivating employees. In areas where there is a dearth of food outlets having a healthy food option in the office will indeed be a blessing, more so for those who cannot bring food from their home. Furthermore, a gym can be a way of recreation as well as a means of fitness for employees who have hectic sched- ules. Most educational institutions these days do have gym facilities and canteens on their premises. The area of concern though is proper hygiene. Management must ensure that a high level of cleanliness is main- tained in these canteens, and the food served to the students must be of the highest quality. Further- more, just having a gym and equipment does not finish the job. The gyms should have qualified health and fitness instructors who will train students to maintain a healthy body from both aspects diet and exercise. Ananya Bhatia I think it is not possible to provide gym facilities as their work work demands a lot of time. So the least they can do is to provide nutritious food, particularly for the people having desk jobs. As the jobs today are so tiresome that one would not feel the need to go and cook food for themselves after reaching home and thus succumbing to the‘30 minutes free delivery ‘ fast food options which not only leads to obesity but also renders adverse effects on their work capability. Thus, hindering the progress of their work company in question here. In addi- tion to healthy food, they should motivate them towards staying fit and also it can serve as an efficient loyalty inducer for the company. A company whose workers are healthy, will stay healthy in the competitive corporate market itself..

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