Monday, September 20, 2010

Walk in the Journey of Life - 5

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.  Victor Hugo

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.


  1. I enjoyed and laughed over your issues with the age factor. Now we know the REAL reason for your aches and pains :)
    The egg-buns look yummy, I am drooling..
    The pictures that you have taken dont help to make the recipe (the text does)... usually people who write food blogs take step by step pictures, documenting the entire process of how the raw ingredients turn out to be something yum. If you plan to tempt the readers through your pictures then I suggest you zoom-in and also give more attention to the lighting. your Food can be your Photography subject!
    I can't wait for you to repeat this recipe for me!

  2. Samir, be prepared to be called as DADA.When children start educating us, there is not much time left to be DADA !However, it is a great pleasure,listening this word from your grand children but if ,as you said in your blog, calls us DADA, body starts paining without doing anything(personal experiance).
    Yeasterday's APY was really really thrilling for me.Thanks for taking initiative.

  3. Extremely proud of you dad. I was looking forward for your blog all week. Im really looking forward to learn photography from you this diwali. :)
    And one of the best ways to overcome the "mid-life crisis" is by accepting your age as it comes [Remember, you cannot hold back time, so go along with the flow... life has more in store as you go along] :) You'r never old, as long as you dont regret not making the most of your youth! :)

    This blog has made my pretty much dull day and a ridiculously cranky morning! :) Thankyou. :)

  4. You've moved on with each blog. It gives interesting,diverse ideas & inspiration. I look forward to monday afternoon to read your blog; so dont take a break.
    The above recepi was great to taste. Keep it up, best wishes for future experiments.

  5. Dear Samir,
    So many thoughts in one blog. Great one, you are getting better. @ Aging... Sam, your activities (Cooking, sketching, photography, etc.) does not reveal the age. Keep it up... I love to follow not only your blog, but also your activities. Could you trace my article, “life begins at 40”... please do so

    @The salad and eggs look appetizing, must eat your version before I try out cooking this one.

    @Yesterday’s AP yatra was a great experience, asking for more...

  6. Hi Samir "uncle"
    Gr8 thoughts. I look forward to ur blog every monday.Believe me its more interesting than BigB's or Shashi Tharoor's or any other blog. I think u should write more often. Thanks for an enlightening and enriching day !!!

  7. Sam..Versatility has its own definition ..Sketching/painting, photography and now cooking skills..I am now getting better with my doubt that your profession of Architecture is just to kill time:))...I suppose the volcano in you has erupted..the talent and the skills were always there but the presentation is improving by the day..DONT LET THE AIR GO TO YR HEAD..::)) ..keep up the good work..

  8. Dear All,
    I have been advised by Shripal to reply to the comments on the blog itself instead of emails. So here are the comments on comments:

    Sharvari, Glad that you liked the age factor stuff. Oops!!! now you know the reason for aches and health issues. Will gladly make the baked bun basket when you visit here next.

    Girishuncle, you didn't have to remind me of the 'dada' thing. I am sure it must feel great but as of now its kind of depressing even to think of - for next 10 years at least - KIDS ARE YOU LISTENING? I am glad you liked the APY.

    Shripal, I am glad that the blog brightened up you day. As far as the mid life crises is concerned - does one have a choice of not accepting - except the futile attempts like my gym escapade. Photography basic lessons - yes, Diwali break would be a good time to do so.

    Shubhada, Glad that you feel that I have moved on from 1st blog. As far as the new recipies are concerned - you and Raj are the only scapegoats I have. Yes, this time I did not have to point a 'gun' to force you to eat!!!. Unlike several past experiments. Glad you like the items.

    Apurva - Bun Maska, In the recipies this time I have used the Bun, I am sure you will enjoy it the most. Very happy that you not only love reading my blog but also the activities I initiate. APY is not solely and exclusively my activity. It is very much your's and Nayan's too as you have been along with me in planning APY. It has a long way to go and the way its taking shape - I am sure it will turn out to be something big.

    Kinjal, I am flattered and floored by your comment. Had you written "uncle" a few years back - I would have been annoyed but not any more. Thanks for your motivating comments.

    Niketan, So now you know the secret that my office practice was only a front for time pass. Very soon one more activity of music will be added. Wait for a few weeks - its in process. None of the other activity can get in head but the music band thing can - let it happen - hope you too are part of it.

    Rasubhai, the point in the email, which you had sent promptly is noted. Actually for all the activities i am up to these days, your are to be credited.

    Shimoli, I am surprised that you had issues to write comments in the blog but you are welcome any time and I will cook what ever you like.

  9. Hi Samir "Uncle" ..U made my day! :) And love the Bun..made that for my sunday breakfast ..thnx!

  10. Dear Toral,

    Thanks for your comment. I don't any more mind the title "uncle". Glad you tried the baked eggs in bread basket. Next blog (7) will have two more recipes from the middle east.