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Dedicated to all the teachers

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He
argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best
option in life was to become only a teacher?”

To stress his point he said to another guest;
“You’re a teacher, Mrs Sharma. Be honest. What do you make?”

Teacher Mrs Sharma, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness
replied, “You want to know what I make?
(She paused for a second, then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents
can’t make them sit for 5 min. without an I- Pod, Game Cube or movie
rental.

You want to know what I make?

(She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them how to write and then I make them write.
Keyboarding isn’t everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in maths.

They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to
know about India while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were
given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.

(Mrs Sharma paused one last time and then continued.)

Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing
money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no
attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make?

I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ALL YOUR LIVES, EDUCATING KIDS AND PREPARING
THEM TO BECOME CEO’s, AND DOCTORS AND ENGINEERS…

What do you make Mr. CEO? Only money?

His jaw dropped; he went silent.

THIS IS WORTH SENDING TO EVERY  teacher you know .

Actually very worth sending again & again – especially to those from
other professions who think they are above teachers

 

courtesy     whatsapp    google images

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Idlis unlimited

M Eniyavan can make over 2,000 varieties of idlis, and has even made one that weighs 124 kilograms. The auto driver-turned-idli-expert shares some of his culinary adventures

The man has made thousands of idlis in his lifetime. And he vows to keep making more. Idli is what he wakes up to every morning, and its batter is the last thing he sees before going to bed. Meet ‘Idli’ M Eniyavan, who will do anything for the dish. For, he says idli gave him a living and adds meaning to his life. Eniyavan runs Mallipoo Idli, a Chennai-based company that specialises in 30 varieties of idlis — he supplies to caterers at events, such as weddings. The 48-year-old has come up with over 2,000 varieties and has even attempted to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by making a gigantic idli weighing 124.8kg.

“I want to ensure that idli gets its due,” says Eniyavan, speaking on the sidelines of Hotel Ambassador Pallavas’s Idli Festival. He knows that the breakfast dish has as many fans as haters. “Some feel that idli is boring. I want to change that,” he adds. He’s constantly coming up with new varieties, sometimes with the unlikeliest of ingredients — from chocolate, and almond, to orange and corn.

For someone who started out with no experience in cooking, Eniyavan has come a long way. He hails from Coimbatore. “I dropped out of school after Class VIII,” says Eniyavan. He waited tables and washed tea glasses to earn a living and later turned an auto driver. It was a usual day at work when a customer got into his auto with a huge trough of idli batter. She was Chandra, who made idlis to be sold at small eateries in her locality. She went on to change the course of Eniyavan’s life — once she became a regular in his auto, Eniyavan started delivering her idlis.

In the years that followed, Eniyavan found his calling in idlis. “I came to Chennai with two idli andas (steamers) in 1997,” he remembers. He found a place to stay — a thatch roof house — in North Chennai and got to work immediately. “But my first batch was a failure,” he remembers. There were heavy rains that day and Eniyavan lost everything, including the batter

Today, thousands of idlis later, he’s a happy man, having made a name for himself in the city. “I once carried idlis in a suitcase to show them to a client in Nungambakkam,” he says. “I had to travel by bus and it was the only way it would remain fresh when I reached the destination.”

Among the first of Eniyavan’s innovations, was the tender coconut idli. “I add coconut water to the batter instead of water,” he explains. “This is nothing new. My grandmother would do this when she readied batter for aapam.” Then there are the thattu and cup idlis, in which he steams batter in plates and cups. He also offers Mickey Mouse shaped idlis, and Kung Fu Panda idlis. For fussy eaters, it can be made interesting by adding just about anything. “Grind and add greens, beetroot… anything is tasty in idli form,” he says.

Most of his innovations are the result of necessity. “My children once asked for pizza,” he says. What did he do? Reach for the idli batter, of course. He steamed it in a plate and topped it with the afternoon’s leftover poriyal. Thus was born the pizza idli.

COURTESY       THE HINDU

THE JOY OF BIRDWATCHING

Birdwatchers came out in large numbers to indulge in a nationwide, day-long bird spotting and cataloguing event on Sun day.

t’s that time of the year again, when people witness and spot rare bird species! The Big Bird Day on February 18 is an annual national-level celebration of watching and documenting birds. The event has been gaining prominence among all the bird-lovers in India.  Closer home, Hyderabad Birding Pals (HBP) has been regularly participating in the event since 2013 and even emerged the winner last year by reporting more than 260 bird species. Every year, self-organised volunteer birders under the guidance of chosen group leaders cover the birding spots from early morning to evening to see and photograph them.  As many as 12 teams (each team consisting of eight members) from HBP have been sent to 15 locations across Telangana.

We expect to see breeding activity of resident birds, some previously-sighted rare birds and to explore new locations. We are really glad to see more and more people participating in the initiative and keeping the spirit alive. It has now become our annual festival that we celebrate meticulously. We’re trying to challenge our last year’s bird species count. By Sunday afternoon, our team has spotted more than 130 bird species. We are expecting a report of around 500 bird species from all the teams by the end of the day,” says Rajeev Khandelwal, of HBP, who is part of Team Rosefinch that went to Narsapur Forest.

Apparently, this year too, there were interesting species like Brahminy Kite (with fish kill), Indian Silverbill, Coppersmith Barbet, Common Iora, Black Redstart, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Red-Breasted Flycatcher, Brahminy Starling and Oriental Magpie-Robin amongst others, that were spotted.   Srinivas Mulagala from Team Spot Billed Pelican says, “We started at 6 am and spotted 130 species at ICRISAT. We spotted 88 species at Ameenpur (BHEL). Species like Black Redstart, Lesser Whistling Ducks, Bar-headed Goose and others were seen.”

COURTESY       HYDERABAD CHRONICLE

The gardens we all love

NTR Gardens thrives as it draws in people of different tastes

Among the many tourist destinations in Hyderabad, the Necklace Road stretch is thronged by people all through the year. It is common to see Hyderabadis spending time during evenings. From friends and families taking selfies, sharing hot mirchi bajjis and regular walkers, parents playing with their little ones to tourists visiting it as part of their itinerary… this stretch accommodates people with different tastes. One such place popular on this stretch is NTR Gardens.

Mix of people

Built in memory of the legendary actor and former chief minister, (late) NT Rama Rao, the gardens that opened in 2002 receives a wide spectrum of people. Even on a relatively dull day, it is visited by people especially parents who bring their children. “Unlike Lumbini Park, which stinks when the Hussainsagar lake is filled to the brim, NTR gardens is at a distance and is spacious, so most parents prefer to come here,” shares Sampath, an employee of a private company who visits NTR Gardens at least once a month.

Exciting ride

While the imposing entrance and the fountain attract several selfie enthusiasts, the toy train ride is popular with children and young adults. Mehzabeen who has brought her three daughters states her children love to buy the sugar candy and popcorn and enjoy it while they ride on the train. “We choose this place because it is quiet and away from the chattering crowd. We come to relax and have long conversations with our friends,” states Sirish, a B Tech student.

A couple from Guntur, M Hari and wife Mamata, on their first visit to the gardens, enthuse that they are big fans of actor NTR. “We spent some time at his memorial. We decided to come here when we saw the crowd,” says Hari, who runs a kirana store. One can explore the park or settle down at a spot to relax. The fruit park has huge structures shaped in the form of different fruits.

Foodies can satiate their hunger pangs at the car café. Although Suresh, a bank employee enjoys coming to NTR Gardens, he observes the authorities ought to look into maintaining the place well — especially the children’s play area. A good point since many schools pick NTR Gardens as their picnic spot. One witnesses a melee near the entrance due to heavy crowds, especially during holidays. The constant traffic and hawkers outside the gates only add to the confusion and noise.

COURTESY     THE HINDU

ALL THAT WRIGGLES

Southern Africa’s mopane worms are an unmissable delicacy with their strikingappearance and earthy flavours

You don’t live in Southern Africa for 20 years without snacking on mopane (pronounced mo-pah-nee) worms at least a dozen times. The bright blue-and-black critters on a branch make for a spectacular photo; but seeing them immobile on a plate is a starkly different experience. And seeing this, you’d never assume that mopane worms are worth millions in the Southern African food-economy.

I remember the lead-up to and the experience of tasting my first; it was probably one of the most off-putting things for someone who isn’t familiar with Batswana culture. But at the age of 11, it’s more of an accomplishment than a daunting dare. It was Commonwealth Day at my primary school and everyone was crowded around the platters of mopane worms.

I asked the lady who was running the stall about the means of preparation; she mentioned the maturity of the worm is important. Batswana tend to avoid eating the head, as most of the flavour and nutrition is in the pudgy body. The worms need to be well past the juvenile stage and right before they enter the cocoon stage.

Sometimes, the worms are sun-dried and eaten as is, but other people prefer to fry or bake them to an appetising crisp, and then cook them mixed with fried tomatoes, garlic and onions… just like bhindi .

I picked one up, eyeing the body, then ate it whole; a slight saltiness with a smoky and earthy undertone filled my mouth. The worm wasn’t dry to the point of unsavouriness, but they do need an acquired taste that builds over time.

When eating them in a curry or a stew, the worms are a great way to add a salty taste to the overall flavour profile. And as the eating experience progresses, it becomes as natural as eating mutton or chicken for some.

Then I asked the all-important question: Why? She said the worm, named after the leaves it usually feasts upon, is a vital source of protein in an arid climate where food shortage is common. Indigenous tribes like the San in the Kalahari ensure children are fed these to build up weight and immunity in the early years. Yes, the common name is ‘madora,’ but ‘mopane’ is far more preferable, more homely to me.

Having moved out of Botswana, eating mopane worms has become a fond and unforgettable part of my growing food culture. It’s a happy bellyful memory I carry with me, daily.

COURTESY     THE HINDU

prolific traveller

Hyderabad-based Indranil Chowdhuri has already been to 107 countries around the world and is showing no signs of slowing down.“Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time and leave nothing but footprints,” is Indranil Chowdhuri’s motto. No wonder then that the 56-year-old has travelled to 107 countries so far, among them Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, Iceland, Czech Republic and Iran.

After being bitten by the travel bug in the early 1990s, he plans to explore 150 countries in all. “My initial target was to visit 100 countries, but now that I have completed 107, I want to reach 150 countries before I get sick or bedridden,” says Indranil. Naturally, he has had many exhilarating experiences, including bumping into the former President of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev! Indranil says that he had to explain to the security that he was just a tourist before he could be arrested. Another time, when he was in Kosovo, the security did not understand why an Indian would want to come there for a holiday and it took him a lot of explaining to convince them otherwise.

The Hyderabad-based traveller’s latest trip was to Mongolia. “I have been in the field of export, so that’s how I got interested in travelling. I go on five personal trips and at least three business trips every year. I have covered all the countries in Europe, most countries in Southeast Asia, entire East Africa and all of the Caribbean and Central America. I am also a sports enthusiast, and have been to global events like the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Football World Cup and the US Open among other tournaments,” says Indranil, who is also an avid souvenir collector. “My shot glass collection (3,000 glasses) can easily qualify for the Limca Book of Records. The Guinness World Record is set at approximately 5,000 glasses. Apart from that, I also collect swords from different parts of the world,” he adds.

Indranil, who currently works as the head of the international marketing division at Al Jazeera in Oman, thanks his wife for all her support. “I spend all my money in travelling. I am not overtly concerned about my professional life and the endless rat race. I don’t wish to be the CEO or MD of a huge company, travelling is what keeps me happy. My wife also funds my travels sometimes. She has travelled 30 countries with me, but travelling together doubles our expenses. We are trying to travel together more often,” says Indranil, adding that getting a passport to some countries is a bigger challenge than his financial woes.
Ask him about his favourite countries among the ones he has been to and he immediately quips, “Brazil, without a doubt. Brazilians enjoy their lives and their spirit is exciting. The Brazilian Carnival is something that I enjoyed the most.” To those who wish to see the world like him, Indranil has a word of advice. “Every place I travel, I learn something new. I realise how little I know. If you are passionate about travelling, go for it. Have no regrets,” he says as he signs off.

courtesy    deccan chronicle

 

AT THE ROOT OF A COMEBACK

An NGO working with women seed savers in Sirsi is quietly pushing the cause of tubers, for all the right reasons

Can there be a revival of interest in tubers, just like millets? Sunita Rao of Vanastree would like to be hopeful. What fanned her hope was the response received by tubers at Foodu, an event held as part of the fifth Sambrama hosted by Venkatappa Art Gallery Forum in Bengaluru.

“A lot of people took tubers to plant and grow that day,” Rao joyously recalls. Vanastree, an NGO based in Sirsi, is working towards promoting traditional crop varieties, forest gardens and seed saving, and did a tuber food workshop and tasting session with Lalitha Manjunath. With hot vadappe s — prepared from boiled tapioca, rice flour, onions, dill and coriander — and holiges being served to visitors at a talk on tubers, and a table laden with different varieties of tubers — tapioca, elephant foot yam, sweet potato, dioscorea (yam), six kinds of colocasia, turmeric, ginger, sweet flag — on the side, it became a celebration of this long-forgotten food.

A tuber is a swollen, underground stem of certain seed plants, in which is stored nutrients for its growth and reproduction. Tubers can be classified into two categories: stem tubers and root tubers. While a stem tuber arises at the tip of an underground branch, a root tuber can sprout from any part of the root.

As the potato eclipsed all its other cousins, particularly in cities, the consumption of tubers got restricted to tribes in various tuber-growing regions, like Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. But it’s time we moved beyond the potato, which is vulnerable to pests and diseases and also requires more investment and attention.

“What makes tubers a special class of food is the fact that they are hardy, and have a longer shelf-life. Unlike potatoes, they are not vulnerable to diseases and pest attacks,” states Sunita.

The NGO is attempting a stronger case for the ignored vegetable, with a report titled ‘Tubers: An Overview with Prospects for Conservation’ to be published soon.

In 2014, Vanastree organised a Tuber Mela in Sirsi. “We asked Siddhi women to bring one traditional food item and they didn’t know what to bring. Very hesitantly, with low self-esteem, they brought a set of tubers. If you don’t recognise a particular community’s cuisine, it is like disrespecting them.”

COURTESY                    THE HINDU