Smile Charitable Trust Blog

  • Christmas Kichdi!

    Dec 25, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    In every part of India Christmas is joyfully celebrated by people of all religions and communities. In Christian households, preparations for Christmas begin at least a month in advance. People get their homes whitewashed and indulge in spring cleaning of the house to give it a fresh new look. Ladies start preparations for the traditional Christmas cake and other cuisines which are anxiously awaited not just by the entire family but also by the neighbours.

    Even in our households, we celebrated Christmas with a family get togethers and by cooking lots of local delicacies, mostly meat based dishes. Somehow my mother was least affected with the appealing food options, Christmas had to offer. When we all appeared tired eating all those special Christmas food, she used to enjoy her very healthy nutritional food, khichdi or rice+dalma or some vegetable stew stuff, very calmly and slowly with perfect contentment.  

    Today, somehow I woke up thinking and missing “Kichdi”. While in bed, I called my mother to obtain the recipe. I can tell that she can never be a good cookery show host. Never!!! She goes, add this, and add that and then it is ready. I am like: how much to add? And how long to cook? Hello; I am going to cook it for the first time. Then I called my sister, a perfect cook and a definitely she has all the abilities to become a GOOD cookery show host. She has patience to explain and has the courage to experiment. She explained all in details. Quantity, time, process and quality control – all “check”!

    I wanted to revive my childhood and I have something in hand to make my Christmas day, special. I went for my usual 6 km run in the morning and then: its “Kichchi time”!!! They say, Christmas is about sharing. Let me then share my mother’s / sister’s kichdi recipe to you all. Try it and let me know how you liked it.

    Khichidi is very popular n Orissa and all over India. There are varieties of khichidi in Orissa like adahengu khichidi (ginger-asafoetida khichdi), moong dal khichdi, etc. Adahengu khechidi is a popular dish in the Jagannath Temple as well. At home, moong dal khechidi and other khechidis are served with pampad, pickle, curd, aaloo bharta, or baigan bharta, raita, dalma, and chutney.

    Ingredients:-

    • Rice - 1 cup
    • Roasted Moong Dal (Split Yellow lentils) - 1 cup
    • Water - 3 cups (as per requirement)

    Vegetables:-

    • Potato, raw banana, egg plant, green beans, peas, cauliflower, carrot & grated coconut. All the vegetables should cut in small. One onion for Aloo bharta (fried Potato mash)

    Spices:-

    • Bay leaf (Teja patra), Dry Red Chillies (Sukhila Lanka), Cumin seeds (Jeera), Grated Ginger (Checha Ada), Green Chillies (Kancha Lanka), Turmeric Powder (Haldi), Sugar to taste (Chini), Salt to taste  
    • Oil - 2-3 tsp

    Method:-

    • Clean and wash the rice & moong dal together and soak for 30 minutes. After soaking rice and dal, drain the excess water and keep aside. First heat the water in high flame and let it boil.
    • Heat 2 tsp oil in another deep pan. Add teja patta (bay leaves), cumin seeds, dry red chillies, and grated ginger to the oil and saute for a while. Then immediately add the boiling water to the deep pan.  Next add the rice, moong dal and all the vegetables, haldi powder and salt as per your taste. Cover it and let it cook in a medium flame about 10 minutes.
    • When the veggies are cooked, add the grated coconut, 1 tsp sugar, to the rice and mix well and let it cook in lower flame till it is done. When the khichdi will ready add rest of the oil over it and cover it for 5 minutes. Switch off the flame and serve your 'Christmas Khichdi' with aloo bharta (fried Potato mash).
    • When the veggies are cooked, add the grated coconut, 1 tsp sugar, to the rice and mix well and let it cook in lower flame till it is done. When the khichdi will ready add rest of the oil over it and cover it for 5 minutes. Switch off the flame and serve your 'Christmas Khichdi' with aloo bharta (fried Potato mash).
    • Aloo bharta (fried Potato mash): Boil 3-4 potatoes. Peel the skin of the potatoes and mash well. Take the oil in a pan and heat well. (Use regular oil if you like. I like mine in mustard oil). Add the mustard seeds, dry chillies and diced onions. Mix well. Cook them together for sometime.  Add the potatoes and the salt and mix well. Serve hot with "Christmas Kichadi".

    Please check all media files of this post at: www.bikashmohanty.com

  • Merry Christmas 2014!

    Dec 24, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    Santa is about to come into our lives, not by way of sleigh and reindeer but by way of the hearts. It is not just the customary, the religious or the conventional who find themselves surprisingly able to summon the spirit of Christmas at a time like this. It seems that we are all about to become a fountain of generosity. Christmas is about sharing, anything, everything or something!

    It is natural to look into the future and feel mystified. The veil of time is hard to see through. Even famous astrologers find it hard to be sure of what lies ahead. It is equally natural to feel uncertain about the past. When we look behind us, we see something shadowy and mystifying, which need to become clear about it.

    It is that time, of the year when do look back, we look ahead to gain a fresh perspective. Perspectives can be clear. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Everyday can be Christmas; there can be one religion in this world…region of humanity… religion of Karma. May our attitude, not our aptitude determine our altitude.

    Merry Christmas everyone. May you feel happiness, freedom and peacefulness in all your endeavours in the New Year and years beyond!

     

  • The Glass is always half full!

    Nov 16, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    All of us will get older at some stage and our hair will start to turn grey. Greying occurs as specialized cells in hair follicles called melanocytes lose their ability to produce pigment (melanin) over time. It's not that hair actually turns gray, but that new hair with less melanin grows in. White hair has virtually no melanin. Genes play a large role in greying, and there's wide variation among ethnic groups. Men tend to turn gray earlier than women.

    Smoking is linked to premature greying. In rare cases, gray hair may be a sign of illness. Among other reasons of hair greying are excessive intake of tea, coffee and alcohol, of fried and oily foods, spices and sour and acidic foods.

    Unfortunately, there are no proven remedies for gray or white hair other than colouring it, despite the claims made for some dietary supplements. Melancor-NH, for example, allegedly boosts melanin (and stops male pattern baldness to boot) with its blend of bromelain, collagen, biotin, inositol, and other ingredients.

    No vitamin, mineral, or nutritional supplement is known to prevent or reverse age-related gray hair. The same goes for human growth hormone, yoga, removing mercury fillings, or any other touted therapy. In lab research white hair follicle cells have been stimulated to produce pigment again, and some scientists are hopeful that eventually a "cure" for greying will be possible.

    In the meantime, hair colouring or learning to love the existing-grey-hair are the only options. However to prevent remaining hairs to turn grey; following can be practiced:

    1. By eating protein rich foods. Proteins - Sources: sprouted whole grains, cereals, meat and soy in your diet.
    1. By eating foods rich in iron, minerals and vitamin A and B.
      • Vitamin A - Sources: dark green vegetables & yellow fruits.
      • Vitamin B - Sources: fresh green leafy vegetables, bananas, tomatoes, cauliflower, cereals, liver kidney, yogurt, yeast and wheat germ.
      • Minerals like zinc, iron and copper - Sources: zinc - red meat, chicken & green vegetables
      • Iron - beef, dried apricots, red meat, parsley, eggs, wheat & sunflower seeds
      • Copper - sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, crabs and oysters, egg yolk & whole grains.
    1. By eating foods rich in iodine such as banana, carrots and fish.
    1. By eating 1 tea spoon of this everyday: Grate some fresh ginger. Mix with honey and place it in a jar.
    1. By rubbing Indian gooseberry (Amla) into the scalp regularly.
    1. And massing hairs with coconut oil and lemon juice everyday.

     

    Sunday is the time for listening to my favourite celestial beauty of music. I generally share one. But let me do two, just for today! One slow and one fast. Why? Because it is free!

    Let’s remember two things for the coming week as well. The glass is always half full” & “The dollar value of today is always greater than that of tomorrow”. Have a fantastic afternoon today and a brilliant week ahead.  SMILES PLEASE!

  • Theory of Co-existence!

    Nov 9, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    Some days, we wake up and feel that we just can't do anything/anymore. We feel that we are not good enough, we don’t have what it takes, within us, - so we can't and we shouldn’t be bothered; as it is all too much. There are other days when we feel we are rock stars and we can solve/manage any challenges of life, big-bigger-or even biggest. We say “Bring it on!”, we rise to the challenge.

    My question for us: which one is real us? Is it only we or other too experience this duality? Cleaver question! Not really. This is something which is not as complex as it seems. It does not take rocket science to see what is appropriate. If we select “attachment”; we will continue to experience the pain “How can I/we not be good enough, while others are?”. And if select “integrity”; we will continue to smile “We are all human and all of us go through this experience, without a single exception!”.

    Answer is: as long as we are human, both the feelings has always been, will always co-exist, irrespective of our status, profession, richness or whatever we choose to compare. Let’s profit from knowing this, which it truly right.

    It is Sunday and its time for listening to my favourite celestial beauty of music; here it is: http://youtu.be/cvchIREbzdI

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    Oct 12, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

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    Oct 12, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

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  • Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power!

    Oct 12, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said that: Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. Guided missiles never loose the track but misguided men are always out of track. Lust, anger and greed are like diseases afflicting the minds of people. The variety of problems bedevilling the world today - poverty, starvation, violence, disease and pollution, to name a few – are the symptoms of these diseases.

    Dealing with these symptomatic problems through social service will not bring about a lasting solution. As long as we are not freed from slavery to our internal enemies, we cannot be peaceful or happy. And as long as we are not peaceful and happy, we will inevitably indulge in activities that will perpetuate the symptomatic problems.

    1. Politicians divide us, terrorists unite us!
    2. Most people who fight over The Gita, The Quran or The Bible, probably have not read either of the books!
    3. It is dangerous to talk to a stranger but it is perfectly OK to marry one.
    4. We’d rather spend more on our daughter’s wedding celebration, than her education!
    5. Hunger kills a person every 3.6 seconds and over 15 million children every year.
    6. To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion- what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.
    7. Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion - a majority of humanity - live on less than $1 per day, while the world's 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world's people.

    Guidance is available to us whenever we want. We just have to be reasonably awake to receive it. Then we’ll have all the inspiration we could possibly want.

  • The best things in life come for free!

    Oct 12, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    Do the best things in life come for free? Same question, to five different people and five different answers, essentially they articulated to be the same answer.

    1. First of all, nothing in life is free. Have you ever heard of an oxygen bar? You have to pay to breathe air. What about water bills and stuff? So! Nothing in life is free. That means life is filled with a bunch of crap!!! I’m highly disappointed that I am just no realizing this too.
    1. Yes. Love, friendship, happiness, hopes...they are all free. Life is free too and it's a great gift!
    1. Yes of course! Our eyes, ears, tongue, nose, brains, heart - aren’t they the best things without these, will we be so happy on earth? They are the best things for which we pay nothing. Other than these our unique talents are also free. Love from everyone is also free. Most importantly; our life is also free. Isn’t it the best thing?
    1. If you talk about material things then yes they don't come for free! But if you talk about love and friendship, you see that it's always free! And is better than the material things
    1. Philosophically speaking, yes they do! I mean remember that story, where the rich man gets sleepless nights thinking about his money while the poor man sleeps without any worries? At the end its happiness, friendship, etc which matter.

    We all go through times when we want to feel loved, appreciated, admired and trusted. We want to be important to others and we want them to be important to us. This is all normal and natural but whenever it seems as if we are in an otherwise situation (not necessarily a romantic one), we can start to wish that we had never allowed ourselves to become so vulnerable. That’s when the religious /holy books remind us: to be free from “attachments/Moha”. We would like to care a lot less about a demanding situation. We can't fake disinterest but only solution is to nurture a greater independence of mind …ONLY. 

    We turn up on Earth knowing nothing, about where we have been in the past and where we have come to make our present. We are clean canvases. But, sooner or later, there is always someone strong-minded to make an impression on us. We are trained about our culture and our heritage. But when is it ever accurately explained to us that nobody really knows fairly; who we are or why we are here on the earth! Our emotional life ALWAYS reflects a clash between us and people who feel sure that they have answers. We are better off with fewer of those answers... and more questions! Questions fulfill our life purpose.

    Son asked; what present I shall give you Papa on your birthday. You choose, I said. He said – but I have no money Papa. I assured him to imagine that he had money and he has to buy a present for Papa which will make Papa happy always and everyday. I told him as well, he may as well; take some time to think about it properly. Half hour later, he came up with an idea in his mind and said Papa: I have an answer, let’s go and buy it. Oh boy; what a gift it was. Best gift of my life. I am proud of Rishi for being so observant. A snow-white teapot set. When I was growing up with my grand-father, he was drinking black tea and now I am. Black tea in a snow-white tea cup is something very alluring for me, it excites me, brings smile on my face with a thought of emotional connection with my grand-father. Rishi has perhaps observed my satisfaction, very accurately, on many occasions.

    Didn’t they say above best things in life come for free? If not, free, but with very little cost perhaps, for sure with pure affordability. Free or very little cost; same thing. How does it matter? Let’s not invest emotions here. Having tea from snow-white cup was not the only best thing/gift for me on my birthday. A home made fish curry and last but not least – a surprise gift from Bhaijaan. Bhaijaan chose to relay his recent movie “Kick” in Star-Gold channel to spice up my evening. Some say: Bhai-jaan’s movies are time pass. I say; how does it matter – that’s exactly what I like and that’s exactly what gives me contentment.

    Thank you everyone for all your kind wishes on my birthday. And may you have all the best things in your life, for free, or with little cost.

    It is Sunday and its time for listening to my favourite smoothing song; here it is:

  • The curious case of THE MARVERICK “Rishi Rehan Mohanty!

    Oct 5, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    End of Dussehra and start of Eid festival. What an eventful weekend it is!  Today is the most important day of my life. The day I celebrate the most important achievement of my life, the birth day of MySon-MyJaan “Rishi Rehan Mohanty”!

    Rishi has been using the word “My” these days, quite a lot. I asked him what is this “My business” all the time? He said remember Papa; you told me whatever you have got, is mine too! Smart buoy. I do remember my son. Everything is yours. When Papa is all yours, all that Papa has got is all yours too.

    Papa, do you love me the most? Yes, absolutely THE MOST. How much is the most, one billion times? No, one trillion times, Gundu! Is One Trillion bigger than one billion, Papa? I think One Zillion is even bigger than One Trillion. Then I love you one Zillion times Papa.

    I know; many years later when you will learn to use internet, you will find this little article in my website and that day you will be old enough to understand and believe that indeed your Papa, loves you the MOST in this world, more than anything, more than everything combined.

    Are you not happy Papa that I am six today? No! Why Papa why? Because I always want you to be this little, my baby. I always want you to be this playful, playing with toys, stumble & stammer while speaking and I want you to run around the house like a little squirrel, always.

    The curious case of THE MARVERICK “Rishi Rehan Mohanty” : http://imageartification.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/the-bravest-little-buoy/

    I can’t believe we are in October already, it feels like we started a year, just recently. How fast it goes…that’s why they say perhaps… It’s the journey, not the destination that matters! Hope we all have a great journey this year. We still have three more months to catch up on the journeys, yet to be undertaken.  

    While running in the park this morning, a song played from my Nano. I wondered what this song is doing in my Nano, with rest of my exercise tracks! Who got this song here? Awaz ayi, “MEIN! Tera Rooh, tera saya! Mein woh hoon jo marta nahin, uddd jata hey, idhar se udhar. Mein wohi hoon jo tujhe haar khusiyon se wahif karata hey – ache banney ki, achha rehney ki raah dikhata hey. Mein tera Rooh, aur mera naam Roohdaar.” Mein idhar bhi hoon, udhar bhi. Mein asmaan bhi hoon, zameen bhi. Remember you said Sunday evening can be the most insightful and peaceful time, from the whole week. And you have to play a song for our soothing Sunday evening. Tow yeahi hey that song.

    This is the song.  Have a brilliant week ahead. Subh Ratri.

  • Haider - Movie Review!

    Oct 5, 2014 by Bikash Mohanty

    We often make comparison… how Shahrukh Khan’s acting is similar to that of Dillip Kumar’s. We said Salman Khan is Dharmendra of current times. We notice Ranveer Singh’s, being identical to latkas-jhatkas of Govinda BUT we say Amir Khan/Hrithik Roshans are league of their own. There can never be someone who can ever match the versatility of Amir Khan/Hrithik Roshan. Not anymore; it took quite sometime for Amir Khan to make that impression of perfectionist. He started in 1987 but we started appreciating him really since his movie “Lagaan”, which was released in the year 2000. Same with Hrithik Roshan.

    I see another actor who is carefully stepping forward, with his bid to make another icon of versatility. We got to watch “Haider” to believe this. Shahid Kapoor has become almost perfect in acting with this movie.

    This movie is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', Haider - a young man returns home to Kashmir on receiving news of his father's disappearance. Not only does he learn that security forces have detained his father for harbouring militants, but that his mother is in a relationship with his very own uncle. Intense drama follows between mother and son as both struggle to come to terms with news of his father's death. Soon Haider learns that his uncle is responsible for the gruesome murder, what follows is his journey to avenge his father's death.

    It’d appear from the story-line that the movie must be filled with dreadful lot of violence, but it is not the case. There is not much aggression until the last scene. The movie is just filled with intense acting of some very credible actors and my favourites too: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, KK Menon & the “Mr Icing-on-the-top” Irrfan Khan. Irrfan Khan, undoubted has become an assuring factor for the quality of the movie, performances in the movie and medium to get recognized in international platforms. I shall be happy if the movie “Haider” is considered as India’s nomination for Oscar.

    The movie has been picturised in Kashmir, which does not look the Swiss Alps but still deserves to be considered amongst the most beautiful places on earth. I get emotional, when I notice a beautiful human relationship. In this movie, there is a subtle yet very powerful relationship, displayed between a father and son.

    So; what shall we go for? Shall we make it the best movie of this year – kaardein? Let me go 4 /5. Yeah, we all should go watch this, this is not to be missed. The craft-work, the carving skills and artistic elevations of Vishal Bhardwaj is absolutely impressive.