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Raksha Bandhan 2020

Raksha Bandhan 2020

Photo courtesy: Gulmohar Doodles Raksha Bandhan was a low key affair for us three sisters after our house partition. Sending rakhi to our cousins became a rarity keeping in consideration that they never thought and did anything for us. The whole foundation of Raksha Bandhan 

At the End of the Day

At the End of the Day

Almost nine years back, as a newlywed Tamizh pudhu pondatti, I was clueless about the vast Tamizh cuisine. Moreover, growing up a vegetarian, the idea of cooking fish 🐟 was completely new, smelly 😷 and out of question for me. Still, considering my mother’s teaching 

The Eternal Love

The Eternal Love

Once while talking to my best friend I asked her whether she love her lover still? Does it make her sad that they couldn’t be together and has she ever wondered whether her life would have been better and more beautiful than what it was now?

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To my utter surprise, she paused for a while and then in a very calm voice answered my query. She told me that when you love someone, you just don’t love that person. You love the mannerisms, you love the soul, you love the daily monotony. That soul becomes a habit. They become a part of your soul. We create memories and preserve them and cherish the just “being in”.

I questioned again. “But, what happens when things fall apart? When you get separated?”

She chuckled and said – “In case of true love my love, the love still exists. We still have love and love never fades away. The affection and passion can get dim. But, love? It just stays. Forever.

“How about the pain of separation then?”, I interfered.

“Ah, the great separation. Unlike the popular belief, you know the feeling of separation acts as a catalyst to increase our depth of love for our lover because love in separation is greater than the love in union. Separation makes love more mature, long lasting, and exciting. It keeps the freshness and spontaneity alive. It does not allow familiarity to creep in the relationship. It actually seals their bond even stronger”, she replied.

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I wondered for a long time, what is better then? Love or separation? I found my answers in Bhagavad Gita. In the eternal love of Shree Radha-Krishna. In many ways love in separation is more fulfilling and divine than love in union. In fact, union after a long separation is infinitely more pleasurable than meeting everyday. Real, mature, eternal, and unconditional love can be perfectly defined through the divine love story of Radha-Krishna. Their love is completely and purely spiritual because there is no selfishness or lust involved in it. Radha and Krishna are ready to wait for each other till eternity, till the end of time. Their love is pure, selfless and without any sort of materialistic desires.

It is the greatest and top most level of love; love in separation. They are ready to sacrifice everything for it, even the opportunity to meet and be together. They are ready to live only with the remembrance of each other in their mind and heart, without any opportunity of physical contact.

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Can any love be stronger than this? Can any lover be more mature than this? It is impossible. Therefore their love is immortal, and they both are worshiped since ages. Their relationship is the symbol of the purest love. They don’t need anything physical, like we humans do. Simply by remembering each other in their memories, they derive so much happiness and pleasure. They are divine lovers who live on the platform of spirit, way above the materialistic world that we live in.

This supreme rasa or relationship of Madhurya manifests itself as two primary forms.

1. Svakiya (Nuptial bond like Husband and Wife)

2. Parakiya (Non nuptial bond like love in separation)

Parakiya rasa involves sacrifice. You are physically separated from your lover. You can only remember him or her and long for reunion. It involves suffering and pain in great amount. You are engaged in other duties. Maybe you have a wife or husband, children, duties towards parents, society, and family. You need to satisfy all of them, but still you are separated from your real interest, your real love. There is absolutely no comfort zone. But you do not give it up. You continue to tolerate all suffering and maintain the flame of love, and protect it from dying out. Because you really love unconditionally. You don’t expect any rewards or pleasure out of it.

This kind of love is truly divine because it continues to persist despite all adverse conditions. This kind of divine love truly wins and gives divine pleasure. The pain of separation reaches a summit and transforms into a transcendental pleasure. It gives you amazing enjoyment which is unknown in general to anyone. This pleasure is even greater than union or meeting. Its taste is unknown even to the Gods in heaven, or the followers of Vedas, who drink the Soma juice available in heavenly planets.

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In this divine realm of Parakiya, you always wish for the well being and happiness of your love, never thinking or caring about your own. There is no jealousy or lust. There is a selfless attitude of giving and caring for him or her, rather than trying to get attention for yourself. You continue loving, giving and caring even if there is no chance of meeting your lover again.

People will never allow you to meet. They will never accept your relationship. They will never respect it. In fact they will insult you and call you names. But still you don’t give up. There is only a glimmer of hope somewhere in distant future. But you latch onto that hope and continue loving him or her in your heart.

Nourished by this selflessness and unselfishness, your love grows year after year. It gives you many amazing feelings and realizations in your heart. The separation, and the anticipation of meeting again makes it more mature. It is an infinite process.

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Ultimately it becomes so strong and powerful that no force in the universe can destroy it. Your love becomes immortal. The fruits of such divine love manifest themselves. These fruits can be enjoyed by the lovers for eternity.

This is the reason why Sri Radha and Sri Krishna are still worshiped even today, after so many thousands of years and they will continue to be worshiped for eons in future as well. Their love is timeless and immortal because it developed in separation from each other. It is selfless and pure. Whenever anyone talks about divine love, selfless love, sacrifice in love – the names of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna immediately come to our minds.

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Last few days, I have immersed myself and tried to paint my imagination of Radha and Krishna’s love for each other on paper. In the process, I felt loved. I felt an immense happiness rising from my soul. I felt divine. Have you experienced the same in your life too? Do you too think separation makes love stronger? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box.

Radhe Krishna!!

What is Love ❤️

What is Love ❤️

Photo courtesy: Gulmohar Doodles Among the numerous mythological stories which I have heard in my lifetime, the following remains my favorite. The one which speaks of love. The one which shows a new perspective. The one who shows how a man can keep aside his 

Essence of Childhood

Essence of Childhood

Photo courtesy: Prakash Bajracharya Perhaps the most beautiful thing we can feel in our lives is telling someone we love that we love them unconditionally and thanking someone whom we are grateful for. Showing our gratitude to those who taught us how simple life can 

The Colors of Innocence

The Colors of Innocence

Holi, Holi2020, Holi hai, bura na maano holi hai, celebrations, happiness, daughter, dad, love, bonding, Jharkhand ka khaana, khana, jharkhandi khana, bihari khana, naasta, snacks, fried snacks, fried savouries, Holi, Desserts, Mithai, Dahi vada, malpua, dahi-wada, gujhiya, pidakiya, naariyal-mewa gujhiya, gujiya, chura bhunja, forni chura, phorni chuda, phorni chura, makhuti, makuti, moong daal ki kheer, Bihar special, Jharkhand special, Traditional food, Jharkhand traditional food, Bihar traditional food, happiness, sweet, Jharkhand, Bihar, homemade, ghar ka khana, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash blogClockwise on the platter – Makhuti, Dahi Vada, Chura bhunja, Gujhiya
Photo courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Neythiri is a curious soul. Lately she has been obsessed with the solar system. She likes to admire the moon every single night. Yesterday, while waiting
for her Appa to come back from office and following her routine admiration of the moon, she popped me with a question. “Mammaa, why is the moon round today?” “It is because today is a full moon day”, I replied. “Mammaa, why is it not a full moon nighty everyday?”, Neythiri’s curiosity increased. “A full moon night happens every fifteen days. It is a cycle Neythiri'”, I tried to answer her. “Mammaa, won’t it be nice to see the round-round moon everyday?”, the curious soul asked. “Huh, it comes every fortnight so that you can see and enjoy it’s beauty more”, I replied.

Holi, Holi2020, Holi hai, bura na maano holi hai, celebrations, happiness, daughter, dad, love, bonding, Jharkhand ka khaana, khana, jharkhandi khana, bihari khana, naasta, snacks, fried snacks, fried savouries, Holi, Desserts, Mithai, Dahi vada, malpua, dahi-wada, gujhiya, pidakiya, naariyal-mewa gujhiya, gujiya, chura bhunja, forni chura, phorni chuda, phorni chura, makhuti, makuti, moong daal ki kheer, Bihar special, Jharkhand special, Traditional food, Jharkhand traditional food, Bihar traditional food, happiness, sweet, Jharkhand, Bihar, homemade, ghar ka khana, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash blogGujhiya
Photo courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

This birdie stood at the balcony and thought for a while. A while later her eyes sparked and she stated. “Mammaa, now I understand. The moon comes every fifteen days so that we can look at it and be happy. It’s like you cook good food every fifteen days right and me and Appa get super delighted about it and eat gup-gup-gup. It’s the same. Thank you Mammaa. I love you. I love you soooo much 😍😌” I stood still and wondered about the great learning and the example.

Holi, Holi2020, Holi hai, bura na maano holi hai, celebrations, happiness, daughter, dad, love, bonding, Jharkhand ka khaana, khana, jharkhandi khana, bihari khana, naasta, snacks, fried snacks, fried savouries, Holi, Desserts, Mithai, Dahi vada, malpua, dahi-wada, gujhiya, pidakiya, naariyal-mewa gujhiya, gujiya, chura bhunja, forni chura, phorni chuda, phorni chura, makhuti, makuti, moong daal ki kheer, Bihar special, Jharkhand special, Traditional food, Jharkhand traditional food, Bihar traditional food, happiness, sweet, Jharkhand, Bihar, homemade, ghar ka khana, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash blogMoong Daal-Chawal ki Kheer/ Makhuti/ Makuti
Photo courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Holi, Holi2020, Holi hai, bura na maano holi hai, celebrations, happiness, daughter, dad, love, bonding, Jharkhand ka khaana, khana, jharkhandi khana, bihari khana, naasta, snacks, fried snacks, fried savouries, Holi, Desserts, Mithai, Dahi vada, malpua, dahi-wada, gujhiya, pidakiya, naariyal-mewa gujhiya, gujiya, chura bhunja, forni chura, phorni chuda, phorni chura, makhuti, makuti, moong daal ki kheer, Bihar special, Jharkhand special, Traditional food, Jharkhand traditional food, Bihar traditional food, happiness, sweet, Jharkhand, Bihar, homemade, ghar ka khana, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash blogDahi Vada aur Chura Bhunja
Photo courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Holi, Holi2020, Holi hai, bura na maano holi hai, celebrations, happiness, daughter, dad, love, bonding, Jharkhand ka khaana, khana, jharkhandi khana, bihari khana, naasta, snacks, fried snacks, fried savouries, Holi, Desserts, Mithai, Dahi vada, malpua, dahi-wada, gujhiya, pidakiya, naariyal-mewa gujhiya, gujiya, chura bhunja, forni chura, phorni chuda, phorni chura, makhuti, makuti, moong daal ki kheer, Bihar special, Jharkhand special, Traditional food, Jharkhand traditional food, Bihar traditional food, happiness, sweet, Jharkhand, Bihar, homemade, ghar ka khana, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash blogPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

To Neythiri and her Mammaa’s fifteen days of occasional good food. 😀 😉 Happy Holi everyone!

Do Small Things In a Great Way

Do Small Things In a Great Way

Isn’t it a way of nature that everyone is different, yet here to serve a purpose? I believe that in one way or another everyone in their own unique way bring random happiness in someone’s life. It could be a simple greeting on the hallway 

Happy Holi ❤

Happy Holi ❤

Photo courtesy: GulmoharDoodles  Bura naa maano Holi hai ❤ Photo courtesy: GulmoharDoodles Bura naa maano Holi hai ❤ A few days before Holi, I asked Neythiri how much does she love me? She heard my question patiently and swayed her head probably thinking of what 

Jharkhand Food Series – 03

Jharkhand Food Series – 03

I opened my sleepy eyes one summer morning and looked outside. My bedroom window opened straight in the garden and I could see the lavish greenery, blooming flowers and chirping birds right from my cozy bed. My eyes wandered with a tiny sparrow chirping and hopping from one branch to another. It was on it’s own. As if it didn’t bother of anything and just wandered alone singing it’s own songs and loving her own company. Flying rhythmically it sat on our iron gate. It appeared so tiny there but somehow blended with the grayish-black rusting gate. The sparrow sat there for a minute, twerked her head for a while and flew away. Might be she remembered her daily duties and took off to accomplish that?

It was then, when I suddenly noticed, how ordinary the gate looked. Of course, it had the charm of standing there since a decade. So what it has started rusting a bit? So what if it makes that cracking sound when opened? So what if it has deformed from places a bit? It still is the gate I would always love to open and come back in my this house. The house which gave me an identity, solace and unconditional love. That’s the door which leads me to my heaven on earth. But, still my heart cringed for something. It was time to leave the bed and my thoughts, so that’s what I did and got totally lost in my routine life.

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The next morning, I woke up to the chirping again. But today, it was different. It was more robust. It seemed happier. I hastily opened my eyes and felt the garden looked more alive today. There was this sparrow meeting happening and everyone seemed too excited to put their views forward. I wondered if it drizzled a bit in the morning. The leaves in the garden looked fresh and danced with the wind. The colorful bougainvillea flowers too were clean, fresh and danced rhythmically today.

chirping birds, pigeons, birds, happy, loud, merry, hopping around, morning, Jharkhand, Jharkhand food, Jharkhand beauty, beauty, nature, love, happy mornings, cozy, love, together, generations, blessings, learning, love, treat, food, love, memories, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash BlogPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

I guess the meeting ended on a very happy note. Everyone seemed so excited and content and flew together and sat on the iron gate again. My sleepy eyes opened wide. The gate was painted in a cool blue color. It didn’t look ordinary any more. It looked so extraordinary suddenly. It radiated energy, happiness and coolness all around. It looked so fresh and radiant. My heart swell up with happiness. I ran towards the gate to have a closer look. The gate was mended and painted. The swirls and climbers around it looked happy and great too. The sparrows were still sitting there chirping loudly. It seemed they wanted to tell the whole world how happy they were today. Their happiness was spreading like the sun’s beam on a dark spot. Enlightening everyone who came it’s way. Soon the gate was full of more sparrows, parrots, mynas and other colorful birds chirping loudly and hopping in excitement. I wondered what was the talk about?

Tarbooz k Chilke ki Sabzi, tarbooz ki sabji, sabzi, sabji, watermelon rind curry, watermelon curry, sweet watermelon curry, summer treats, chatpati sabji, tarbooj, tarbooz, tarbuj, tarbooz, khatti-meethi sabzi, Jharkhand ka khana, Bihar ka khana, Jharkhandi khaana, Bihari khana, Dehati khana, naasta, khana, ghar ka khana, savouries, lost recipes, recipes, local food, healthy, authentic, nostalgia, winter food, lunch scenes, Indian, India, Indian food, comfort food, food love, treat, food, love, memories, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash BlogPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

I realized on that day that any ordinary thing can be made into an extraordinary element. It just need some patience, hard-work and tons of love. Anything can be achieved and can be given a new form and life if one has perseverance. Growing up in a small town, I saw and imbibed that in myself. I saw my grandmother and mother trying to make extraordinary things out of ordinary stuffs. No internet and not much ways of transferring or gaining knowledge yet they knew a lot. Everything was passed down from generation after generation. The quest to try, the zeal to learn and the willingness to fail and achieve. They always surprised me of their creativity. I am happy and feel blessed to have learned things from them. It is a blessing which can be passed on to another generation. And I thrive to do the same.

When my mom got married and came to my father’s home, she brought with her all the wisdom and knowledge which my Naanima (maternal grandmother) passed on to her. Along with her side jewelries and dresses she also brought her mother’s cuisine with her. That was the charm. Two families coming together. Both from the same state but a totally different way of food preparation, ingredients and taste. My folks never believed in wasting food. I remember eating lots of curries made out of peels, flowers, leaves and young branches of different vegetable plants/ creepers. It was my mother who started making the watermelon rind dry curry and even when people retaliated in the beginning, they soon started looking forward to it. It was a big hit at home. Summer meant “tarbooz k chilke ka bhujia”. Everyone loved it. Of course we made murabba out of it too. But, the bhujia remained my favourite.

Tarbooz k Chilke ki Sabzi, tarbooz ki sabji, sabzi, sabji, watermelon rind curry, watermelon curry, sweet watermelon curry, summer treats, chatpati sabji, tarbooj, tarbooz, tarbuj, tarbooz, khatti-meethi sabzi, Jharkhand ka khana, Bihar ka khana, Jharkhandi khaana, Bihari khana, Dehati khana, naasta, khana, ghar ka khana, savouries, lost recipes, recipes, local food, healthy, authentic, nostalgia, winter food, lunch scenes, Indian, India, Indian food, comfort food, food love, treat, food, love, memories, Gulmohar Doodles, Puneeta Prakash BlogPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

So you see, it would be a lie if I tell you that every time I get to see a watermelon, I don’t think about the watermelon ridge bhujia/curry and salivate. This bhujia is one of the special food which was prepared without fail whenever a big fat watermelon was brought home during the summers. It is packed with nutrients. Health was the primary thing even back then. Food was organic, home grown, nutritious and mouth watering. How I miss eating one more morsel of this bhujia wrapped in generous amount of ghee rice from my grandmother’s hand 😐

I will be posting the recipe soon. Do try making it and let me know how you liked it? Will you? Sending warmth and love your way till we meet again 🙂

Jharkhand Food Series – 02

Jharkhand Food Series – 02

Who else remember the onset of those dreamy winter mornings, when the world seemed covered in a lazy, chilly, misty blanket. Where the soothing green grass slept lazily wearing it’s beautiful dewy diamond dress, glittering merrily in the sunbeam’s tryst. The calm mornings, where the