THERE IS LIFE BEYOND MONEY

To me money was never an end. Always a convenience, nothing more. I understand its value and would never denigrate its importance because it is a commodity which eases the path and makes life easy. You can access good books, a clean life, edible food, potable water, things we take for granted until you do not have them,and long for them.

But that said, I would never have run after it. My part of the world there is this tendency to assess a person’s worth as a person by that individual’s financial status. This aspect always amused me. Coming as I do from a Sindhi background where money is of the essence and the primary; measuring stick for any deal or relationship this always amused me. People can be good, bad or plain ugly regardless of their fiscal status. But around me I would see that the esteem people were held in and the respect shown was often in direct proportion to wealth.

 

Even in my few years as a young adult I would be appalled by the amount of energy and effort that went into striving for more. Seeing as how you cannot take it with you and would probably have to leave it behind on earth for a squabbling and ungrateful progeny what is the point of it all. Have enough to be comfortable and use that precious time to nourish the mind and learn and imbibe and absorb and enrich yourself in ways beyond that of mere avarice.

 

Look at it this way.  Beyond a point you do not need more. These then turn from conveniences into collections and symbols of ego. You cannot sit in three cars at the same time or eat six course meals a day and wastage becomes your outlet.

 

If you are fortunate to have that kind of liquidity use it for the greater good. I have watched people wallow in competitive misery and literally fall sick with envy over another’s good fortune while pushing themselves to the outer limits in order to get more…and more.

 

There is an old saying; if you don’t stop to smell the roses what is the point of having a rose garden. Exactly. What is the point. You can go through a life and have nothing to show for it but things that., in the final analyses, have no value.

 

We begin to believe our own inflated importance. We think people look up to us and yet, the very rich live their lives pockmarked by suspicion over everyone else’s motives. 

 

If you are a young person by all means chase the rainbow and make a success of yourself. But enhance your mind along with the physical comfort zone. If you do not do that you are losing out on the most important element of life; grand thought.

 

I am so happy that in the little time I had on earth I spent it in learning.Mom would always tell me “Mohit you know too much for your age.” Eclectic certainly but always with the idea of knowing more, a thirst for knowledge that cannot be quenched. My teachers,school and friends always looked upto me for this quality of mine.

 Like I always said, money helps but it is not the bottom line, not by a long shot.

Friends And How They Count

Mohit Halloween

In the few years on earth I never underestimated the importance of friendship. As human relations go it is right up there on top with family. Friends are like carriages on a train, each inexorably linked to the other and going in the same direction.

We undervalue and take it for granted not realizing that it is a grievous loss. And because of our carelessness a carriage occasionally gets shunted off the train.

 

Have you ever outgrown a friend? It is a great tragedy and one that hurts but it happens.

 

 Like you were inseparable and then there was a time gap and now you meet again and it’s like leftover pudding, all cold and clammy.

 

 And out of courtesy to the past you try to re-ignite that togetherness but you might as well be lighting the matchstick in the wind because there is no kindling there to capture the flame.

 

It has gone.

 

 And that is a mystery I have never been able to solve. I guess that is the advantage of not having too many friends. I could count mine on both hands,  and they have, by and large, hung in there by the skin of their teeth and if  we could meet it would be magical because we could  pick up the strings and run with them.

 

But once in a way in school and college I have had this dismaying experience of crossing paths with someone who was close and making that absurd arrangement to meet up and try and yank back the passage of time but it is a disaster and I wonder why we couldn’t have just made a lot of noise and hugged and slapped each other’s backs and exclaimed how super it was instead of getting all snarled up in the knots of a history that is  irrelevant and heated by fake warmth.

 

I remember returning from college and some of  us in those few years had gone onto different routes and there was nothing in common anymore.

 

 When it becomes worse is when we descend upon each other and invade the home and then the initial excitement turns   to mud the first evening itself when you figure out with ultra HD clarity that you are not the same people anymore and this pretence is torturous.

 

Wish we had the courage to walk away and not carry on the charade. Both sides would be happy and relieved because the other person is suffering as much as you are.

 

I would rather be known as a lone wolf (which I was) than be saddled with faux friends.

 

 People tell me that this is because they were not real friends in the first place. Claptrap. They were the closest people to you. It is just the time, place and life has changed. When you were friends you were very good friends and I never apologise for that. We shared experiences, problems, were there for each other and had each other’s support. We laughed and we cried and we cared enough.

 

I am also sorry the magic faded. It happens.

 

 But no need to lament the loss at the expense of the good times.

SPICING UP STREET STUFF

Let’s lighten up and make this blog a little more fun for the next couple of weeks. Every now and then I mention the importance of food and how its being well prepared is the cornerstone of civilized lifestyle.

This restaurant my Mum opened in Mumbai deserves some of her signature dishes and I am hoping that will come to pass. But let me start off with three of her very yummy dishes. I know I cannot quite market her two precious ingredients which are lashings of love and the equivalent of a gardener’s green thumb in the kitchen…for these people culinary magic just happens.

Sometimes, and anyone who is a gourmet or foodie will agree, it is the simple stuff that has to be elevated to a high level to underscore the difference between a good cook and a genius. My Mom has always been a whizz with street foods and it is this category that is the true test for innovation and imagination, not to mention the treat for the taste buds.

Which is why I am going to start with the humble staple of the city of Mumbai, a simple yet provocative dish that has become a symbol of the metro.

The vada pao hits the spot so here goes.

Ingredients and Method:-

Fry most gently white Urad (split white gram) dal in a little oil in pan. When it turns pink add

Mustard seeds, asafoetida (hing) curry leaves, green chillies,chopped garlic and mix together on a low heat. Make sure you add turmeric (haldi powder) ensuring you  put it last.

Now take the boiled and mashed potatoes and create a smooth mix which you then make small balls of this filling and keep aside.

Shift attention to making the batter for the pakoras or dumplings.

Heap of gram flour depending on the size of the serving.

Salt to taste and a pinch of soda and turmeric powder.

Add  water to make the pakoda batter and coat the filling with this batter. Then fry the Vadas.

Cut the bread rolls or pao  into two, apply some butter as liberally as you like. Now, comes the difference. Place garlic and red chili paste on the pao and also some green mint chutney. When the vada is drenched in these spices roast it  on both sides on a hot plate (tava) and serve.

Give it a shot. It’s scrumptious.

 

Here is another street dish that can wow any table.

The Kachori is another bestseller.

Take flour 1 kg,oil or ghee 200 grams, salt to taste and 20 grams baking soda.

Knead this into a semi stiff dough and roll kachoris

For the filling  you need ½ Kg Farsan,20 grams eating soda, salt, red chili powder,coriander, some garam masala(Indian spice) and 50 gms oil.

Now mash this filling.

Remember, if you are using Moong dal filling soak the dal for 4 hours.

Grind it coarsely and saute in oil with ½ t of gram flour so that the dal does not stick to the pan.

Then add all the other ingredients and  put the filling into the kachoris.

Now, gently fry on slow flame.

You cannot get enough of them.