Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Father’s Day 21 June 2020 , World Yoga Day and Solar Eclipse

India celebrates a lot of festivals which are more religious or connected with Nature , Seasons or Harvest.

With all the communication happening all over the world and people travelling all over, we too have incorporated some of the special days being celebrated in other countries. Father’s Day is one such day.

Father’s play a very important role in Indian society. They are the bread earners in majority of the families and take care of the children till they are grown up and begin to earn. There are several families where the parents and son continue to live together even after the son is married. A lot of respect is given to parents.

Everyday is a Father’s Day in such families.

However, this specific day which is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June every year since 1910 is definitely special. This day gives us the opportunity to recall all the guidance and support given by our Dad’s during our growing years. It is an opportunity to stop and think about Dad’s who have made a lot of sacrifices to provide for the children. An occasion to celebrate the day with some special moments with our Dad’s and to show our love and affection.

Today is ‘World Yoga Day’ too. If Father’s Day is imported into India , Yoga Day is being exported to the World. This is exactly what the world now requires. To imbibe the best from all over the world and evolve into better human beings. Hubby wanted me to click a few pics while he does a puts Yoga poses. It was fun directing and clicking. These pics were then sent to their HR team asproof of doing Yoga πŸ™‚

In this part of the country the Solar eclipes today was partial. All of us at home decided to do some cleaning of the house during the eclipse. Most Indians follow the tradition of not cooking or eating during this period and we followed suit. Had lunch very late in the afternoon and had grilled fruits , vegetables and Paneer (Cottage cheese) for dinner πŸ™‚

This time we used skewers which we ordered online and it definitely made grilling much simpler and faster. I was a little apprehensive about an Electric grill but it is very convenient and we are enjoying the time spent during the grilling process.


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My current Diet – “Natural Lifestyle”

I had mentioned about my new diet in one of my earlier posts. I am currently following the Diet recommended by an organisation named “Natural Lifestyle” .

I read all about the founder Shri Acharya Mohan Gupta and his Gurus. Watched a lot of videos on their youtube channel. I got convinced to follow the diet prescribed by him.

The diet recommends Intermittent fasting for 16 hours every day. Most of the food is eaten raw and only one meal during the whole day comprises of cooked food.

The diet is based on the belief that ” One who eats once a day is a Yogi, who eats twice a day is a Bhogi and who eats thrice a day is a Rogi “

In the above statement the food that is eaten is food that is cooked.

The aim is to eat just one cooked meal in a day and Raw food / juice during the other meal times.

This diet helps in cleansing the body and to treat diseases.

Here is my diet on any normal day :

Pre-Breakfast : 8 am – one glass of Ash gourd juice

Breakfast : 10am – A plateful of Raw vegetables with a few slices of coconut

Lunch : 1-2pm – 3 Composite Rotis with lots of vegetable curry

Dinner : 6-7pm – A plateful of fruits (any one type of fruit) with a few slices of raw coconut

This has been my diet for the last 5 months.

I do cheat once in a while and eat a little bit of regular food like rice with curry or vegetable fried rice or breakfasts like upma , dosa and junk food like noodles too πŸ™‚

I have lost a lot of weight after following this diet. My family and colleagues do comment on my appearance but I am happy as long as i am healthy.

I am able to carry out simple tasks like cooking , going to work and spend some time in my garden. Not doing much physical work .

So far so good.

It is a bit cumbersome to follow this diet as my diet is different from the diet of family and this requires more cooking time. Hubby and I plan our meals and so we are comfortable.

Very difficult to control the senses of taste and smell :). There are times when I feel, what is life if I am unable to eat all that I would like to. But I console myself that i have to do anything and everything to stay alive and this keeps me motivated to continue this diet πŸ™‚

~


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B-Roll , Inaugurated my first Lodge Cast iron pan and Electric grill , Extension to our tiny garden

B-Roll :

Heard about B-roll from my brother recently and since then I have been checking out Youtube videos on what a B-Roll is and how to shoot B-Roll videos. What I understood so far is that a B-Roll is a little diversion during the regular A-Roll which is the main theme of a video. There are several ways to plan , create and incorporate a B-Roll footage into your videos. The B-Roll will reduce the monotony in a video and will help in retaining the interest of the audience.

I have been uploading a few videos on my youtube channel but these videos have only the A-Roll πŸ™‚ . Creating a B-Roll does require creativity and more time to edit a video. As of now i am just learning the ABCs of making videos.

Lodge Cast iron Pan :

My obsession with traditional cookware started a couple of years ago and during this process I also came across Cast iron pans made by Lodge. Wanted to own one since then . However, I actually placed an order only now after getting the confidence that I can maintain these cookware. I have been using a few locally made cast iron cookware which do not have a good finish. My first Lodge pan finally arrived and I inaugurated it by making Aloo egg masala curry.

Loved the piece. It is pre-seasoned and quite heavy. The best way to maintain this cookware is to clean it immediately after cooking , dry it well and season it with a little oil, warm it up for a few minutes and then put it away so it doesn’t rust and is ready for your next use.

Electric Grill :

I also wanted to do some grilling for a long time. Didn’t know what is the best type of grill for my requirement. Did a lot of research and found pros and cons for each type of grill. There are gas fired, charcoal based and Electric grills .Finally zeroed in on an Electric grill and ordered on Amazon. Inaugurated it by making Paneer tikka with capsicum and onions.

The result was beyond my expectation and we enjoyed the process and the final result too. Quite easy to assemble and use.

Extension of our tiny garden :

One hobby I developed during the Lockdown is gardening. Hubby and I have found a common passion in gardening πŸ™‚ . We have been experimenting with different veggies and have been quite successful in growing a few veggies. We didnt have much space to grow more veggies and so decided to create more space by removing the cemented path along the compound wall. We dug out the existing soil which was rocky and filled it with red soil and manure.

We got an additional ten square meters of area now for our vegetable garden and we are happy :). Plan to grow more veggies during the monsoons. This space should be sufficient to grow a lot of veggies. We look forward to spend half an hour each day in the evening as both of us have to go to work and this is the best part of the day πŸ™‚


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Lock-Down Dairies – 5 June 20 : World Environment Day , my first Lodge cast iron pan , restaurants and Malls to be open soon

Usually every year on this day , a lot of activity takes place wrt planting of trees , rallies to spread awareness of sustainable Environment etc.

With COVID-19 , these activities have come to a standstill. No mention of these activities in any social media or the News. Just when we need to plant more trees , we are unable to do so ,which is very sad.

Traffic is back to normal and continues to pollute the atmosphere.

Only Nature can cure itself and COVID seems to be one such treatment.

My love for traditional utensils makes me want invest in these. Food cooked in such utensils is healthier and tastier.I had always wanted to buy a Lodge Cast iron pan and finally my wish materialised. I do have a few other cast iron stuff but never owned a Lodge πŸ™‚

There are times when I seriously think I should live a minimalistic life but at times I just cannot control My cravings :). My first Lodge pan was delivered today.

I also inaugurated it today by making potato fry. I wanted to buy a 10″ pan but inadvertently ordered the 12″ one.

10″ would have been a little small. Very happy with the product. However, maintaining these cast iron stuff is not an easy task.

The SOPs for opening restaurants and Malls is out. Restaurants can permit only 50% capacity to be occupied and have to ensure proper sanitisation of the place and cooks and waiters etc. The cinema halls in the Malls are not permitted to Operate. The food courts in Malls to should permit only 50% capacity for dine-in.

I am not going to any Restaurant or Mall in the near future.

~Stay safe~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 4 June 20 : Random musings

Feeling very happy today.

My first Bhendi’s are here. Several buds were drying up and falling off and I didn’t know what to do.

Finally these have stayed on. Feeling very happy seeing these  πŸ™‚ . This plant is growing in a container.

Another reason for being happy is because my son has made scrambled egg on his own , without any help from me.

Every mom is very happy whenever the child does anything on their own for the first time and this too is a memorable event.

My son loves to make omlettes and was using a non-stick pan all these days. I ordered a steel pan online today for making omlettes only and will gift this to my son :). Am sure he will love the gift.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 29 May 2020 : COVID Hospital Bills, Rail Adukku Pathiram-Travel kit

Came across a photograph of a Bill/check belonging to a COVID +ve patient. The duration of the treatment is 14 days and half the amount is for the Room/bed charges. Rest of the amount is for the tests, medication, doctor consultation and care. The bill is running to almost Rs3 lakhs which is a lot of money by any standards. This bill is from a private hospital. Dont really know how much is billed by a government hospital.

I am fond of traditional Cookware and this Travel Kit called ‘ Rail Adukku Pathiram’ is going viral in social media. It is attracting almost everyone.

14 different utensils of different shapes and sizes fit into one big Utensil. This was carried when people went on pilgrimages more than 150 years ago. They cooked food in these vessels as there were no restaurants.

It will be very interesting to see variants of this kit coming up soon in various other metals.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 25 May 2020 : My video on Seasoning Soapstone Cookware on Youtube.

Spent the whole day editing a video that I made on how to season a Soapstone Utensil.

Here is the link to the video –

This is a very ancient cookware that was used by several civilisations all over the world since thousands of years.

It is carved out of Soapstone by hand, Supposed to be soft and porous.

Cooking in this cookware has several benefits –

  • The material is mostly inert and hence does not impart any flavour to the recipe.
  • Food cooked in this Utensil stays hot for almost 3-4 hours.
  • Contains essential nutrients like magnesium and calcium which leaches into the food.
  • It is long lasting if handled well and can be passed on to several generations.
  • Any type of food can be cooked in this utensil. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes can be cooked. Deep frying is not advised.
  • Food cooks evenly in the container.
  • Does not react with acidic foods.

I enjoyed the whole process of seasoning this Utensil which took 13 days to complete. This process hardens the stone and makes it long lasting.

I also prepared my first dish in this utensil yesterday , called ‘Mukkala Pulusu’ which is a famous recipe in Andhra Pradesh. It was definitely tastier than the dish that i used to cook in a steel utensil πŸ™‚

However, the one I bought was of medium size which is small when I want to cook for more than 4 persons. I will be buying a bigger one soon.

Love this creation.

These can be bought online from various online stores.

You can find dosa pans, paniyaram pans, kadai , lamps , mortar and pestle (small) etc. The most popular model in which any kind of gravy recipe can be cooked is called ‘Kalchatti in Tamil or Rathi Chippa / Rachippa in Telugu).

Usually found in the southern states in India.

It is surely making a comeback .

Can be used on Gas stove , Oven and wood fire too.


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Lock-Down Dairies – 24 May 20 : Farewell to ex-boss via WebEx , editing a video using filmora9 , my first dish using a Rachippa or Kalchatti

Farewell to ex-boss –

Due to social distancing being implemented at work , and also on the insistence of our ex-boss not to plan any Farewell celebrations at work, we planned a farewell via WebEx this afternoon.

This is the first time we are having this kind of farewell ,thanks to COVID-19. The whole event took 2 and half hours, much more than the time it usually takes at the workplace.

The event went very well. Just that the bouquets, garlands, shawls and snacks were Missing.

Video editing software –

I downloaded a video editing software called Filmora9 and started editing a video that I recorded on the ‘seasoning of Kalchatti or Rachippa’ .

A lot of patience is required to edit and make a good video. Earlier I was using KineMaster on Android and uploading videos. Filmora is very similar to KineMaster. Yet to explore all the features. Once I am done with the editing and uploading on youtube I will post a link in a future blog.

My first dish in a Kalchatti or Rachippa –

I have successfully completed seasoning of my Kalchatti or ‘Rachippa couple of days ago. I decided prepare my first dish today. Made ‘Mukkala pulusu’.

‘Mukkala pulusu’ in a Rachippa or Kalchatti

I was very excited and it turned out well. This is a Soapstone dish which takes a little more time to heat up initially but once heated it cools very fast and cooks evenly. The utensil and the food remains hot for a few hours


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Lock-Down Dairies – 17 May 20 : My Face Shield , Lock-Down lunch with extended family, games we played during our childhood.

I will be going to work from tomorrow..end of Lockdown for me.

One vendor of my company had sent pictures of PPEs a while ago. One of them was the Face shield. When I had enquired he said he was supplying to Hospitals. Since I am dependent on my driver to take me to work in my car ,I thought it would be good if I can get a few of them. Luckily he agreed to give me and he promptly delivered today.

Face shield

Very light and comfortable to wear.

My brother and sisters families had decided last week to have a potluck lunch in our stilt floor today.

I made ‘Mirchi ka salan’ and ‘raita’.

Rangoli Raita πŸ™‚

I shared this photo with my classmates from college and everyone loved the design and the appearance :). One of them even named it ‘ Rangoli Raita ‘ … sounds apt isn’t it !?.

Other items in the Menu were Biryani, fruit salad and Double ka meeta.

Enjoyed teaching and demonstrating a lot of games that we played during our childhood ,to the kids.

Pittu / Seven stones / Langocha game

Pittu/Seven stones/Langocha , 4 pillars, chain, thokkudu billa, kaccha kaayalu (5 stones) , Veeri Veeri gummadi pandu etc were some of the games that were played without buying any stuff. All are team games which we played everyday for a couple of hours after school πŸ™‚

Kids were interested in learning and playing these games.

We started of by maintaining some distance but very soon forgot all about it. A few neighbours too were curiously peeping on hearing the laughter and noises. I had to keep telling everyone to maintain silence which was very difficult.

We all had a video call too with our parents for a while.

~ Let go and be free ~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 10 May 20 : Mother’s Day , Video on how I make Ash gourd juice , Lockdown Party with extended family , Mangoes from neighbours Mango tree

Today is Mother’s day . I usually meet Mom every year on this day and wish her. This year my parents are in the village as they had decided to stay back during the lockdown period.

” Love you Amma for always encouraging me and being a very strong pillar of support in my worst times, for giving me a second life in this life “

I decided to make a video on how I prepare my Ash gourd juice each morning. Had been drinking this juice since 15 Jan 20 but somehow was unable to make a video. Finally did it today πŸ™‚ .

Here is the link :

Here is my Breakfast for today:

I put carrots and coconut slices in the mixer grinder. I love the sweet taste and prefer this rather than eating them separately. Easier to chew too :).

My Sister and Brother live with their families very close by and we all haven’t met since the lockdown. We decided to have a Tea-party this evening. Each of us brought some snacks along with Tea and water melon juice.

I made ‘Pesara pongananu (Moong Dal fritters) using a Cast iron Paniyaram Pan, Chutney with Bengal gram and coconut, Watermelon juice and Tea.

Pesara ponganaalu in a cast iron Paniyaram pan

My Sister brought Bhelpuri and Mango Kesari and my SIL brought Samosas.

We had the get-together in our stilt floor which is totally open and used only for parking the cars and bikes. We started the party by sitting a little far from each other but very soon we all got closer to each other πŸ™‚

It was wonderful and we plan to have potluck lunch next Sunday.

There’s a huge Mango tree in our neighbours yard and a lot of branches are spread over our plot. Each year during this season we pluck the Mangoes that grow in our plot πŸ™‚ . Today we decided to pluck the mangoes and there were a lot of them. Shared them with my brother and Sister . These are the big juicy mangoes and we are going to ripen them naturally using a Jute bag. I also plan to slice a few mangoes, dry them in the sun and store them for future use in various curries. We call them ‘Mamidikaaya Orugulu’.

I also plan to make Mamidikaaya pulihora, Mamidikaaya pappu , Sambhar for my family.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful strong . God can be easily experienced in Mom’s Love.