Escapist generation

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Today most people are more comfortable interacting virtually than face-to-face.  The previous generations are responsible for churning out a whole generation of people, who feel caged —— IF LEFT ALONE WITH THEIR THOUGHTS.  It is because they have replaced QUALITY TIME with fancy gizmos and technology has taken the place of relationships.  Addiction to these gizmos, makes people restless even if the Wi-Fi connectivity at their home is down. That leads to anxiety. 
 
Doctor Anu Goel, counselling psychologist says, “Sitting alone with your thoughts, puts you in a mode of reflection and that makes you deal with issues you otherwise don’t want to.  Gadgets are used as an ESCAPE MECHANISM.  When faced with some problem, instead of going to a counsellor, sit alone with your thoughts, and you will come up with some solution.  Because, the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOURSELF. 
 
 Social commentator, Santosh Desai, believes life, today, is a series of activities.   People are dependent on the world around for stimulation.  “Our previous generation didn’t face this problem.  They were conditioned to sit alone and make peace with their thoughts.  They did not feel the need to ‘manufacture’ stimulation from things around,” he says.  What would one do, if left alone in a room for 15mins ——- without a gadget or any other distraction ?  A study published recently in Science magazine, revealed that people, left in such a state would even agree to take minor shock treatments to alleviate the anxiousness that arises from being alone.  Timothy Wilson, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, US, asked participants, of all ages, to sit quietly in a room, by themselves, for 15mins ——– without music, phones or books.  The result : 67% men and 25% women, found the prospect so terrifying that instead of sitting idle, they chose to get shocked to deal with their solitude.  We are so addicted to our work smartphones, random chat with friends on social media and the constant chaos in our hyper-connected worlds, that the thought of sitting idle has become painful.  Wilson says, “The untutored mind does not like to be alone with itself.” ——-Shiv Visvanathan, sociologist says, “This generation may believe it is individualistic and profess the love for THEIR OWN SPACE, but, in reality, being alone is people’s greatest fear.  They need distractions and constant stimulation, all the time.  The cacophony around allows them to escape from introspection and facing the harsher facts of life.  This generation has re-interpreted the meaning of loneliness ———it’s not when you aren’t with another person around you ; it’s when you have no gadget to distract your mind.”
 
Rohini Singh, spiritual coach, author of “The Only Way Out Is Within,” says, “We are always trying to run away from our painful thoughts.  We have lost the habit of TURNING INWARDS, because our thoughts make us uncomfortable.  We are incapable of thinking without depressing ourselves.  Thoughts are just random energies that come and go.  They shouldn’t attach their reality to them.  Just like you don’t accept all friend requests on Facebook, DON’T ACCEPT ALL YOUR THOUGHTS.” 
 
Researchers say that a culture, which has trained many to enjoy constant stimulation, may have rendered quiet introspection and spending alone-time extinct.  Jodi Chapman. inspirational writer, confirms this, “Without the distractions of TV, internet, phones, games, our job, the outside world ——– There is no buffer between us and the questions we try so hard to avoid.”  So, if you spend time alone, you get to discover that YOU’RE GOOD COMPANY.
 
 
 
 
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The iBelieve generation

It is snobbery to expect humanity to stop believing in God because some smart people are ATHEISTS.  According to veteran writer Adam Gopnik, “Atheists have this monopoly for the same reason that computer manufacturers have an edge over crystal-ball makers: The advantages of having an actual explanation of things and processes are self-evident”  Gopnik’s statement perfectly encapsulates the intellectual claim of those who say God is dead and religion is false, says The Atlantic’s Emma Green.  The assumption, she says, is that atheists have legitimate knowledge ——– religious people do not. —-This assumption, this binary state, underlies the CULTURE WARS.  It’s also reinforced by leaders of both the religious and atheist groups of the West.  :One group wields rational argumentation and intellectual history as an indictment of God, while the other looks to tradition and text as defences against modernity’s encroachment on religious life,” writes Green. 
 
Green looks at a recently published book, The Age Of Atheists, by Peter Watson, a British historian.  “In listing the many ways people have dealt with the ‘death of God’, (Watson) also seems to imply that atheism has covered all intellectual bases.  There’s no longer no reason to believe in God or spirits or Black Magic.  Watson appears to say —– 19th and 20th century intellectuals have got it covered,” she writes.
 
Watson’s conclusion is that religious belief can no longer explain the complexity of today’s world.  But this is intellectual snobbery, says Green.  “Watson assumes that because a group of smart, respected, insightful people thought and felt their way out of believing in God, everyone else should, too.  Because intellectual history trends toward non-belief, human history must, too,” writes Green.  True, the West is probably less religious than it was 150 yrs ago, and the dynamics of belief and ritual have become much more complex.  But if you look at the sheer number of people who say they believe in God, it is an exaggeration to say that the ‘age of atheism’ is upon us, Green says.
 
 
 
 

Fusion fare

Chef Vivek Kapoor, with over 20yrs of experience, spent three months developing the menu at My Indian Oven restaurant on Richmond Road.  Most of it sounds like your standard Indian cuisine, but there’s a twist to this traditional fare.  The end result  are flavours that sound familiar but taste unique.
 
There’s Tandoor Jhinga — regular prawns in Tandoori masala cooked in a clay oven but here’s the twist: it’s then rolled in wasabi mayo.  Another dish — the Gicchi Qubuli —- a pulao made with rare Kashmiri morels. ——– the dessert menu is another case in point with concoctions such as Chocolate Dalchini Halwa and Masala Chai Custard.  These unusual flavours ad a new dimension to the food that we have known for ages.  Kapoor says, “The trick is to balance out the flavours.  Choose bland food items like phirni or custard and add new flavours.  Here he shares with us some of his signature recipes.
 
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(1) MASALA CHAI CUSTARD : —- Ingredients : 500ml cream, I vanilla pod, 100gm castor sugar, 6 Earl Grey tea bags, 90gm vanilla custard powder, 6 green cardamom pods, 20gm ginger, 20gm cinnamon, I star anise.  FOR THE CHIKKI : — 60gm roasted sesame seeds or amaranth, 60gm sugar. ——————– Method : —- Split vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cream in a saucepan. Add spices to the cream and bring it to a boil, then remove from heat.  Add tea bags and rest it in the mix for 10mins.  Bring vanilla custard to boil with some milk (as per pack instructions) and mix it in the cream.  Sieve the mixture and put it in the ramekin in double boiler at 145degrees for 45mins.  To make the chikki : — Melt the sugar on medium flame.  As soon as it caramalises, spread the caramel in a thin layer on a silpat (a silicon pastry mat, which is readily available in most supermarkets, works best as the caramel will come off easily) and sprinkle the sesame over it, then break into large pieces and garnish the custard with the caramalised shards.
 
(2) CHOCOLATE DALCHINI HALWA : —– Ingredients : 500gm atta, 500gm ghee, 500gm sugar, 600gm dark Belgian chocolate, 150ml milk, 50gm pine nuts, 20gm fried gond (edible gum)  METHOD : —-In a pan, heat ghee, add atta and stir till it is cooked.  Meanwhile, melt chocolate on a double boiler and keep aside.  Gradually add sugar to the atta and mix well.  Add melted chocolate to the halwa on a very slow flame.  Add milk till the halwa is of smooth consistency.  Garnish with pine nuts and fried gond.
 
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(3) TANDOORI JHINGA : —- Ingredients :  400gm prawns, 15gm ginger-garlic paste, salt to taste, 15ml lime juice (for the Tandoori masala), 80gm hung yogurt, 5gm red chilli powder, 5gm garam masala powder, 2gm ajwain (for wasabi mayo) 10gm wasabi, 25gm mayo. ——————–Method : —— Marinate the prawns with the ginger-garlic paste and lime for 30mins.  Then add the Tandoori masala ingredients and mix well.  Skewer and char-grill in the tandoor or oven.  Mix the wasabi and mayo and roll the prawns in this mix.  Serve hot with mint chutney.   Enjoy the twists.
 
 
 
 

THANK YOU!

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Speakzeasy reached a landmark (10,000 hits) on 5th September, 2014, on its journey from March 2013 to September 2014.  A BIG THANK YOU to all those who have visited speakzeasy.wordpress.com over a period of 1 and a half years.

The journey started in March 2013, with baby steps taken with a little bit of hesitation, trepidation and sometimes with some self-doubt.  There have been days, when I just didn’t feel like going on.  There were quite a few speed-breakers, that, for a moment, made me lose my perspective but the spirit was willing and the flesh weak, I had to literally haul myself up and continue.

I have garnered a lot of insights from the post of some of my viewers.  Those encouraged me to go on, albeit slowly.  In all the time I have been at this task of blogging, I must not fail to mention the one (my progeny) who got me started, in the first place.  Once on, he was very patient in nudging me along, sometimes with a small pat on my back (metaphorically) and sometimes with a tweak of my ear.  Without his encouraging and coaxing, I, probably, wouldn’t make it this far.  Thank you for your support.  

 

Here I am, happy that I made it, after all.——Please keep viewing ‘speakzeasy’ and sending in your comments.  Thank you, one and all of my viewers.

The beatitudes

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In Christianity, The BEATITUDES are a set of teachings, by Jesus, that begin : :Blessed are …………. ” and appear in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  The term BEATITUDE comes from the Latin noun BEATITUDO —— which means HAPPINESS.  In the Vulgate (Latin), the Book of Matthew titles this section BEATITUDINES and BEATITUDES was Anglicized from that term.
The Beatitudes describe 8 Blessings, in The Sermon On The Mount, in Matthew.  Each is a ‘proverb-like’ proclamation, without narrative, ‘cryptic, precise and full of meaning’.  Each one includes a TOPIC that forms a MAJOR BIBLICAL THEME.
 
Each Beatitude consists of 2 phrases : — the CONDITION and the RESULT.  In almost every case the CONDITION is from familiar Old Testament context, but Jesus teaches a new interpretation.  The Beatitudes present a new set of ideals, that focus on a Spirit of Love and Humility, different, in orientation, than the usual force and exaction taken.  They echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on Mercy, Spirituality and Compassion. 
 
Blessed are : —–
(1) * poor in spirit : for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven;
(2) * those that mourn : for they will be comforted ;
(3) * the meek : for they will inherit the earth ;
(4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness : for they will be filled ;
(5) * the merciful : for they will be shown mercy ;
(6) * the pure in heart : for they will see God ;
(7) * the peace-makers : for they will be called the children of God ;
(8) * those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake : for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 
 
The Mount of the Beatitudes (Hebrew : HAR HAOSHER), refers to a hill in Northern Israel, where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
 
 
 
 

Shape your life

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SHAPES affect our subconscious mind.  The energy and power of shapes can be effectively harnessed to change one’s life for the better.  From ancient times, shapes have been used in different rituals in the form of geometrical patterns, called YANTRAS & MANDALAS.
 
Interior designers make effective use of shapes in their designs.  Besides aesthetics, this is also because we respond differently to different shapes.  How and why can a shape affect our mind and life ?  The secret lies in the Theory of Five Elements.  According to the Theory, each shape belongs to one or the other of five elements —– water, air, fire, earth and space.  According to SANKHYA PHILOSOPHY, the world is made up of these five elements.  Their balance or imbalance decides the success or failure of efforts in that space.
 
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Shapes present easy and practical means to restore the balance of these five elements.  Geometrical patterns were meant to attract happiness, health and prosperity in the lives of the residents of a particular space or area.  Rituals, like making a RANGOLI or creation of VEDI during a traditional marriage are also to create a particular effect.
 
In Ancient Egyptian Civilisation, particular shapes were advised to alter the patterns of subconscious mind and to create a particular effect in the life of a person.  Even today, certain numerology experts advise their clients to incorporate most suitable shape or stroke in their signatures to attract more money, fortune and growth in their life. Shapes are also ENERGY, and energy once contained within a boundary assumes a form, and thus assumes certain qualities.  Important shapes like a circle, an oval, a square, a rectangle, a triangle and wavy lines have their own characteristics and are effectively used in vastu.
 
* A WAVY SHAPE represents FLOW.  It has the power of cleansing your mind, body and soul.  When placed in north (vastu zone of MONEY) it will help you attract new opportunities in life.  *A RECTANGULAR SHAPE represents GROWTH, and when placed in east (vastu zone of SOCIAL CONNECTIVITY) it will help you develop beneficial connections.  *A TRIANGULAR SHAPE represents FIRE & AGGRESSION, and when placed in the south-east zone, it will improve cash flow and release blocked payments.  *A SQUARISH SHAPE represents STABILITY & PERFECTION.  When placed in south-west, it will improve your relationships and skills.  *A CIRCULAR SHAPE represents FULFILLMENT, and should be put in the west (vastu zone of gains and profits).
 
It is recommended to use shapes (as vastu remedies) only on the basis of accurate vastu analysis.  SHAPE YOUR LIFE.
 
—–Khushdeep Bansal.
 
 
 
 

Tabata workout

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The TABATA WORKOUT, a super high-intensity internal training (HIIT) routines takes only a few minutes but promises to burn as many calories as you would in an hour of running or cycling. 
 
One of the most popular HIIT forms today, TABATA intervals are only 20secs long, with 10secs of rest in between —— repeated 8 times.  This can be done with any form of cardio exercise —– running, swimming, cycling, jumping rope —– and can be done anywhere.  Discovered by Japanese professor, Izumi Tabata in the 70s, this ‘fat-burning miracle’ workout is great for those who are pressed for time.  In fact, if done correctly, just 4mins of Tabata could produce better fitness results, than an entire hour of running on a treadmill. 
 
WARM UP : —– Since this workout is so intense, you need to spend at least 8 to 10mins warming up.  Your warm-up exercise should be similar to the type of Tabata workout you are going to follow.  For example, if you’re going to do sprints, warm up with walking then jogging. 
 
COOL DOWN : —– At the end of your workout, take 10mins to slow your heart rate by working at a lower intensity, doing the same movement you did in your workout.  After that, spend a few minutes stretching. 
 
FOR BEGINNERS : —– To incorporate this workout in your regime, swap one or two of your usual cardio workouts every week for quick Tabata training.
 
Who should try this workout : —– Since this workout requires one to physically push oneself to the extreme, this level of intensity is not suitable for everyone.  It is appropriate for healthy, advanced exercisers.  This ensures that you have better awareness of how hard to push your body and when to stop.
 
According to a recent study, people who performed Tabata training five days a week for six weeks ( a total of 120 mins of exercise over a month-and-a-half) improved both their aerobic and anaerobic endurance.