Year after year. Time after expendable time.
We stand aside and watch. And marvel at this wondrous thing called nature.
And the changes in it.
We marvel at the leaves turning brown and they way they shower down.
We marvel at the beautiful rain.
We wonder at the sun's change ... from the loving warm to the angry heat.
And its move from north to south and again from south to north; twice a year.
We watch the bare trees bathe in green again.
We plan our days and nights and months in accordance to it.
Every single year.
And never tire of it. Ever.
Birthdays come; birthdays go.
We sit back and watch.
What if we had taken that trodden path instead of the smooth highway?
Through the sunny woods and brown leaves laden trees?
What if we had opened up our faces to the sun and our hair to the wind?
What if we had stepped into that puddle instead of walking around it?
And let the rain in on us instead of hiding under that umbrella?
What would we have got had we walked through that stream and not taken the little bridge?
And what have we missed by not hugging that old person instead of just smiling and standing aside?
So many questions flood the mind.
So many 'what if?'s.
After seeing life upfront and close the past few years, this is what I have started to do.
Make a promise to myself.
That I will live in the moment more and plan less.
That I will let go of the obsession of staying organised and let myself be; at least for some time.
That I will take up things that I love to do ... more.
That it is ok to read a few more pages of that book and not leaving it for chores.
That I will learn to understand that everybody will be fine if I do not enquire after them.
That I do not have the sole responsibility of worrying about people and their well being.
That I will soak in nature more .... just like I watch Bapi's 'dwitiya'r chaand' every month, diligently.
That I will step into the rain next time, without that umbrella; for sure.
Very reluctantly; very lingeringly.
While we did travel a lot this January, I took out time to make some boris and stock up for summer and its dose of Paanto bhaat.
I also made some achaars / pickles.
The Kacche haldi ka achar and this Amla / Indian gooseberry ka achar is a must make during winters.
While I prefer to eat a whole Amla raw ... for its healthy properties to work better on us, I also make this achar so that we can have it with our food, on the side, too.
This achaar goes very well with some dal and rice. Or even parathas.
I am not much in favour of dousing things with loads of sugar ... so never make the murabba.
And neither do I boil the amlas ... all the nutrients get drained away that way.
I just keep them very small in size ... they get done quickly, in the sun, that way.
You can grate them too.
Amla / Indian gooseberries - 250 gms
Sarson / Black mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
Saunf / Fennel seeds - 2 tbsp
Kalonji / Nigella seeds - 2 tbsp
Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1 tbsp
Whole dry red chillies - 6 pieces
Haldi / Turmeric powder - 1 tbsp
Sea salt - 1 tbsp
Hing / Asaefoetida - 1 tsp
Mustard oil - Enough to soak the pickle ( around 2 tea cups )
Cut amla into bite sized pieces.
Coarsely grind mustard seeds + red chillies + saunf + kalonji + methi seeds.
Just one or two pulses in the mixie works.
Mix the amla with salt and the above mix + haldi powder.
Put into a dry sterilised bottle.
Heat mustard oil to smoking point.
Switch off flame and wait for a while .... till the temperature drops a little.
Add hing ... the oil should be only that much hot that the hing will sizzle and cook but not burn.
Cool the oil.
Pour it into the bottle.
Sun for four to five days ... without cover.
Here are my bottles of the Tel Kopi and Kacche Haldi ka achar along with the Amla, soaking up the winter sun.
Do not balk at the amount of oil ... it is just to preserve the pickle.
Over time, the oil takes in the flavours of the spices and the tang of the amla and turns delicious.
Just a few drops on some plain rice or muri / puffed rice will take you straight to food heaven.
On another note, I finally managed to make a post on my New York trip, after ages.
Do hop over.