Monday, December 26, 2011

The Judging Factor

Its holiday season everywhere and almost anyone you talk to has stories about events taking place which they plan to attend, or as is the case in Lahore, Pakistan, loads of weddings piled up to attend. People abroad are busy attending Christmas parties whilst wedding season is in full swing in Pakistan. I have noticed how at some events people just get together to discuss and gossip about everyone else there. That is okay I guess, except when things take a turn for the negative, with spiteful remarks taking over the discussion.

I am glad I am not associated with people who indulge in such judgmental behavior. However, whether we admit it or not, it is a predominant ugly truth of society. People sadly like to pass comments over others behind their back, often derogatory and belittling in nature. It is quite disappointing because there are so many beautiful aspects of human nature that can be highlighted instead of rummaging through the shadows to pick up flaws. I am not here to preach on whats good and whats bad. I just hope people think what it would be like to be in the shoes of the targeted people before yielding to such activity. And I think I have the perfect video to make my point, which I came across courtesy of fellow blogger Nas.

Lets leave the judging to God, who has an insiders view on everything. God bless.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Their Last Love Letter

This article has also been published in the Express Tribune newspaper at the following link:

I have been quite busy the past few weeks and haven't really had much time to come online, let alone blog. This blog is about Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan in honor of his birthday today, which also happens to fall on Christmas so Merry Christmas to all reading. The television has been showing stories about Jinnah's life and newspapers are flooded with anecdotes regarding the Quaid. Jinnah's tomb today has been site to millions attending a historical rally by the political party Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However despite all the stories about his political achievements and leadership persona, the one that captivated me the most is something personal about the enigmatic, charismatic leader who has been very secretive about his private affairs.

I randomly stumbled across the last love letter written to Jinnah by his wife Ruttie Jinnah. Most Pakistanis are aware that Ruttie was born in a Parsi family, met Jinnah and they both fell in love despite her being only 16 and him 39 years of age. On opposition from her family, Ruttie waited till she turned 18, and left her family forever to marry Jinnah. The two had a few very happy years of marriage, however some misunderstandings arose due to which they separated. Sadly things took a turn for the worse with Ruttie getting diagnosed with cancer, and before she died at the tender age of 29, she wrote the following love letter to Jinnah:

"Darling- thank you for all you have done. If ever in my bearing your once tuned senses found any irritability or unkindness- be assured that in my heart there was place only for a great tenderness and a greater pain- a pain my love without hurt. When one has been as near to the reality of Life (which after all is Death) as I have been dearest, one only remembers the beautiful and tender moments and all the rest becomes a half veiled mist of unrealities. Try and remember me beloved as the flower you plucked and not the flower you tread upon.

I have suffered much sweetheart because I have loved much. The measure of my agony has been in accord to the measure of my love.  

Darling I love you - I love you - and had I loved you just a little less I might have remained with you - only after one has created a very beautiful blossom one does not drag it through the mire. The higher you set your ideal the lower it falls. 

I have loved you my darling as it is given to few men to be loved. I only beseech you that the tragedy which commenced in love should also end with it.

Darling Goodnight and Goodbye.

I had written to you at Paris with the intention of posting the letter here - but I felt that I would rather write you afresh from the fullness of my heart. R."

The above letter was written in Merseilles, France on 5 October 1928. The reason I felt like sharing this letter on my blog is because it seems to have captured Ruttie's feelings in it. When reading it, one cannot help but be gripped by the intensity of her feelings for Jinnah, along with a haunting shadow of sadness woven in her words. The fact that Jinnah and Ruttie never stopped loving each other despite the misunderstandings remains undisputed. The founder of our nation Mr. Jinnah has been very reserved in showing emotions except on two occasions. Jinnah could not control his sadness on Ruttie's funeral and also when he went for the last time to visit Ruttie's grave before leaving for Pakistan.

I hope the two are happy and finally together in life after death. Posted below is the original version of the letter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Great Culinary Experiment

I realize its been a while since I last blogged about food. I do sometimes take pictures of food when I'm cooking, to make the process more interesting, given the fact that I can always blog about it later. Today I want to share a great culinary experiment I did some time back. It turned out to be a mix between Pakistani and Mexican cuisine. Honestly I was bored, I got some random stuff from the fridge and voila, the result turned out to be a pleasant, yummy surprise.

The random ingredients I selected at the spur of the moment were chicken, two capsicum, an onion, some baby tomatoes, green chili according to taste, black olives, a can of mushrooms, some tomato paste, Dijon Mustard and Worcestershire Sauce.

I put some oil in the wok, added whole cumin seeds along with chopped onion pieces. Continuously stirring the wok till the onions were a lovely golden brown, I then went on to add a teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste, chopped green chillies and some salt. Mix in the tomato paste, the chopped tomatoes and whilst stirring go on to add the chicken along with some Dijon Mustard. Proceed to now add the chopped capsicum.  Note what a delightfully vibrant and colorful dish this is turning out to be.

Add some Worcestershire Sauce and then also add the contents of the can of mushrooms. The lovely aroma of all the ingredients mixing together will envelope your kitchen.

Keep the wok on the pan until the chicken is cooked, stirring from time to time to ensure the contents do not stick on the pan. Once the chicken is almost done, add the diced black olives.

Once done, the chicken should be moist and tender, and should cut easily with a fork.

Put the contents on a plate and enjoy hot. It is quite a different dish with lot of flavors mixed together. On hindsight, I am glad I was in an experimenting mood that day since it led to this scrumptious culinary delight.