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 :-)
Food JULY-AUGUST 2013SpecialISSUE 4
The Feel Good Magazine
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
11 People Next Door: Events on the
13 Youth and Spirituality: The Secret
14 Musical Healing: Music has no
15 From Across Two Oceans: Carribean
18 Modern Day Fables: Junglenagar:
The Pashupal Bill
20 Traversals: Travel and Food
22 Hearty Tales: Food Vendor of
24 Ageless Verses: Meanders
25 Picture Power: A Dazed Daisy
26 Guest Column: Food and Hunger
29 The Burning Question.
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
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.
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
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.”
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
Food for life
I had no work
to do on a
a f t e r n o o n .
e n o u g h
a special lunch,
for me to skip
and while idly
pages of the
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!
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
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
We starve to stop any injustice being done to us.
Food for Life by
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
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.
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.
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
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’.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
styles in India and
South Asia. It is perhaps
through his example
and influence that
young Indians have
been inspired to
become chefs. Sanjeev
launched his 24-hour
lifestyle and food
channel Food Food in
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
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
A joy that even
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
is that I am focusing
on the middle class
in this article, to
which I belong and
relate, and to I’m
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
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.”
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
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;
by Aman Arora
The Old Beneficial Lassi
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.
Stanley Ka Dabba
you back to your
fond memories of
with your friends,
sharing tiffin with
them and turning
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
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
by Aman Arora
The Old Beneficial Lassi
We are not the heroes
in this story, Raghav
Gautam and I. We were
the victims of a self-
born out of foolish and
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
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
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
by Aman Arora
The Old Beneficial Lassi
PEOPLE NEXT DOOR
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
of our belief in the
people of Jaipur. The
last time we travelled
known only to our
friend, took great
pains in extending
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
with us. They took us to a restaurant and we had great
pakodas and lassi as our breakfast. A Delhite like me
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
“Kesariya balam aavoji padhaaron mare desh”
every soul who
has decided to
become a part
of this spiritual
journey. As I
stated in my
I was looking
forward to talk
a lot about
leaves us with
a feeling of
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
and perception and may even evoke feelings of
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
by Pranjal Malav
YOUTH AND SPIRITUALITY
music is just
subject to one’s
p e rce p t i o n .
say film music
b e c a u s e
e v e r y t h i n g
is done in
C l a s s i c a l
m u s i c i a n s
explore a raaga
All these genres have
lyrics to support
their music except
solo, Western classical music and many others.
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://
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
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
the late 70’s and 80’s. Though the father doesn’t like
that touches the heart will forever be remembered.
Music has no
by Sameer Havaldar
I love to eat and
there are few
foods I won’t try.
in my faith-
m e l o n g e n e ) .
eager to sample
flavours of all
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”.
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
buds. And in Trinidad, the greatest compliment a
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.”
by Fazeela Mollick
FROM ACROSS TWO OCEANS
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.
known and home to the famous cricket ground,
Kensington Oval. Although the flying fish is no
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.
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
from the DJ’s speakers; beverages to accompany
the atmosphere, Gros Islet Friday night limes have
Derek Walcott, St Lucia’s most famous poet and
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
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.”
MODERN DAY FABLES: JUNGLENAGAR
The Pashupal Bill
by Aman Arora
Billu the bear
e v e r y o n e ’ s
favorite. The whole
J u n g l e n a g a r
a fat, food-loving
bear of yesterday
had today become
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
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
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-
“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.”
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
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.
“If you reject the
food, ignore the
customs, fear the
religion and avoid
the people,you might
better stay home.”
– James Michener
preference at times
to go for favorite
foods and not local
foods, and my habit
of labeling people
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
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
Dhani and put
it on a must-
list of places to
and night) in
the features of
this resort is
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
The place where they serve the best Momos
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
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!
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
floods. In the midst
of all the pain and
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
“I say you’ll believe me when you see it happens.”
She was fond of him, even though she never believed
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 don’t believe me?”
“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?”
“You’ll believe me when the doctor gets you
“Won’t you come?”
“No madam, not this time.”
Food Vendor Boat
of Flooded Neo-
by Raghav Gautam
“I know you’ll come back and say
“Believe me madam, I will get the medicine.”
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
“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.
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
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.
Food and Hunger
When someone asks
us to define food,
we would simply
say, anything that is
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.
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
Food and Hunger
by Dr. Maharajah
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
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
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
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.
Climate Change- temperature rises by 2.5 C and it will
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.
time to think about the energy resources. It is really a
pity that many today think that rice comes from a pot!
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
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
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.
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
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!
Should educational institutions and business organizations provide gym facilities and
healthier food options?
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
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
Therefore, educational institutes and organisations should provide gym facilities and healthy food.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-
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
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..