Monday, October 22, 2007

Paan - The ubiquitous Spit

Paan or the betel leaf has a very important place in our society. Be it from offering it to the Gods or to offering to people after a sumptuous lunch or dinner it has its own significance. It is said to contain digestive properties and is also used as a mouth freshener.

These can be bought from any roadside dukaan. And we can find the spots or maps created by the paan chewers along every street, though it has considerably reduced in recent times. I remember in erst-while Bombay, the corners in staircases used to be the favourite places for paan-spitters and of late we see a lot of pictures of Gods or writings from holy scriptures to dissuade people from spitting.

In the City Civil Court Complex in Bangalore, all the walls are plastered with notices that anyone found spitting would be fined.

I found this site which has a good deal of info about paan.

This I picked from here
A simple Paan can be prepared in following way.

Betel leaf is washed carefully and then dried with cloth.
Mix spices such as cardamom, anise and katha with choona (lime paste), grated coconut, different kinds of supari (betel nuts) and small piece of various candies.
Add the mixture on the betel leaf.
Fold the leaf into a triangular shape and secure it by piercing a piece of cloves into it.
You can keep Paan fresh on ice with rose petals.

I have had a very bad experience with paan. When I was in School, I had participated in a parade of NCC,as is the practice, we were given our lunch and also on that day, in addition there was paan. I had eaten that and when we walked to Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore where the parade was to take place, I felt I was floating and felt extremely dizzy. It was my luck that it rained cats and dogs and hence the parade was cancelled. Imagine leading a contingent of floating and swaying cadets... I still cant fathom what was added in the paan and it gives me shudders to even think of that.

This episode was enough for me to stay away from paan totally, never to touch it except the once I tried it in Infantry Road's paan shop in the cellar of the Samarkhand complex recently. This Air-conditioned shop has a fine array of paan and lots of customers flocking in.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ban the Bulb

Continuing my earlier post on Conservation which is becoming a very important issue, I came across this by Greenpeace urging the banning of the bulb. I would urge everyone, for whatever it is worth, to send the mail to our Government. Even if an iota of difference is made, it might mean a world of difference to our future generations

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Conservation- The path ahead

Protecting nature in India often means competing for valued living space and resources with some of the country's most under privileged people.Industrial and commercial pressures are also expanding rapidly, undermining the ecological integrity of parks in hitherto unprecedented ways. Simply garrisoning the fortresses will not, indeed, cannot work.

But for wildlife and humans to survive, each other requires a synthesis of the best of the insights the biological and humanistic disciplines have on offer. It also calls for innovative and often out of the box thinking.

Drawing on the book he has recently co-edited, Dr. Mahesh Rangarajan in his book, "Making Conservation work", looks back and ahead, not only at why things are at the current impasse but of how we can move forward. It is possible to look ahead with cautious hope, drawing on the systemic strengths of Indian democracy to reconcile competing demands and keep priceless biota intact in a manner that is just and stable.

P.S- Talking about Conservation, I chanced upon Blackle and the quantum of energy it could save in comparison to Google. I also saw this Blog by Google.