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Posts from — September 2012

Indispensable – That’s What I Am

Feeling indispensable is a very human trait. We like to feel and thrive on the fact that we are irreplaceable. No one else can do what we do and definitely not better than we can.

About 10 years ago (it feels like ages) I worked in the corporate world as a trainer. I was a good trainer, (there’s no doubt about that 😀 ) but I believed I was the best. I stayed in my job initially because I loved it but as time passed I stuck around more because I believed that without me the company would have people with substandard knowledge. After all I was the best trainer with the best knowledge. If I left who would make sure employees were top-notch.

Then the day came when I was humbled. Realisation hit – I was just a number on the companys rolls. If I wasn’t there someone else would do the job, the company with go on, it wouldn’t matter to the company at any level. It wasn’t difficult to find someone else to do what I did and maybe that someone would do it better than me.

As a freelancer in all the various jobs I did, I went through the same learning curve. I took pride in how well I did things. Pride in my work was a good thing but believing that no one else could do it better was a silly notion.

My last project as a consultant and freelancer lasted three years. In the last year I wanted to leave and move on but I stuck it out believing that without me the company would fail. I was irreplaceable, no one could understand what was needed or get things done better that me. I avoided and dodged leaving for months. I had to learn the lesson that I wasn’t indispensible all over again. And I didn’t leave until I learnt it.

This is one lesson I keep forgetting and it’s so easy to do that. It’s just so easy to believe that the world would come to a standstill without me. Yes, I am Unique, there is no one like me but will the world stop if am not there? Now that’s not possible.

Even to my family I’m not indispensable, maybe irreplaceable but not indispensable. When I am gone my Mom, Brother, Husband and Dogs may cry for hours, days or even years. But I hope it won’t be days and years. I hope they will miss me, remember me but their lives will go on.

I am but a small speck in the grand scheme of things. I have to keep telling myself this. I have to remember my place, be humble and above all accept that I am – dispensable.

September 21, 2012   3 Comments

Making Modaks For The First Time

Since it was Ganesh Chaturti yesterday I decided to try making some modaks. Ganesha is my favourite god and his favourite food is modak! This was the first time I’d made them though I’ve eaten them quite a lot at friend’s houses. 😀

Here is the recipe I followed. (Special thanks to my friend Harishri Babuji for explaining it to me.)

Ingredients –

1 cup rice flour
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of ghee
1 cup of fresh grated coconut
1 cup of grated jaggery
2 cloves of elaichi

Method –

  1. Heat the water with a teaspoon of ghee until it boils.
  2. Add the flour while mixing. The mixture will be lumpy but that’s ok.
  3. Let the mixture to cool a bit. While its still warm knead the mixture to get a smooth consistency.
  4. Wrap the dough in a damp cloth and keep aside.
  5. In another pan heat a teaspoon of ghee.
  6. Add the coconut and jaggery and stir lightly.
  7. Remove the mixture from heat before the jaggery melts.
  8. Remove and powder the seeds of the elaichi. Add to the mixture.
  9. Coat your hands with a little ghee and make balls of the dough.
  10. Take a ball of dough and shape it into a little cup.
  11. Put about a teaspoon of the coconut mixture into the cup.
  12. Press the edges of the cup together and bring it together to make a pointed tip. While folding you can create a design.
  13. Take care to make sure the dough does not split and spill the mixture.
  14. Place the little bundles in a steamer and steam for 5-6 minutes.
  15. Serve 🙂

These proportions should make about 8-10 modaks.

Mistakes I think I made and corrections I’d like to make next time.

  1. My dough was splitting a lot. One reason may be that I left the kneaded dough to cool to long. I think it would be more pliable when a bit warm. Also rice flour absorbs water like crazy so I think I’d like to add 1 cup of water next time rather than ¾.
  2. My flour cups were quite thick. I need to make them much thinner next time.
  3. My jaggery melted before I could do anything about it. I think it would have worked better if I had added the coconut first and sorted it. Put off the heat and then added the jaggery. The mixture being googy didn’t help when I was folding the cups.

I’d always though making modaks was difficult but this was easy. Takes a bit of time to make the cups and fold them though. I look forward to making them again soon. Will keep you posted on my learnings here.

If you have any tips to help me make my modaks better next time, please let me know in the comments 🙂

September 20, 2012   No Comments

Ganesha – The One Who Is At The Start Of Everything

India is a country of Gods. From wealth to misfortune, knowledge to brute strength – we have Gods for just about everything. But in this gamut of Gods I have a favourite; I may bow before all or seek a special one based on need but one stands out for me. Ganesh the Lord of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles.

Ganesh is known by many names – Ganesha, Vignaharta, Vigneshvara, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar, Ganapati,… He is a God common to all classes of people and even religions. He’s worshiped not only by Hindu’s but also by Jains, Buddhists and others across the world. He doesn’t have perfect proportions like most gods. With an elephant head, a pot belly and a mouse for a ride, he’s completely endearing. Not to forget his love for food. 🙂

There are a lot of stories about Ganesha but here are the two I love.

Parvati who is Shiva’s consort fashioned him out of clay and gave him life. She ofcourse made him in the image of a man – with a head. One day she asked him to stand guard while she bathed herself. Shiva happened to swing-by at this time and Ganesha being the dutiful son refused him entry. Shiva in anger knocked his head off.

Parvati was so upset about this that Shiva had to do something but he could not put back the head he had chopped off. So, he sent out his men to bring back the first animal they could find, which turned out to be an elephant. Shiva attached the elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body to complete him. This choice of head though upset Parvati and Ganesha who felt people would ridicule him. Shiva in a mood to pacify granted Ganesha a boon that he would be worshipped before all gods. So even today Ganesha is worshipped at the start of every ceremony.

Another time Kubera who was Ganesha’s brother was taunting him about how much he ate, his pot belly and his slowness. This led to an argument between the two and they decided to settle the matter through a race. It was decided that the first person to finish three rounds of the world would win. The race started and Kubera at top speed took off while Ganesha continued to sit back and eat his modaks.

Kubera finished his first round, smirked and started off on the second. On completing his second round of the world he laughed at Ganesha who was still eating. As he left to finish his final round Ganesha stood up and with his palms together he walked three times around Shiva and Parvathi. A jubilant Kubera returned to face Ganesha and be declared the winner. But Ganesha said he was already done with his three rounds. A bewildered Kubera asked him how that was possible. Ganesha replied “My world are my parents and I’ve completed the requirement.”

Ganpati Bappa Morya! Mangal-Murti Morya! Happy Ganesha Chaturti to all! Hope the Vignaharta removes all obstacles from your path in the coming year and gives you great beginnings 🙂

September 19, 2012   No Comments