“We have so much, too much, that we can buy, yet the basic labor of doing, the making with our own hands, is what enlivens us and makes us feel human." Dan Lepard

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Lemon Squash


It is midafternoon. The Sun is mercilessly spewing heat with all belligerence. The ground is parched and littered with dead leaves. Trees look listless, their leaves are withered. Our squash bottle has been sitting atop a pillar in the Sun for the last ten days. As I open the door to fetch it, a thirsty Cuckoo looks at me from the food table. 


She drinks water but that too does not seem to quench her thirst.


 She is soon joined by a male cuckoo who drinks water too, and, the two fly away to the higher branches of Jamun tree.



Soon kids arrive from the school. Sweating and panting. A glass of chilled lemon squash does the magic. It is soothing and calming. Some goes into the popsicle moulds to be enjoyed later as lemon bars.



Summer is here and it is the time to indulge in juices, drinks, sherbets and squashes of choice. A plethora of options are available in the market. A variety of fruit juices in tetra packs and bottles in different flavours and colours vie for attention in the stores. An unlimited array of instant squashes and coolers too compete with each other. You never seem to have enough of them. But, nothing beats homemade squashes and sherbets. Homemade drinks ensure the quality and purity of ingredients.
Here is a simple recipe for Lemon Squash. Indulge in the lemony sweetness and freshness without colours or preservatives. This squash can last up to one year.

Lemon Squash
Ingredients
1 kg fresh lemons
650 grams sugar
Method
Sterilize a wide mouthed glass bottle along with the lid. To sterilize the bottle, place it in a large pot. Fill up the pot with water covering the bottle. Bring the water to rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Place the lid in the pot. Remove from water after 15 minutes. Dry.
Squeeze juice from lemons. Pass it through a strainer with large holes to remove the pips.
Fill up the sterilized bottle with sugar. Add lemon juice. Secure the lid.
Keep the bottle in Sun for 12 days. Shake the bottle every day.
Sugar will dissolve by keeping the bottle in the Sun. The squash will be ready by the end of 12 days.
Take ¼ glass of squash. Fill up the glass with cold water. Serve with chopped mint leaves and lemon slices.




Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Remembering My Dad



The waves of Ganges lapped on the shore softly and rhythmically. Our feet soaked in the coolness.  The touch of water was calming and comforting. Blaring music spewed by the loudspeakers just passed by and did not enter the system. There was a lull inside – an emptiness, a void. A barrage of memories stormed every now and then,   flooding the mind, heart and eyes. The crowd and the chaos outside was ineffective in causing perturbation of any kind. Glow of a clay lamp sitting atop flowers in a handmade leaf bowl broke the trance. It had been released in the river in memory of some dear departed. The man looked sad and somber as he folded his hands in obeisance and watched it bobble up and down in the waves till it disappeared. The truth hit once again. Our dear dad had left…..forever.


Losing my father was my worst nightmare. I had woken up in the midst of the night many a times -sweaty and shivering by the very thought of it. And when it happened, we were cataleptic, frozen - a weird state of indescribable nature. Slowly, the truth seeped in, the reality was accepted. Through misty eyes, we looked at his serene face. This is the way he had always been - in life and now in death- calm, peaceful, tranquil and unruffled – in words, thoughts and action. 

An ardent nature lover, gardener, writer, sitar player, and an avid reader, simple, non-egoistic, unpretentious, humble, compassionate, humane, down to earth, ever smiling, saintly and above all a great human being,  he was loved by all those who knew him. A true follower of Gita, he led a Spartan life with few needs and fewer desires.


He was a wonderful father. Together, we had great fun making food table for birds and buying clay pots to keep water. Together, we spotted birds during the morning walks and fed strays on the way. We tended the garden together and together we grew seasonal vegetables. The swing on the mango tree and the bridge on the brook that he made for our amusement every summer are the beautiful memories to cherish. The first cake in our home was made by dad on sand in a pressure cooker. The aroma of the cake still lingers. Jam was made from every seasonal fruit growing in our orchard. Guava jelly and Guava cheese were his favourite. Every winter he made boxfuls of chikki (brittle) for us. He played sitar to unwind and we had music sittings at home very weekend. Such beautiful memories is the stuff our childhood is made of.


The wheel of time moves on …..Dad has completed the journey of life. His favourite chair is now empty. So is his bed. His Sitar is silent forever and his pen ceases to write.  Wish we could have spent more time together, wish we had hugged him more told him more often how much we loved him. Wish we could have served him more………

 Forgetting your loved ones is not easy. They come in your thoughts, in your dreams, you feel them around you feel them everywhere. 


“For one who has taken birth, death is certain and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore you ought not to lament for an inevitable situation”, says Gita Chapter 2 verse 25.
Goodbye Dad…..till we meet in heaven.







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