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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 

What is Love ❤️

What is Love ❤️

what is love, love and meaning, meaning of love, love, mythology, Shiva, Parvati, Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha, Ganesh, One tooth God, Shi and Parvati, Boat ride, Stories form Mythology, Tantric Mystic, Traditional Bengal, Love for Mythology, Ardhnaarishwara, Ardhnaarishwar, Shiva-Parvati, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, Jharkhand,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 male chauvinism and consider his wife as one or higher than himself. The one which teaches devotion, love and inspiration. This story is famous in one of the many Tantrik mystic traditions of Bengal.

They say that Lord Shiva never spoke a single word until Shakti came into his life as Sati/Parvati. She became not only his wife, but also his student, asking questions, discussing and deliberating with him, till he revealed to the world the mysteries of life. So one day, a curious Parvati asked him – “What is love?” Shiva looked at her and just smiled. “Oh Lord! Please tell me what is love?” Parvati isisted blushing and hiding her face. Shiva smiled and holding her hand quenched her curiosity.

When you come to me as Annapoorna, the Goddess of Food, and feed me and ask for nothing in return, I feel love. For you have taken care of my hunger unconditionally.

When you come to me as Kamakhya, the Goddess of Pleasure, and hold me intimately as no one else do, I feel love. For you have made me the object of your desire. This is Bhog. This is one kind of love. But there is another kind of love.

When you come to me as Gauri, demure and delicate, and allow me to dominate you, demand things of you, take you for granted, knowing fully well that you cannot be dominated by anyone, I feel love. You made me play dice, laugh at the simple pleasure of games. You made me make you dolls and enjoy entertaining you.

When you come to me as Durga, bearing weapons in your hand, and protect me, I feel secure and safe, and cared for, I also feel love. This is Shakti. This is power. By granting me power over you, by defending me, protecting me, empowering me, you make me feel loved. This is the second kind of love.

But there is yet another kind of love. When you dance atop me as Kali, naked with hair unbound, unafraid to be yourself, unafraid to be powerful and vulnerable and unafraid of being judged and mocked, I feel love. You make me open my eyes. I realize that Lalita, the beautiful one, is also Bhairavi, the fearsome one. I realize Mangala, the auspicious one, is also Chandika, the violent one. I see you totally, without judgment, and I realize I am capable of seeing the truth. That you allow me to see you fully, without judgment, tells me that I have become trustworthy. Thus you become the mirror, the Parvati darpan, that reflects who I am. You help me discover myself. You become my Saraswati. You reveal the true meaning of ‘Darshan’. In joy, I dance. I become Nataraj.

“Thus there are three kinds of love: love for the body that grants satisfaction, love for the heart that grants security and love for the head that grants wisdom. Animals can give the first and the second, only humans can give the third because they have the third eye hidden inside the head. The first two loves spring from Kama, god of desire, and they sustain life on earth. But the third kind of love springs from Kamantaka, from the destruction of desire, unmotivated by fear of death.”

Parvati smiled and she offered Shiva a boon for this wonderful answer. And he said, “As Shyama, the dark Goddess, who is Kali and Shakti, you have taught me love. You have danced atop me, forced me to open my eyes, turn from shava (corpse) to Shiva. Grant me the chance to do the same to you.” So the Goddess asked Shiva to descend on earth as the fair Radha whose love and pining would make her descend as the dark-one Krishna.

My depiction of Shiva and Parvati’s love for each other through Madhubani art. Do let me know your thoughts on this 🙂 Please spend your quarantine days in doing something productive and don’t forget to stay home, stay safe 🙂

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

Clockwise 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 

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 or just a smile to a passerby. We never know how our one simple and kind gesture can go a long way. Kindness and love always comes back! Who doesn’t need one more reason for their heart to shine brighter? What if joy became our center and we radiate the same?

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Have you seen those tiny colorful butterflies flying hopelessly in the garden? I have spent countless childhood days running behind them. A glimpse of them and my heart would flutter with enormous happiness. I always wondered how it feels like to bring so much happiness in someone’s life: the feeling of my mere presence emitting so much positivity and soothing everyone around. If only my one gesture could bring peace, joy and warmth in another person’s life. Wouldn’t it be a blessing to be remembered and being thought for? To be able to lit a brief flare of contentment in another soul? To spread random joy and happiness. To be the reason of someone’s smile.

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Those thoughts are my muse now and nature has become my solace. The intertwining has led to my love for the Madhubani art form. Love, peace, unity and perseverance are the base of this painting method. The art radiates joy, blessings and a soul touching feel. It touches the heart of all those who embrace, understand, love or tries to accept it in their life. It cures loneliness, anxiety and shows a beautiful way to express love, contentment, sadness and hope. How beautiful it could be to have something which we can relate to? Something which can fill the empty spaces of our weary hearts with a bright beam of joy?

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Won’t it be great if our decisions are made from a place of joy and not fear or shame, or the pressure to please? How about we living our life fully surrounded with love and fully enjoying the life we have got? Even better, if we start doing small things in a great way! What would that look like for you? What would change?

For me it changed everything.

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

The decision to gift these carefully hand painted Madhubani painting was just a start to a beautiful journey which lies ahead of me. I hope these cute, pampered small boxes bring loads of happiness in the individual’s life. A glance at this and they know that they were worth it and were in someone’s mind once. May this little joy of art always find them in good health, love and mostly in peace.

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Spreading random happiness, do small things in a great way, gifts, spreading happiness, spreading love, spreading joy, stories, Weaving Memories, Indian Mythology, Mythology, Madhubani, Madhubani Artwork, Artwork, Penwork, Artline, Me Without You is Incomplete, Indian Artwork, Madhubani Form, Artform, Artist, Giving Form to my Imaginations, Art, Thoughts, Doodles, Love, Inspiration, Quotes, Happiness, Recipes, Sowing Happiness, Spreading Love, Positive Thoughts, Gulmohar Doodles, gulmohar doodles, gulmohardoodles, Puneeta Prakash, Puneeta Prakash blog, blogger, JharkhandPhoto courtesy: GulmoharDoodles

Keep spreading happiness folks. Adios… till we meet again.

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 

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 socks clad feet would be tightly wrapped around the soft, thick double blankets.The never-ending quest of warming up by blowing air out of the mouth and soaking it up quickly in those colorful gloves filled hands. When the chilly air sent shivers down the spine and the constant struggle to keep ourselves warm. Days when the hardest thing seemed to be saying goodbye to that comfy, warm blanket and start the day.

The days would start on a very hasty, lazy note. But, the eyes always glistened seeing those baskets full of fresh, colorful picks from the vegetable market. Winter brought colors to the kitchen and in our lives too. Remember those lovingly hand-woven colorful shawls and sweaters? That was love. Pure love! Those were the days when each season brought with them a totally different produce. Back then, there were no air conditioned supermarkets around selling exotic vegetables throughout the year. We had to wait and then taste the yummiest seasonal produces. Each season added their own beauty. Each day the kitchen saw the burst of colors amalgamating beautifully in the carefully, skilled cooking. Oh, how I loved those days. Winter was the time for comfort, of warmth and for good food, for the touch of a friendly hand and for the talk beside the fire. It was the time for home. It was the time for rustic recipes.

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Amidst all those different delicacies, what I looked for the most was the humble “aalu ka jhor”. This piping hot baby potato gravy generously poured over the ghee laden rice tasted nothing simple. It was pure heaven on earth. It tasted of the hard work of the farmers, it tasted of the simple joys, it tasted of togetherness, it tasted of rustiness of my village mud. It tasted of my roots. Roots which have lost in the transition of time, roots which were replaced among multi flavored and complicated ingredients. Roots which are struggling to be held and given the respect it truly deserves.

So you see, each time when I paraded to the vegetable market holding one of my parent’s hand, those baby potatoes never failed to bring a huge smile on my face. Those tiny, round, brown babies knew it can brighten any gloomy, dark, winter days. My old folks always believed in the magic of fresh harvest and fresh produce. No vegetable was tucked inside the fridge and left over to become dry and tasteless. Everything was cooked fresh either right from our home garden or from the vegetable vendors who brought the produce from their fields early morning.

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Aalu ka jhor was cooked during lunch at our home. When the chilly mornings were over and the breakfast was already sorted out, Maa and grandma would sit in the garden together laughing and chirping like sparrows cutting a big basket of these potatoes effortlessly with a sickle. Lunch was always a grand affair. But somehow, whenever aalu ka jhor was cooked, the other stuffs were kept to its minimal. Nothing fancy on those days. Just the humble potato curry and rice. Might be a stir fry on the side.

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I remember coming back from school tired and hungry. And when Maa served lunch, I couldn’t contain my happiness seeing this bowl full of sunshine. It was comfort, it was pride, it was love, it was contentment. This gravy is nothing ordinary. The baby potatoes were shimmered in a thin freshly harvested and pounded rice paste with loads of garlic. Not much spices just the humble basics.

Winters, when time and days seem gloomy and cold, little things can bring joy and happiness to life. We just have to look around, dig deeper and listen to our heart. Imbibing the generosity of nature and trying to come a bit closer to our roots can create a huge difference in our lives. Try to teach your kids and make them believe in what touched your heart once. Show them the cultural roots. Might be they won’t feel the same emotions but we can try. Isn’t something better than nothing always? On this note, sticking to my roots and trying to create magic and memories together, I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a very hearty, welcoming, generous and loving year ahead. Be blessed, stay blessed! ♥️. ♡. ♥.

In case you would love to replicate the recipe, here is the method for you 😀

Aalu ka Jhor (Baby potatoes shimmered in thin rice paste gravy)
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 30 minsIngredients:

  • 2 kilos of happiness and love (Mandatory! Do not skip this ingredient :))
  • half kilo baby potatoes
  • 3-4 spoons of raw rice
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbs coriander powder
  • 12-15 pods of minced garlic
  • 2 green chillies (can be increased or decreased according to your taste)
  • 2 glasses of water (can be adjusted according to consistency)
  • 2 tbs of oil (mustard oil is preferred)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds for tempering

Preparation:

  1. Swell up your heart with happiness since you are going to prepare a humble rustic Jharkhandi dish today 😀
  2. Soak the raw rice in little water for half an hour.
  3. Wash and cut the baby potatoes in halves. Do not remove the skin.
  4. Now, switch on the gas stove. In a pressure cooker, add all the potatoes, one glass of water, 1 tbs of salt, 1 tsp of turmeric powder and close the lid.
  5. Let it cook for 10 minutes or till the potatoes get cooked but is not mushy.
  6. While the potatoes are getting cooked, grind the soaked rice in very little water. This mixture needs to be coarse and not fine. Take it out in a bowl and add half cup water to it and set aside.
  7. Coarsely grind the garlic pods and the green chillies in a mortar-pestle. Set aside.
  8. After the potatoes get cooked, take out the pressure and set it aside. Do not throw the water.
  9. Lit the stove and put a wok on it. Best to use an iron one since it gives a very rustic taste to the dish.
  10. Add a spoon of mustard oil into it. Once the oil gets heated up add the cumin seeds and watch it dancing in happiness.
  11. Reduce the flame and add in the chilli-garlic paste. Cook it for 30 seconds.
  12. Then add the cooked potatoes along with the water it was boiled in.
  13. Add the ground rice paste to it and let it shimmer in low flame for about five minutes.
  14. Adjust the consistency of water and salt at this time. I generally add half glass of warm water at this point of time since I like my curry to be on the thinner side. Also mash couple of the potatoes for a better consistency.
  15. Add in the coriander powder and let it cook happily for about ten minutes.
  16. Keep stirring the curry in intervals since it has the tendency to stick to the bottom of the cooking vessel.
  17. Once the curry comes to a boil, give it extra five minutes to soak in the flavors.
  18. Switch of the gas and cover the curry with a lid. Let it sit for ten minutes so that the potatoes imbibe the rice flavor.
  19. After ten minutes, pour the curry generously over a heap-full ghee laden rice. Smell, eat, smile and enjoy 😀
Jharkhand Food Series – 01

Jharkhand Food Series – 01

Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com It was a blazing hot summer afternoon. I was fumblingly wrapping up the clothes put outside for drying in the morning while tiny sweat drops lazily rolled down my forehead. I turned my head and saw the happily dancing newly