Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cherish the aspiration

What we truly and earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense we are. The mere aspiration, by changing the frame of the mind, for the moment realizes itself.

Anna Brownell Jameson

PS: I received this in a mail from

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's love that is cooking

Since the food we prepare, touching it with our hands and our feelings, will go inside the bodies of our friends and loved ones, we should be aware that we are involved in a very delicate, subtle, yet powerful alchemical process. Cooking is not a secondary activity, something you do with one hand (while the other holds a cigarette), nor something you do with one eye (while the other is watching television). No. Cooking has to be recognized for what it is: a noble, loving, caring, alchemical activity, which can determine our physical, psychological and emotional health. Once you become aware of this, your attitude is bound to change. You realize how deeply you can heal (or poison) someone with your daily cooking. You see to the well-being of the people you are feeding, and accept that existence is all about nourishing the ones you love. You will be overwhelmed with gratitude and with the responsibility of such a blessing. And you will wish that you could nourish them better and better, for this will become your greatest joy in life, and you will not wish to spend a day without cooking for them.

And finally, after fifty years, I cannot keep the secret to myself any more. The greatest secret about the alchemical art of cooking is this: it's love that is cooking.

NOTE: This is from a wonderful book called Food is Home written by Sarjano who is from Italy. He was in charge of the kitchen at the Osho Ashram in Pune for over twenty years.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The beauty of doing nothing

This is a sweet expression. Bel far niente means "the beauty of doing nothing." Now listen--Italians have traditionally always been hard workers, especially those long-suffereing laborers known as braccianti (so called because they had nothing but the brute strength of their arms--braccie--to help them survive in this world). But even against that backdrop of hard work, bel far niente has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement. You don't necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either. There's another wonderful Italian expression: l'arte d'arrangiarsi--the art of making something out of nothing. The art of turning a few simple ingredients into a feast, or a few gathered friends into a festival. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.

From Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, published by Bloomsbury. Pg 64-65

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ma and God

God gave us fingers - Ma says, "Use your fork."
God gave us voices - Ma says, "Don't scream."
Ma says eat broccoli, cereal and carrots.
But God gave us tasteys for maple ice cream.

God gave us fingers - Ma says, "Use your hanky."
God gave us puddles - Ma says, "Don't splash."
Ma says, "Be quiet, your father is sleeping."
But God gave us garbage can covers to crash.

God gave us fingers - Ma says, "Put your gloves on."
God gave us raindrops - Ma says, "Don't get wet."
Ma says be careful, and don't get too near to
Those strange lovely dogs that God gave us to pet.

God gave us fingers - Ma says, "Go wash 'em."
But God gave us coal bins and nice dirty bodies.
And I ain't too smart, but there's one thing for certain -
Either Ma's wrong or else God is.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


This is something Lakshmi Chandra, a dear professor friend of mine sent as an SMS forward:
"When you are feeling stressed and about to break down, remember: STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backwards. It's a piece of cake!"

Writing for Children

“That, it seems to me, is the secret. You just indulge the pleasure of your heart. You write not for children but for yourself, and if, by good fortune, children enjoy what you enjoy, why then you are a writer of children’s books…No special credit to you, but simply thumping good luck. Every writer wants to have readers, and than children there are no better readers in the world.”
- Arthur Ransome

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tree House

A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.

A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all -
Let's go live in a tree house.

- Shel Silverstein

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Growing happier

I have grown happier with every year of life as though gradually conquering something in myself, for certainly my miseries were not made by others but were a part of my own mind.

- W. B. Yeats

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hug O' War

I will not play at tug o'war.
I'd rather play at hug o'war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

- Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends


Friendship is not a condition that naturally arises because people are in contact with one another; rather, it is a bond of trust and love that must evolve according to mutually agreed-upon standards of interaction.

- Mick Fedullo, Light of the Feather

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Peace begins with a smile.

- Mother Teresa

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Previous Occupant

The landlady says he lived here
for years. There’s enough missing
for me to know him. In the empty shelves,
absent books gather dust: Neruda. Cavafy.
I know he knew their poetry, by heart
the lines I love.

From a half-torn horoscope I learn
his sign: Aquarius, just like me.
A half-empty Flexsol in the cabinet:
he wore soft lenses. Yes, Aquarians are vain.
And no anthems on their lips, they travel
great distances. He came from some country
as far as Chile.

She says the apartment
will be cleaned by the 1st:

But no detergent will rub his voice from the air
though he has disappeared in some country
as far as Chile.
The stains of his thoughts still cling
in phrases to the frost on the windows.

And though he is blinded in some prison,
though he is dying in some country
as far as Chile,
no spray will get inside the mirror
from where his brown eyes,
brown, yes, brown,
stare as if for years he’d been
searching for me.

Now that he’s found me,
my body casts his shadow everywhere.
He’ll never, never, move out of here.

- Agha Shahid Ali

Islands of Integrity

I don't believe that the solutions in society will come from the left or the right or the north or the south. They will come from islands within those organizations, islands of people with integrity who want to do something.

- Karl-Henrik Robert

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the Earth
let's not speak in any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victory with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the Earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

- Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

With all of me

After the evening meal was finished and all the bits and pieces put away, Anna and I would settle down to some activity, generally of her choosing. Fairy stories were dismissed as mere pretend stories; living was real and living was interesting, and by and large, fun. Reading the Bible wasn't a great success. She tended to regard it as a primer, strictly for the infants. The message of the Bible was simple and any half-wit could grasp it in thirty minutes flat! Religion was for doing things, not for reading about doing things. Once you had got the message there wasn't much point in going over and over the same old ground. Our local parson was taken aback when he asked her about God. The conversation went as follows:

"Do you believe in God?"
"Do you know what God is?"
"What is God then?"
"He's God!"
"Do you go to church?"
"Why not?"
"Because I know it all!"
"What do you know?"
"I know to love Mister God and to love people and cats and dogs and spiders and flowers and trees" -- and the catalog went on -- "with all of me."

Carol grinned at me, Stan made a face, and I hurriedly put a cigarette in my mouth and indulged in a bout of coughing. There's nothing much you can do in the face of that kind of accusation, for that's what it amounted to. ("Out of the mouth of babes...") Anna had bypassed all the nonessentials and distilled centuries of learning into one sentence: "And God said love me, love them, and love it, and don't forget to love yourself."

Note: The above passage is from a heartwarming book called 'Mister God, This is Anna' by Fynn. Do read it.