Apr 7

A lunch in Chennai

Yesterday we went for lunch to a restaurant called Sanjeevanam… blazing mid day sun notwithstanding…

They dont take reservations, its only on a first come first served basis… we went in at about 12 noon, had had no breakfast, so was very hungry :), and there were tables available… we were 5 and had our meal at a table designed to seat 4, but that was alright…

Its a complete health food place, and the meal is quite elaborate… There are 26 items in all, and they are all to be eaten in a specific order only… and no water is served between the meal (which is good i dont have any either)

First Raw banana thinly sliced (3-4 slices) with just a hint of dessicated coconut
then 5 petit glasses, just 3 gulps big, of date milk, veggie soup, rice bran water, lassi and one more which i forgot… quite nice
The they put the banana leaf and serve 4 raw veggies, the raw mango salad was delicious… then you get four semi cooked vegetables, i loved the raw papaya and the petha sabjis and finally you get 4 fully cooked veggies, there was something to do with palak and amla which was quite delicious…
Then you are served the rice (unpolished v good for health red rice) with a paste of cooked moong dal, finally a choice of red and normal white rice with rasam and dahi kadhi (which has an unpronounceable malyalam/tamil name and was really tasty)
next buttermilk (v yummy) and payasam (made with jaggery)
Then a glass of hot jeera water appears when you have finished your meal to wash it down (had 5 sips)
Finally a spoonful of honey is poured into your hand and you slurp it signifying the end of the meal!!

All the food is cooked in bronze, copper or earthen ware, the kitchen was clean, the service a little slow but quite friendly… when extra portions were asked for they were given quite stingily :)

It was very nice food, very different… some of the sabjis were not hot (maybe they were not supposed to be, but i would have preferred them so)… the rasam was cold which was quite unforgivable…

Would i recommend this place?… yes definitely quite an experience, with mostly very tasty and really nutritious food… felt very light after such a long drawn out meal, though later in the evening i had almost no appetite for dinner… the ambiance could have been much better… thankfully there was no music, and you can properly focus on the food…

When we left there were quite a few people waiting in queue, so if you are planning to go, go a bit early, then you dont need to wait in the heat(waiting area is not air conditioned)… am pretty sure i would have left if i would have had to wait…

Would i go there again? Maybe once in every two trip to Chennai…

Bon Apetit!

PS Followed the lunch with juice in the fruit shop at greams road (thats the name, they have branches at a lot of place but still call it at greams road, we went to the fruit shop at greams road in spencer plaza, i am pretty sure it is something to do with the heat in chennai:))… really really yummy juices and milkshakes served here… if you goto chennai, please do go here and taste as many as you possibly can! :)
i had a flosberry flop (pineapple, lemon and mint), kavi had a pink panther (lemon, ginger and some other stuff to make it pink), Seema had a milkshake Ban the Banana (hint of banana with strawberry and milk and something else… they dont tell you its a secret), and we took home a sheik shake for dinesh (dates whirrled in with ice cold milk)…
many more really exotic juices and shakes to experiment with… my only complaint about this place is that they are not uniformly good… a juice on one visit will taste divine, on another terrible… but its far more likely to taste great than bad, so do go for it and if you have not too good an experience, give them one more chance :)
The other complaint: terrible loud music :)

Apr 6

Andrew LLoyd Webber

His music is almost uniformly fantastic!
One of the only composers of our times who effortlessly manages to combine various music types in one single play with gusto and elan… He has managed to come up with some of the most endearing music i have ever listened to and would sincerely recomend everyone to hear it and fall in love with it like i have :)

Here is a list of his musicals which have done brilliantly on broadway (in New York) and westend (London)

1. Joesph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat (very old one, is now on a revival and playing right now in London… one of the best reasons to go there!)
2. Starlight Express (i have seen this one live atleast 4 times :), its about a train that gets enlightened :)!! )
3. Evita (yup, scored by ALW, the very famous Dont cry for me Argentina is from this musical)
4. The Phantom of the Opera (still running in London, perhaps the longest running musical in know of, running since 1986!!)
5. Sunset Boulevard (very depressing with some really brilliant music)
6. Jesus Christ Superstar (a rock opera, depicting the last few days of Jesus’s life as seen thru the eyes of Judas… fantastic, but can leave you quite shaken)
7. Cats (Terrific show, classy music Super hit song Memory is from this one)

8. By Jeeves ( A musical based on the characters of P.G. Wodehouse… i couldnt stop laughing… top notch music, somehow didnt do too well on the box office to my eternal wonder… if it ever comes on DVD grab it!)

Love changes everything is a beautiful song from Aspects of Love (didnt quite like any of the other music in that one)

He has written a few more, some of which i personally didnt like too much… There are some great DVDs and CDs which are available of his shows and music and make really great entertainment value…

Michael Crawford, Joesph Donovan and Sarah Brightman do super justice to ALW’s music… though i have even heard Antonio Banderas sing ALW’s music brilliantly! :)

The other musicals i have throughly enjoyed… i will leave that for another post… another day! :)

Apr 5

In Chennai

one word: Hot!! :)

its an absolute mystery to me how people can choose to live here… i wouldnt buy a house here… i would expect to be PAID to live here :)

But Raji aunty (Harish’s and Kavi’s mother) makes it all worthwhile by cooking up an avalanche of the most delicious dosas!!

i finished reading 2 books today… have been reading one for some time now, its called the Unwaba Revelations by samit basu… its the third part of his gameworld trilogy, and while the other 2 were absolutely fantastic (The simoqin Prophecies and The Manticore’s Secret), this one drags along… one big fantasy was after another interspresed with a few extremely funny and ingineous pages! I would keep reading to get to those parts… a very disappointing book, given the author’s earlier work… its a good read in the toliet or a long boring journey, but not much else…

The other is called Garlic and Saphires bu Ruth Reischl who used to be the New York Times food critic… utterly delicious and almost unputdownable for any person who enjoys food and some great humour… the only big problem i had with this book was that she talks about alsmot only non veggie restaurants and almost all the superb recipes in the book are non veg… will see how to convert some of them to veggie versions and post them here after cooking and tasting them for all of you :)… A throughly enjoyable read, i would recomend it quite wholeheartedly…

Cheers to the people who designed and made the Air Conditioner!!

Jai Gurudeva!
love
bawa

Apr 3

Criticism

Someone had asked me how to stay enthusiastic while doing things when many people or the people you care about criticize you often… Here is what i had written to that person :)

Firstly, know that when you are criticized, it means you are doing something. If you are just sitting around doing nothing, no one will criticize you. They might ignore you or scold you, but they can’t criticize you :-)

Secondly, because you are doing something, it means there are flaws. As Guruji says, there is no action that doesn’t have flaws. Some flaws are apparent and some are not. Forget about us, people even criticize Guruji!!

Thirdly, if there are flaws, feel good that you are coming to know about them, otherwise they may not go away.

And fourthly, yes, it’s tough to be able to take criticism and still not lose your enthusiasm. The best way is to invite criticism and then play with it ;-)

Life’s a game, not to be taken too seriously… Relax, Smile and Breathe!!

Jai Gurudeva!
love
bawa

Apr 3

Tomato Basil Soup

One more soup :)… i really love this one, its very quick to make and quite hearty… usually have just the soup with some bread and its a full meal for me…

10-15 red juicy big tomatoes pureed
10-16 leaves of fresh basil
Olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil gives the best flavour)
Butter 1 inch cube
Salt to taste
1 carrot chopped up into very small cubes
1 small bunch of spinach roughly chopped
some fresh cream (optional)
Braggs Seasoning (optional) 2 -4 squirts depending on taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan. Add salt and Braggs.
Add the basil leaves and let them crackle a bit.
Add the tomato puree and cook until done, you will see a bit of oil formation and the mixture will be bubbling away quite merrily. You may need to add water or vegetable stock depending on the consistency you want, i usually dont and leave it to be quite thick and hearty.
Just before serving add the carrots and boil, the carrots should not get cooked completely. They should remain slightly crunchy. Add spinach at the very end, it gets cooked in less than 1 minute.

Serve immediately!! It goes brilliantly with toasted multi grain or wheat bread.
A small dollop of fresh cream gives it a really rich look. If you are doing garlic, just 1 small clove of garlic chopped finely can also be added right at the start to the olive oil and butter and allowed to brown a bit before adding the basil leaves… it gives an entirely different, subtle flavour to the soup.

Apr 3

Pesto!!

One of the yummiest pestos i know how to make, i usually have a small batch always ready in the fridge for a quickie gourmet meal :)

2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
Optional: 1-3 cloves of garlic finely crushed and 1/4th cup grated cheese (preferably parmesan)

Whirrr the leaves in small batches in a mixie until well chopped, add the nuts to the leaf mixture (and all the garlic if you are adding the garlic) and whirrr again… add half the cheese and blend while slowly adding the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container, you can now add the rest of the cheese and anything else that may be left and finish the blending into a delicious thick smooth paste… i find that adding a pinch of salt makes it tastier too…

It keeps well in a fridge for about 10 days and for much longer if frozen

Next time you stir fry some veggies, dont add any indian spices, just aute the veggies until cooked and then add a generous spoonful of the pesto (to about 1/2 kg to 3/4 kg of veggies) and watch how the bland dish magically transforms into something really special… vary the amount of pesto according to your taste… serve with toasted bread

This pesto can be stirred through a cooked mixture of noodles and veggies for a surprizingly tasty meal…

Finally, toasted bread with butter and pesto spread tastes heavenly!

Will leave it to you to figure out other uses of the pesto…

PS Thanks a lot to Bharat Bhayya who keeps me supplied with the freshest of Basil leaves from his organic garden in the ashram… btw, Basil plants are remarkably easy to grow, and 5 pots lasted me over 5 months of almost daily continuous use!

Apr 3

April 2nd

Guruji came just for a few minutes to Satsang yesterday night… and He didnt say anything… watched a short little dance by some girls, and waved to everyone and glided out…
However, His silence and His love was profound and is still with me… i always wonder how He does it… even when He does nothing, He does everything :)
He left for Germany and met all of us who were there, and we were all feeling so blessed and loved and tender and warm as His car almost seemed to float out from the drive way and disappear into the night…

Chennai is at 65+ registrations!! Congratulations to all of you working out there :)

Apr 2

Satsang on April 1st 2008

Yesterday night’s Satsang was short and sweet…
Guruji has started a “new” way to meditate… NO i am not going to give it away here… you will just have to wait… and learn it when someone who knows how to teach it is where you are, or you are where they are :)
Ofcourse it was awesome :)
Knowledge was about Satsang:
Satsang is not just sitting and singing, it has four flavours:
1. Karma Satsang, when people get together and do Seva
2. Gaan Satsang, when people sing together
3. Gyan Satsang is when Knowledge is discussed in a group and
4. Moun Satsang is when many people meditate together

He also added that the fourth is perhaps the most important of all, but that all others also need to be done!

I am very proud of the YES!+ team in Mumbai in particular who are really doing all four, they participate in the Clean Up! Mumbai project and do hard work on the streets making them clean… after 4 weeks of it, now people have started to notice them and appreciate them… They are daring to dream of a clean Mumbai city, and i am sure with their dedication it will happen much sooner than most of them think :)
They then sing together, watch some Knowledge of Guruji and then do their Sadhana together… They are really rocking and totally enjoying themselves! many other cities in the world could learn from their example :)

Jai Gurudeva!
love
bawa

PS Chennai has organised a YES!+ DSN in just a few hours!! Kavi called me yesterday afternoon and said she wanted a DSN to happen in Chennai… i told her that the only free dates i had were from this thursday… she jumped at the challenge and by evening had 41 fully paid up confirmed registrations! She was in Bangalore while all this happened :) They are gunning for 100+… anyone wants to do a YES!+ DSN should land up in Chennai tomorrow evening before 4:00 pm… we may even start the course on friday evening… for more details call up +91-9884473469

Bonus Knowledge:

Question: Guruji what is Shanti(peace)?
Guruji: We must make you sit in a closed small room and play loudspeaker 24 hrs. And not some good music, some heavy loud music you dont like. Then after 24 hrs, when we switch it off, for sure you will come to know what is Shanti!!

Mar 29

Curious Lives

Another book i am reading right now… Curious Lives by Richard Bach
quite nice, the second story in it i really liked a lot… though no where near the absolute genius of his other books that i feel everyone must read:

Johnathan Livingston Seagull
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
A Bridge across Forever
One

His writing is surreal, vivid, joyful, funny, poignant… makes you feel fresh
The other books that he has written, somehow i have not enjoyed so much…
Happy Reading!
Jai Gurudeva!
love
bawa

Mar 29

QnA – 4

Q. Hi……… I am gay and can’t tell this to anyone. I am 27 and still virgin. Kindly tell how to get out of this conflict.

First off there is nothing wrong with being a virgin… it means you are careful and dont abuse or disrespect your body!
An aunt of mine used to say,”instead of having sex at once, have it at last!”
There is nothing wrong about being gay… first get that… then slowly you can talk about it to people who you are close to, you may be surprized that they may have just the person for you:)
Gay people like “normal” people also want a mate in life… Do talk to a few people you know and trust… take that leap…
Best of Luck…
Jai Gurudeva!

Q. i just attended my first YES!+ course which was held in nagpur,it was a gr8 experience,never felt the magic of breathing before….last week….ur talk was really enlightening….i wanted to talk to you there in person,cud not get that oppurtunity,maybe next time….

i’ve this small problem,which is spoiling my relations with others,too…this girl,she was my girlfriend before,and we went out for some 8 months,and then as parents started interfering it was best that we break up…,so we did tht…and later after 4 days she goes out with my best friend,oh…tht was bad,i cud not believe it at first….thn i thought both of them were cheap and it would be best to ignore her,as i wont meet her agn in my lyf……fine…tht was whn i was in school in 11th and 12th….,

now i’m in college….and it happened tht my frend is doin medicine in coimbatore,and she….this female is in my college,my branch,my class…..oh i never wanted this….to happen…..

why only she,….ok….i took it in the right spirit and i thought tht i would jst be friends with her….,told her to 4get whatever happened in the past and 4get it….,went on like tht for sometime…bt behind my back she was back biting me,she was telling all her friends here,tht..we did not go out…and all tht bull shit….clear back biting and ppl believe whn a woman says something…(bt i learned never to trust a woman)…,at the same time i was losing my friends bcoz of her,my image was going down becoz of her…wht shld i do,….

whn we had our dept gathering in college,obviously i took pics in my phone….and later on the last day….whn we had our dj nite,seniors wanted to rag me….in b/w she comes and asks for my phone,i did not say no…after seniors had their fun on me…i was feeling bad,…and whn i get my phone bak…i find tht most of the pics were deleted…i asked her y did she delete the pics,she says i don’t need any of my pics in ur phone…wowee,i thought we were friends..,tht bitch….i made it a point tht she and my relation will never get close agn….i tried after tht max not to interact with her…

almost for a whole semester we never interacted and wht was happening the friends who were together with,started going away from me….bcoz of her…they preffered her..more…,i did not giv shit abt tht….

wht happened actually is tht,bcoz of her,…i’ve lost my image,friends.. in college…whre in the beginning i was known….and popular….,very good to people…now …..its jst the opposite,….

….is there a solution to this….

You know if there are people who would rather listen to slander and gossip and believe that… its far far better you are away from such people, and that those people are not your friends… who would want such friends anyways?!
Get involved in Art of Living Seva… Do your Sadhana regularly and go for Satsang and you will find many many people who are much better than those people who you are missing so much to become good friends with!

Q. hi bawa i am from baroda , i am 21 years old. i met you in surat…bawa as we discussed over there… you clearly told to leave the 6000 rs. per month job and start study further or start your business(travel agency). … you also said that start studying along with your job..
so bawa if i want to study further than i should go with what MBA finance or marketing… in market, specially gujarat and maharastra market ..should i study with finamce or marketting or any other streem… i can make my self with all the things… but i want to mold my self in such a way.. so that i can earn good money.. and should i continue doing working or i should go further with full time study….

Its your life… you have to take these decisions… and face the consequences… Neither me nor Guruji is here to live your life for you… Can definitely guide you or point you in the direction of someone who can guide you… (which i did in Surat) but please do not ask me questions like this… they are for you to answer!

Q. I attended the last day of Utsav,Nagpur today and i Really felt relaxed when i returned home.
I wanted to ask you one question…
I had a fight with my best friend some days ago,and the topic was that i donot advice her when she is wrong.
I’m kind of person who dont like to interfere in other’s personal matter though that person matters for me the most.
So am i really doing wrong or should i be the way i am?

She is right, if she is your best friend, its only right that you interfere gently and tell her that what she is doing is wrong… and then let her take her own decisions and still stand by her as her friend with whatever she has decided… but to not tell her and allow her to make a mistake is simply being a little cruel and selfish! at least thats my opinion:)

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