Two Plus One

Today morning, 29 February 2029, on my way to work, my gaze fell on a family of five (Mom, Dad, and three children) walking ahead of me in a single file with grave expressions on their faces. Something was definitely amiss. But what? I asked myself

A second later, it became clear.

1. Three children, far too many these days.

2. They were all skinny and emaciated.

3. The most glaring fact was that the eldest child, age about five, following his parents with a bag hanging by its straps from the back of his head was barefooted.

His parents held the other two small children tightly against their chests.

And then it occurred to me that the boy’s feet would have been inside proper shoes if those other two children hadn’t come into this world. They would have all been better fed and that boy would have probably been walking to school instead of some other goddamned, abusive, violence filled environment. Which only shows how ignorant and irresponsible we Indians are as a whole about the importance of family planning.

Every Government, while implenting new social schemes, must also promote family planning, otherwise all efforts will be wasted. The benefits will not be sufficient for everyone.

See the pic on top. That’s the concept the government must push. Two plus one. It’s the need of the hour.

A Deserted Home

Last month, I wrote about a dog family with five little puppies. It was the worst time to be a newborn on the cold, hard streets with Delhi’s winter breaking all previous records. But, thanks to a good Samaritan, they were luckier and survived.

They had food, water, a warm rug to sleep on, a roof over their heads and they appeared to be loved.

Every morning, on my way to work, I always found the five puppies and their Mom fast asleep, curled up together into a single mass, with their eyes shut, blocking the cruel, heartless world out of their lives, if only for a little while. Each time, as I clicked their pics, I thought theirs, at least, was going to be a happy story.

I was wrong. My young 23-year-old daughter broke the bad news to me yesterday.

She said, “Nina Aunty visited them last night. She was not surprised as she keeps rescuing stray dogs. The mother dog (I hate to use the word bitch because of its abusive tone) had left. One puppy was dead. Three had disappeared. The only one left was in great distress, crying bitterly. She brought him to her home. She gave him food, milk, medicines, blankets, and the most important thing, her love and attention.”

She already has a 17-year-old dog whom she rescued when he was three years old. Most people adopt only little puppies because older dogs are unfriendly and difficult to train, but Nina was patient enough and managed to cope with him.

Let’s hope her two adopted dogs get on well with each other.

I am not a dog lover, but for several minutes I remained benumbed after I heard this.

Wryly, I told myself, unplanned parenthood is a curse.

Everyone can’t be like Nina. But the pain and misery, at least, of those poor, hapless dogs can be surely minimized by preventing births of more unwelcome puppies. The municipal bodies and civic authorities ought to sterilize all stray dogs roaming out there on the streets.

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, are you listening?

Beetroot Tikkis – II

Two years ago, I wrote about how my beetroot chutney evolved into beetroot tikkis. Click below.

https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/birth-of-a-beetroot-tikki/

And last Sunday, 9 February 2020, I made potato-beetroot Tikkis for breakfast. My family loved them and I was happy to see them disappear in a jiffy. But I got far greater satisfaction from the fact that I could finally put a jarful of corn flakes, which were close to their expiry date, to a good use.

Here are the step-by-step pics. They are self-explanatory.

1. First assemble all the ingredients, boiled potatoes, green coriander, curry leaves, grated beetroot, salt, coriander powder, jeera powder, red chilli powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste in a mixing utensil. Also add a handful of frozen peas and about 2 cups of corn flakes powder (not shown here) got after microwaving cornflakes and grinding them in a mixie.

2. Mash and gather it all into a soft dough.

3. Take out little rolls in your palm and shape them as Tikkis.

5. Deep fry the Tikkis in a karahi in batches. Don’t overcrowd them.

6. Once they turn brown all over, take them out and place them in a sieve. Don’t keep them on tissue paper, as they may become soggy and lose their crispiness.

Have them with a chutney or any other dip of your choice.

We had them with green chutney made from green mint and coriander leaves, green chillies, lemon juice, and peanuts. I removed the stalks of coriander twigs and put them into the Tikkis dough (see pic 1) instead of the chutney as they make the chutney bitter. See below.

Note: If you don’t have cornflakes, you can instead use rice powder, or soaked poha, or microwaved and powdered bread/oats, or semolina (sooji) as binding agent.

Enjoy!