Magic of Kindness

Thank you for your messages and emails asking about us in the aftermath of the disastrous flooding in Boulder County, Colorado. We were very lucky and did not have any water in our home. The day it all began was Back to School Night and we were at Medha’s high school until late. We left one car in Boulder so that we were all in one car, heading home past 9pm. We had some minor scares on the way but nothing significant. Once home, we realized that leaving one car in Boulder was probably not the wisest decision as we left it in a parking lot that was very close to Boulder Creek, which rose dangerously through the night. A brand new car, at that! Luckily for us and our new material trapping, there were some surges in our parking lot but it did not flood, unlike most of the parking lots near the creek. We drove in and out of Boulder quickly, and, thanked our stars and the grey skies for sparing us. My town, the City of Louisville, saw some damage, our golf course became a wide raging river, leading to a collapsed bridge downstream and wiping out several parts of my favorite trail. But it was nothing compared to the devastation in the mountain towns, Boulder and Longmont. The road to recovery is long but it has been pretty darned amazing how the community has risen to the occasion and given back at every step. Thank you for your concern and your kindness. If you would like to help with the flood relief, please donate to The Great Colorado Flood Relief Project.

My friends on Twitter and Facebook know that I can talk about little else but the Boulder IFS Food Film Festival, especially Jadoo, a British-Indian comedy that I will be introducing on Saturday, October 12, 2013, at 7pm in CU’s Muenzinger Auditorium.

Boulder IFS Food Film Festival Program
mobile phone pics of the BFFF13 program

My friends, Meena and Shashi, as well as two talented high schoolers, will be offering henna designs for a donation before the movie. They will be there from 5:45pm to 6:45pm. All money raised will be donated through the Boulder Balvihar to Help a Child, an Indian charity that provides academic scholarships to underprivileged children in India.

Henna at Jadoo will be much better than this!
It's a good thing I won't be doing the henna!

If you are local, please consider coming out to support us!

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Every year we chant:
Ganpati Bappa Morya
Pudchya varshi lavkar ya!


And before I know it, it's here again! My favorite God, my second favorite festival, my favorite foods to be made but so busy that I have no time to make chavde or the more traditional modaks.

I do have a coconut waiting patiently in my refrigerator. I plan to use that to make the stuffing for karanji and offer that to Ganesh.

We celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi at Balvihar yesterday where some of our kids made clay models of Ganesh.

Clay Ganesh
Ayesha's near-perfect Ganesh

It's All Peachy

I have literally been swimming in organic Colorado peaches. I have always loved peaches but Palisade peaches? They're something else. They are the kind that soak up the snow melt on the Western Slopes of the Rockies, beat the vagaries of our spring weather and bring chin drippin' lusciousness to your taste buds in summer. The demand is always high for peaches, and even more for organic peaches.

Peaches from First Fruits
Palisade peaches from First Fruits, Paonia

But before I go all peachy on you, I have some exciting news to share.

Come fall, I will be teaching Home Cook Classes in Indian food at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder. The classes will be monthly with the first class on September 26. If you are local (Denver / Boulder area), this will be a fun class that teaches homestyle Indian cooking, not the greasy-fare you find in Indian restaurants. It's food that you will make over and over, be able to adapt to other produce, because you will learn simple techniques that form the foundation of Indian cooking. This workshop also makes a great gift for someone who is interested in Indian cooking. I hope to see you there!

On October 12, I will be introducing an Indian film made in the UK that is part of the new Food Film section of annual International Film Series organized by CU Boulder, not to be confused with Boulder International Film Festival. The film, Jadoo, will be shown at 7pm in the Muenzinger Auditorium, located west of Folsom Stadium (400 seats) on the CU Boulder campus. Tickets are $7 per show, $6 for CU students, with a Food Film Festival pass for $25 that will get you into all five food films. This pass includes free parking validation at the Euclid Auto-Park garage.

My friend Julia has been working tirelessly to get this together, from conception to implementation. The film Jadoo is sponsored by Savory Spice Shop, my favorite spice shop in Boulder. Thank you, Dan!

If you are local, please mark your calendar and come out to Muenzinger Auditorium to watch an Indian food film with visuals so strong that you can smell the food! I'm also working on some cultural activities around the film and if they come through, I will have more information in the days to come.

We were flagged last July



Flagged? Yes, flagged. Just like being flamingoed, except with US flags; exciting and, unlike the former, definitely not tacky.

Flagged
flagged

July fourth last year was very memorable for us. More than 20 of my neighbors gathered in my front yard and decorated it with flags and chalk drawings. We had become citizens of the US in January 2012 and our annual neighborhood potluck-cookout on the fourth was going to be a celebration to welcome us as naturalized citizens.

I have the best neighbors.

Flagged
Welcome Citizens!

I knew that they were going to do something special for us but I had no inkling of the scale of things even though there were flyers posted on all our common mailboxes in the 'hood. Oops!

Twenty adults and kids can create quite a racket but we had a giant noisy fan throwing air out of our rather hot house that we did not hear them at all. That's my excuse.

Flagged
Stars and stripes, and a quote from LBJ

Neighbors were asked to bring little things that represent America to drop into three baskets that were laid out on a table. We got everything from toy currency to Matchbox cars to Little Debbie cupcakes to mac-and-cheese to a Martha Stewart cookbook. And there was cake.

Celebrating Citizenship
Gift baskets filled with things American, and a chocolate cake.

On our part, we held an impromptu face-off between two contestants who were quizzed using questions from the Immigration Test. A contestant had to get three consecutive questions correct to win a $15 iTunes gift card. We had three winners in all. It was a ton of fun and we also uncovered many history buffs in our hood.

It was the best party ever! This celebration gave a new meaning to July 4th for all of us. 

In Shiva and God, we trust
Liberties were taken!

I laughed and cried when I saw the new twist on the US motto. It reminded me of the words of the  USCIS officer who presided over our naturalization ceremony. When he declared us to be citizens of the US, he told us never to forget our roots and to make every attempt to share stories of our culture and traditions, not just with our children, but with our friends and neighbors. Diversity only serves to enrich and strengthen this great country further.

Sunday Snapshots: Bharatanatyam pre-Arangetram Shoot



Arangetram is the professional dance debut of a dancer after years of training. It is akin to a graduation and is celebrated with a solo dance performance of at least two to two-and-a-half hours. The artist dances to live music and has to work closely with the musicians.

In the years past, arangetrams would be held in temples and the audience would be made up of prospective clients. Today, an arangetram is a celebration of the artist's achievements with friends and family blessing the dancer for attaining an important milestone. Arangetrams can be as fancy as a wedding or as simple as a dance performance to live music.

I was fortunate enough to do a pre-arangetram shoot for an event that is happening at the time that this post will go live. Here are some of my favorite pictures from that shoot.

Enjoy!

Bharatanatyam Pre-Arangetram Shoot