Sunday, February 28, 2010

The beginning of my violin career :)

Violin - Part 1

I bought a beginner violin from Ebay. I am very interested in Carnatic classical music and thought violin is the best way to play the music I enjoy. I looked for a Carnatic violin teacher in the bay area but couldn't find one. Finally I came across a Hindustani violin teacher on the net after searching for a couple of weeks. I thought of starting with this teacher since I can at least pick up the basics. We decided it would be good to start on a thursday (just a sentiment). Finally scheduled a violin class a couple of days ago. My violin teacher is very experienced. He has taught violin for 30 years. He agreed to come to my place to teach violin. He came to my place and after a bit of chit chat, he asked me to play what I know in violin. I had practiced sa-ri-ga-ma-pa-da-ni s by following a youtube video. I showed him what I had learnt. Then we sat down and he started tuning my violin a bit. He said its good violin. Apparently Hindustani way of tuning a violin is different from Carnatic one. In hindustani, sa-ri-ga-ma s are played like this:

String G - pa (open), da (index finger), ni(middle finger), sa(ring finger)
String D - sa, ri, ga, ma
String A - PA, DA, NI, SA
String E - SA, RI, GA, MA

Then I was given an exercise to practice for a week. He also wrote down the notes for "piyu bole, piya bole" song from the movie parineeta:) When I started playing the violin, it sounded like a crying cat. I Had to get used to the finger movements and the bow. My wife has been patient enough to hear the noises I m making. Now after a couple of days, its been getting better. Still having difficulty with the quick finger movements from string to string. Its been a good experience so far and looking forward to more lessons.

With the online research I 've done about violin and from my own little experience, violin seems to be the toughest string instrument but if you master it, you will have an easier time with the other string instruments (like guitar :) ). But I feel happy to choose violin not because its the toughest instrument but because I enjoy it :)

- Mahesh

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take....!!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take....!!
NICE ARTICLE ABOUT LOVE-by Swami Vivekananda

I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me.Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool,she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said

"You see this water carefully contained on my hand?It symbolizes Love."
This was how I saw it:As long as you keep your hand caringly open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there.However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to posses it, it will spill through the first cracks it finds. This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love...they try to posses it, they demand, they expect... and just like the water spilling out of your hand, love will retrieve from you.For love is meant to be free, you cannot change itsnature.If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.Give and don't expect.Advise, but don't order.Ask, but never demand.It might sound simple, but it is a lesson that may take a lifetime to truly practice.
It is the secret to true love.
To truly practice it,you must sincerely feel no expectations from those whom you love, and yet an unconditional caring."

Passing thought... Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take;but by the moments that take our breath away.....
Life is beautiful!!! Live it !!!
-- Keep Smiling--

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hawaii ...a memorable experience


Hawaii, one of the beautiful places in US. The state of Hawaii has eight populous islands : namely O'ahu, Hawaiian Island, Maui, Kaua'i, Moloka'i, LanaŹ»i, Ni'ihau and Kaho'olawe . Hawaii is a festival lovers paradise and the best time to enjoy the festivals in Hawaii is fall.

Here I share my experiences along with some useful information that I gathered from magazines about the places in Hawaii. 
The island we visited was O'ahu in the month of December. we enjoyed the breathtaking views of waikiki  beach in Honolulu, the state capital. The panoramic ocean views, swaying palm trees and the hush of dense mountain forests makes the Island very beautiful. Don't forget to book for a ocean view hotel room :)

 If you want to enjoy the flavor and feel of the city , then you should not miss the bus ride. TheBus, is a public transport to Hawaii's attractions and its a safe travel away from Waikiki easy and affordable. You can find the details onto 

To get a different picture of what goes on once the sun goes down, one must walk along the Waikiki's main thoroughfare at kalakaua Avenue after 9:00 Pm. The place transforms into a lively world of sparkling lights and brightly lit store windows. Artists of all sorts, musicians and painters line the sidewalk offer visitors a taste of local flavor and create fun filled friendly ambiance, great for a family and good restaurant area.

Take a hike at Diamond Head Crater - worth it!!!
One cannot miss the panoramic views of  Waikiki and the coastline from the top of  "Diamond Head" state monument. The view from the top is worth  every drop of sweat off your brow :). Its about 0.7 mile hike that takes about an hour to climb and half the time to get back down. The best time to visit is early in the morning or late afternoon. The park will be generally open from 6.00 am to 6.00 Pm.

The story behind the name Diamond Head: 
Diamond head, the most photographed volcanic crater in the world, was originally named Le'ahi by the ancient Hawaiians. the name meant "brow of the tuna" because it resembled  the yellow fin ahi common to area waters. British sailors dubbed it " Diamond Head" in the 1880s because the calcite crystals common to lava rocks, appeared to glimmer in the sunshine. The sailors mistakenly thought there were diamonds in the soil.

Arizona Memorial
For the United states, the Pearl harbor historic sites represent the beginning and ending of world war II between the U.S. and Japan.
Make the best use of your time making the theater your first stop at Arizona memorial to view video footage of the attack, then board the free shuttle boat ride to th memorial and enter the heart of the memorial.

      Byodo -In Temple:  
This temple is located at the foot of beautiful Ko'olau mountains in the valley of the temples. Best time to visit is early in the morning. You will not only enjoy the ride but will have the pleasant feeling in between the valley of mountains and the greenery around you.... A refreshing day to start and then you can visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and spend the day there :)

Polynesian Cultural Center...Some journeys never leave you!!!!

A must visit place while in Hawaii's Oahu island to experience the mesmerizing show performed by Polynesian villagers. Dedicate one complete day at PCC and enjoy the villagers culture and traditions, sing and dance with them. learn their  music with bamboo....its fun and easy. 

I was laughing when people were surprised to see a few villagers in a show climbing the coconut trees and the coconut milk extraction, as for people living in India and that too in Kerala, its a very common thing :P.

Anyways, you can enjoy the narration and act of the villagers :)

The only problem I had was with the food. If  you are a vegetarian then you should seriously pack some food and go.I somehow survived drinking juices :P

Other places to visit are 
Hanauma Bay - peaceful view, basically a good snorkel spot.

Be sure to check out Kualoa Beach Park and Chinaman's Hat and few scenic points while driving. You can stop and take a break enjoying the views.

Bishop museum ( I found this bit boring..probably not for me :P )

Nu'uanu Pali lookout - Scenic point , one of the best views of the windward side.  A drive to the windward side is refreshing and pleasure to your eyes. 

Finally, don't forget the water games.
We enjoyed para-sailing and it was awesome..!!!

Aloha..!!! :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A cup of coffee - Lessons for life !!!!

 Found this article in my email, so thought of sharing it. There is no info about the author but its a very nice article teaching the lessons of life through a cup of coffee!!! Enjoy reading ...

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.
Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups.

Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Some times, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.

Being happy does not mean everything is perfect.  It means you have decided to see beyond the imperfection.

                 So.."Don't let the cups drive you... Enjoy the coffee instead"   

Ammana Adige---Mom's ultimate cooking!!!

"Old is Gold " - Here in this blog I share my mom's recipes -  Recipes and tips from the kitchen to the blog!!!

Back to basics is the key for ultimate cooking and I learnt all the basics of cooking from my mother which eventually made me to learn new recipes.Whatever new recipes I learn and cook, I finally end up relishing my mom made dishes which are out of this world.
Inspiration for all my recipes comes from my mom's dishes....that's why the name Ammana Adige :) 

Marriage ...."a lifetime to learn to love them"

Marriages in India are worth watching. It is all about meeting all our relatives, get-together place for friends, decorations, traditional dresses, music, dance and mainly the food.

Mine was an arranged marriage and When it comes to our first meeting, I call it as an unusual meeting, because I had to go to his place and meet him :P.
But I enjoyed the entire journey of meeting my soul mate , our first talk , knowing each other day by day, the engagement time and the gap of 6 months between engagement and marriage and phone marathon...:)

I believe....
Marriage is always a memorable experience and its a "lifetime to learn to love them"


Monday, February 22, 2010

Prince Rama Verma's - Vara gana leela

Thyagaraja krithi sung by Price Rama verma, my husband's idol. The song sounds like an English poem and an instant attention grabber.

Prince Rama verma has a melodious voice and a genius Carnatic vocalist. He is the favorite disciple of the legend Dr. Bala Murali Krishna.

Endaro Mahanubhavulu - Guitar by Karnatiix

Modern yet very classical.
Retains the soul of the song.
One of my favorite instrumentals.

Indu Enage Govinda - Devotional kannada song

Indu Enage Govinda:
Famous kannada song Composed on Udipi Shri Krishna by Sri Raghavendra Swamy (1595-1671)

Lyrics :
Indu Enage Govinda ninna padaara
Vindava tOrO mukundane
Sundara vadanane nandaGopana Kanda
mandarOdhara aananda indiara ramaNa
nondenayya naa bhavabandhanadoLu saluki
munde daari kaaNade kundide jagadoLu
kandanamtendenna kundugaLeNisade
tande kayo Krishna kandarpa janakane
mUDhatanadi balu hEDijIvananaagi
dRuDhabhakutiyanu maadalillavo hariyE
nODalillavo ninna paaDalillavo mahime
gaaDikaara Krishba bEDikombeno ninna
dhaaruNiloLu bhUbhaara jIvananaagi
daari tappi naDede sEride kujanara
aaru kaayuvavarilla sEride ninagayya
dhIra vENugOpala paarugaaNiso hariye

Indu enage govinda lyrics by Guru Raghavendra and English translation by Hunsur SriPrasad.

This is an attempt to provide a quick translation of a classic song by Sri Raghavendra Teertha. Incidentally, there are many variations in the lyrics and there is no one popular version followed by all song books. the one found in most books has been used.

Verse 1
Imdu enage shrI gOvimda ninna pAdAra
vimdava tOrO mukumda imdire ramaNa

Words with Meaning:
PAdAravimda = Pada(feet)+aravinda(Lotus)=Lotus Feet: Imdire = lakshmi Devi (and not the Indra the head of gods) :ramaNa= husband or Lord : mukunda = One of the names of lord krishna.

Translation :
O Lord Govinda, Mukunda, Lord of Indira (Lakshmi), please show me your Lotus feet today.

Verse 2
 sumdara vadanane namdagOpana kamda
 mamdarOddhaara aanamda imdire ramaNa

Words with Meaning:
Vadana=face; namda = Nanda (husband of Yashoda) : gopa =cowherd; kamda =child or kid;
mamdarOdhdhaara = mamdara (the Mandara mountain) + uth(upwards)+dhaara = holder =one who held the Mandara mountain up (on His little finger) = Lord krishna; aanamda = happiness or bliss.

Translation :
O one with a beautiful face, the son of the cowherd Nanda, one who is the personification of bliss, the one who lifted the mandhara mountain Lord of Indira (please show me your Lotus feet today)

Verse 3

nomdenayya naa bhavabamdhanadoLu siluki
mumde daari kaaNade kumdide jagadoLu
kamdanamtemdenna kumdugaLeNisade
tamde kaayO kRuShNa kamdarpa janakane

Words with Meaning::
Bhava bamdhana = samsaara bamdhana = wordly bondage; siluki= to be entagled; kumdide = to be crestfallen(to despair); kamdanamtemdenna = kamdantha (as a child) + amdu (consider) + yenna (me) = considering me as your child; kumdugaLeNisade = kumdugala (shortcomings or drawbacks) + eNisade (without counting) = not counting my shortcomings and drawbacks; kamdarpa = manmatha = cupid; janaka = father; kamdarpajanaka = Lord Vishnu

Translation :
I got entagled in wordly bondages and suffered a lot. I did not see the way ahead (out of the bondage) and despaired in the world. O father of kandarpa (manmatha or cupid), Krishna, the divine Father, please consider me your child and do not count my shortcomings and drawbacks.

Verse 4

mUDhatanadi balu hEDijIvananaagi
dRuDhabhakutiyanu maaDalillavO hariyE
nODalillavO ninna paaDalillavO mahime
gaaDikaara kRuShNa bEDikombeno ninna

Words with meaning:
mUDhatana = ignorance or foolishness; hEDijIvananaagi = hEDi (coward)+ jIva (being) + nanaagi (having become) = led the life of a coward: dRuDha = firm, steady; gaaDikaara = driver ( this is a reference to the fact that Lord Krishna drove Arjuna's chariot during the Kurukshetra war)

O Hari out of sheer ignorance, I led the life of a coward and did not show deep, strong devotion (in you). I did not see you. I did not sing your glory. O, charioteer Krishna, I beseech you.

Verse 5

dhaaruNiyoLu bhUbhaara jIvananaagi
daari tappi naDede sEride kujanara
aaru kaayuvavarilla sEride ninagayya
dhIra vENugOpAla paarugaaNiso enna

Words with meaning:

dhaaruNiyoLu = dharaNiyoLu = on the world; (this usually means during my lifetime on earth)
bhUbhaara = bhU (earth)+ bhaara(weightor burden) = mere burden on earth; jIvananaagi = jIva (being) + naanaagi      (becoming); kujana = wicked or vile people; aaru = yaaru = who; kaayuvavarilla = kayuvavaru ( somebody to protect or take care) + illa ( not there)

During myy lifetime, I was a mere burden on the world. I lost my way and reached wicked people.
there is nobody to protect me. It all depends on you. O, brave Venugopal, please help me cross ( the ocean of samsara)

An experiment in making of Banana Bread !!!

One day I was watching food channel and suddenly decided to do some experiment with baking. I was not at all aware of how the oven works, at what temperature I need to set it and basically how to operate it. I googled and saw many videos on you tube and learnt. Had few bananas at home and so I decided to make banana bread.

Saw few basic banana bread recipes online and came to know that the consistency and binding should be good enough for the bread to be moist. Since I had only the mixer grinder, so I blended all the ingredients, made few minor changes to keep the bread mix moist. And poured the mix in the bread pan that was already provided in the kitchen.
Set the temperature to 350F for 50 minutes , kept checking in between and viola my banana bread was a success. Came out so moist and was thoroughly binded. Right amount of sweet and the banana aroma tempted me to eat before the bread cools down. Resisted for few minutes and had it till my stomach said STOP..:)
So from then on, my interest in baking grew and I started to learn baking.

When baking, follow direction. When cooking, go by your own taste!!!!

My first meal in US.

Nov 2/09 was the day I landed in US.It was 12:00 noon and we both were feeling hungry and we managed to eat Maggie and take rest. In the evening my husband said he would order food from a nearby restaurant for the dinner. I was totally bored of eating the food that was given in the flight. I was craving to eat rice and dal. Told my husband that I was sick of eating bread n pasta :(, he gave a big smile and said fine lets cook, will help you and we went to the grocery store to buy veggies and lentils.

Now ,here comes the tension , I suddenly realized this was the first meal I will be making for my husband and as the saying goes " The way to man's heart is through his stomach", was in my mind and wanted to give my best.

So I planned to cook Alu Methi and Moong Dal,keeping this fact in mind that these two dishes tastes yummyyy however we make...:D. Now who can stop the aroma of methi cooked with alu and moong dal with garlic flavor in it :P
So in this way my first meal scored 10/10 and I also relished dal ,chawal and sabzi. Felt I was in heaven :)

Now I realize why did i cook such tasty items on the first day itself..very difficult to maintain the score :P haha

Very memorable : My first meal in US



Restaurant style dosa.

Ingredients :
1measure Udad Dal (round)
4 measures of rice
2 tsp of methi seeds
Handful tuwardal.

Soak all these overnight and next morning grind to a fine paste by adding 2 handfuls of avalakki (beaten rice) while grinding. This will make the dosas fluffy and porous.

Leave aside the batter for 4-5 hours for fermentation after adding salt ( as required).By evening the batter will rise, then add 1 spoon of sugar and a handful of Bombay rava and then start making dosas. If the batter is too thick u can add little water and use.Later on u can keep this batter in the fridge and use,

Kannada : Avalakki
English : Beaten Rice
Hindi : poha
Tamil/Malayalam : aval
Telugu: atukulu

Cooking rice the healthy way..!!!

Few facts about traditional Cooking:

Preparing the food in traditional ways makes the product healthier and easy for digestion.
The traditional method of cooking rice involved removing the extra water after the rice is cooked properly, which in turn removed the extra and unwanted carbohydrates from the rice. This way, one doesn’t get to ingest extra carbohydrates.
-This preparation is also said to be good for stress and psychological conditions, hypertension, hypotension, hyperacidity, Irritable bowel syndrome.
-This diet is known to improve muscular strength and blood circulation.
-Many traditional Ayurvedic and Yogic texts claim that this diet prevents disorders of eyes, nose and ears and increases the brain functions.
Because of the modern kitchen cooking techniques such as ‘pressure cooking’, unwanted chemicals and excess carbohydrates remain in the rice and may cause health problems.
- rvita
Ingredients :
1 cup Rice
4 cups water
1 tsp Cumin Seeds (Roast and powder it)
Salt - Pinch
1 tsp Ghee (optional)
Method :
1)Wash the rice with adequate amount of water
2) Add raw rice to the boiling water
3) Add roasted cumin powder and pinch of salt
4) wait till the rice is cooked completely and drain the excess fluid. ( This removes unwanted chemicals and excess carbohydrate )
5) Add ghee on top and always serve hot.
We follow the same method for cooking perfect basmati rice for vegetable pulao, Shahi pulao, masala rice and many rice mixes.
Tip : Always soak the rice 15 - 30 minutes before adding it in the boiling water.