Yin Yang – Zentangle

Art by Kashyapnimisha

In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Yin and Yang are two different words with completely opposite meaning. If Yin is negative/dark then, Yang is positive/bright. Yin Yang together maintains harmony of the universe and influences everything within it.

Source: Wikipedia

Golden Gate Bridge – New perspective

Clicked by Kashyapnimisha

Its quite common to remember someone while going through old pics. But is it natural to remeber a complete stranger in a different land while going through old pics? Well, it happened with me.
I found this pic in my laptop. What’s special about this pic? The idea of capturing the reflection of Golden Gate Bridge was given by a stranger. I was busy taking pics from my camera and she came and asked if she can help me. I was a little surprised, but she, very confidently, showed me on her camera this image. And guess what, she waited there till the time i got my perfect shot. Everytime i see this pic, i remember her and, of course, this awesome place.

Soya chunks curry without potato

Tried Soya chunks curry for the first time. Generally i add boiled potato in the gravy. I never knew how to make Soya chunks without potato. Thanks to some random cooking video, now i know how to make Soya chunks without adding potato in it. If you want to know how i prepared then scroll down to see the recipe.

Soya chunks curry served with chapati, chili tawa fry, and cucumber.

Time to prepare: 30 – 45 mins

Ingredients: 

  1. Soya chunks 
  2. Onions
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Green chillies 
  5. Ginger
  6. Garlic cloves
  7. Turmeric powder
  8. Coriander powder
  9. Cumin powder
  10. Cumin
  11. Salt (as per the taste)
  12. Vegetable oil 

How to prepare:

  1. Take a pan, put some oil and allow it to heat. Add Soya chunks in the pan and fry. (Do not deep fry. Slim fry it.)
  2. Take out the Soya chunks and dip it in a bowl full of water (normal room temperature water)
  3. Chop onions (slightly big pieces will also do)
  4. Chop tomatoes (slightly big pieces will also do)
  5. Chop Green chillies
  6. Cut Ginger in 3-4 pieces
  7. Clean the Garlic cloves and cut it into two.
  8. Take a pan and put some oil in it. 
  9. Once the oil becomes hot, add cumin. Let the flavor of cumin come.
  10. Now add chopped onions, green chillies. Sauté it well. 
  11. Add Ginger and Garlic cloves. Cook this till the onions becomes little soft and translucent.
  12. Add chopped tomatoes in it. Mix it well.
  13. When the tomatoes and onions becomes mushy, add turmeric, red chilly, coriander and cumin powder. Mix everything well and cover the pan with a lid. 
  14. Add half a cup of water to the pan, mix it well and cover the pan with a lid.
  15. Keep checking the mixture in the pan at regular intervals. And keep mashing the mixture to make it somewhat smooth (optional)
  16. Once the mixture gets cooked well, keep it aside to cool down.
  17. Once the mixture cools down put it in a blender and blend it well. Add some water in the blender before blending. 
  18. Take a pan, put some oil in it and add this mixture. 
  19. Once the gravy starts thickening, you will see bubbles in it, add the Soya chunks to it. [Do not squeeze the soya chunks to take out excess water.]
  20. Check the salt in the gravy, if required add some. 
  21. Once the gravy becomes little thick, turn off the gas. 
  22. Serve hot with Steamed Rice / Poori / Chapati. I had it with chapati.

Do let me know in the comment how did you like the recipe and if you tried.

Next Monday i’ll be back with a new recipe. 🙂

Bun

In this pandemic situation, i am trying to buy only the basic items. Rest i am trying to make everything at home. I am not a cook but then friends and family are always there to help me with the recipe. As we all know that there is a complete lockdown in Bangalore, this means all the shop should be closed after 12 in the noon. The bakery from where i used to buy fresh and hot bread, buns and other items is closed in this lockdown. It’s not even open in the permitted operating hours. So this Saturday i decided to bake bun at home.

Below is the photo of the bun baked by me. If you find it interesting then go ahead and check out the recipe.

Bun

Time to Prepare: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  1. White flour (Maida) (1 cup)
  2. Active Dry Yeast (1 tbsp)
  3. Sugar (1 tbsp)
  4. Milk (3/4 cup)
  5. Butter
  6. Milk powder (1 small sachet – 10 gm)

How to Prepare:

  1. Take luke warm milk in a bowl, add sugar and yeast in it. Mix it well and keep it aside till the time yeast gets activated.
  2. In another bowl, sieve maida and milk powder. (This is done so that we don’t get any lumps.)
  3. Now put maida and milk powder mixture in the bowl containing activated yeast.
  4. Make dough with the mixture.
  5. The dough will be very sticky. Add butter in the dough. (No need to melt the butter.)
  6. After adding butter, the dough will not be sticky.
  7. Tuck the dough from below so that there is no crack or mark on the top side of the dough.
  8. Cover the bowl having dough with a plastic. And keep it aside for at least an hour.
  9. After an hour, you will notice the dough has risen and it is now double the actual size.
  10. Remove the plastic wrap, and punch the dough.
  11. Again start kneading the dough till the time all the air doesn’t comes out.
  12. Make the small buns from the dough and keep it in a greased tray.
  13. Make sure, there is no crack on the bun.
  14. Keep a wet muslin cloth over the tray having buns for 20 mins.
  15. Meanwhile, put the microwave to preheat at 180 deg for 30 mins.
  16. After 20 mins, remove the muslin cloth and brush milk on the buns. (Milk has to be at room temperature)
  17. By this time, microwave must have been preheated.
  18. Put the tray in the microwave and bake it at 180 deg for 30 mins.
  19. After 30 mins, take out the tray and the buns are ready.
  20. Grease the buns with butter and allow it to cool down.
  21. Enjoy your bun!

Do let me know in the comments how did you like the recipe and if you tried.

Next Monday i’ll be back with a new recipe. 🙂

Coming soon….

WordPress message.

So today i have completed 8 years of blogging or rather i should say 8 years of having a wordpress account. Eight years ago, all i knew was a website called bloggers where people would write a diary (mostly about their love stories) which would be public. I got to know about wordpress only because of darling sister. She is a writer and her blogs were private. To read her blog post, i had to request her to give me access code. And just to read what she is writing i made an account on wordpress.

This website doesn’t look 8 years old as I have not been active. Also, when i created the account, i had only one thing in mind and that was a photography blog. But then Instagram happened and this photography blog was lost. I started traveling, and then i used this space for travel blogging. In this pandemic situation when people are more safe in the house, travel blogging will be on hold. Not that i won’t be posting about my travel stories but right now i am taking a shift. I have been reading novels and recently i started collaborating with kitaabaurkoffee for book reviews.

I have been planning a new section in my blog which will be related to cooking. I know what you all have been thinking now. Very clumsy blog, not dedicated to a particular topic or subject etc etc. But just like my instagram page, i want this blog to have anything and everything. I do not want to limit myself to a particular subject. This cooking section will go live this Sunday. I have been working on it from the past some time. And the posts will go live every Sunday.

I am also working on two secret projects, one may go live in December and the other will take more time as i need more time for RnD.

Dearest George

Copyrights reserved.

This is perhaps my second read this year. I am really upset I haven’t read any good book so far (I know its too early to comment that). There is a very famous proverb “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. But how often you don’t judge the book by its cover?? I was at a bookshop (Crossword) going through the books, shelf by shelf and I encountered a hardbound book wrapped in a plastic so that no one can see what’s written inside. The illustration on the book cover compelled me to buy it. Also, the name “Alicia Souza” was little familiar all thanks to Facebook. I have seen a few ads on Facebook about Alicia Souza. They sell nice stationary (I have not used it, but that’s how it looks like).

I was in a hurry to unwrap the book and start reading it. I sat in a coffee shop and started reading the book. This book is a light and quick read. One can finish the book in an hour or so. It’s Alicia’s gift to her husband who does not likes PDAs. The book is about an over expressive girl [wife] who is madly and deeply in love with a boy [husband]. It’s about their day to day life and their pets, a dog named Charles-Brown and a guinea pig named Henry Oats. The book is quite illustrative but lacks the context.

My rating:

2.5/5

Hashtag Instagram

A lot of my friends are confused about the hashtags on instagram. Many of them don’t know the use of hashtags, some know but they find it irritating and few don’t know what hashtags to use. So I thought I will pen down my thoughts on hashtags.

The Hashtag “#” is just a sign or symbol but when added before a word or a phrase the meaning changes. The word or phrase does not lose its literal meaning but the content  gets categorized. The hashtag words are more easily discoverable, hence your content reaches to more number of users. Some hashtags become quite popular or trending, using them with your content can improve the statistics of your posts. Also, your content starts appearing in that particular category of hashtag. When someone clicks on a particular hashtag, all the contents having same hashtag appears in the result. Or in other words, user is directed to a page where all the contents have same hashtag. The latest post with that hashtag is always on the top of the result. One can include hashtags anywhere in their content but usually a lot of users prefer puting the hashtags separate from the message of the content just to make the post readable apart from being discoverable.

Hashtags on Instagram serves the exact same purpose. Generally these hashtags are used by brands for customer engagement and of course marketing purpose. But that does not mean we should not use. If you want your content to be viewed by people beyond your followers, you should use hashtags. Without hashtags your content will be limited to your followers and won’t be discoverable on a large scale. The hashtags and discoverability are very useful for budding artists / photographers / writers / models / entrepreneurs and anyone who want their work to be seen or recognized by millions of people.

Not every word or phrase can work as a hashtag. If you have added space in your hashtag then it will be treated as two different words. For example, if I use #food photography in my content, then my content will be discoverable only in the #food result and not in the #foodphotography result. Instagram will not take space as part of the hashtag.

I have seen a lot of users using #followforfollow and #likesforlike in their posts. These hashtags claim to increase the followers list and likes on your posts. Who would not like to have 100s and 1000s of likes on their post but I would prefer keeping my profile very clean and would love to have genuine followers with whom I can connect, learn, grow and help them grow. Users should be careful about the hashtags they are using, it should not attract unwanted attention. I remember an incident where I had posted a photo of my foot with an anklet on it. The anklet was given to my mom by her mom and I wore that on my sister’s wedding. That photo was really special hence I wanted to share that with my followers on instagram. I still can’t figure out what went wrong with my hashtags, suddenly there was a huge increase in my followers list, that post became famous and I started getting lots of message requests to repost my post. Trust me I did not use #followforfollow or #likesforlike or any such hashtags. I would trust a public profile on instagram more than a private one. All the repost requests were from private profiles. I started feeling that the sentiments with which the post was made was lost. And I had to delete that post for the unwanted attention it was getting. Don’t use random hashtags if you are not sure about it just to increase the visibility of your post. 

I hope this post would help my friends in getting an idea about hashtags. Do comment below your thoughts or experience like I had.

Alma mater

When was the last time you visited college??

I visited my grad school after eight long years. You won’t believe how excited I was. All the memories were flashing in-front of my eyes. 

I don’t know from where to start. Let me start from the beginning 🙂 

After my 12th board, I wanted to go for engineering because 

  1. Bhaiya did engineering 
  2. I thought it was really cool to stay away from parents so I would be free to do anything at anytime and no one will say a word to me.
  3. I never had an insight of what I should do with my career so engineering was an easy option. The only thing I knew was I have to study something in order to get a job!

I took a year gap to prepare for engineering entrance exams. I could not clear IIT JEE and AIEEE obviously as I was never focused. Also, because I was preparing for the above stated (1, 2, 3) reasons and didn’t really want to do engineering. In that respect, I really admire darling sister. She was focused since 9th grade about her career, what she wanted to study, from which university and where would she like to start her career from (as in which company, what job etc.). Everything was clear to her. And she made sure she was always on right track towards her dream job. 

Coming back to me now, I got some rank in Orissa Jee and was called for counselling in August-September. Meanwhile, my parents decided I should not sit idle and waste another year in order to wait for the Orissa Jee result. They suggested me to apply in the colleges for basic science / arts / vocational courses. Well, even then I had my own tantrums. I didn’t want to study “Arts”. Seriously!!! Yes, I said that. Because, again, I was not sure what would I do by doing “Arts”. 

Other colleges would take admission on the basis of marks obtained in 12th board exam but St. Xavier’s College used to take entrance test for all the branches. I gave admission test for Mathematics and Physics. I wanted to take Maths, particularly, only because Papa was a masters in maths. I never liked Physics because of the teacher who taught physics in school and, chemistry was always so confusing that I really never understood. 

The physics teacher in school had once told me that I would never do anything in my life. I will sit at home and will spend my dad’s money. Yes! That’s what he said. He made that comment only because I did an experiment wrong during our practical sessions. In spite of encouraging students to excel, he was discouraging me. I was so disappointed with his comment that I started crying. That’s why I never liked physics! 

Unfortunately or fortunately, I cleared Physics entrance in St. Xavier’s college for Bachelors degree. My name was on the third list. I was really horrified with the fact that I will be studying physics. Will I be able to understand what they teach? What if the professors in college were like my school physics teacher? What if I flunk in exams? So many things were going in my head. But, then, I thought these classes/lectures are temporary because I was secretly waiting for the Orissa Jee counselling. It was first day of the college, and I reached college an hour before the lecture time. I am the kind of person who prefers to be on time or before time. 

College campus
College campus

For an hour I was just roaming around in the department, going through the noticeboard where there was the  admission list. I got a chance to look at it to know who all will be attending lectures with me. I got my eyes on the anti-raging notices saying ‘senior students are not allowed to rag the fresher, in case of any ragging complaints the student will be suspended for that semester’, the syllabus for first semester, attendance notice warning students if they fail to achieve 80% attendance then they wont be allowed to sit in the semester exams, and previous semester’s result list among other things. After doing time pass for one hour it was time for me to attend my first lecture. I was getting goosebumps and exactly the same feeling as Lucky gets in the movie Main Hoon Na, when he visits his college library first time ever.

The first lecture was taken by Prof Dipankar Dey (DDey sir we used to call him), head of Physics department. I really didn’t know at that time who he was until one of the students sitting next to me told that he’s the HOD. He took the lecture of Mathematical Physics. He made that session so interesting that my hatred for physics vanished in the very first lecture. 

After the first lecture, I thought there won’t be any more lectures. But we had all the scheduled lectures. I had an impression that normal colleges would not be regular in terms of classes and students would be more free to roam around. But I was wrong. St. Xavier’s college, being an autonomous institution, was very strict in terms of lectures and discipline. With each passing day, I started enjoying physics. I didn’t make much friends because I thought I was there for some time only. By the time my Orissa JEE counselling came, I had already attended two months of college and got busy with the assignments and practical stuffs. 

I went for my Orissa JEE counselling. My turn was in second half of the day, but there was a big screen where we could see the seats filled in different colleges. Till the time my turn came to fill the form for the desired college and branch, almost all the seats in good colleges were filled. I had two options: Engineering from some random college in a branch which i never thought of or Physics from St Xavier’s College. I was just thinking during the whole counselling process and was discussing with Papa about future plans. Then all of a sudden I stood up and asked Papa to come with me. He somehow sensed my decision. The only thing he said was lets wait for your turn but since I was not ready to sit, we came out in the middle of the counselling. The only thing Papa asked was whether I was sure about it? Would I not regret later? I confidently said I won’t regret. I came back to Ranchi with a happy heart. Next day I went to college and everything seemed so good. I sat with new girls and became friends with them (Ankita, Rafia and Spriha). For the next three years, these three girls and I were inseparable. We would come to the college together, sit together on first bench, would prepare for semester exams together. I made other friends also from my department as well as from other departments. But these girls were special. Mummy would pack lunch for me and she would ensure she packed something new for me everyday. After the lectures in college I would ensure I reach home on time and get back to study. No roaming around in college after lectures. Sometimes after college if we would want to spend time together then either they would come to my place or I would go to there place but no hanging around outside. No movie, no birthday treat in restaurants, no shopping, nothing. It was not that our parents would restrict us from all these things, it was just that I wanted to spend more of my time in figuring out what next. Three years passed in a blink without realizing when and how. It felt like yesterday I was there in the college as a fresher and today I was an alumni. But I was somehow happy that college got over and I got admission in NIT Rourkela for Masters in Physics. I was more happy because of the option 2 I stated in the beginning of the post. 

After a few days Mummy moved to Kolkata with Papa and after a few months of their stay there, they moved to Mumbai. After completing my masters, I came back to Mumbai. I got a job in Mumbai and then in Bangalore. I never went back to Ranchi after my graduation.Two years back Mummy Papa moved to Jamshedpur. Since we are now working professionals, our vacations depends upon manager’s yes/no and if there is any important deadline to meet. With all these things my frequency of visiting home has reduced to twice / thrice a year. For some it may be sufficient but I feel if I could visit home more often. 

There are two ways to go Jamshedpur from Bangalore: a) take flight to Ranchi and from Ranchi take bus/cab to Jamshedpur, b) take flight to Kolkata and from there they can catch a train to Jamshedpur. Till last year I was taking route b. Only this time I thought of going home via Ranchi. This is the less tiring route. I have decided that from now on I would take this route only. After spending a few days in Jamshedpur, it was time for me to be back to work. Since my flight was from Ranchi, I decided to go a little early and meet a very dear friend (Rishabh) who got engaged just a day before. Due to some function at my place I could not attend his engagement. Rishabh is an Art of Living student and Geologist by profession.

Rishabh and I
Rishabh and I

We decided to meet at college. I was really excited to go back to college and see how much the college has changed. I was also excited to be back in Ranchi after 8 long years. I got down from bus and took a cycle rickshaw to college. Every single thing took me back to the time spent during the year 2000 – 2010. It reminded me of so many things. Going to Papa’s office, shopping with Mummy Papa in church complex, spending summer vacation at Tripathi uncle’s place, eating ice cream at Firayalal, going to wool house or Kashmir vastralaya with Mummy during winters because she would knit sweaters for us, that New Lords tailor where Papa would give his shirt and pair of trousers to get stitched, Punjab sweets from where we would buy sweets, Hanuman Mandir where Mummy would take me to every Tuesday, Daily market where I used to go with Mummy on Sundays to buy fresh vegetables. I don’t remember when was the last time I had cycle rickshaw ride so I ensured I get on one of them. Later I realised I was smiling like an idiot. 

Church complex
Church complex

With all the memories flashing in front of me I reached college. I didn’t see much crowd in the college maybe because of exams or maybe because of summer vacation. The college has changed a lot but the scooty stand and Xerox counter is still the same. The very first change I noticed was the auditorium, they have named the auditorium in the loving memory of late Father C De Brouwer. He was an inspiration. The second change that I noticed was they have changed the library entrance. The college has expanded and new buildings were there. Construction is still going on. Now they have new building for Arts, Humanities and Mass Communication. The boundary wall between the old St John’s school and our college is no more as the college has taken that part of the school. Some departments have been shifted to St John’s school premises. The chapel has been renewed and shifted to a new place. Earlier the chapel used to be open for students also. In fact, darling sister has been to chapel. But the year I joined college they closed chapel for students as they found that students were missing the lectures and doing time pass in chapel. The old canteen has been renewed. And the new canteen has a playing area too. They have kept indoor games also. The owner of old canteen now sits near the St John’s school premise. After roaming around in the college for one hour we decided to sit in the canteen. It was then I realised that in my three years in college I never visited canteen. When I confessed this to Rishabh he said you missed the fun. He, then, started telling me about the time he spent in college canteen, about his elections and college fest. While he was telling me his stories of college canteen, the only thing that was coming to my mind was – can I just go back to my college days? In order to focus on studies and career I somehow missed enjoying the college life!! 

Me
Just outside the college canteen. Happy me!

It’s very important to enjoy every phase of life without getting stressed out for the future. Be focused towards your goal and dreams but don’t forget to enjoy the present. With this, Baba Nimisha Kashyap is signing off with a hope to write another blog post soon.

 

Diwali

late-night-after-diwali-018It’s quarter to 4 in the morning, I’m still up, watching lights in my room which I decorated for Diwali, and sipping coffee. My love for coffee and lights will be eternal. I want to see my room decorated with fairy lights throughout the year. The fairy lights in the room keep channging its position with time. Sometime its simply hanging on the wall, at times it just hangs around my pic collage. Fairy light decoration makes me extremely happy. May be that’s why I like Diwali (the festival of lights) more than any other festivals. This was my third Diwali away from home, first time it was in the year 2011. I was in my final year of MSc in Rourkela, and Mom Dad were in Mumbai. Just a day off on Diwali stopped me from going home. Second time was in the year 2016. I had some urgent project deliveries hence couldn’t make it home. Third time was last year i.e. 2017. I was in Mountain View for some project!I miss Diwali at home. Mom would prepare the puja thali, Dad would wear dhoti and do evening puja. I used to be busy all day checking out for easiest rangoli design. I used to draw rangoli every year without a fail. Every year my design would be the same except for the colours. When we (bhaiya, darling sister and I) were in school, Diwali meant bursting crackers, playing with different kind of sparklers, anaar (flower pot), chakri, rocket, eating lots of sweets and helping mom in lighting diyas. Fairy lights were not common in those days. There used to be a secret competition among the kids on whose crackers would be noisiest. Mom and dad would stand in the balcony to see us bursting crackers and ensure we don’t hurt ourselves. Now that we are grown ups, we understand that bursting crackers is nonsense. It might be a way of expressing happiness or a symbol of celebration but with time it seems more like adding to the pollution and mere waste of money. People celebrate Diwali as a symbol of victory. Victory of good over evil. I think the major festivals in India (Holi, Durga Puja, Diwali) has the same significance “victory of good over evil” but with different stories.  With this I’ll end up this story hoping to write new stories soon.