Saturday, 30 June 2007

Mango Diplomacy

To Condi with Love. Special Indian mangoes presented by the Prime Minister 's media advisor. I really admire Condoleeza.

Mama 's gonna sow some oats

This morning I served Quaker Oats to Mama and Aunt Sybil.Ma liked them so much that she wants to plant some oats in the garden

I just looked at her and said to myself ;"Oh yeah that 's a good blogging idea"
But yes friends I must confess that I 've sown a few wild oats in my day too and have received God 's forgiveness.When I reflect on my life I feel I have fallen short of God 's glory many times and brought shame to His Name.Many times I 've felt the devil laughing at me and accusing me. And I 've asked the Lord to cover me with the blood of Jesus.Please pray for me I desire to spend more time in prayer.I also need to be patient with myself and others.I am just an earthen jar with many cracks...the Author and Perfecter of my faith is Jesus and I need to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.
1 John 1 ;9 is one of my favourite Bible verses...'If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. '
I really miss our Bible study group.We used to meet for Bible study and prayer and worship every week. Now they are not meeting near my home as people are busy with their work, families or church.The other group meets quite far away across the river and there is no one to drive me there.I long for that fellowship.I have a huge transport problem, I am unable to get to places where people meet for fellowship.
Blessed are they who can meet with other believers for prayer and Bible study.

Friday, 29 June 2007

The Tie that Binds the Grrr...

Priceless, aren 't they!Got them from a website called Let 's be friends.
Its a preview of the new earth...Isaiah 65;25 "The wolf and the lamb will graze together,and the lion shall eat straw like the ox;and dust shall be the serpent 's food.They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain says the Lord'(NASB)
Sending a cyber nudge,please vote for the Taj Mahal, it has not received enough votes.Vote as many times as you can.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

(1&2) Confluence of Rivers Ganga and Yamuna (R) Fort built by Moghal King Akbar in 1583

New bridge built over River Yamuna (3&4)

Old Yamuna bridge built by the British more than a 100 years ago roughly speaking. (4)
Allahabad, my city is one of the largest cities of Uttar Pradesh(state).It is situated on the confluence of two rivers;Ganga and Yamuna considered to be holy by the Hindus.The meeting point of these rivers and another mythological river called Saraswati is supposed to possess sin-washing powers.Those who drink its sacred waters and bathe in it during auspicious times and festivals are assured of salvation or least a higher level of reincarnation.Millions of Hindu pilgrims come here each year for sin cleansing.
A few days ago a man from South India jumped into the Ganges . A boatman dived into the river and fished him out.The man was hardly conscious and he told his rescuer that he had consumed poison before jumping into the river as he wanted to obtain salvation by offering himself to Mother Ganga. Shortly afterwards he died.

Thousands of people have done likewise, for religious and non-religious reasons.There is an ancient tree called Akshay-Vaat (evergreen) which used to be on the river bank before it changed its course. People who wanted to commit religious suicide used to jump into the river from this tree. Now its enclosed within the fort in a temple area and is worshipped by devotees.

Suicide is a criminal offence according to the Indian Penal Code, but people kill themselves in order to escape the misery of life.

Jesus is the Bridge Over Troubled Waters.He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.Pray that those who come to Allahabad in search of salvation may find it in the Name Above All Names.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Women of substance

My friend Janet wrote on her blog about her Mom 's cook breaking chairs because of her large size.
Yesterday I went went to a salon to have my eyebrows done and this richly endowed, wealthy lady was having her body waxed.Every time the beautician pulled the wax cloth off her arms the poor gal 's chair (adjustable kind) would sink lower. And we all gasped, but the lady had a good sense of humour and she didn 't mind.She was well aware of her magnitude.
I am not making fun of overweight people because I battle with the bulge too, its just that all this makes life more colourful and musical.

My friend Kate tagged me for 8 facts about myself, so here goes...
1.My birthday is on August 1st.
2.During my early teens I liked wearing boys clothes, like jeans and shirts.
3.I like savoury snacks more than sweet ones.
4.When I was born,my Dad 's workmate who was an astrologer predicted that I would learn the English language very well. Well I have a Masters in English Literature, but I 'm not sure if my English is noteworthy.
5.I learnt German in school.Got a prize for pronunciation. A German nun taught us.Sister JoAnna was a very strict lady, still remember her draconian rules.
6.I like international accents. My favourites are Irish, Scottish and German and of course Australian.When I speak to people from other countries I tend to switch on their accents, (not entirely tho).
7.I like fashion jewellery. A whole load of my jewellery was stolen from my apartment when I was teaching in Woodstock school.Now I 'm into hoops, danglers and earrings with crosses.
8.I wear a mix of Indian and western clothes, so my clothes don 't wear out easily. I like cotton fabric. Synthetic clothes make me hot. Silks and synthetics are for cooler weather.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Cyber Jitters

My computer is giving me the jitters. I was almost reduced to tears last night. This morning i prayed real hard and at least i could log on. Hope it mends itself and there is no virus inside.professional help is so costly.
On a brighter note. last night after Mama cut her birthday cake I asked her which song would she like us to sing ;Happy Birthday or Nearer My God To Thee (as she keeps telling people maybe its my last birthday). We had a good laugh, she choose Nearer My God To Thee, but we sang Happy Birthday!
Sonia left this morning,Abner didn 't want to leave.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Sunita Williams and I

Sunita Williams, an Indian American astronaut returned to earth in the Atlantis space shuttle a few hours ago after spending 195 days in space.All India is rejoicing.

Left-Kalpana Chawla right- Sunita Williams
Kalpana Chawla was an Indian born astronaut and space mission specialist who lost her life with 7 crew members when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into the earth 's atmosphere in Feb 2003. We mourned for her as a nation.
While Indian women are zooming around in space yours truly is trying to match her wits with the computer.There was a time I was hesitant to learn how to email.I 've come a long way.
Thank you friends for being a light unto my path, specially Carol-Ann and Pai.I 've got a family friend, who was our student group spiritual mentor ages ago.David graduated from Prairie Bible Institute, married an American girl, had 7 kids, lived in North America for over 20 yrs. He 's now back in India.He is a professional photographer and graphic and web designer,but he does not have time.The Lord has provided friends from across the 7 seas.

Happy Birthday Mama

Today my Mama turns 76. This is my parents wedding photo taken 48 years ago.She is wearing a white wedding sari and a lace veil. They were married in Union Church.
We are having a family dinner with my Pastor 's family. Sonia 's cooked mutton pulao (aromatic rice with mutton) Maybe my friends who lived in Africa have eaten mutton or goat meat. It is the most expensive meat in India after pork.Beef is the cheapest followed by chicken.She also made chicken pot roast and yogurt salad.I made a chocolate cake...all cholesterol boosters. But what to do these days our motto is...I am what I eat so I eat rich food.
For breakfast Sonia brought a sack of hot jalebis...fried fritters saturated in sugar syrup...sinful. After she leaves tomorrow we will follow a strict regimen of low fat diet.She was going to make zarda...a sweet rice dessert
with nuts and raisins, but we refrained from that.
My friend Carol-Ann of is designing a new blog for me. She is really so helpful and kind and putting in such a lot of time and effort and answering all my computer challenged questions.A BIG thank you to Carol-Ann. Soon we 'll get the new blog going.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Tent(ative) Housing

Sorry folks this is not a self portrait.

"we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away,they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven-God-made not handmade-and we 'll never have to relocate our "tents" again.Sometimes we can hardly wait to move-and so we cry out in frustration.Compared to what 's coming,living conditions round here seen like a stopover in an unfurnished shack,and we are tired of i! We have been given a glimpse of the real thing,our true home,our resurrection bodies!The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what 's ahead.He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we 'll never settle for less.

That 's why we live with such good cheer.You won 't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don 't get us down.They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead.It 's what we trust in but don 't yet see that keeps us going.Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us?"
The Message 2 Cor 5; 1-7

Got my cholesterol report. Normal level 200 mine 's 244.2 . Doc 's prescribed me pills which pulled the rug off under my feet because they are so expensive. $ 2 for 10 of them and I have to take one a day. Extra weight on my pocket and mind. But I 'm going to take herbal medicines and switch to a low fat diet so I guess I'll be blood pressure and sugar level is OK...thank you Jesus.

Days of the Weak

If we don 't have God in our lives our days can turn out to be

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Father 's Day...Out ?

According to media reports 'elaborately engineered gamete vectors ' may soon become extinct. The emphasis is more on the elaborately engineered rather than on the gametes themselves; sperms. A Hindustan Times article says that; researchers recently successfully prompted embryonic stem cells (that could turn any type of cell in the body) in mice to become sperm, which fertilised a mouse egg.Once this success is replicated in humans, it would be entirely possible to produce sperm without men. Its waning men or gamete vectors!

All the more reason for Christian men and husbands to live according to the Word of God.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Pass the Salt Please

The most wanted rains usher some unwelcome guests inside the house.Last night I discovered a leech clinging on the bathroom must have entered through the drain.I got into my pest control mode and sprinkled it liberally with salt.The blood-sucking,Dracula minion melted away in no time. Allahabad has a very low leech population so our pest control works.
Salt is the best ammunition against leeches, this I discovered in Mussoorie, up in the Himalayas.During the monsoon season the whole mountain-side was crawling with leeches and we were cautioned against them.One evening while taking off my shoes I discovered a large patch of blood on my socks.I knew it was a leech, and since it was my first encounter I wanted I scream, and do a tribal leech dance but I restrained myself as I was all alone in my apartment and no one would rush in to rescue me. Further examination revealed that the vampire had had its dinner and left.So I cleaned my foot and applied a Band Aid. At least I had a story to tell to the nations.
Later on when I took my students for a hike in leech country we stuffed our shoes and socks with salt.Kids are very good at spotting leeches,specially when they want to scare their teacher.Anyway we took it all in our stride.

My Iranian friend 's mother (living in Mussoorie) invited leeches to bite her as a remedy for arthritis.That 's ancient medicine.I could never try that.

We are happy that the monkey did not return, maybe it prefers pop-corn to corn on the cob.
Its global, but in India you encounter wild life up so close that it brings out the 'national geographic ' in you.Makes life interesting.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Silver Lined Clouds

The monsoon rains have arrived in North India. We 've had a good bit of rainfall since yesterday A welcome respite. Although its very humid, the temperature has come down.And we had a very long power cut.
Our construction workers are worried as the rain washed away some of their concrete work.The garden looks bright and green. Our handyman, Juggernaut (Jags for short) is putting down seeds in the garden.

Aunt Sybil 's (84 yrs) feet are swollen so I 've asked a pathology technician to come and do her blood work and mama 's too.You just ring up the lab and these people come and take your blood etc. samples, test them in their labs and send you the report.Then you can go to your physician with the report.
You can do it the other way around. First consult a doctor then have the tests done.But to save time I 'm doing this, as I have a transport problem.
I 've got my Dad 's old car, but I can 't drive. During emergencies we get someone to drive it for us. But maintaining it is quite a hassle and expense.The car is dead right now and to get it going would be too hard on our pocket.
Praying that the test results would be OK. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Romeo is on the move

Rhesus and Langur monkeys.

Romeo is one of the langur monkeys hired by the administration of the Delhi University to keep a host of rhesus monkeys away from its main campus.the rhesuses are bold enough to march around the campus and lounge in buildings, damage car windows and scare students. A bunch of them jumped into the Science library and tore up periodicals and books.
Romeo and his brothers have been hired for 6 months at a fees of $4914 to clear the campus of his offending cousins The simians have a guest room on the university campus where they live with their keepers. After a hearty breakfast of fruit and vegetables Romeo and co. are taken round the campus. They strut around moving on buildings and in the corridors and parking lots.The scent of the langurs is enough to keep their rhesus cousins away as they are scared of them.

Yesterday a rhesus entered our garden and made off with a bunch of corn growing just behind our kitchen.Now from where am I going to get a langur to guard my corn and bananas.We have covered the bananas with a cloth, hope he is not clever enough to remove it!
Once I was attacked by a rhesus on my morning walk.He attached himself on my leg, biting it through my pants and socks.I shook it off and came back again.When the other joggers came to rescue me, he got away. Might is of the jungle.

I am happy to tell you that since yesterday the weather has improved. Its cloudy and rained a bit. The Lord has sent us respite from the dry heat.These are our pre-monsoon showers.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Weathering Heights

With the scorching sun above and the baked earth below a girl searches for grass to feed her goat.

Getting online is like trying scale Mt Everest without an oxygen tank.The duration of power cuts has increased. Voltage also fluctuates so much that the broadband snaps frequently.

We are having a nice hot visit with Sonia and Abner. Yesterday we went to a children 's park and Abner had fun in the playground. On the way back we had burgers at MacDonald 's and brought takeaways for Mama and Aunt Sybil.

I want to create links on my blog and add a list of blog friends I visit ,but I don 't know how. All the other bloggers do it so cleverly, you just click on the name etc. and their blog or link comes on.Can someone please tell me step by step how to do it. I am a computer challenged person friends.I also want to know how to cut and paste codes.In the blog world I feel like a fish on dry ground.

Mama was having severe dizzy spells due to the heat after prayer and Vertin 24 she is better today.I suffered from sinus vertigo last week, but now I"m OK.

Sonia 's visit is going to make us fat! She is cooking all her favourite food and snacks and we will end up with extra cellulite.

This is a banana flower and I am going to cook it tomorrow.
You peel the outer layers and cook the stamens.
We are also cooling off with bel fruit juice. Bel (Bale) fruit is a native of India, it resembles a wood apple(I don 't know what that is) Its a normal ball size, sweet and has lots of seeds.It cools you off and its a blood purifier, good for the tummy.
Here is the bel fruit
Update: I read that bel is also known as wood apple.

Friday, 8 June 2007


(L -R) Niece Mahima with Abner, younger sis Namrita and adopted sis Sonia (Aug. 2006)
Today I got a call from Sonia saying she is coming with Abner tomorrow.She will stay for at 2 weeks till after my Mom 's birthday on June 23rd. Had to get the house ready and do some shopping before that.Since the past 2 days we hardly got any electricity during the day. Couldn't watch an interesting episode of Indian Idol (it was the first time I was watching). Today was better but the broadband snaps because of fluctuating voltage.Anyway its all a part of life, so no use complaining.Helps to make you more patient.When we look at those worse off than us we count our blessings.

Palak Paneer

My e friend Kate asked for a recipe of Palak Paneer which is a very popular dish in India.It is made with cottage cheese and spinach.

Spinach.....2 large bunches (abt. a pound)
Cottage cheese (paneer)...half a pound (200gms)
Garlic 8-10 cloves (if you don 't like garlic you can reduce the amount)
Cooking oil.....3 tablespoons
Cumin seeds....half teaspoon
Salt as per taste
Lemon tablespoon
Fresh cream.....Four tablespoons

Method of Preparation
1 Remove stems and wash spinach under running water.Blanch it in salted boiling water for 2 minutes.Refresh in chilled water.Squeeze out excess water.Grind into a fine paste in a food processor.If you are using tinned spinach you can prepare it likewise.
2. Dice paneer into 1"x1"x 1/2" pieces. Chop garlic and keep aside.If you want you can deep fry the paneer pieces until they are golden brown like I do, to give colour and added taste.
3 Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they begin to change colour add chopped garlic and saute for half a minute. Add the spinach puree and stir.Check seasoning. Add water if required.
4 When the gravy comes to a boil, add the paneer pieces and mix well. Stir in lemon juice. Finally add fresh cream.
5 Serve hot with rice, or Indian nan bread, or any type of bread, even pita will do.
Paneer is available in Indian shops but if there are none around you can make it at home (or substitute it with a non melting cheese)
Milk....1 litre
Plain unflavoured yogurt or curd...3 tablespoons

1 Heat milk when it begins to boil add lemon juice.
2 If you want to make the cheese softer,add 2 or 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt to the boiling milk along with the lemon juice.
3 Remove from fire when cheese separates from the whey.
4 Put the cheese in a muslin cloth and hang it up for an hour till all the whey is drained out. I save the whey to use in soups or any gravy dish.
5 Put the cheese on a chopping board and put some weight on it.
6 When it sets cut in small pieces as desired.
Paneer is low fat and we like it a lot. You can cook it with green peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, baby corn, mushroom etc. Or pop it in rice. I make pizza topping with it. In fact for Sunday dinner I am going to make paneer Chinese style with bell pepper, onions and tomatoes and seasoning it will go well with pea pulao (fried rice)

Project Nehemiah-Pray for us

The God of heaven will give us success;therefore we His servants will arise and build... Neh 2:20
And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. And they will say 'This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden '...Then the nations that are left around about you will know that I, the Lord have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate, I the Lord have spoken and will do it.Ezekiel 36 ;34-26

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Nehemiah Project

Pictures of modern Hindu temples in India

Thought I post some pictures of our building work. We have run out of money, so we may have to stop our
roofing. We were hoping
we could get that done before the monsoon rains start.We are praying and asking people to help us.Please pray for us. God will send us help in due time. Maybe He is testing our faith.When people of other religions can maintain beautiful temples (eg. above) then why can 't my argument. And we need to establish this testimony in my country.
BTW my cookies turned out quite good, chips or no chips. They 're a chip on my shoulder. I actually scorched one tray as I was busy blogging about them. But its OK because I once heard on the Benny Hinn show (of all the shows on earth)that burnt food is good for you as it detoxifies the system.I started to have great faith in that and console myself whenever I incinerate anything edible with those words of sagacity.

Smarty (P)ants

Two nights in a row when i got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom my butt was stung by a million ants 'sleeping ' on the

commode raiser. We have an extra commode raiser to increase the height of the toilet seat for my Mum. I had to take reluctant nocturnal 'sleepwalking ' baths to get rid of the pests. When we asked our sanitation worker why this was happening, he said maybe they are doing that to keep themselves cool. Wow what an idea! Ants are evolving into superior beings...Hollywood was correct. All those movies about insects, animals and mutants attacking humans. We have removed the ant 's cradle to discourage them from taking
refuge in there.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

This is the way the cookie crumbles

Got up early in the morning to bake chocolate chip cookies to serve after church this evening. I have to finish all my electricity related chores before 10 am when the power goes off till 1 pm or after. Got everything ready only to discover that my chocolate wouldn 't stay chipped, it melted. I don 't have the correct chocolate, I just bought the ordinary chocolate slab thinking it would work. So I made some iced cookies and some choc. cookies. The chips are missing...cry...cry.I was doing this because the chocolate chip cookies available in the shops are so expensive , I thought I 'd make my own to economize.But this is the way the cookie crumbles.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

The biggest loser

Saw 'The Biggest Loser ' and felt so sorry of these obese young people. It is not entertainment but rather inspirational. if they can try to lose weight then so can people like me who need to lose just a few pounds. I don 't want to sound superior though. I feel rather sad for the contestants.

The top picture is a view of room coolers fitted in windows (ones on the right side) This picture is a close up of a window cooler (American one) but we have similar ones.This is a portable room cooler which we have in our living room. We have a window cooler too.

It was 43*C close to 110*F today and the hot wind called loo was blowing making everything dusty. The evaporative window cooler also sucks in dust

Little Artist

This is my younger sister Namrita and her sons Rayguel and Myshell (named by their north eastern Dad...the north east people have ridiculous names BTW)

Ray (6 yrs) won a painting competition and got Rs 100 as a prize.He is a budding artist. Myshell likes to write stories and jokes and sports activities.