Ghughni Simplified…

After days of feasting, it feels good to return to the joys of simple eating…No oil, no green chillies, no green coriander, no tomatoes, no ginger…

Ingredients: Boiled chickpeas, lemon juice, onions, whole jeera and dhania powder, chilli powder and salt as per taste.

Process: Mix all ingredients with spices, salt and lemon juice as per taste.

See photo above. Enjoy…

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Cream & Strawberry Crackers

Last night, after dinner, I had a sudden craving for something sweet. We had some mithais lying in the fridge, but I wanted to eat something different. I had neither the time nor the energy for any more cooking and something had to be done, I thought. My urge was simply uncontrollable. That was when an idea came to my mind.

I rushed to the kitchen and created a plate of cream and strawberry crackers. See the photo above. I was amazed to find that it took me just 2 minutes!

I wondered why I didn’t do this earlier. Well, necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it?

A Peaceful Procession

Main Akela hi chala tha janib-e-manzil Magar log saath aate gaye aur karwaan banta gaya…These are famous lines in Urdu by Majrooh Sultanpuri…Meaning: I began walking alone towards my destination, but people kept joining in and a procession formed.

On the cool, balmy morning of 4 November 2018 (Sunday), while I was on my way to work, I came across this procession of South Indian Christians. I was intrigued because Christians in Delhi are a generally quiet, reserved lot. They never flaunt their identity so openly, unlike so many other communities.

They looked quite cute, I must say. Some of them were dressed in traditional attire. But the best part was that they didn’t have loudspeakers. They carried red flags, umbrellas, and little candles in paper glasses. Some of them sang hymns from their prayer books.

See more photos below.

A red car with their banner on its front side and Marigold garlands all over it moved slowly ahead of everyone…

Sometimes I wonder why some religions like this one proudly bear the label ‘Orthodox.’ A religion is, after all, supposed to be liberating, all-inclusive, tolerant of differences of opinion while the word ‘Orthodox’ implies rigidity, inflexibility, and intolerance of divergent ideas…

Anyway, may God bless these people and I hope the day brings them great joy and happiness while walking together peacefully with the name of the Lord on their lips.

Awards And Recognition

Recognition is a wily, tricky little thing.

Some people get it so easily that it goes to their heads. They make mistakes and their short-lived euphoria soon gives way to crippling frustration.

And some people achieve recognition the harder way; after a lot of struggle, pain, and misery. By then they become so inured and so deeply humbled that recognition loses its sheen. They remain grounded and keep adding new milestones through sheer will-power and self-motivation. I consider myself lucky to belong to this second category.

On 21st September 2018, I participated in Volkswagen’s Sarvottam Skill Championship for dealerships in their Gurgaon Training Center as a Lead CR, Sales. It was as per prior nomination by my dealership.

Although my colleagues said that I was a strong contender because of my long experience, I personally had no expectations whatsoever as my association with Volkswagen so far had been for only last 6 months. I was there only to enjoy the learning experience.

A customer care manager’s job in a car dealership is, in fact, one of the most thankless ones in this world. You hardly ever get any appreciation for all those little things you do quietly behind the scenes that enable the other departments in achieving their targets and walking away with all the awards and applause. When you slave like that for almost 2 decades in a highly male-dominated environment, you kind of lose all interest in awards and you just learn to take life as it comes.

It was with this nonchallant state of mind that I took part in all the different rounds of the CR Sales Skill contest.

The gold winner’s name for Sales CR profile was announced towards the end. I was completely taken aback when that name turned out to be mine. For the first time in my life, I was a gold medallist!

Here are the pics.

On my way home, even the evening sky carried a huge rainbow; specially for me, it seemed.

But, of course, no celebration is complete till you share it with your family and all those friends who stood with you through the tough days…..

I have now qualified for the National Round due in December 2018 in Pune and I hope my calmness of mind lasts through this event as well.

Do wish me good luck, dear readers. I need all the good wishes I can gather.

Fast Food Stunts

Developing countries like India are, I think, like curious, innocent toddlers. They eagerly put everything they find into their mouths and provide ready, lucrative markets for the multinationals.

Take CCD (Cafe’ Coffee Day) outlets in Delhi NCR, for instance. Their food items and beverages are exorbitantly priced. But they still have a huge clientele because their overall ambience provides an ideal setting for many special occasions where price is not the main consideration…A quiet date, a family outing, a business meeting, an interview, etc…And sometimes, you might even spot a small group of young people just lounging around over coffee and clicking selfies with pouting lips.

But India is changing. Very fast. Living standards and expectations are improving. New fast food chains like Burger King and some local outlets in are proliferating. Not only are they offering healthy, wholesome food at reasonable prices, they have swanky premises too.

CCD is, I think, already beginning to feel the pinch of rising competition and decreasing profits. You often find them using different marketing gimmicks, which looks rather pitiable and amusing, as their basic characteristic of high prices remains immutable.

Recently while passing by through Rajiv Chowk Metro Station on my way home from work , I came across this poster outside a CCD outlet. (See below)

It gave the impression that all those tasty items were on sale for Rs.29. Out of curiosity, I walked in. To my utter disappointment, however, I discovered that the only item costing Rs.29 was their ‘Bun Chaska Masala,’ which after adding GST changed to Rs.30.

Their counter sales person must have sensed the way I felt at that time and he urged me to try a combo instead. But that was going to be from Rs.51 onwards, he said. Not being someone who gives up easily, I told him I will have just the bun.

His next question was, “Will you eat it here or should we pack it?”

“Pack it, please,” I said.

“Okay, please wait for 5 minutes.”

The dish that finally arrived on my table wasn’t packed and I had to eat it there. Here, take a look.

Waiting, waiting, waiting….

Just a pair of buns, butter, and sauce; no filling!

Well, the burger disappeared into my belly soon thereafter without giving me any joy. So I came out and searched for something else…

While I walked on, I came across another CCD. They had a pair of counter sales persons repeatedly calling out in a chorus, “Welcome to Cafe’ Coffee Day.” That was obviously another sales gimmick and coming from CCD, it seemed to be very self-demeaning indeed. See this pic below.

And then, further ahead, I found a Burger King restaurant.

To my pleasant surprise, they had a scheme of 2 veg. burgers at Rs. 62, that is, one for Rs.31, with each veg. burger containing a potato-and-peas patty, onion, and some mayonnaise. By the time I boarded the metro train at Rajiv Chowk, my hunger pangs were gone and I had a surprise treat too in my bag for my daughter, a Burger King veg. burger!

There you go! See these pics below.

Well, it does pay to be a discerning customer, doesn’t it?

We Want Justice

Photo courtesy: Google

After reading this article (see link below) on November 1984 riots, I was completely shell shocked!

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/1984-anti-sikh-riots-1984-sikh-massacre-operation-bluestar-congress-jagdish-tytler-kamal-nath/story/1/21828.html

The article makes it quite clear that the plan to selectively massacre Sikhs was hatched much before Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. It was meticulously and systematically executed, like a highly focused corporate marketing campaign with accurate demographic data. It was not a knee jerk reaction.

A political party and a government that join hands to inflict pain and suffering on the very people they are supposed to serve have no right to exist in a democracy.

For a lay person like me with no knowledge of law, it is hard to understand why our courts are unable to punish the guilty in spite of so many witnesses and huge piles of evidence with complete details of damage caused, both to human lives and property.

The only reason we can think of is manipulation of legal records and a toothless judicial system that allows criminals and murderers to walk freely.

Already 34 years have passed since the Sikhs’ massacre and the only thing the government can do now is offer compensation! For people who saw scores of their loved ones murdered in cold blood right in front of their eyes, no compensation can be enough.

Ever since independence, our leaders have only had ulterior motives behind all new initiatives and all they seem to have done is divide and rule. Sometimes, like Hitler, they go after a certain community. In November 1984, it was the turn of Sikhs.

India takes great pride in being a nation of diversities and peaceful coexistence is the only way we can survive and prosper. By planting fears, both real and imagined, in the minds of people, our leaders force us to move with shackled feet as a nation while smaller countries like Japan, Singapore make great strides…

Come 2019 and all political parties will seek our votes. It is time to wake up and remain vigilant. Let’s bring out better people, leaders who can bring in positive change instead of unleashing bloodthirsty hounds upon us. That’s the only way to save our country.

Thank God, we have the NOTA (none of the above) option too now. It can serve as a very powerful tool in compelling political parties to pitch candidates who will work the way they are supposed to, as public servants, not as masters.

Why should netas have all the fun?

photo-blog with non-fiction content

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