Monday, June 30, 2008

Rasammmm yummmmm....

I was having rasam for lunch today and wondered why it is not as famous as the South Indian Sambar. For some reason rasam has always received a step-motherly treatment. According to me, rasam is one of the most ignored/under-rated recipes of the south. For those who are not familiar yet, it is ‘The Soup’ of the south. Probably has the least nutrition value among other famous dishes, but tastes better than most.

The Malayalees and the Tamilians call it Rasam (more popularly called), in Andhra it is Chaaru and Saaru in Karnataka. There are a lot of varieties of rasam and different parts of the same state have different versions of the same variety. That shows how versatile rasam is. Some of the more popular ones are the plain rasam, pepper rasam, tomato rasam, lemon rasam, mango rasam, Ullava chaaru, ginger rasam, garlic rasam and coriander rasam.

My all time favorite is the Pepper Rasam (miriyala chaaru). Pepper rasam tastes best with mutton fry and my mom knows the secret recipe (slurp slurp). One of the tastiest rasams I had had in the recent past was the one my mom-in-law made from ‘Rasakoot’. It is a Kerala rasam powder that comes in small packets and is found in the typical Kerala store. She discovered this ‘magic in small packet’ when she went to visit her sister in Mumbai (Ironic nah!)

Rasam is truly one of my favorite items in a South Indian meal. It is easy to make, tastes awesome, smells delicious, one needs no culinary skills to make it and you can get as creative as you want. Try this instead of regular dal while having rich spicy food, it helps in easy digestion. And it can be stored in your fridge for a week. After all it’s just spiced tamarind water. By the way, no matter what type of rasam you make, do not forget to add a pinch of hing. Eat it with hot rice or drink it just like that. Next time you have flu try this instead of the regular chicken soup.

Actually, don’t wait for the flu. Just have it…just like that!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What’s here for the boys?

In my last post I talked about what life here in KSA is like. And we all agree that this place is unfair to women, with all the restrictions and the forced dependency. The Shiv Sena (no offense) would probably think this is how the youth of our country should be too. And the hard core MCP’s (with all offense) would think this is how women need to live... "They don’t need freedom and they don’t deserve a driving license."

But what’s in here for the boys?
This place is the oil treasure of the world with a lot of industries dealing with oil by-products. My husband’s company (which is a huge petroleum based company) does not have a single woman employee. Well, most companies here are like that. All they can see around in their office is male population. Isn’t that horrible? Would they have the desire to look smart left in them? Wouldn’t all of them enjoy some female attention at work? Isn’t work place more fun when there is a mix of the sexes? Don’t the chances of having a female boss make work more challenging (most guys find it stressful)?

There is no concept of ‘catching up with old friends over a drink’ (unless you are talking about a variety of tea, coffee or a non-alcoholic beverage).

Boys, even men, can’t get a glimpse of a woman. They are all covered head to toe. They don’t know what their female cousins look like. All they have is images of how they looked as kids. Imagine a boy growing up not knowing what his dad’s friend’s daughter looks like. Can you imagine what it is like for a boy not to know what his sister’s best friend looks like? Imagine your father not knowing what you grand mother looks like. Imagine a little boy not knowing what his teacher looks like.

So I feel it’s not all that bad for me here. I can atleast look at other smart men, admire their broad shoulders and comment about their bellies to my husband. My poor husband, all he can do is look at a cute kid and wonder what its mom looks like ;)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life - The Burkha Way

Have you ever imagined what life was going to be if you (I am talking to the women) could not step out of your house alone? If there were no movie theaters in your city? If you (women again) were not allowed to drive? You can either be a doctor, a nurse or a teacher ONLY?

I never even thought of something like that, until I came to live it.

I am right now in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with my husband who is here on a project. He has been here for close to a year now. We got married in December last year and I joined him here in April. And the day I arrived here I realized how much I took a lot of things in life for granted.

The day I landed here we stepped out for lunch at about 12’ish. I sincerely wore my ‘burkha’ (which I bought before coming here). The Muslim and the Saudi women here need to cover their hair too. The others are spared (Thank God for small mercies!). We were walking to a restaurant closest to our place and I can’t explain how I felt…I don’t know if I was confused or scared. There was not a single woman on the road but there were men of all ages and sizes slowing down on the pavements and on the roads to ogle. Not that there are no women here, but seeing a women on the road, in the afternoon on a working day was not usual here.

It did not take me too long to learn the Do’s and Don’t’s of this place as there are very few do’s. This place has no movies or pubs. Photography in public places is prohibited. Shops and restaurants close during the “Salah” (the prayer time). Women are not allowed to drive and the career options for women here are being a doctor, a nurse or a teacher only. No access to Orkut (you read that right) and you will rarely find a woman walking alone on the road, no matter what time of the day.

Every restaurant here (even the McD and KFC) have a separate sections for families and bachelors. There are some eating joints exclusively for bachelors and shopping malls exclusively for families.

I know all this sound funny, idiotic and stupid. It is. And a lot of you would be thinking why on earth any woman would want to go to a place like this. The answer to that, I guess, is ‘priorities’.

I worked for 5 years away from home, partied with friends, had girl’s night outs, and never needed a man to pay for my dinner. And I decided to get married when I knew I was willing to put ‘family’ on top of my list. And here I am with the love of my life enjoying every bit of what life offers while we are here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My First Post

Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and now Karan Johar too started blogging. So I thought high time I should start too.
Ok, the actual reason why I thought of blogging is because I have a lot of free time these days. I want to read, write and communicate more. Also I guess this is a nice way to write what I think in general about simple stuff in life. That's what most people do right? And all said and done, it's nice to have a personal space in this Wide Weird World ;).... Just Like That!