Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Eons ago as a teenager I had a delicious pickle at an aunts place.
For almost 4 decades I hunted for it in the aisles for pickles in desi grocery stores, searched for it on family or friends tables. I even asked if anyone knew or made it.
Some friends knew about the pickle but I never had the luck to find it ready anywhere.

So one day I hunted for its recipe on the net. And there it was,  at several places.

To my utter surprise the method of preparation was very simple. So there was no excuse left to not make it myself.  So here it is:

Sweet and Sour Pickle of Carrots, Turnips and Cauliflower with Jaggery.

Carrots: half pound
Turnip: half pound
Cauliflower: 1 pound
Anise seeds(saunf): 1tsp
Black seed(Kalonji): 1tsp
Fenugreek seeds(methi): 1tsp
Mustard seeds(Rye ): 1tsp
Jaggery (Gurr): 1 pound
Mustard Oil: 2 tbsp
Salt, chillipowder, garam masala powder:  to taste

Cooking method is described with the pictures:

Step 1: Chop washed carrots, turnips into medium thickness sticks and break cauliflower into medium sized florets.pic1

Step 2: Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar and half pound of jaggery in a pan and leave on slow flame till all the jaggery melts.

Step 3: Boil water in a large deep pan till it bubbles. Once boiling, add the chopped vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are blanched. Drain off water and spread the vegetables on a kitchen towel till dry. (I did for about an hour).


Step 4: Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds, anise, fenugreek and black seeds and let them splatter for half a minute. Then add salt, ground garam masala and red chilli powder. Finally added the vegetables. Stir fry them.

Step 5: Stir fry the vegetables with seeds and spices.

Step 6: Add vegetables mixed with spices  & seeds into vinegar and melted jaggery mixture. Cook till most liquid evaporates.

Step 7: Once cooked and cooled, store it in a sterilized air tight cannister and leave in the sun for 2 days to pickle well. 

Step 8: Once ready(in my case in 2 days) enjoy it with parathas and hot steaming chai. 🙂

This pickle is a delicacy prepared in winter in Northern India specially because that is the time carrots are available.

Its easy and very delicious. I wonder why did I just keep looking for it everywhere and did  not try it myself all these years? Do try it out in a smaller amount as a trial. You will not regret it.

Happy Pickling !


Recently a photo of a 25 year old Afghan girl Jahan Taab from  a remote poor village Oshto in Daikundi,  went viral when she was taking the college entrance exam called Kankor Exam while breast feeding her child. Later it was confirmed that she has passed the exams and wants to go to college to study Sociology. Photo credits are given to an invigilating lecturer Yahya Erfan. He was so moved by her determination that he posted the pictures on his facebook. Link here

“She got up from her desk when her baby started to get fussy. She sat down on the floor, breastfeeding the infant, and kept filling out the answers to the test.” (Buzzfeed).

She reportedly told the lecturer Mr. Erfan that she is worried about the cost of education and that the University is 8 hours from her residence. It is the power of social media that a Go-Fund was created to support the cost of here higher education.

More about JahanTaab



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Needless to say, girls’ determination to study is never an issue. The key barrier is the systemic patriarchy in the garb of cultural mores or religious edicts.

Patriarchy is such an omnipresent barrier that hinders women in all communities and all economic strata one way or the other. And here is where the role of men becomes extremely important in bringing about women empowerment by dismantling the walls of patriarchy.

Here I must share my own story too.

(Bear in mind I am an urban educated woman with a strong will power. But even then, had it also not been the supportive men in my life, I may not have sailed through various systemic hurdles that patriarchal infrastructures create at every nook and corner of a woman’s life). 

In the early 1990s, as an Indian medical graduate I had to go through a written and a clinical exam by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council to be certified to practice in Pakistan. I opted Karachi centre. When I received notification for the exam it said the exam will not be held in Karachi as there are no other candidates. The exam will be in Peshawer.

Since I lived in the Middle East, I was supposed to travel with my kids to Karachi where my in laws lived. But before I could even know and panic about how I will travel with kids to Peshawer, my husband first took an emergency leave from his hospital, and then informed me that we are all travelling to Peshawer. 

My husband Fasih and I, with our two kids- a toddler and a 6 month old breast feeding infant landed in Peshawar. It was a 3 day long exam- with a written paper and clinical exam.  From day 1, my husband sat in the lawn of the examination centre, with two babies, as he dropped me for the exam. I would come out to feed the baby every few hours in the breaks.

Funniest incident in the whole saga was when my daughter cried, “Papa potty.”
He ran with the baby in one hand and the toddler in another to the washroom.
As he entered the male washroom the guard said, “Take the girl to female washroom with her mother.”
“BUT mother is busy in exam.”
“Then wait.”
“But this baby cannot wait. She has to go urgently.”
So the guard let him take her to the washroom. And while holding the infant in arms he helped the toddler finish the job and clean her. 
Finally they came back to play and sit in the lawn again. 
And then he smelt the baby has soiled his diaper. He ran again to the same wash room.
The chowkidar got annoyed, “Ap pher se as gaye?” (You have come again?).
Fasih: “Smell this diaper.”
The guard laughed and commented, “Aur parhao biwi ko.”(Let your wife study more).

After day1 the entire examination team knew about my family and when I went from each viva and clinical exam, from Internal Medicine to General Surgery to ENT to ObGyn to Ophthalmology, first thing the professors asked was how are the husband and babies doing? 
Second question they asked was, “Where have you graduated from?”. 
On reply “Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi” every single one of them began the viva with the comment, “So do we really need to test your knowledge?”
No bragging but I passed with the top position. 

The head examiner was Prof Zakaullah Beg who was my husband’s professor in his postgraduate life. He himself called Fasih on phone 2 weeks later in Karachi to break the news.

Moral of the story: Empower a woman and she will make her husband, family and entire community proud.

India Song- by Karen Knorr

I found the first picture on the net accidentally. Curiosity led me to dig up more,  only to find a treasure- India Song– a series of digital photography by Karen Knorr.

Exploring further, the idea behind the series was mind blowing.

Quoting from Karen Knorr’s website:

“Karen Knorr’s photography explores cultural heritage and its ideological underpinings. Questions concerning post colonialism and its relationship to aesthetics have permeated her photographic work since the 1980’s.  Her work, India Song, researches the stories and myths of India photographing animals and placing them in temples and palaces across heritage sites in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.”

As Knorr says, “Cranes, zebras, langurs, tigers, and elephants mutate from princely pets to avatars of past feminine historic characters, blurring boundaries between reality and illusion.”

Knorr’s digital assemblages create narratives that captivate, interrogate tensions between old and new; animate and inanimate; stillness and motion; human and animal; and male and female. The stunning photographs of India Song have the power to transfix and transport. They are simply mesmerizing.

Do not miss the caption with each sumptuously detailed pictures, as you travel(scroll) down on this sensual journey…

The Lovesick Prince, Aam Khas, Junha Mahal, Dungarpur PalaceP6 The-Lovesick-Prince-Aam-Khas-Junha-Mahal-Dungarpur-copy-1250x1000


The Opium Smoker, Chitrasala, BundP2 TheOpiumSmoker-1250x1000


Avatars or Devi, Samode Palace, SamodeP3 Avatars-of-Devi-1246x1000


The return of Hunter, Chandra Mahal, Jaipur Palace, JaipurP4 5The-Return-of-the-Hunter-1250x1000


Sikander’s Entrance, Chandra Mahal, Jaipur City Palace, JaipurP5 4_SikandersEntrance-1266x1000


Flight to Freedom, Darbar Hall, Juna Mahal, Junagarhp6 Flight-to-Freedom-1231x1000


The Private Audience, Aam Khas, Juna Mahal, Dungarpurp7 The-Private-Audience-1231x1000

The Lion’s Savior, Zanana, Dungarpur PalaceP9 CorrectedTheLionsSaviour-for-KK_com_-1246x1000

Krishna’s Crown, Jawa Mahal, JaipurP9 KrishnasCrown-copy

Vishnu’s Return to the World, Rani Ki Vav, PatnaP10 Vishnus-Return-to-the-World-1250x1000

The Messenger, Purana Qila, New DelhiP11 The-Messanger-1251x1000

Homage to Ustad MansurP15 Homageto-Ustad-Mansur-1250x1000

Master of Seduction, Amer Fort, AmerP14 Master-of-Seduction-Amber-Fort-Amber-1250x1000

Attaining Moksha, Ajanta Caves, AjantaP12 Attaining-Moksha-1250x1000

Krishna’s RaasLeela, Chitrasala, Bundi P16 Krishnas-Rasa-Leela-Chitrasala-Bundi-copy

Edge of the Forest, Agravena, AgraP17 Edge of Forest Aravena Agra

The Exodus, Paradesi SynagogueP18 The exodis Pardesi Synagogue

The Sound of Rain, Junargarh Fort, BikanerP18 The sound of rain Junagarh fort Bikaner

The Reception of Darshan, Ajanta Cavesp19 The reception of Darshan Ajanta Caves

.The Witness, Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhip20- tHE WITNESS hUMAYUN'S tOMB, nEW dELHI

A Place Like Amravati, Udaipur Lake Palace, Udaipurp21 A place like Amravati

The Conqueror of the World, Poddar Haveli, JunagarhP21 Conquerer of the workld Podar Haveli Nawalgarh

Maha Sattiva’s Sacrifice, Ajanta Caves P13 Mahasattvas-Sacrifice-1250x1000

Light of the World, Zanaroom, Nawalgarh P24

Asylum, Junagarh Fort, Junagarhp26 The Courtyard Conference, Udai Villas, Udaipur p28 The Courtyard Conference, Udai Vilas, Dunagrpur

The Temple Servant, Jaipur City Palace, Jaipur p29 Temple Servant Amber Fort, Jaipur

Maharaja’s Apartment, Udaipur City Palace P30 Maharaja's Apartment, Undaipur City Palace

The Joy of Ahimsa, Takhat Vilas, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpurp31 Ahimsa

The Peacemaker Chandra Mahal, Jaipur City Palace p32 tHE PEACEMAKER, cHANDRA mAHAL jAIPUR cITY pALACE

Parvati’s Consort, Samode Haveli, Jaipur P35 Parvati's Consort, Samode Haveli, Jaipur

Queen’s Room, Zanana Palace, Udaipur p36 tHE qUEENS rOOM, zANANA Palace Udaipur

A Place Like Amravati, Udaipur P37 A place like Amravati, Udaipur city pALACE

The Last Lion, Diwan-I-Khaas, Jaipur City Palace, Jaipur P33 The last Lion, Diwan I KHas City Palace Jaipur

“Knorr’s work explores Rajput and Mughal cultural heritage and its contemporary relationship to questions of feminine subjectivity and animality.” ~ Darlimple

Thank you !


About Karen Knorr: Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the 1960s, completing her education in Paris and London. She has taught, exhibited, and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey.
Source: Karen Knorr’s website:
Source: Karen Knorr's website:







This is a cross posting from Blog Sustainistani:  A peek into Karachi

Story of my love affair with Pakistan & India !

#HigherThanTheStars #DeeperThanTheOceans.
#Handicrafts #Handlooms #Colors #Mirrors #NeedleWork
#BeatItIfYouCan !


My original post:

Credits: Origins for pics:

Pakistan from Generation.

India from Craftsvilla.



IndoPak Peace.jpg

NOTE: This Resolution has 1000 endorsements obtained on a personal basis, listed alphabetically at this link. It is now online as part of the Peace Now and Forever Campaign Between India and Pakistan.

In the 70 years since independence and Partition, the people of India and Pakistan have seen too many conflicts and the loss of many valuable lives. Enough of the distrust and tensions. Those who suffer particularly are ordinary people denied visas and those in the conflict zones, especially women and children as well as fishermen who get routinely rounded up and arrested for violating the maritime boundary.

We condemn all forms of violence regardless of its objectives.

Deeply concerned at the current rise in animosity and antagonism between India and Pakistan, we urge both governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards improving relations.

We note that whenever it seems that relations might improve, some form of disruption takes place ranging from jingoistic statements to militant attacks. The traditional response to such disruptions only strengthens those who want continued tensions between our two countries.

We, citizens of India and Pakistan, and concerned citizens around the world, move this joint resolution towards a peaceful subcontinent and make the following demands to the governments of India and Pakistan, urging them to:

  1. Develop an institutionalised framework to ensure that continuous and uninterrupted talks between India and Pakistan take place regularly no matter what. Make dialogue uninterrupted and uninterruptible.
  2. Ensure that political leaders, diplomats and civil servants from both countries conduct talks on the sidelines of all international and multilateral forums.
  3. Recognise that the Kashmir dispute above all concerns the lives and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, and work to resolve it through uninterrupted dialogue between all parties concerned.
  4. Implement the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
  5. Renounce all forms of proxy wars, state-sponsored terrorism, human rights violations, cross-border terrorism, and subversive activities against each other, including through non-state actors or support of separatist movements in each other’s state.
  6. Support and encourage all forms of people-to-people contact, and remove visa restrictions and discrimination faced by citizens of both countries. This must be further taken forward to allow visa-free travel between India and Pakistan.
  7. Increase trade and economic linkages, sports and cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan.

Further, we pledge to uphold the principles of impartial reporting and urge media houses on either side to prevent the growing militarisation of debate. We must act responsibly and stop broadcasting hate speech and creating public hysteria aimed at the other country and/or vulnerable communities.

UPDATE: This resolution is endorsed by over 1000 prominent peacemongers in India, Pakistan and around the world – singers, actors, artists, writers, journalists, retired armed forces personnel, parliamentarians, filmmakers, lawyers, historians, physicians, businesspeople, economists, students and rights workers. They include Gulzar, Noam Chomsky, Shubha Mudgal, Aruna Roy, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Asma Jahangir, Mubarak Ali, Romila Thapar, Ayesha Jalal, Admiral L. Ramdas, General Talat Masood, General Mahmud Durrani, Jean Dreze, Nayantara Sahgal, Mahesh Bhat, Nandita Das, Naseeruddin Shah, Salima Hashmi and Amin Hashwani to name a few. See some of the names in the list online, alphabetically ordered. This resolution is also endorsed by the Sarhad song of Aisi Taisi Democracy.

Hundreds of organisations in India, Pakistan and other countries partnering for The Peace Now Campaign are also obtaining endorsements for this resolution through a signature campaign. Scores of programmes in different cities and towns are providing platforms to people of both countries to assert their desire to resolve all issues amicably and reclaim an atmosphere of peace for the sub-continent.

NOTE: Endorsements collected online and on the ground until 15 August 2017 will be delivered to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan by the end of August 2017.

This petition will be delivered to:

  • India, Pakistan
    Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan

Kindly sign the petition here>>>

Read the letter

Beena Sarwar started this petition with a single signature.


Thanks for adding your voice – let’s make this go viral

  1. Thank you for signing this resolution, already endorsed by over 1000 “peacemongers” in India, Pakistan and around the world – singers, actors, artists, writers… 

Ever imagined what happens when your name gets synonymous with a culinary dish that you are expected to make in every potluck?
Yes. In. Every. Single. Potluck. Period.

And anytime you offer for a friends party, “Shall I get something from my side?”
The obvious response is, “Yes dahi-baras if you can.”

The compliments of ‘perfection’ that flow are quite elating, and a fairly good boost to one’s self esteem.
Let me admit, it’s been decades since my last dahi-baras went wrong. I have figured out some short cuts too, and so it isn’t very time consuming & labour intensive either.

However, it has become pretty uninteresting to follow the same steps each time- soak dals overnight, grind them and make a batter, then heat oil and fry round lentil dumplings, soak them in water……etc etc like a robot. I know now how experts just learn to do repetitive tasks at a spinal level, letting brain take the back seat.
Summing up in two words: it’s become a monotonous rut.


Hence time and again pops up the urge to take dahi baras to the next level.

Making dahi-gujiyas is very interesting, yet a painstaking procedure.
Using a lentil paste of a doughy consistencey and spreading it on a plastic sheet and filling with raisins, nuts and herbs. Then carefully frying them. Rest of the process is the same.


However the itch to innovate dahi-baras to a yet newer level remained.

The idea to fuse waffles with dahi-baras came as a flash today, and just to check I am not being bizarre, I tested the idea with my son, who was busy watching a baseball match. Without much reaction, he responded almost automatically, “Yes, why not?”

So came the inception of Dahi bara waffles.

The batter is exactly the same, made from urad and moong lentils. The consistency also remains as thick as for the fried dumplings.

Still skeptical I poured the batter in waffle maker and let it cook till light brown.


The waffle was then soaked in water for 5 minutes and extra water squeezed out.


The waffle-bara was drizzled then with thick yogurt, chat masala, tamarind sauce and mint chutney.


The sponge and consistency was amazing, and the taste was delicious.


The taste was the same as a usual dahi baras, but experience of eating it as a waffle topped with yogurt & chutneys was very different.

I can envision this as a great hit in parties with individually served waffle-baras where people can add yoghurt, spices and sauces as per their taste. It can also be consumed as a crispy waffle with chutney by those who don\t fancy yogurt.

Now thinking where next to take the dahi bara journey to?
Suggestions & ideas are welcome. ❤