Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Vijaya Dasami is the tenth day of success of glory. Be it the Mahishasura Mardhini – the form of Goddess Durga – who triumphed over the evil Mahishasura or be it Lord Rama who won the war against Ravana, the lord of Lanka, the day is one of success and is celebrated accordingly.

We had a simple lunch at home with Semiya Payasam as prasadham. I said a small prayer for the Kali Yuga to end and the Satya Yuga to be rung in smoothly – this too being the conquest of good over the evil.

I was quite impressed with the article on Page 12 of Mumbai Mirror dated September 28, 2009. Titled ‘Ram, Leela, Who?’, the article has been presented by the 14-year-old Kabir Mantha. He talks about how students in the city are so taken up on Hollywood, internet and computer games that they don’t know anything about what’s happening in town. Read it for yourself – a fitting story for Dassera.

Wish one and all a Very Happy Dassera – better late than never. :)

Festival: Times Bandra Festival 2

On Sunday, it was singer KK who rocked the stage at the Times Bandra Festival. He began at 8.20 pm and went on for two hours without a break. I was amazed at the energy exuded by KK while he entertained the audience throughout the show. It was awesome just to watch him jump all over the stage from one end to the other – it appeared as if he had flubber fitted to his shoes.

We were highly entertained by all the songs that he sang – both fast and slow. Dard me be …hum muskura jaathe hain, O hum dum suniyo re, Bandha ye Bindaas hai, Yaaron dosti badi haseen hai, Kya mujhe pyaar hai… yah, Ek nazar me hi pyaar hota hai… meine suna hai, Pal… hum rahe naa rahe, Aankhon mein teri ajab si and more were wonderful listening to. The crowd went crazy with the performance and had fun.

KK also spoke about how he had remained with the same band-members for ten years now since 1999, about his first chance in Bollywood - Thadap thadap ke ek dil which he sang beautifully with the thadap very much in tact.

A lovely evening that ended with dinner at Rasna Punjab in Matunga along with Pooja and Jeetu.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Today being Navami of Navratri, we South Indians celebrate it as Saraswathi Pooja. It is also known as the Ayudha Pooja where we do pooja to all tools of one’s profession. For example, a student would keep books in the pooja. I am a writer, so I prefered to keep my published novel, my pen (a super-cool one gifted by my mama, Balu), a miniature guitar for my son and a few account books for my husband.

The best bit was that my friend Pooja had organised a Lalitha Sahasranama Archanai at her home as instigated by the Oneness University. This is the utterance of the 1008 names of Goddess Durga. We did a kunkuma archanai to Amma Bhagavan’s padukas that I had placed on a plate that was kept over all the abovementioned ‘tools of trade’.

The archanai went on for two hours conducted by Nag Gayatri, also a devotee of Amma Bhagavan. She was very clear in the utterance of the Lalitha Sahasranamam and the experience was wonderful – a once in a lifetime one for me.

I am not too much into formal poojas. But this was just great. Pooja then gave us a yummy lunch of rice, sindhi kadi, moong, sheera – homemade; dal-pakwaan – from shop and the kadalai sundal that I had made from home as prasadam.

I wonderful way to celebrate Saraswathi Pooja, I thought.


On Saturday, September 26, 2009, Venkat, Vinitha, Pooja and I attended a light music concert by Hariharan as part of the Times Bandra Festival. Wow, what an experience!

This blog I must surely dedicate to Dorai Thatha and Rajeswari Chitti. I have heard so much about the two of them attending concerts during the Chennai music season over the years. Somewhere deep down in my subconscious, I had made a decision to attend live music concerts too.

So far, I must have attended about half a dozen throughout my life. If I had the time and the inclination, the tickets would not be available or vice versa. But this weekend, it feels as if I have won the lottery.

My daughter, Vinitha, got us passes for four concerts at the Times Bandra Fest - the best time as it is a long weekend with the Monday off for Dassera. Yesterday was the first one with Hariharan – the man with the golden voice – on the stage.

Blessed I feel living in the same era as this music maestro. He was FANTABULOUS, to put it in one word. I am not too knowledgeable about the many nuances of music, but have a good ear for it. This man’s range is awesome. His voice swings from one end to the other, from the upper to the lower and again to the highest levels in a matter of seconds. It’s God’s gift, nothing less.

The show was on for about two hours where Hariharan had the audience hanging on to the edge of their seats, swinging to the music and rhythm of his songs, feet tapping, hands clapping and some of us out of our seats, dancing away. He held us all enthralled as the mice bound to the pied piper.

Hariharan began the concert with Bharat humko jaan se pyaara hai from Roja and from that moment on we were totally hooked. Without a single break, the concert went on for two full hours – a dream come true for me.

Some of the songs that we all enjoyed were – Mohe rang de – how many ways would it be possible to sing a couple of lines – amazing!

Roja jaane mann that flowed into Dheemi dheemi
A song from the Wonder Wars by Hariharan’s younger son Karan – very nice
Then there was Priyasiiiiiiiiiiii…. nahi saamne ye alag bath hai from Taal – I realised that there is no limitation to this musician’s pitch
Chanda re from Sapnay peppered with Hariharan’s own ups and downs – my favourite song
Vennilave – Tamil of above – loved it
Nilaa Kaaikiradhu, neram theikiradhu – another Tamil number, simply superb
O Hansini Meri Hansini – an old Kishore Kumar favourite
Medley from Colonial Cousins – along with his elder son, Akshay – the bestest
I am the one so crazy about you – along with both sons – the audience went crazy along with them
Chappa chappa – a wonderful finale to the evening.

Hah – a wonderfully satisfying evening that we finished off with a lovely dinner at Himalaya, Sion along with Vignesh and Pooja’s son Jeetu.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Delicious Rava Upma made from Semolina – रवा – ரவை along with vegetables. It makes a wonderful breakfast or a snack and tastes yummy with coconut chutney or sambhar.


Semolina – 1 cup
Water – 2-2 ½ cups
Chopped onions – 4 tbsp
Chopped tomatoes – 4 tbsp
Peas – ½ cup
Chopped carrots – 4 tbsp
Chopped French beans – 4 tbsp
Cashew nuts – 4 (broken into pieces)
Rai – ½ tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Channa Dal – 1 tsp
Oil – 2 tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – for garnishing


Green Chillies – 3 (slit across)
Red Chilli – 1 (cut in two)
Curry Leaves – a few
Ginger – ½ tsp (grated)

Heat the ghee in a saucepan and add the cashew nuts. Turn till golden brown and add the rava. Roast on a medium flame till golden in colour. Remove from saucepan and keep aside. Add oil to the saucepan and crackle the rai before adding urad dal and channa dal. Once they turn a light brown add the masala ingredients. Turn it for a few seconds before adding the onions. Wait for the onions to turn golden brown before adding the tomatoes and mixing well. Add the water and the other vegetables and salt. Give the whole mixture a few minutes to cook. Once the beans are cooked well, keep the flame low and add the roasted rava and cashew nuts to the saucepan. Stir carefully as the mixture will cook very fast. Mix evenly to avoid lumps. You can even keep the gas flame off for a couple of minutes while mixing the rava with the rest of the stuff. Then turn the flame on to low and cook for a minute. Put the flame off before garnishing with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


A catty take on the dia(?)logue that I had with someone on the phone.

SHE: Hello, is that you, Sundari?

ME: Yeah, who…

SHE: (Name) How are you? Heard that you all went to Goa. How was your trip?

ME: Wonderf…

SHE: Heard that you have got a car too. Congratulations. What then? How are Venkat, Vinitha and Vignesh?

ME: They are…

SHE: And then you know how busy it is during Navratri. My husband and I just don’t have time for anything. I kept Golu. But it is so difficult to call people and give them haldi kumkum. There is just no time. Either he has to be home or I have to. Today I had to go to the market and buy everything. Somehow I managed to keep the Golu and everything. Then, I thought the other day also I wanted to talk to you but I could not. Venkat spoke to me and kept the phone. So what else?

ME: I…

SHE: You know these nine days I dress up in different saris. I wear cotton saris in the morning for making the prasadam. I will never wear a nightie while doing this. Then there are the nine silk Kancheepuram saris that I have kept aside to wear to the school I work in. You don’t know how everyone admires the way I match everything – the sari, jewellery, bangles and everything. I get so many compliments. Some of the kids are so fascinated with the matching colours and keep coming to me and commenting on them. It’s really so nice. How about you?

ME: I try…

SHE: Then you know in the evening, there is this ground behind our house where there is a dandiya raas conducted. I don’t take part in the dance but go there for the aarthi. I don’t go in the same sari that I wear to work. I wear a different sari in the evening. I have already kept 27 saris aside for the nine days. Then there is the prasadam to prepare. I really enjoy doing all this. When will you be able to come?

ME: Let me….

SHE: This is the problem you know. I go to work and then there is just no time to invite anyone home. I give haldi kumkum to whoever comes home. Even today a few people came. Otherwise I have to rush to work every day.

ME: What about Monday? It’s…

SHE: I don’t have holiday. The school is working. And with exams approaching, I just don’t have the time to do anything. I don’t know how to invite anyone at all. What other news?

ME: We…

SHE: With the exams approaching, we are both so busy with the tuitions and everything. On Sunday, my sister-in-law and her family will be here for lunch. Then on Monday, on Dassera, we have to rush there. I don’t know when I will be able to accommodate you. When will you be able to come? And you did not tell me, how are Vinitha and Vignesh?

ME: Vin…

SHE: This is the problem you know. Doing everything, running around, managing the market work, doing the cooking, going to work and all. I just don’t know what to do. You are not saying anything. What other news?

ME: I…

SHE: Ok, Sundari. We have been talking for so long. It was so nice talking to you. Bye.

ME: (Staring at the telephone receiver that has a ring tone now) ?????

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Recipe: SUNDAL

It’s Navratri time and the Prasad that is offered is the hot favourite Sundal. It is very simple to make and extremely healthy in giving you the proteins that you are probably missing out on during the year. Nine types of Sundal are made over the nine days. I am bringing to you one particular recipe that may be copied with different grams and pulses.

Sundal can be prepared from:

Whole Bengal gram – Chickpea – வெள்ளை கொத்து கடலை – सफ़ेद चन्ना
Peanuts – கடலை – शेंग्दाना
Broken Bengal gram – கடலை பருப்பு – चन्ना की दाल
Whole Bengal gram (brown) – கொத்து கடலை – Brown चन्ना
Dried Green Peas – காஞ்ச பட்டாணி – सुक्का हरा वाटताना
Dried White Peas – காஞ்ச வெள்ளை பட்டாணி – सुक्का सफ़ेद वाटताना
பயறு – हरा मूंग
Black-eyed Beans – காராமணி – चोव्ली (2-3 types are available – all make good Sundal)

I am bringing you the recipe for Bengal gram Sundal - கொத்து கடலை சுண்டல்.


Chickpeas – 2 cups (soaked in water for at least four hours)
Coconut – 4 tbsp (fresh grated)
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Red Chillies – 2
Curry Leaves – A few
Asafoetida – A pinch
Oil – 1 tsp
Chilli Powder – A pinch
Salt to taste


Pressure-cook the soaked chickpeas till they are soft. Take a saucepan and heat a spoon of oil and add the mustard seeds to it. Wait for it to crackle before adding the broken red chillies and curry leaves. Add the asafoetida, chilli powder and then the drained peanuts. Mix well and add salt. Keep the gas flame low throughout this procedure. After a few minutes, add the grated coconut, mix it and switch of the gas. The yummy Sundal may be had hot or cooled.

This is the traditional method of making Sundal. You can make your own twists by adding sautéed onions, freshly chopped tomatoes, boiled potatoes, freshly cut green mangoes, a few drops of lemon juice, etc. One can use any one or different combos.


India is the land for festivities and celebration. We all love to dress up, sing, dance, have fun, eat feasts, et al. Life here, even in the huge Metros, seem to be one long festival, especially during the second half of the calendar year. Today is the beginning of one more such celebration – Navratri, meaning nine nights.

Navratri lore according to South India:

Mahishashura was a demon with a buffalo head. He was invincible and creating havoc amongst all the people on earth. Parvathi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi – consorts of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma – came together as one and took the form of Goddess Durga. Durga stood in penance on the tip of a needle during the period of the nine days and nights of Navratri. On Vijayadasami – meaning victorious tenth day – Goddess Durga slew the demon with her Trishul and to this day, the people from South India celebrate these days as one long grand festival. The use of a needle is avoided in most homes during these days. There is a Golu that is kept in many homes. This is a display of dolls. The habit is from the olden days when there were not too many play things especially for the girl child who was not allowed to even play outside the home after a certain age. The practice of Golu happens especially in homes where there are girl children. Temporary steps of wood or steel are constructed and dolls of many shapes and sizes displayed on them during these days. The dolls used to be traditional ones of the many Hindu deities along with other dolls that portray the different customs. There is the wedding set where one can see the bride, groom, the fire, the purohit, the musicians and more. A traditional Chettiar and Chettichi is a must. They represent the provisions seller and his wife with heaps of grains in front of him for sale. People are invited – mostly women and children – for receiving ‘vethilai paakku’. It is generally a gala celebration where people visit each others’ homes and socialise. The Prasad usually consists of a sweet in the form of Payasam and the Sundal is a must. Whole grains such as Kadalai (Peanuts), Kothu Kadalai (Chickpea) and others are boiled and mixed with coconut and served as Sundal – one variety per day.

Navratri in the North:

These days mark the war between Lord Rama and the evil Ravana of Lanka. The Dassera is the tenth day on which Ravana was slain by Lord Rama. This occasion is celebrated with huge effigies of the evil Emperor of Lanka being burnt along with smaller effigies of his brother Kumba Karna and his son Indrajit. The North Indians celebrate these nights by playing the Garba and the Dandiya to music at their homes, their building compounds and also at rented halls and grounds. The whole festivity is one of colour, fun and frolic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


While we rush about our day-to-day activities, we tend to take half-breaths most of the time. This stops the required amount of oxygen from reaching our system. A large amount of oxygen has to be absorbed by the lungs and passed on to the blood stream. The blood then ensures that the oxygen is spread evenly throughout the body as required. Taking deep breaths ensures that the system is functioning correctly. Pranayam helps us in the intake of the necessary quantity of oxygen which is also called the life force or prana.

Pranayam or Pranayama is a breathing technique. It’s a way of handling one’s life breath or prana by regulating one’s breathing. There is a method of inhaling and exhaling that brings about the maximum absorption of oxygen while chucking out all unnecessary things in one’s body including diseases. The ancient method is all about breathing while seated in the correct posture.

What you need to take care of while doing Pranayam:

1. The best time to do Pranayam is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If there is no time, ensure that there is a gap of at least two to three hours after a meal before you sit down for the breathing exercise.
2. You can sit in Padmasan, Sukasan or in a chair with your legs crossed at the ankles while you are doing this. Sit in the posture most comfortable to you.
3. The flow of breath – both in and out – must be continuous. Never hold your breath midway and break the rhythm.
4. Begin with three minutes of Pranayam and go on to 15 minutes per day.
5. There is nothing like, ‘I have been there, done that’ syndrome while doing any kind of Pranayam. It is like breathing or drinking water and is best done throughout your life.
6. If you do not understand the breathing techniques when you read the instructions, please learn it from a proper teacher as doing it wrongly can adversely affect a person’s health.

There are six types of Pranayam practices. Bhastrika Pranayama, Anulom Vilom Pranayama, Kapal Bhati Pranayama, Bahya Pranayam, Bhramari Pranayama and Udgeeth Pranayama. The simpler ones are the first three. The others are best learnt from a master.

Bhastrika Pranayama:

Sit in a comfortable posture with your hands upturned on your knees and close your eyes. Bring your thumbs and forefingers together with the other three fingers pointing straight. Breathe in slowly through both your nostrils and fill in your lungs and abdomen. At this point, you should be able to feel both your chest and stomach expanding. Now breathe out uniformly but with more force then while you were inhaling. The exhalation time (ET) will be less than the inhalation time (IT). This is one cycle. Breathing in and breathing out may be continued for three minutes on Day One and may be increased to as much as 15 minutes gradually.
Tip: Do this as long as five minutes for seven days in a week and your life is made.

Kapal Bhati Pranayama:

Sitting posture is same as above. Inhale air through your nostrils normally and exhale forcefully. The ET should be way shorter than the IT. You can feel the pressure on your abdomen when you exhale. You can do this for three minutes on Day One and up to five minutes over a period of time.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama:

Sit in the same posture as before. Close the right nostril gently with the right thumb. Inhale slowly through the left nostril and fill your lungs and abdomen fully with air. Now, close your left nostril with the middle and ring fingers of the right hand and open the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril slowly and fully. Now, inhale through the right nostril, close it with your right thumb, open the left nostril and exhale. This is one cycle. Begin with five cycles on Day One and continue till you reach a duration of about five minutes.

Doing the Pranayam on a regular basis builds up a person’s body resistance and also cures a number of ailments. If you are suffering from any kind of chronic illness, it is better to consult your doctor before doing this.


The two nostrils on our nose represent the sun and the moon. The right belongs to the sun while the left to the moon. When you have a headache, close your right nostril with your right thumb and breathe evenly through your left nose – both inhaling and exhaling. After doing this for a few minutes, you will find your headache vanishing.

When you are tired and sleepy in the middle of your work, do the reverse. Cover your left nostril with your index finger and breathe evenly through your right nostril. After a short while, you will feel refreshed and wide awake.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spirituality: THE YEAR 2012 - Part 3

…to continue from where I left off in Part 2

We are moving towards a world seeped in Oneness, where man will be able to ‘walk and talk with God’ and there will be ‘heaven on earth’.

How do Amma Bhagavan propose to do this?

Amma Bhagavan have been working on this from the year 1989. This is from the time they opened Jeevashram, the school that they ran twenty years ago. Bhagavan has been working on this since he was three years old. Bhagavan was born on March 7, 1949. He could perceive the golden ball of enlightenment from age three. He has been meditating on this golden ball since then. He has been empowering it over all these years. Finally, his long-term vision has come true in the form of the Oneness Temple at Varadaiahpalem, where the Golden Ball has been consecrated and kept for public viewing. This will help Man increase his consciousness level.

Why this part of the world?

This area of Varadaiahpalem where the Oneness Temple is situated is a belt where many saints have lived over the past few centuries. This is because this area has got the rich potential to create enlightenment. That is the very reason why Amma Bhagavan have chosen this area.

The Golden Ball is the centre point. It is placed in a huge pillar-less hall where around 8,000 people can meditate at one time. When they meditate 24/7 chanting the Moola Mantra, the energy created by them will travel through the morphogenic fields (something in the lines of latitudes and longitudes) and cover the entire Planet Earth, increasing the consciousness levels of both the people and the planet itself.

By the year 2012, Bhagavan expects to have 64,000 human beings with a higher level of consciousness who would pray at this hall, raising the consciousness level of humanity. Once this increases, Man will begin to feel Oneness and that’s how we will go into the Golden Age or Satya Yuga.

What is consciousness?

It can be termed as an invisible energy field that surrounds a being. It is measured as Level of Consciousness (LOC) that calibrates from 0 to 1000. The more the number of calibrations, the higher the consciousness level. An enlightened being is one who calibrates at a high level of consciousness. For example, Lord Jesus calibrated at 999, Lord Buddha at 999 and Lord Krishna at 1000.

In comparison, the average LOC of man had sunk down to as low as 204 at the end of the last century. If it had gone below 200, we could have surely had an apocalypse and the world would have ended. But the presence of one human being with LOC of 1000 calibrations can uplift the entire humanity. Luckily for us, Amma & Bhagavan (two of 1000 calibrations) had already come down to earth by then as Avatars of Enlightenment and saved the earth from such a calamity. It might be difficult to believe, but Indians had a very bad LOC of an average of barely 150 calibrations at that point.

Thanks to Amma Bhagavan, the situation is already well under control and moving on towards betterment in the very near future.

What is enlightenment?

Being enlightened is to attain the state of a Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mahatma Gandhi or a Ramana Maharishi. This does not constitute becoming a saint. When one attains enlightenment, one stops feeling the need to harm and that will lead to the end of Kali Yuga. When a person attains the state of Oneness, you get to understand that hurting the other is hurting oneself. Then the need to harm disappears. Along with it leave the negative emotions that we feel such as anger, jealousy, greed, etc.

This does not mean that we will not want to have fun, enjoy life, earn large incomes, etc. We tend to believe that enlightenment and sainthood go hand-in-hand. We could not be more wrong. God is not a saint. He is the one who created fun, wealth, humour and joy. Please understand that we will not be giving up any of these.

In fact, the state we will be attaining is one that is quite unimaginable. We have to experience it to actually know what it is.

Golden Age or Satya Yuga

The consciousness level of humanity and the earth are intertwined and they work in cohesion. When LOC of Man increases, the LOC of the Earth will increase and vice versa.

Global warming will come to an end as Man will stop warring with nature and will understand the value of the Green Belt and treat it with better respect. Just as Man stops hurting human beings, He will also stop harming the Earth, will realise that He is but harming himself. He will stop fighting against the seasons like we do today. In summer we complain of heat, in winter we complain of cold and during rains we complain of the wet. Just stop and think for a minute what will happen if the seasons don’t do their work. We are so lost when the rains get delayed. Will the Earth function without the Sun that is the centre of the Solar System?

Yes, Man will begin to think on a totally different level altogether. The tremendous shift in consciousness levels will bring about an enhancement in CREATIVITY, HEALTH, WEALTH, PROSPERITY, RELATIONSHIPS and more.

With constant prayers and relentless efforts of a certain percentage of people the whole of humanity will stand to gain, to enter the Golden Age.

On June 6, 2012, during the Venus Transit, Bhagavan has predicted that the Earth will come to a stand still, it will stop rotating. That is the point when everyone had wondered whether the Earth will die. Now, thanks to Amma Bhagavan, we know that the exact opposite is going to happen. The Earth will become enlightened absolutely along with all the human beings living on it.

This wonderful and incredible phenomenon is to occur less than three years hence. I hope that we all sail through the intermittent time without any hardships. I sincerely pray to the Creator – Amma Bhagavan – to take us all safely into the GOLDEN AGE.

Click here to read Part 1

Click here to read Part 2

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Many of you must have read the news about the Roshan family visiting the Oneness Temple in South India in the entertainment section of Mumbai Mirror a few days back. I was quite excited to read that Rakesh Roshan planned to celebrate his birthday by visiting the temple along with his whole family including his wife, son Hrithik and his family and his daughter, Sunaina. They were also planning on having a darshan of Bhagavan.
This is indeed a huge breakthrough into Bollywood for the Oneness University. But more importantly, it is also true that it is a fantastic breakthrough for Bollywood to get in touch with Oneness University and Amma Bhagavan. Although other stars such as Shilpa Shetty, Shamita Shetty and Isha Koppikhar are followers of ONENESS, Hrithik Roshan should bring in more followers from the film world.
This picture is of Hrithik Roshan at the Oneness Temple as everyone can see. Welcome to ONENESS, Hrithik, your life’s made.