Shutterbug's Blog

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


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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 🙂 . 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 🙂 . 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 🙂


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Lock-Down Dairies 30 May 20 : Restaurants , Religious places , hotels and shopping malls to be open, my first Bhendi / Ladies finger ,  organic seeds online, unboxing a Jet water spray gun

New Lockdown guidelines in India:

All Restaurants ,Religious places, hotels and shopping malls to be open from 8 June onwards.

Opening of Schools, colleges, congregations ,intra state and interstate movement , international travel, cinema halls will be decided in the next phase.

Got to wait and watch what  is in store for the population in India ,now that the monsoons are also arriving.

My first Bhendi :

After several buds drying and falling off ,my first Bhendi successfully survived :).

It is very exciting to see the life cycle of a growing plant, especially something that we have personally tended to.

Organic seeds online :

I had a few vegetable seeds at home but they were not sprouting . I didn’t know where to get good ones and googled. Decided to buy online. I ordered a packet with 15 varieties of seeds and received them today. These are the seeds that I received.

Will be sowing a few of these soon.

Jet water spray gun :

A few weeks ago , we had a lockdown party with my brother’s and sisters families in our cellar/stilt floor. Since it is open and dirty ,we decided to wash the whole place. It took almost one hour for the three of us to wash the whole place . It was then that I decided to buy a jet spray gun . Received the package today and unboxed it.

However, we found that the hose pipe we had at home didn’t fit into the gun. A clamp is required to fit the pipe to the gun. We are hunting for a clamp. I am looking forward to do some good cleaning of the windows on the first floor too, which has been difficult.

Will review once I start using it.

~ Swasthirasthu~


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Lock-Down Dairies – 12 May 20 : Passenger trains restarted, Migrants moving from cities to their towns/villages during Lockdown , My mint harvest, Containers/pots made from empty plastic rice bags.

Several passenger trains started towards various cities from Delhi. Several citizens are stuck in other cities/towns during the lockdown and with this step they have some hope that they will finally reach their hometowns and meet their families. There are strict thermal screening tests at the Railway Station. Some of the destinations may insist on the passengers being quarantined but that would be next to impossible. Most like passengers will be told to self quarantine at their home for 14 days.

Meanwhile the number of COVID positive cases are continuing to rise while the number of positive cases that are recovering are also rising.

Mr Modi has addressed the nation and encouraged all to go local and be vocal. He also stressed on being self reliant. There is no other option but to go local and all countries eventually will do the same. That we should go ahead with building the economy while taking all precautions.

A lot of Migrants also moving to their hometowns by whatever means they can. They are even walking hundreds of kilometers. Unfortunately some have even lost their lives on the way.

Decided to harvest Mint leaves from my tiny garden. The easiet greens to grow by a beginner who wants to grow food is Mint leaves. Can be grown in very small spaces and in containers too.

I also made a short video on my Mint harvest. Here is the link –

There was no more space in my tiny garden to sow any more seeds. There was no way to buy some containers/pots too as none of the plant nurseries or online sites were delivering these items. Looked around the home so I can reuse/recycle some stuff and convert into containers, and came across some plastic rice bags.

Containers made with empty rice bags

I had red soil , sand , some cocopeat and manure and quickly took help of hubby to fill these emptly rice bags with this stuff. Before putting the soil I made small holes at the bottom of the bags.

Very happy to see these Lockdown Container s :). Am yet to decide what I will be sowing in these.

I am continuing to work from home and experiencing the busiest days in my life 🙂 .

~ Om Shanti Shanti Shanti ~


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Lock-down Dairies – 5 May 20 : Update on my garden , commencement of operations at work, my support system

I had sown Fenugreek seeds in a container. Today is the 5th day after sowing. This is how my Organic Methi looks today.

My baby Ridge gourd is also growing well and is now 4 inches in height 🙂 . This one is Organic too.

I have also harvested some organic curry leaves today. Should be sufficient for a week and more 🙂 . These leaves are a very healthy ingredient and are added in almost all South Indian recipes.

Yes, all my produce is Organic 🙂

Work has commenced today and those living very close to the Office premises attended . Almost 1/3rd of the employees attended which is a good sign. Will know the next plan of action in a day or two . I too have been making plans to go to work .Those who have kids below 5 years , are more than 55 years of age and have any health issues, those with any disabilities Appears I have no valid reason for not going to work . Unfortunately I am dependant on my driver which is the major hurdle now. Called my Driver and told him that he has to do his best to come . He lives almost 50km away from the city and not sure how he will be able to get back into the city. Waiting for the cabinet meeting to come out with a decision today as to the current Lockdown which is upto 7 May 20.

I have been supported by two maids , one cook and a Driver during the last 8 years in carrying out my daily chores. Thanks to them , I am doing well and able to manage work and home. I informed all of them to take a break after the COVID was declared a Pandemic. It is now my responsibility to take care of them by doing my bit. I decided to pay 50% of the salary to them. Hopefully that should take care of their expenses to sail through these tough times. I wish them and their families good health. Will definitely help them as much as I can. Our salaries have been reduced too and no one is cribbing.

I am a bit apprehensive as to how i will manage home and go to work even with the help of hubby .Will be very strenuous preparing and packing breakfast and lunch everyday.

Hoping for some miracle to happen.

~ None of us is safe untill all of us are safe~


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Lock-Down Dairies 1 May 20 : May day today, Movie ‘Bheeshma’ , harvesting Ponnaganti koora – leafy greens , uploading video on YouTube ‘Peanut chutney’ , Lockdown extended to 17 May 2

Today is a public holiday owing to ‘May Day’.

I decided to totally relax today and no work from home too.

Made my Mom’s Peanut Chutney recipe for breakfast today and uploaded the recording on YouTube. The twist in this recipe is the use of Raw Onions at the fag end of the process. Another special ingredient is the use of Coriander seeds/powder which gives a different flavour to the chutney. Also the taste and crunch of raw onion is yummy. Here is the link-

Watched the Telugu movie ‘Bheeshma’ this afternoon . A movie a about Organic farming vs Chemical based farming. A subject which is dear to me. Surely the movie didn’t have much impact on the audience as not many are able to appreciate the difference yet.

Time to harvest my leafy greens namely ‘Ponnaganti koora’ from my little garden . This plant grows easily on the edges of fields in Andhra Pradesh , Telangana , Karnataka ,Tamilnadu and Sri Lanka too. This plant is not usually grown as a proper crop. It is a perennial plant and doesn’t require any maintenance except for a lot of water. It is another healthy green like spinach.

Lockdown on India is again extended by 2 weeks ie from 4 May 20 to 17 May 20.

Don’t know yet if this will have any effect on the reopening of my company on the 4 May 20.

For the first time during Lockdown Indian Railways has arranged a special Train from Hyderabad to Jharkhand for 1200 Migrants. More such trains may be arranged from other parts of the country. Anyday , Home is home , whichever part of the world it is .

Indian Railways is doing a great job under the leadership of Mr Piyush Goyal. Lot of essential supplies like food, medicines, milk etc being transported across the country.

Had another great Meditation experience during the live session by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. During the question answer session after the Meditation he says that after one year all the pain and suffering because of COVID-19 will be gone and things will be normal again.


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Lockdown Dairies – 25 Apr 20 : Harvesting greens in my little garden , Aloo fry by my Son , my current diet

For the first time ,my Son is showing some interest in cooking ….may not have happened if not for COVID-19 …hmmm…anyway good for him.

His Maternal aunt ie my sister sent photos of her daughter ie my niece, cooking in the kitchen..my niece then challenged her cousin ie my Son to prepare some dish and post pics on the family whatsapp group. So my son chose Aloo fry.

I did help him here and there but 75% effort was put by him.

It was time to harvest some greens in my little garden . Here they are –

Two types of Amaranthus varieties.

The lockdown is helping me spend some quality time in gardening . I actually make sure I spend some time with my plants twice a day . I sprayed some Neem oil on the plants this evening. Leaf miner is one problem …also too many ants sucking on the flowers and little ridge gourds. Yet to find a good solution for this problem.

Coming to my diet…I have been following the diet prescribed by an organisation called ‘Natural Lifestyle’. The diet consists of only plant based food with lots of juices, fruits, raw vegetables and cereal only once a day. So far so good and all the parameters in my recent blood reports are normal. And so I have decided to continue this diet. I do cheat once a week :).

Will write more on this diet and lifestyle soon.


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Visit to an Organo Organic farm in Hyderabad

I had been trying to get a supply of A2 milk since a year but was unsuccessful.Finally got my first bottle of A2 milk delivered by Organo farm store a few days ago.Soon after I got a message that a Santha (farmer’s market) is being organised at organo Naandi and that we can visit their farms too.Organo is starting a concept where a consumer can adopt a farmer and grow veggies which are delivered fresh every week at their doorstep.Wanted to checkout what they were up to and landed at Organo Naandi this morning with Mom.Stepped into a store selling Organic groceries.I was expecting to see lot of fresh veggies and found that there weren’t any. When I enquired , we were told that we will soon be taken to a farm. Saw a few more families arriving.Thought that the veggies would be available at the farms. We were then led to the farms a few km from the store.Saw a few people marking and placing papers (with names of veggies written) on a freshly tilled farmland. Also saw a few cows and calves nearby.Very soon a Farmer and his wife arrived. They began doing puja to the cows that were tied nearby.It was then that we realised that the farm was being inaugurated that day. They hadn’t revealed this event to us.Soon a bottle of cow urine and tricodomas were poured in two dishes. Out came a few packets of Vegetable seeds.The seeds were rinsed in each of the liquids and placed on a jute sack for drying.A few Questionss and Answers were exchanged between the visitors and the Farmer and the caretaker.It was time to sow the seeds and the farmers wife took a few seeds and started sowing. The visitors were told that they can volunteer to sow.Some of us took a few seeds and walked across the field and stuck a few seeds in the soil. Was a different kind of experience. Felt good.Sweets were distributed .We were told that lunch is being served at the Organo farm store. Reached the lunch venue . Had a simple lunch made with millets.Picked up a few groceries and started back . We were disappointed on not getting veggies but were happy that we had a good time at the farm.The weather was great…cloudy with cool breeze blowing..Overall a wonderful surprise for me and Mom.


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Surya Organic farm , Hyderabad , a partner of Farmizen.

My search for Organic veggies led me to the discovery of Farmizen.

A concept where one can rent a piece of land for growing veggies. All the hard work is done by the Farmer who is a partner of Farmizen. A Plots of 20×30 feet can be rented for Rs2500/-. A variety of veggies are grown and delivered to our home every week.

I rented one such plot and have been receiving veggies every week.

Received these veggies this week.

It’s been more than a month that I have subscribed to Farmizen. The veggies are grown using organic manure and pesticides.

The Farmizen app is very user friendly. Status of the plants in our plot is updated frequently. Updates on watering of the plants, application of pesticides , time for harvesting  etc are posted . We can also request for photographs of the plants in our plot via the app.

A notification is sent via the app about the date of delivery of veggies . Facility to pin the location of our home address in a map is provided in the app.

We can also visit the farm 6 times a month. I have been to the farm thrice and it is nice to see the veggies growing . Love driving to the farm which is close to Himayatsagar lake.

Looking forward to visit again once the monsoons are here.


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Healthy alternative to regular Dosa , Uthappam using Foxtail Millets (Korralu in Telugu)

My post on Foxtail millets is one of the most popular posts on my blog.
Been getting several hits on the post.

Here is the link to that post 

https://devilorangel.in/2016/12/14/health-nutrition-and-south-indian-recipes-with-korralu-foxtail-millets/


Millet’s are the new fad in town , the passionate Dr Khadar Valli  has been promoting 5 types of Millets (Foxtail, Kodo, Browntop, Little , Barnyard) which are very nutritious Organic ancient grains that can heal the body.

There was a time when I wanted to incorporate Millets but was nervous. Thanks to several women who uploaded videos on preparing Millet Dosa’s. These videos gave me the confidence to prepare Dosa’s with Foxtail Millets.

Not just Foxtail Millets , but Little Millet, Kodo Millet, Barnyard Millet  and Browntop Millet , too can be incorporated with great ease in our daily diet.
Easiest to use in the preparation of Dosas and Idlis.

Lemme share how I prepare Dosa with Foxtail Millet’s.

Usual Recipe for Dosa batter :

Ingredients for making Dosa Batter :

Urad Dal : 1 Cup . This is Whole Black Gram (with the Black skin removed)

Rice – 2 or 3 Cups (Quantity of Rice is  your choice)

This is soaked for 6-8 hours. Usually soaked in the morning and the batter is prepared at night.

The batter is left for fermenting overnight .

Dosa’s are prepared the next morning.

Procedure to prepare Dosa with Millets is very much the same.

Here is my Recipe for Dosa with Foxtail Millets :

Urad Dal – 1 Cup
Foxtail Millets – 2 Cups

I soak them in the morning in separate containers for 8 hours.
Batter is prepared in the evening/night. Grind them separately into a smooth batter and then mix them throroughly.

Add salt to taste.
Leave the batter overnight for fermenting.
Make your Dosa’s the next morning.

Just replace Rice with Foxtail Millets and confidently go ahead.

Not just Foxtail Millets, you can follow the same recipe using other Millets too.

Enjoy your healthy Foxtail Millet Dosa’s with your regular Chutneys or Sambhar.

This evening , I prepared Uthappam with the same batter. I chopped a few veggies, chillies, ginger, coriander leaves , jeera and added to the Millet batter. This is my Dinner for today.

Uthappam made with Millet Dosa batter and lots of veggies


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My Kitchen Garden

Rains are finally here and I am excited to do some serious gardening. I do not have a lot of space for plants ,but I hope to make maximum use of the available space and will be using containers too. I will also be using home made compost and pesticides. Basically trying to grow the organic way 🙂 .

I got a few Chilli saplings from an Organic Store that I visit often. I was surprised to see a few chilli saplings sprouting on their own in my little patch. A few dried/ripe chillies from my chilli plants in the previous season must have got into the soil and were hiding there till the right moment 🙂

Removed the whole Mint patch that I had and planted fresh stems from a bunch of Mint that I got from the store. The previous patch was getting sparse and started drying up. I harvested the leaves several times during Summer.

My Malabar Spinach is growing well. I grew them from the seeds of a lone plant that I had. I have already harvested the leaves twice and is ready for harvesting again.

I successfully made my first batch of Organic Compost during the recent summer months. I have started using this compost for my plants. Feeling good .

Thankfully my plants are not infected with any pests as of now.

I also put a few pieces of ginger and Turmeric in the soil. Got to wait and see how well they do.

I am also experimenting with Coriander cuttings. Replanted a few root cuttings from a coriander bunch that I got from the store. Growing coriander from seeds is a long and slow process. Hope this trick works though I am not confident it will work. Will probably sow the seeds directly in a couple of days.

I sowed seeds of Bitter gourd , Ridge gourd , Snake gourd and cluster beans . I see that a few seeds of cluster beans have sprouted , the rest haven’t . Don’t really know the reason. Either the seeds are not good or I watered a lot. Will continue to sow them again and again until I succeed.

Also sowed a few seeds of Khatta palak (Hindi) or Chukka Koora (Telugu) .

Will also sow Fenugreek/Methi seeds in a day or two . These seeds sprout real fast.

Watching a seed sprout,  the first leaves , the budding , the flowering , the fruits/veggies growing bigger and finally the harvesting , all the activity makes me more energetic . I feel like I am absorbing Energy from nature. I look forward to the next morning to see how they are growing. There is an underlying hope when you are into Gardening . No wonder my Doctor told me to do some Gardening way back in 2012 🙂 . 

That’s it for now. Will post pics of how these babies are doing , in a few weeks.