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2009 October 23 [Friday]


This entry has been dedicated to this awesomeness.

Over the dipavali weekend I made some Karanji, a traditional maharashtrian delicacy--you'll know why if you've ever gone through the rigorous process of cooking it from scratch, especially the poli making part.

Ingredients for Puran/saran/inner filling :

  • 1 cup powdered cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp charoli
  • 1 cup mixed dry fruit/nuts (unsalted almond, cashew nut, pistachios)
  • Half cup rava
  • 1.5 cups sugar (this depends on the level of sweetness one desires)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg powder
  • 4 elaichi pods crushed
Puran Preparation :
Powder the sugar till it does not have a grainy texture. Its easier to buy ready-to-use powered sugar but the proportions given above will vary slightly.
1. Dry roast the rava (and poppy seeds separately) to a golden color and keep aside to cool.
2. Roast the nuts in a tablespoon of ghee and keep to cool.
3. Take a large bowl and mix the roasted nuts, with one cup powdered cashew nuts, powedered sugar, poppy seeds, charuli, rava, nutmeg and elaichi powder. This is a dry powder filling which will stay for a few days. Also when deepfried it will automatically get cooked.

Note : The filling for this sweet dumpling can also include grated copra (dessicated dry coconut) but since copra has an irritating trait --it can smell rancid within 2-3 days reducing the storage shelf-life, I dont use it.

Ingredients for external dough cover:
  • 1 cup maida
  • 1 tsp ghee (butter)
  • salt (one pinch)
  • water and 20ml warm milk for mixing the dough
  • 2 tbsp cornflour and half cup ghee
External dough cover Preparation :
The dough will have to be prepared atleast an hour before use.
0. Add 1 tbsp HOT ghee to 1 cup maida and mix well. This will make the karanji cover crisp.
1. Add little warm milk while kneading the dough with required water so the dough will be soft and rise well.
2. Then add a pinch of salt and knead well for 5 minutes. Cover well and set aside.
Additional Notes : In a small cup mix 2 tbsp cornflour in half cup ghee for later use.

Karanji Preparation:
0. Cut some dough and roll-out three polis.
1. Take the first poli and apply the cornflour+ghee mixture all over this poli and lay the second poli on top and apply cornflour+ghee on it and cover it with the third poli.
2. Now roll all three poli's tightly but with a light hand, taking care that they dont break during the process. 
3. Cut them into small oval pieces.
4. Take one oval and roll out the poli again, taking care that its not too thin in the middle. Place the prepared stuffing in the middle of your poli.
5. Fold it in half and roll the corners of the puri inwards. It should be sealed properly, else the stuffing will become burnt sediment while frying.
6. Deep fry it till it becomes golden-brown or you can bake it in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes at 100 degrees Celcius. Serve it hot or cold.
7. The karanji can last for 7-8 days if stored in an air tight container.

2009 October 18 [Sunday]

A silent Dipavali

High decibel levels have always resulted in a migrane and since childhood I've always cringed silently at noisy pubs/discos, honking while speeding, loud music and other public noise pollutants. So what is it about Indians being noisy in any celebration? --whether its a marriage or ganesh chaturthi or divali or holi or just about any event ; most Indians think its their public birthright to keep a loudspeaker facing your home because they are the truest custodians of your religion. Gee, isnt a festival supposed to spread cheer, kindness and generosity instead of noise ?!

The maximum pollution is reserved for dipavali -- the firecrackers noise and pollution from chemicals fumes that one is subjected to, whether its the horrid sutli-lakshmi bombs (that was what it was called when i was a kid and i detested the chemical fumes and noise) intended to awaken the neighborhood at 3:30 am or pre-pubescent boys thinking its oh-so-funny to burst fire crackers as women walk past or train a rocket at someone's home as a prank -- Ever heard of a fire hazard !?!

Its strange how people can become a public nuisance under the guise of celebration and indulge in public displays of wealth. In grade4 I had read a news report on small children in sivakasi being exploited to make crackers and seeing pictures of their hands with boils made me resolve that I'd never touch a phuljadi or buy firecrackers (I had also resolved to not wear silk or use leather objects but was forced to give these two up after I outgrew my teenage years) which didnt go down well with my family and especially with school friends who thought peer pressure and jeering would make me change my mind. Didnt happen, this one made it :)

Over the years I used to wonder if we will ever learn to celebrate in silence and despite not foisting my beliefs/thoughts about chemical pollution on others, when I read about school kids being more aware of their environment a few days ago, life came to a full circle -- Eight-year old Mitul Mehta is my favorite!

2008 October 9 [Thursday]


Vijaya Dashami (or Dashera), heralds the end of Navaratri (and nine nights of dancing :-)) and DurgaPuja. But most importantly for students dashami marks the anniversary of being one ... My respects to one of my past guru's!

Hmm,... well the correct version is : "vijaya dashami' is the first day (of learning, or vidyarambha) for any classical arts student. This is the day a new student visits the teachers home (with guru dakshina and tambula) and requests her/him to accept them as a student. A tip : on any other day the guru may reject to accept you if s/he finds you are not up to the mark, but this day is such that they will not turn any student away.

Although the ritual is small and should not take more than a few minutes, it can (and does) stretch for an hour(s) or more when hundreds of students throng the teacher's home, so one has to wait for one's turn. Students who learn dance + an instrument, or multiple forms of art have a mad rush between 3-4 teacher's homes and lotsa patient waiting :-)

The best part of it all is getting to eat 'sweet chundal' but by the time we went it was over :-(  but our guruji had made salty ones for us :-) and it tasted just like Ma makes it so I didnt care so long as i got to eat it :-) and she taught a new song [named Sarasvati, after the Raga] after we sang an old one.  Talking of music, some time ago, I had started a wiki page on NCVasanthakokilam and her song 'yen palli konder ayyaa' reminds me that i need to get out of my slumber and finish the Mohanam raga notes soon.

Sending out hundreds of dashera sms's was not such a good idea afterall ... weirdly half the messages got deferred and some group messages were just dropped ... I really dont feel like texting/thumbing again, so Shubh Dashera y'all !!

2008 March 22 [Saturday]

holi and linux

Gone are the simple water-balloon days and what used to be a fun fest gets worse with each passing year. Ugh, who wants to walk around with purple-green hair... Holi is so much safer with just good friends N family, given that its de'riguer for strangers to pelt one with balloons filled with chemicals, or eggs, stones, paint (nope, not the fabric kind) and other assorted rubbish-filled balloons all through the week before Holi. On Holi day absolutely anything goes. Besides Holi, many friends will be celebrating Good Friday, Purim (Jews), Navroz (Parsis), Eid, and Magha Puja (Buddhist)... a lunar co-incidence of 6 different religions or what ? Happy festivities y'All :-)

Recently, I saw some laptops on sale/display sans any OS (had Free Dos) at a retail establishment. I asked for a demo and (as expected) he could not provide one. I asked if he would load any OS of my choice and he hesitated. He probably thought I might hand out a pirated Windows CD to him or something illegal so that was my cue to give him an primer on what Gnu/Linux, Ubuntu, GPL, etc... was all about and he smiled that all-knowing smile while listening and I knew it was a home run. Its a relief that awareness is getting higher, people actually know what piracy is all about and dont stare blankly when you say "Linux".

I happily provided him the Ubuntu (but ofcourse :-)) CD and the manager nodded approvingly as we had some good eye-candy for all to see. Since they had a number of models on sale sans the OS, I handed out some Ubuntu CD's to go with the other machines. To see a machine running an OS that is not Windows sitting pretty amongst others is quite nice. Even more fun to see the curiosity it evokes among casual passers-by. The practical touch-N-feel to see-it-work helps a lot more :-)

Btw, Bruce Perens is standing for board elections and needs your help. Viva Free Software !!

2008 January 14 [Monday]

makar shankranti

Had a very beautiful, yet dangerous visitor who took an hour getting chased out. Last week(end) was tough and tiring, partly because i exerted myself when i felt a l'il better resulting in a relapse. Random bytes like "it can be typhoid, 4 of my friends got it last week" makes me contemplate another round of tests tomorrow, which i dont look forward to at the moment :(

Currently we have 2 DD's and 2 more in the queue and bubulle and sam had attended foss.in as part of Project days so i had suggested that next time Debian can send female DD's if any are interested. That would give the DW project the visibility it deserves. The "why women....." advocacy talks has been overdone over the years so why not showcase DW's remarkable success rate : 10 female DD's at various stages in the developer queue, over the years. I managed to chew helix's and marga's ears about technical talks ... interested :) if the issue of travel sponsorship could be worked out.

ATM i dont feel like crawling through the full mailbox or reading anything at all and its Sankranti but i dont feel the energy at all. My pet peeve is the tendency of DR's (medics) handing out high doses/strong medication without bothering to check for past history/allergies and such-like. Lucre of endless tests and time may be a factor but i am not amused at their careless attitude.

Happy Makar Shankranti/Pongal !!

2007 November 9 [Friday]

deepavali shubhakamana

|| deepavali timisaram apasarati ca subham asti || Samvat 2064... May this divali dispel darkness and bring light and prosperity into our lives !

Its been years since i have stopped burning crackers in hopes of reducing the noise and pollution levels but that ain't happening. Besides the environment, children work in those factories using hazardous chemicals, so its another reason to vote with my money.

The thing I am not used to is frequent power-cuts but apparently its second nature in Bangalore. BESCOM decided to do a no power from "8AM-8PM" trial run on Sunday and it was successful so the whole of Deepavali week/end(?) was drowned in spurts of power'less' festivities.....and to think i was living in India's "Silicon Valley"... bah!!

2007 October 24 [Wednesday]


The annual Saraswati puja each Dasara provides the opportunity to dust some books and rid them of silverfish... Phew, its not so bad, but nowadays I hardly read books .... sucks ... Partly due to the internet, laziness and the habit of googling. Whoever wants to leaf through musty yellow pages....

........ but this year, as an ode to NN and our old team, I decided to start reading the books before returning them to gather dust on the shelf. As much as I admire his dedication and concentration [of finishing 10 pages a day or no sleep], 5 pages seems like a mini hill for me ... but I do miss that environment and our team had so much fun yet managed to learn stuff. In the spirit of things I have sitting next to me an 'applied discrete structures' book and i am hoping to cover some ground ... the inherent logic should isomorph a transition ~ silverfish.

2007 October 20 [Saturday]

Ubuntu and Utsav

"Ubuntu is strongly based on Debian and (going deeper) GNU/Linux". Many community members are voicing their thoughts in favor of Debian and some have even filed bugs #154274 on LP , since DD's had blogged about not crediting Debian visibly in the latest Gutsy release. Paul had suggested we keep a page similar to MacOSX's "foundations" summary which sounds workable. Ubuntu/Canonical knows and does recognize the foundation on which it is built upon but the website when searched for "Debian" gives this result whilst a search for "GNU/Linux" gave fewer meaningful results. I hope that changes soon and GNU/Linux and Debian get their place under the sun (now is that another TM violation :-P).

Happy shubh Dashera, and with that ends 10 days of fun ...until next year ...:) but hey i still have deepavali to look forward to. Thankfully we have a festival every other month so its nice in a way but too much work [hint: cooking] and socialising. Russell had blogged about caring for your introvert which is so not happening in the Indian context ... I can just imagine the reaction my nosy colleague/neighbour /acquaintance (add people of choice) would have if I had to wave that under their nose, they would probably just tear it up as "bakwas, stop being so snooty".

2006 April 15 [Saturday]


yesterday the new year started with hardware trouble but that was soon forgotten amidst all the fun and great food that went with it || yeah folks, a day late but ... happy baisakhi / navreh / vishu / varsha-parupu / poila baishakh ||