This year I turned 50 (in Feb 2010!). Some how I had anticipated that the thought itself would hit me hard, some thing like what is shown in Eketa Kapoor’s serials – where the sequence is repeated three times and loud music in the back ground or India TV news channel: ‘Samir turn’s 50’ – repeated thrice with loud and heavy music - constantly reminding me. In reality it happened very subtly. The acceptance was much easier and I have become much quieter (hopefully for the better!).
I remember the days when I turned 40. It was tormenting. Middle age - middle of what? How does one know how much one is going to live and so how do we say 40 is middle age - I just couldn’t accept it. I had joined a gym and many times it would happen that some or the other guy (possibly in his late 30’s or younger) would approach me (while I would be walking on a treadmill) with a request “uncle, when you are done, please tell me, I want to jog” (as if I was wasting his or my time by walking on treadmill)– this would hit me hard and I would increase the speed from 6 to 10 and jog. And not only that – I would repeat the round – expecting the guy who called me ‘uncle’ to notice that I too can jog. What was the out come? I would not come to Gym for next whole week or more, as my calf (which I didn’t know it existed) and ankle would be profusely aching. I distinctly remember the time when some young lady came in the weight training section and addressed to me “uncle when you are done with this set of dumbbells give them to me” and this uncle would be at it again, to impress the lady, that, I am not uncle yet, instead of 5 kg weights, I would lift 30 kgs (even though the trainer had clearly warned me not to touch any thing beyond 10 kgs) and the rest is history, I injured my back and damaged the ligaments of my elbow very badly, that even today I have issues with it. And my gym regime has not restarted. Now that I am 50, some how, I am at peace with myself. I do not have any issues with any one calling me uncle. May be because I have accepted that I am “uncle”, I have diverted to other activates such as this blog or APY or sketching or cooking. I am enjoying every bit of it.
Today’s APY was a successful, though it was only on trail basis. The real APY starts from next week. We had 14 participants today and it is expected that by next week there would be between 20 to 25 participants. We had formed three groups and each one had opted for 4 gates of Ahmedabad, all the three groups could only finish half of the assigned area. The idea was to document life around these gates. Each one of us has some or the other stories to talk about (both, thru pictures as well talk). We will do so, once we organize a bit better.
I got a comment earlier to write about some of my culinary skills (if one may says so). There is step by step photographic DIY for two dishes: Som Tum or Thai Raw Papaya Salad and Baked Eggs in Bread Bowl:
Thai Raw Papaya Salad:
Green Papaya or semi ripe, Dry Red Chiles, Garlic Cloves, Tomato, Carrot, Cucumber, Dark Soy Sauce, Lemon Juice, Coriander, Fresh Basil leaves (tulsi), Roasted Peanuts (unsalted), Brown Sugar or Jaggery , Tamarind, Black Pepper, Salt to taste.
|Tools (L) and Spices (R)|
|Ingredients: Papaya and Vegetables (L), Coriander, Peanuts, Basil (R)|
Method of preparation:
Peel and wash the green papaya. Use a julienne peeler to thinly shred the papaya, cucumber and carrot. Chop the tomato. Cut the dry red chilies, garlic cloves and ginger in to small pieces. Using a mortar and pestle, first crush the garlic, red chilies, tamarind, Jaggery, black pepper, together into paste by adding enough salt. Then stir in tomatoes and mash them a little. Stir in lemon juice, soy sauce, roasted peanuts, shredded papaya and salt. Lightly mash and mix all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the seasonings if required. Serve green papaya salad immediately.
|Shredded Veges seperate (L), Shredded Veges mixed (R)|
|Som Tum - Thai Raw Papaya Salad|
Baked Eggs in Bread Basket:
Hard buns (if you don’t find them, just place them in oven on pre heat for 10 minutes), Eggs, Cheese, cream (fresh malai), Basil – fresh and dry, Oregano, Black pepper and Salt to taste.
Method of preparation:
Slice off top of each bun and gently remove some bread until there is a hole large enough to accommodate an egg. Arrange buns on a baking sheet. Reserve tops. Crack an egg into each bun (don’t mix or stir). Top each egg with some herbs and a bit of cream and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 210-220 degree oven until eggs are set and bread is toasted (15 to 20 minutes). After eggs have cooked, place bread tops on baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Let sit 5 minutes.
Place tops on buns and serve warm.
|Buns with top cut (L), Buns with inside removed (R)|
Eggs cracked in Bun (below L), Cream, Cheese and Herbs added on top (below R)
Completed Dish- Thai Raw Papaya Salad and Baked Eggs in Bread Basket.
Hope you try these recipes at home and enjoy as mush I did! I must warn you that Som Tum Salad as shown in Tarla Dalal’s website is incorrect. I have improvised both the recipes to suit our taste buds.
More recipes, pictures and sketches next time. Have a great week.