Tell me it’s normal to not want to read the newspaper because it makes you sad. If you’re here for just the cabbage paratha bit, please feel free to jump right down to the recipe. If you have a bit more time, please read on.
I cried last week when I read the stories of the wives, mothers of fishermen from Kanyakumari who are waiting, praying for a miracle after cyclone Ockhi. They are fighting despair as each day passes, hoping that their loved ones would return alive somehow while also wondering how to make ends meet, how to explain to the little kids at home who are asking for their “Appa”, how to pay back the loan they took for the new boat, how to pay the school fees.
I pray for all those families. I urge you to pray too, for them. I am a huge believer in the power of prayers. I think it can make a difference.
It is hard to be kind
Too often we underestimate the value of a kind act, a small prayer, a tiny favour. We’re doing these things so rarely these days because we’re very busy being enraged about the news. There’s rarely anything positive or happy in the news anyways. I can barely contain my despondency when I read about another rape, another hate crime, the lifelong court trials that suck the life out of the people before tilting in favour of the powerful. Add to that, the self-righteous, sweeping generalizations and twisted up narratives that people serve up on social media attacking their favourite people to hate. I don’t know if everyone has an Aadhar card, if everyone has a bank account. Everyone sure has a group they hate. Women, men, hindus, muslims, Christians, low-caste, high-caste, brahmins, devars, non-brahmins, Sanghis, Commies, Congis, Leftists, Thalapathy fans, Thala fans.
It is hard to be optimistic. And precisely because it is so difficult, I think we need to try extra hard to stay hopeful, to be kind and to do good. Kindness, generosity and cheer are like muscles. We need to work them constantly so that we can put them to use when we need them most.
There was a friend in school who complained about being left out from the gang and acted up from time to time being frosty and even rude. I remember being miffed by the need for attention that I saw it as. But this other friend named Shaheen suggested that we show her so much love and affection that she cannot bear to be cold with us. I would have never thought of that. I was overwhelmed by the goodness of Shaheen’s idea. I still am when I think of it today.
It doesn’t come easily to me. It has been an immense struggle for me to hold onto hope, to control my fury, to not be drawn into whatsapp war of words, to not retaliate to everyday misogyny everywhere. I have come to believe that the wisest way out is to ignore or block the irritants, the haters and the chauvinists because retaliating 1) makes me angrier 2) gets me nowhere 3) convinces/changes no one and 4) makes me a hater too.
Goal: One act of kindness per week
But I am going to try my best to do a “Shaheen” as much as I can. I am going to try to practice atleast one act of kindness a week. Let’s see how that goes – #bekind
Letting the honking call taxi go through even though you want to actually park across and watch, giving the maid a sweet box for the new year, a generous tip to the parking attendant, not bargaining with roadside vendors, not picking a fight with the queue jumpers, not responding to inciting whatsapp propaganda, giving the benefit of the doubt to the worker on leave, praying for others, teaching my father a new phone skill, booking the latest tamil movie tickets for my mother, segregating waste (being kind to the garbage clearing workers), composting (being kind to the environment), listening fully in a boring conversation without trying to mentally decide the next day’s menu, giving what I can, commending a fellow blogger’s work, writing a mail to a long lost friend are all kindness in my book. Every little act counts. I am going to do it for myself.
Share your Kindness stories every week
I am old school. I believe in doing but not saying. However I also believe stories of kindness inspire and lift people up and spur them to action. It can set off a lovely chain of kindness. So I urge you to write to me with your own acts of kindness. I would love to highlight these stories of kindness on my blog every Monday. I’ll be pushed to share my own stories if I don’t hear from you guys. I do hate talking about myself. So please share your stories in the comments or feel free to write to me – Jayanthi.firstname.lastname@example.org
Delicious, healthy Cabbage paratha
I do have a recipe to share with you today – Cabbage parathas. Cabbage parathas are so delicious I don’t understand why they aren’t as mainstream as other parathas. The cabbage filling is super quick and simple to rustle up. When I set out to make cabbage parathas, I knew that the challenge was that the cabbage filling was not one homogenous ball (like in an aloo paratha) that can be encased in dough and rolled out. So I simply took the quesadilla route – rolled out the chappathi, spread the filling on one half of the chappathi, folded in half and sealed the edges before tawa frying them.
Cabbage parathas are low calorie and healthy too. Snip up these cabbage paratha into handy cabbage paratha pockets and serve alongside a simple yogurt dip. Enjoy!
- Cabbage – chopped 4 cups
- Onion – 1 large chopped fine
- Kashmiri red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
- Cumin powder – ½ tsp
- Garam Masala powder – ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 2 tsp
- Whole wheat flour – 3 cups
- Salt as necessary
- Water as necessary
- Heat a pan/kadai. Add oil and wait for it turn hot. Add the chopped onion and cabbage and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
- When the cabbage has shrunk in volume and nearly cooked through add the spice powders – salt, red chilli powder, cumin and garam masala powders. Mix well, cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Switch off and let cool.
- Make chappathi dough with the whole wheat flour. Measure out the flour into a large bowl, add salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add water little at a time until the flour comes together in a soft, smooth dough. Knead well for 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a round ball and rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Pinch large lemon sized balls of the dough. Roll out one ball of dough into a round chappathi. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the cabbage stuffing on one half of the chappathi leaving a small margin around the outer edge. Slightly wet the outer edge of the chappathi with your finger. Now fold the chappathi into a semicircle bringing the upper half down over the lower half and sealing the edges. Use a pizza cutter or fluted cookie cutter to trim the edge.
- Heat a tawa. When the tawa is hot, carefully place the cabbage paratha on the tawa. Flip over after a minute. Drizzle oil all around the paratha and spread a little bit over the surface of the paratha. Remove when the paratha has brown spots all over and is cooked through.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough and stuffing to make more parathas. Serve with curd or pickle. Enjoy!