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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

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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


 

CHARLIE CHAPLIN

Today is   Charlie Chaplin’s  125th birthday –  A Good Day to Recollect  his 3 Heart Touching
Statements:

(1) Nothing is Permanent        in this World,      not even our       Troubles.

(2) I like Walking in      the Rain,  because      NoBody can see       my Tears.

(3) The Most Wasted         Day in Life is the      Day in which   we       have not Laughed.

LIFE is to Enjoy with   Whatever you have with  You,  Keep Smiling…!

If you feel STRESSED,   Give yourself A Break.
Enjoy Some..Icecream/ Choclates/  Candy/ Cake…
Why…? B’Coz…:STRESSED    backwards spelling is  DESSERTS…!!
Enjoy…!
Very Beautiful lines   Pls Store it.
ONE Good FRIEND   is equal to ONE  Good Medicine…!
Likewise  ONE Good  Group is equal to ONE  Full medical store…!!
Six Best Doctors   in the World….:
1.Sunlight,
2.Rest,
3.Exercise,
4.Diet,
5.Self Confidence &
6.Friends

Maintain them   in all  stages of Life and  enjoy healthy life…!
If you see the Moon…You see the Beauty of   God…..!
If you see the Sun…!You see the power of   God….
And….If you see the Mirror, You see the  Best   Creation of GOD…!
So,  Believe in YOURSELF.  We all are Tourists &  God is our Travel Agent
Who has already fixed  all our Routes, Reservations  & Destinations
So….Trust him &  Enjoy the  “Trip” called LIFE…!!
Life will never come Again.!! Live Today..!

WHY CHILDREN NEED TO PLAY

 

Making sense of internal and external worlds is at the root of all the free-style activity

Nowadays, we are all obsessed with our children developing motor and cognitive abilities through play, but my pitch here is different. Children need to play to make sense of their internal and external worlds. For children, play is not just recreation or leisure, which implies that it is an indulgence, but important and serious work. It is pleasurable and engrossing precisely because it is emotional. Otherwise, it would merely be the handling of objects.

If you wish to understand your child you need to understand his/her play, because it is through play that children express themselves, conveying what they cannot express in words. What a child chooses to play at betrays ‘his inner processes, desires, problems and anxieties’.

It is how children make sense of difficult feelings — jealously, anger, guilt and hatred are enacted between dolls and monsters — which makes it easier to handle it in real relationships. In play, the little child can escape from the impact of a situation that is too painful for him to accept as it stands. He can escape for a little while by pretending that he is someone else.

In her real life, eight-year-old Tina was at the receiving end of many instructions from many teachers — for sport, music, art, theatre, schoolwork, dance — all of which she (at least partially) strongly resented. In her play with me, she made herself the teacher who gave the children endless instructions. She talked non-stop for 40 minutes, entirely disinterested in the other.

She would ask ‘Is that okay?’ of the children (i.e., me) but never wait for the response. It was just lip service to democracy or consensus. It was clear to both of us that this was a totalitarian regime with one person in charge. Keeping in mind that in our fantasy lives we tend to be excessive. I wondered whether she was communicating that she wanted to have her voice heard, to be negotiated with rather than be infantalised. She wanted to be taken seriously, not just indulged.

Left to themselves, children will play with anything: empty cardboard boxes become houses, curtains become tents, dolls and stuffed animals talk to each other; kitchen odds and ends become a drum-set or an imaginary playing house. It is not the objects, therefore, that are as important as the fantasies that accompany it. Children have ideas about what they are doing; a kind of storytelling, sometimes consciously expressed and easy to understand if we are paying attention, but also with unconscious undertones, less obvious to see.

Watch a young child playing (where they are free from instruction, anxiety or targets of outcome); for example, jumping off the sofa again and again: this is one kind of play — to achieve mastery over something, build skill and lose the fear of being hurt. Then there is acting out active destruction: building towers with blocks only to enjoy toppling them over, or displaying complex emotions in imaginary play — death and destruction, anger, loss, magical strength and resurrections as well as persecution, care and affection.

Every evening in the garden of her home, four-year-old Anya would play at being jailed by the evil policeman, dragged to the tree and tied up. What was being played out is difficult to know exactly, since no one really paid much attention, though her mother recalls that they were going through a difficult phase together, where Anya was frequently angry and defiant with her. Clearly something was going on for Anya that, according to her internal justice system, deserved punishment.

Eventually the theme ran out of steam. The same theme is repeated over and over with little variation (or children want to hear the same story day after day, in exactly the same way) because it means something to the child. Repetition does many things — it makes things feel bearable, less frightening, more consolidated. It is like leaving feelings to marinate so they truly sink in or pushing down on them so they sediment and become more substantial.

Games where there are emergencies, rescues, doctors, blood, thunderstorms, evil jailors, robbers or death are a child’s way of destroying and repairing relationships in fantasy. When a three-year-old pretends to be Chhota Bheem ,beating up Mangal Singh , who has captured his friend Raju, there is a lot going on beyond depicting what the child may have watched on television.

Power, anger and making things better are some of the processes at play here. Being small yet powerful, is an important part of why Chhota Bheem and his friends appeal to children.

Most parents/carers/child workers are aware of the importance of the make-believe world, because when invited to join in and play a role, many do so willingly. One can see parents pretending to hide from the rain, or be shot at by bullets and be grievously injured or fall dead, only to be magically revived by the doctor/child. By playing the role well, parents are doing something significant. They are making the experience emotionally real for the child and not ruining it by bringing in reality.

Something similar happens when a child is ‘helping’ in the kitchen or home.

Parents may know that the child’s presence actually creates more work for them, that it takes more effort and creativity to keep the child engaged in mixing the batter, more serenity in overlooking the mess they make by spilling water, yet they allow their child to feel that the cake would not have been so tasty had it not been for the raisins he put in or that his assistance in the garage was crucial to getting the car clean. After all, external facts are not the only truth.

Excerpted from Love and Rage: The Inner Worlds of Children by Nupur D Paiva, published by Yoda Press

 

“Go-Matha”

 Cow is  an animal, but… a cow has many specialities that no other animal (not even human beings) has in this world. This is the reason that Hindus consider cow as ‘mother’ after their own mother, and pray to the cow with respect calling it “Go-Matha”.  These are some truths about go-matha.

· If a cow eats something poisonous by mistake, and we drink its milk, will we fall ill? To find out, one cow was regularly fed a particular quantity of a poison every day. After 24 hours, its blood, urine, dung and milk were tested in a lab to check where the poison could be found. In this way, the tests were done not for 1 or 2 days, but continuously for 90 days in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi. The researcher did not find any trace of poison in milk, blood, urine or dung of that cow.
Then where did this poison fed for 90 days go? Just like Lord Shiva held poison in his throat, the go-matha hid the entire poison in her throat. This is a special quality that no other animal has.

· This is the only creature that inhales oxygen and also exhales oxygen.   · Cow milk has the quality of countering poison.  · There are diseases that medical science has not yet understood; urine of Go-matha has the power to cure them.   · If cow-ghee and rice are cooked together, two powerful gases called ethylene-oxide, propylene-oxide are released. Propylene-oxide is the best gas used for creating artificial rain.  ·  Cow-urine is the world’s best killer of microbes    · With medicines made using cow dung and cow urine, stomach-related ailments can be cured.  · We can save ourselves from radio-waves by plastering the home floors and area outside home with cow-dung.   · Cow-dung has the power to destroy the microbes causing cholera.   · If 10 grams of cow-ghee is put in fire (yagnya), 1 ton of oxygen is generated.