Vani’s Musings

Archive for June 2007

Its Six months since White Phosphorous became reality. Six months of glorious interaction with amazing personalities… It’s been wonderful to share my musings, cribs, favorite poetry, little tit-bits of knowledge, rants, culinary jaunts and anything I felt was worth sharing, with each one of you.

 I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading everything I wrote, and encouraging me to go forward. I have been fortunate to have so many people take interest and read everything I write.  

Now, it’s time for me to take a break………………I am in a transition phase, undergoing changes in my professional life and want to enjoy the little gap I will be getting, with family and friends. There are long due visits to relatives’ houses and temples, and I plan to make the most of this little holiday I am getting.

 I will not be able to blog as frequently for the next 15 days, hope to be back with a bang after that. Plan to get back fresh and rejuvenated, and hope to keep you entertained with more.

Ta Ta till then.


It’s a cold, wet day and I have not much to do at work. I yearn for some hot coffee, and my mind wanders…I go back to those golden days of childhood, and reminisce fondly about those days when the only entertainment during such weather, when friends could not meet, was good old Door Darshan.  And that prompts me to write this post on my favorite characters in DD shows.

  1. Renu from Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi
  2. Mr Y I Yogi from Mr Yogi
  3. Kiran Juneja’s Character (Forgot her name) from Buniyaad
  4. Betaal from Vikram Aur Betaal
  5. Guru from Nukkad
  6. Khopdi from Nukkad
  7. Abhimanyu Roy in Fauji
  8. Sudesh Berry and Malavika Tiwaari in Kashish
  9. Kitty (“Sir, you are a genius”) from Karamchand
  10. Karamchand – Chewing a carrot (“Shut up, Kitty”) from Karamchand
  11. Jaspal Bhatti in Ulta Pulta
  12. He Man from He Man and the Masters of the Universe
  13. Giant Robot
  14. Devki Bhaujaayi  from Humraahi
  15. Byomkesh Bakshi from Byomkesh Bakshi
  16. Shekhar Suman (Don’t Remember his name) from Reporter
  17. Rajni from the serial Rajni
  18. Karan Razdan as Rajni’s husband  from Rajni
  19. Prannoy Roy from The World this Week
  20. Amol Paalekar from Aa Bail Mujhe Maar
  21. Anjan Srivastava from Wagle Ki Duniya
  22. Bharti Achrekar from Aa Bail Mujhe Maar and Wagle Ki Duniya
  23. Kavitha Chowdhry from Udaan
  24. Mungerilal from Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne
  25. Phateechar from Phateechar
  26. Krishna Deva Raya and Tenaali Raama from Tenaali Raama
  27. Jawahar Lal Nehru from Bharat Ek Khoj
  28. DiDi’s Comedy Show
  29. Telematches
  30. Liliput in Dekh Bhai Dekh

And I can go on and on and on……………….. like some one sang on TV “Koi Lautade Mere Beete Hue Din”

My friend G and I were talking about different facets of human emotions and behavior last evening when he suddenly remembered this poem we studied in Primary School. We studied this poem may be in 5th or 6th Standard, and probably even forgot about its significance, but come to see, it has so much to tell us about life in itself.

The Poet has used the mountain and the squirrel effectively in conveying how much one overestimates himself and how one need not feel intimidated about his or her physical appearance or success measures in life. 

The mountain and the squirrel

Had a quarrel,

And the former called the latter“Little prig.”

Bun replied,“You are doubtless very big;

But all sorts of things and weather

Must be taken in togetherTo make up a year

And a sphere.

And I think it no disgrace

To occupy my place.

If I’m not so large as you,

You are not so small as I,

And not half so spry:

I’ll not deny you make

A very pretty squirrel track

Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;

If I cannot carry forests on my back,

Neither can you crack a nut.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Thanks G for reminding me of this wonderful poem.

This is one of my Ajji’s recipes for yummy kodbaLe…it’s Friday, and I am hungry and waiting for lunchtime as I am writing this.


Rice flour (slightly coarse, gives more crispy touch)
Red chili powder
Jeera (cumin seeds)
Hing (asafetida)
Grated coconut
Dried & crushed curry leaves
White sesame seeds
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

There is no fixed proportion for the ingredients….if you decide to make half a Kilo of KodubaLe, for 500 gms of rice flour, salt and chili powder depend purely on taste….also asafetida must be just a pinch…too much of it is really really bad….the other ingredients are about a handful together.


Mix the rice flour, red chili powder, salt, butter and all the above ingredients in the dry form.
Knead with hand to ensure that butter gets uniformly mixed in the dry flour.

At this stage some people prefer to put 1 or 2 red chilies in hot oil, take out after 1 minute, cool, powder by hand and mix with the dry flour.
This gives a traditional flavor to KODUBALE. Frying procedure: The proper method is not to mix water to the flour all at once, but to sprinkle, enough to make a handful of wet dough at a time, finish that and proceed again.
So, mix water to a portion of the dough (preferably at the center), mix it to a semi-wet paste (not as wet as a chapatti/bread dough).
Take a lemon-sized ball and start rolling on a cutting board.

The consistency should be sufficient to roll, but not too wet/soggy.
If the water is less, the rolled rod breaks. If this happens, add a little water (coconut water if you have).

Remember, do not put too much pressure on the semi-wet dough, but gently roll to form a smooth natural rod, rolling sideways to get an even thickness of about the small finger on your hand.When the rolled rod becomes 4 inches long, slowly turn around the ends, join them to form a circle (like a bangle). The correct consistency is that at the points of bending, small cracks may appear, but the roll will not break.

Carefully hold it at the circumference and slide it along the Pan-edge into hot oil.
Use medium flame to heat the Pan (BaNale).
 Put in 5 to 6 Kodubale at a time and deep fry slowly till brown.
Use the back of stainless steel spoon or a wooden rod to lift them thro’ the center hole.
To test consistency, break one after cooling; it must be crispy with crumbs at the center.

If the butter is too much, the KODUBALE breaks into pieces after getting into the hot oil.

Mix every thing with water and roll and fry. I bet you know what to do after this!

If the water is too much, the KODUBALE becomes smooth and soft. Lack of butter makes it pretty hard, which, many people do like.

Adjust your proportion, Khara (chili powder) etc by tasting one, thenproceed with the further batches. It can be kept in bottles for 15 days to a month and eaten at tea time or any time….. 

KodubaLe brings back memories of my grandmother…. she was an awesome cook and made amazing KodubaLe…. that too on a traditional “iddilu ole”…this is again another great memory of Summer Holidays…. 

No, this post has nothing to do with loans, or about the specific loan jargon on the bank documents….yeah, in the broad perspective, it is about how a language itself evolves by borrowing from others .

Loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept whereby it is the meaning or idiom that is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort.  Loanwords can also be called, “borrowings.”

 Words which a language inherits from an ancestral language from which it develops are not borrowed words. Inherited words usually constitute most of the vocabulary of a language. Although loanwords are typically far fewer than the native words of most languages (creoles and pidgins being exceptions), they are often widely known and used, since their borrowing served a certain purpose, for example to provide a name for a new invention. 

Our own “Lingua Franca”, English has many such loan words. Here is a small list of such words that we use in daily conversations. Most of us are unaware of the origins of these words, and it is a curious exercise to find out where these words came from.  

  • absolute, from Middle French, compare modern Fr. Absolu
  • academic (Fr. académique)
  • accusative (Old Fr. accusatif)
  • adieu, which literally means “to God” (à Dieu), farewell
  • advertisement, compare avertissement (warning)
  • affair, from Old French, compare modern Fr. affaire (business)
  • Algorithm  from the name of the Persian scientist Khwarazmi
  • Balcony  from balcone (Italian)
  • Bandicoot, from pandikoku (Telugu)
  • Bother (from bodhar, “deaf” or “to deafen”) To annoy or disturb – Irish
  • Cash: from Sanskrit karsa, a weight of gold or silver but akin to Old Persian karsha-, a weight. a unit of value equivalent to one cash coin.

o                    coffee – disputed; either from the Ethiopian region/Kingdom of Kaffa, where coffee originated, or Arabic kahwa

o                    Chit  from Hindi chitthi “a letter, note”,

o                    Dhole, from tOla (Kannada)

o                    Jack fruit from Chakka, (Malayalam )

o                    jive – possibly from Wolof jev (African Origin)

o                    mamba – from Zulu or Swahili mamba

o                    Mongoose, from mungeesa (Telugu) or mungusi (Kannada)

 o                    wee small, tiny, minute. – Scottish 

These are very few of the enormous collection of loan words in the English language. Just goes on to prove that each language shares a symbiotic relationship with others in the world.

 And yes, before I forget, this is my 50th post.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:-
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:

I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought;

 For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Wordsworth’s famous poem about daffodils was composed in 1804, two years after he saw the flowers walking by Ullswater on a stormy day with Dorothy.His inspiration for the poem came from an account written by Dorothy. In her journal entry for 15th April 1802 she describes how the daffodils:“Tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake;”

Wordsworth published his poem, ‘I wandered lonely as a Cloud’, in 1807. He later altered it, and his second version, published in 1815, is the one widely known today.

This is one of my most favorite poems. I remember reading this as a part of English Syllabus sometime in Primary School and since then have become a fan of this sort of simple yet rich poetry.

So this is another post I felt I simply had to share with my readers. I had a host of issues to write about, and had also finalized on a couple of topics, and was drafting them, when I happened to watch this program on TV, which made me stop all other things, and write about it. 

This is some local channel, whose specialty is Astrological Programs. Yesterday I was watching one such program on numerology. Now I have watched this program several times earlier. It goes something like this. 

The program begins with the compere, in this case, the astrologer/numerologist taking up one issue for discussion.

 He speaks of this issue for the first half hour of the program, the remaining 30 mins is spent taking calls from various people about their problems and how he thinks some Pooja can solve them and changing their names or whatever. 

The show on last Friday focused on the Supernatural. He spent some time analyzing why people become ghosts, and then he moved on to the classification of ghosts, yes, you read it right, classifying ghosts into several categories. Okay, now the classifications.

  • Devva
  • Bhoota
  • Pishaachi
  • ShaakiNi
  • DhaaKiNi
  • Mohini
  • Kutti Chaataan

 The first three of the list belong to the male species of ghosts; any man, who dies prematurely, i.e., without completing his complete life cycle, turns into a ghost. This may be death because of an incurable illness, murder or accidents. I don’t know why he took the trouble of making three separate classifications.

Harm Rating on 1-5 (1 signifying least and 5 signifying maximum) – 3

  Now the interesting part.The next three on the list belong to the female species of ghosts. I will take some time to define and explain each variety. 

  • ShaakiNi – This variety comprises of all those married women who die prematurely, because of dowry harassment or some accident or some other mishap.

         Harm Rating  – 3.5

  • DhaaKini – This variety comprises of all those women who die untimely deaths because of protracted illnesses , married or unmarried notwithstanding.

          Harm Rating – 3.0

  • Mohini – This is the most dangerous variety; All women who suffer a “love failure” and commit suicide or are murdered, become ghosts of this category. The Astro-Numerologist was emphatic about warning the unsuspecting viewers about them. He repeated this more than 5 times during the episode- this was the most dangerous category of ghosts.

          Harm Rating – 5.5 

  • Kutti Chaataan – These are child ghosts. They are the least harmless, and are pranksters.

         Harm Rating – 2.0

 Then he spoke of “Love Failure” and said that people who are born on 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 27th & 30th are bound to be unsuccessful in love and he recommends breaking up if the boy or girl or both are born in these doomed dates. He also asked men to be wary of girlfriends born in these dates and warned them never to antagonize their girls, lest they commit suicide and haunt them for several births to come. 

Summing up, he said that before having an affair, it is better to check the prospective partner’s date of birth and then proceed. Does not matter if he / she is having other dreadful diseases. The main idea is that the girl should not die and become a Mohini and haunt the poor chap.

 So, all you guys and girls in love out there, beware…..