Made perfect through suffering


A tract from a passage in ‘Streams of the desert’:

I kept for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is a entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibres having taken place.–The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all—-and it never is without great labour and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.-

I happened to witness the first efforts of my imprisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out It never seemed able to go beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted.. Very probably, the confining fibre were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than is Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining t hreads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo immediately, and with perfect ease, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shrivelled wings. In vain I watched to see the marvellous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of diverse colours which were all there in miniature. I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain.

My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings. I have thought of it often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow and distress, and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man ! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared ? The far-sighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Because our Father loves His children, He chastise them ( He whom God loveth, he chastiseth ) He spares not for their crying. Made perfect through suffering, they are brought to glory through much tribulation.

Eggless cakes recipes

yoghurt-cake(1) MOIST EGGLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE———Nishta Asrani.

Dry Ingredients :——1cup flour; 1cup powdered sugar; 1/2 cup cocoa powder; 1tsp baking powder; 1tsp baking soda; 12tsp salt.

Wet Ingredients :—-1/2cup oil; 1/2cup hot water; 1/2cup cold milk; 1tbsp vanilla essence; 2tbsp yoghurt (dahi).

Method :—-Pre-heat oven to 180degreeC. Grease a baking tin with some vegetable oil. Take the Dry Ingredients—-flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt——–in a bowl. Keep aside. In another bowl, whisk together 1/2cup oil and 1/2cup hot water till well blen——ded. let it cool down a bit. Once done, add milk and vanilla essence. Mix well. Now gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk them together. Pour the whole into the greased tin. Bake it in the oven for 35-40mins at 160degrees or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Smother some chocolate ganache / sauce on the cake.

(2) EGGLESS ATTA CAKE :—-Poonam Gupta.

Ingredients :—-2cups atta (whole wheat flour); 1-2cups sugar; 1/2tbsp baking powder; 1 1/2tbsp soda bicarbonate (meetha soda); 2tbsp cinnamon; 3/4cup refined oil; 1cup curd; water to be added according to consistency of batter. Walnuts,/raisins/figs for garnishing. (optional).

Preheat oven to 200degrees C

Method:—-Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend the curd and oil together in another bowl. Then mix the dry ingredients into this bowl and blend well. Bring it to DRIPPING CONSISTENCY, adding water, if needed. Oil the bottom of a baking dish. Bake at 170degree C for 1hour, 15mins., checking at intervals. Cut and serve, when cool.

(3) MARBLE CAKE :————-Tarla Dalal.

Ingredients : 140gms. maida; 2tsp (levelled) baking powder; 1/2tsp baking soda; 1/2tin (200gms) condensed milk; 60ml melted butter; 1tsp vanilla essence; 1tbsp cocoa powder; 2tsp powdered sugar (for soaking). Chocolate Butter Icing; grated chocolate and cherries for garnishing.

Method : Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Mix condensed milk, flour, melted butter, vanilla essence and 1/2teacup water. Divide the mixture into 2 parts. In one part, add the cocoa and mix well. Grease and dust a 175mm (7″) diameter ring mould tin. Put 1tbsp of each mixture alternatively in the tin. Make another layer over the first, but this time put the cocoa mixture over the white mixture and vice versa. Bake in oven for 25mins. Cool the cake. Dissolve the sugar in 1/2teacup of water and soak the cake thoroughly in the sugar syrup. Cover with chocolate butter icing. Decorate with grated chocolate and cherries and serve.


red-mermaid-sleeveless-brocade-cheongsam-qipao-chinese-wedding-dress-d6900e7d-600x800CHEONGSAM is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for Women. The male version is the CHANGSHAN. It is known in Mandarin Chinese as the QIPAO and is also known in English as a MANDARIN GOWN. The stylish and often tight-fitting Cheongsam, that is best known today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and made fashionable by socialites and upper-class women.

The English ‘loanword’ cheongsam comes from CHEUHNGSAAM, the Cantonese pronunciation of the Shanghainese term ZANZE, by which the original tight-fitting form was first known. In Hong Kong, where many Shanghai tailors fled to after the Communist Revolution in China, the word CHEUHNGSAAM may refer to either male or female garments.

Traditionally, usage in western countries mostly followed the original Shanghainese usage and applies the Cantonese-language name CHEONGSAM to a garment worn by women. The original CHEONGSAM was wide and loose and covered most of the woman’s body, revealing only the head, hands and tips of toes. With time, the Cheongsam were tailored to become more form-fitting and revealing. As western fashions changed, the basic Cheongsam design changed, too, introducing high-necked sleeveless dresses, bell-like sleeves and the black lace frothing at the hem of the ball gown. Cheongsam were replaced by more comfortable clothing such as jeans, sweaters, business suits and skirts. Due to its restrictive nature, it is now mainly worn as FORMAL WEAR for important occasions. Today, Cheongsam are only commonly worn day-to-day by some people —-restaurant hostesses and serving staff at luxury hotels, for instance, as uniform.

The CHEONGSAM is also known as QIPAO and is the garment for women. The male version is known as CHANGSHAN or CHANGPAO. The CHANGSHAN are traditionally worn in pictures, weddings and other formal events. A black CHANGSHAN, along with a rounded black hat, was, and sometimes still is , the burial attire for Chinese men.

Think on these things…

inner-beauty-pic1When one sees the extraordinary beauty and quiet of the countryside, one inwardly asks oneself : WHAT IS BEAUTY ? To understand what beauty is, to have the sense of goodness which comes when the mind and heart are in communion with something lovely without any hindrance so that one feels completely at ease —-surely this has great significance in life. Until we know this response to beauty, our lives will be very shallow.——————————————WHAT IS BEAUTY ?

Cleanliness, neatness, a smile, graciousness, the rhythm of walking, good manners, clarity of speech, thoughtfulness, punctuality– all this is part of beauty. But IT IS ONLY THE SURFACE. There is beauty of form, of design, beauty of life. You may possess all good qualities, but without this INWARD SENSE OF BEAUTY, all the external appurtenances of beauty lead to a very superficial, sophisticated life, a LIFE WITHOUT MUCH SIGNIFICANCE.

So, WHAT IS REAL BEAUTY ? It is INWARD BEAUTY that gives GRACE, an EXQUISITE GENTLENESS to outward form and movement. Can a shallow mind appreciate beauty ? It may talk about it, but it cannot experience the welling up of immense joy upon looking at something that is really lovely. When there is inward goodness, the ugly face is transformed, for inward goodness is really a deeply religious feeling.

Excerpts from THINK ON THESE THINGS —J.Krishnamurti.

Sacred space

anger_quoteDON’T BE ANGRY :

(1) If an evil comes and creates a disturbance, you should hold your peace. You must not angrily upbraid him; then he who has come to curse you will merely harm himself.—-Sutra of Forty-two Sections

(2) There are three ways of handling anger ; By EXPRESSION, by SUPPRESSION and by FORGIVENESS. The right way to overcome anger is BY FORGIVENESS.——Dada J.P.Vaswani.

(3) All anger is about something which has already happened. Is it of any use getting angry about something which you cannot alter ? ————Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

(4) The best fighter is NEVER ANGRY.—-Laozi.

(5) The fly cannot be driven away by getting angry at it.—–Idoma Proverb.

(6) It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh AT THE SAME TIME. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.—-Wayne Dyer.

He keeps the key

heart-key-300x254Is there some problem in your life to solve

Some passage seeming full of mystery ?

God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.


Is there some door closed by the Father’s hand

Which widely opened you had hoped to see ?

trust God and wait—-for when He shuts the door


Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet

Or answered NOT as you had thought ‘twould be ?

God will make clear His purpose by-and-by


Have patience with your God, your patient God

All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He

And of the door of all thy future life


Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest

To know of EVERY door He keeps the key,

That He at last when just HE sees ’tis best

will give it THEE.


Therefore, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgement absolutely to God, and ask Him to shut against you every door BUT THE RIGHT ONE. In the meanwhile, continue along the path which you have been already treading. Abide there, unless you are clearly told to do something else.

Random quotes

Quotes-random-17504885-540-473(1) Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

(2)  Ignorance is the curse of God ; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to Heaven.

(3)  All of us are pilgrims on this earth.  I have even heard it said that the EATH ITSELF IS A PILGRIM IN THE HEAVENS.

(4) A patient does not care how much you know, until they know HOW MUCH YOU CARE.

(5) Life is about BREATHTAKING MOMENTS.  Life is not about how many breaths we take, but how about THEY TAKE OUR BREATH AWAY.

(6) A glutton’s greedy sense of taste, shows little sense, but LOTS OF WAIST.

(7) A dream you dream alone, is only a dream.  A dream you dream together is REALITY.

(8) Talent jogs to conclusions to which Genius takes giant leaps.

(9) No man can safely rejoice, unless he POSSESSES the TESTIMONY of a GOOD CONSCIENCE.

(10) When you stand dithering, you will not get what you want, and you will not want what you get.

(11) Expect problems, and eat them for breakfast.


Indian ingredients yet to be explored

Jazz up your dishes by incorporating these unexplored Indian ingredients you may know of but never used skilfully in your cooking.

bathua_patte_208711777(1) BATHUA : or lamb’s quarter is quite popular in North India, where is cultivated, and is available in the winter months.  A wild relative of the spinach plant, it is cooked in the same way as spinach.  However, it should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of OXALIC ACID.  Culinary uses :  The young leaves and smaller stems can be eaten raw in salads, add to stir-fried veggies or used to make raita.  Moreover, it can be used as stuffing in breads and pakodas.  It can be mixed with other greens and lentils to make dals.  For experimentation, add it to dough to give a distinctive taste to rotis and parathas.

img_1421_800_cookery-white(2) KACHAMPULI :  Is dark, tart vinegar which is made out of the fruit of a plant native to coastal states.  It is an indispensable ingredient in the Kodava cuisine of Coorg.  Culinery uses :  Kachampuli is usually used in the final stages of cooking, mainly in meat and fish dishes, most famously in pork curry to lend it a special flavour..  It is a souring and thickening agent that can be used as a marinade.  Its reasonable substitute is dark brown malt vinegar, although it will never give you the rich, dark colour of Kachampuli.

egusiseeds(3) MELON SEEDS :  Also known as CHARMAGAZ, melon seeds are a mixture of pumpkin, cucumber, watermelon and muskmelon seeds.  Apart from having cooling properties, they are full of vital nutrients.  They lack any distinct fragrance, are nutty and have a sweet taste.  Culinary uses :  Soak them and grind them into a smooth paste when adding to Indian gravies.  The paste acts as a thickening agent.  They are also added to traditional halwas and fruit fudges for enhancing the flavour.  These seeds can be dried and roasted and treated as mouth fresheners when mixed with nuts and spices.

kdk_0331(4) GOLDEN APPLE :  These apples, with yellow coloured skin, are a cheap substitute for mangoes.  The pulp can be eaten but has a watery base.  They are the sweetest of all varieties and are eaten raw as well as used in cooking.  To store them well, wash them and keep them in perforated net bags or zip-lock bags in the refrigerator.  Culinary uses :  They are best used in salads to add colour and fruity taste.  You can also cut them into thin slices and spread over apple pudding or apple cake as garnish.  You can also core and stuff them with various fillings.

india-2(5) INDIAN VANILLA BEAN :  It is the second most expensive spice after saffron.  The fruit contains tiny, flavourless seeds.  Though there are many compounds present in the extracts of vanilla, the one called VANILLIN is primarily responsible for the characteristic flavour and smell of vanilla.  Culinary uses :  For a vanilla flavour in food, add vanilla extract or cook vanilla pods in the liquid preparation.  For a stronger aroma, split the pods into two, exposing more of the pod’s surface area to the liquid.  Apart from flavouring ice creams, it is also used to enhance the flavour of other substances such as chocolate, custard, coffee and caramel.

gulkand1(6) GULKAND :  Is preserved rose jam made out of a specific type of rose (damask) ans sugar.  Sometimes, other ingredients like cardamom, coral and pearl powder are added to it to increase ite medicinal and cooking properties.  Culinary uses :  It is eaten as a constituent of paan (betel leaf) with lime, primarily as a digestive and stress reliever.  It can also be stuffed into Indian sweets or added to kulfi or ice cream.  You can also use it to make rose-flavoured teas and drinks.

Get tipsy on tea


Bartenders  the world over have found a new muse in tea and are pushing the idea of mixing it with alcohol to create innovative cocktails menus.

Tea fits the bill because of the various options available in the market —–black, green, white and oolong tea, not to mention herbal varieties and exotic blends.  From Green tea mojito to Black tea Bourbon, the combinations are endless.  Tea is easy to use in drinks, very refreshing in taste and can give dramatic results.

Tea cocktails can easily be made at home by brewing the tea or simply infusing the tea bag in the liquor.  You can choose your regular tea, a fruity tea, a floral tea or a spiced tea, depending on what kind of cocktail you plan to make. The best way to prepare tea for a cocktail is to brew the tea: making it warm is the easiest way  to get the full flavour  from the herbs.  While serving, add a tray of fruits such as lemon wedges, orange slices, cherries along with the cocktail.  Not only do these garnishes add colour to the drink, they also add more flavour.

TIP :  However, it is important to chill the tea before adding it to these cocktails..  A simple way to do so is to pour the freshly brewed  tea into a glass or pitcher and pace that into the freezer for a few minutes.  Once chilled, this tea can be mixed with brandy, whiskey, vodka, tequila or rum along with other ingredients like herbs, spices and mixers.  Also, tea is very sensitive.  The longer you steep t the better it gets.  So be careful.

Tea Trivia : Using tea in cocktails is a method that has been used for a very long time.  During the British Empire Era and the spice trading boom, people added tea to a beverage favourite known as punch.  They found that tea added depth to the concoction, by giving it an herbaceous or sweet quality, which often brings out the definition of the drink or flavours that are already there.

————Times News Network.

Friedrich Schiller

Friedrich_schillerJohann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (10/11/1759—9/5/1805) was a German philosopher, poet, historian and playwright.

During the last 17 years of his life (1788–1805) he struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  They often discussed issues concerning aesthetics.  This relationship and these discussions led to a period, now referred to as WEIMER CLASSICISM.  They also worked together on XENIEN, a collection of short satirical poems, in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents to their philosophical visions.

Here are some of Schiller’s quotations :

(1) Stay true to the dreams of your youth.

(2) Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain.

(3) Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood, than in any truth that is taught in life.

(4) A tyrant’s power has a limit.

(5) The voice of the majority is no proof of justice.

(6) It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.

(7) Live with your century, but do not be its creature.

He also asserted that it is possible to elevate the moral character of a people, by first touching their souls with beauty.  In his poem DIE KUNSTLER (the artists) he wrote, “Only through Beauty’s morning-gate dost thou penetrate the land of knowledge”.