Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Darjeeling Tea

For a long time, I used to hate tea. And then I went to Darjeeling on a holiday.

On a 'site seeing' trip, we stopped at a tea shop by the road. It was quite cold and foggy. My parents (avid tea drinkers all their lives) ordered 2 cups of tea. I don't know why but I asked for a cup too. When the tea arrived, I took small sips of it. I was enjoying it so much. The mild flavor, the aroma, the whole experience was so uplifting, I actually had another cup.

That was the last though of tea for quite a while. After a few years, I read an article on the Darjeeling toy train. At that point, it all came back to me - those 2 cups of tea!

I suddenly craved uncontrollably for that tea and promptly got myself a pack of Darjeeling tea from our regular tea vendor.

I then started having a big cup every morning. I got someone to make it initially but realized that you needed to have passion for the tea to make it properly. They would boil the water less one day, put too much milk the next and too much sugar the next. So, I decided that I would make it myself.

So, I religiously boil a cup (200 ml) of water, pour it into a small bowl which has 2 teaspoons of Darjeeling tea, cover it with a lid and let it brew for 5 minutes. Then I pour it out into a cup, put about 2 teaspoons of milk and a teaspoon of sugar to get my manna for the day!

And I enjoy it best when I have it in my house, by the lawn, early in the morning when no one else at home is awake, there's no noise, there's absolute peace. And when I take a sip of the tea, the aroma and the taste together pamper my senses. And when I close my eyes I feel as if I am in the midst of a tea garden on the slopes of a hill in Darjeeling!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Paryushan Parva

So, another Paryushan comes to an end.

This year, it was hardly different from the rest of the year. I hardly did anything. So, all around me people were on 8 day fasts, pratikramans both times of the day, going for vyakhyans etc. I did only the the samvatsari pratikraman and a couple of other pratikramans. On samvatsari day, I did not even do naukarshi.

What a far cry from a few years back!

I quietly reminisced the 8 day fast I myself did. The times (even after kidney disease struck) when I would invariably be the guy saying most of the sutras doing the pratikraman. Atichaar was kind of a monopoly!

Every year I would gear up a few weeks before paryushan arrived and learn some new thoys and stavans, revise atichaar and Ajit Shanti and then really do a good job during the parva in the pratikramans.

I even knew the "Cheenk no kausagg" vidhi by heart!

I would usually do an upvaas on samvatsari day. But after kidney disease struck, I only managed to do an Ekashana some times. I also did a pausadh on samvatsari day once.

How things have changed! Can I give my health as an excuse for all this? I don't know! But I realize the things happening to me one after another and think that it definitely has something to do with my health. My mind is worried these days and with that frame of mind, I am unable to think about religion and spirituality.

I've started eating root vegetables - abstinence from which is the "most important" thing Jains are known by.

I don't know where all this will lead to. But I was getting sick and tired of the restrictions.

When you don't have other things to deal with, its easier to keep up to your religion and go the whole hog in trying to follow things. But I've reached a stage where I was getting increasingly frustrated when I could not enjoy myself when I was out, had to keep worrying about finding something suitable to eat.

I know many people do it. I know many people follow it very sincerely. I'm not sure how many of them have to deal with problems like mine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Steaming hot Idlis on Sunday mornings

Poorna Tiffins was a place introduced to us by my father's friend. A very unassuming place. No tables, no air conditioning. Only some chairs arranged in one half of the place and the other half used for cooking.

You get the world's best idlis there.

Every Sunday morning I religiously drive down to the place (my parents accompany me most of the time) and happily gorge down about XX (number has been censored) of those small, steaming hot idlis bathed in ghee. They even put ghee in the chutney (makes the chutney less spicy, some say)

But those idlis are truly heavenly. And the taste of the ghee makes it even better. You slowly take a piece of the idli, take a little chutney with it and put it in your mouth and you are transported to Paradise. The idli literally melts in your mouth and pampers your taste buds.

Other folks have other stuff on the menu like a dosa, pesarattu, puri etc. but I stick to the idlis!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ten years with kidney disease

On July 14th this year, I completed 10 years with kidney disease.

What a journey it has been! The vaccines I took on that day changed my life in a way I could never ever have imagined.

What would life have been like if renal failure had not happened?

Probably would have flown to the US with my Akron I20, probably would have switched to MS (CS) to another university, would have completed it and then hunted for a job.

Would have worked for a few years and then got into a Business School and also completed my MBA and would have been working at another job. And yes, would have probably even got married somewhere in between!

A normal life... like many others'.

How different my life is now.

What were the major events that shaped up these last 10 years instead?

The time when steroids almost brought back my kidneys to life but lost them again to save my lungs which caught a bad infection.

The failed transplant.

The switch to CAPD.

The infections post tsunami.

The switch to daily home hemo.

My encounter with the dragon.

My Left Ventricular dysfunction.

Giving up on the dragon... for a while at least.