22 December 2017

With God, All is Possible!

Religious apologists would claim so!

Yesterday, I posted this -

"There had been an accident. One dead, three heavily injured, one lost a leg. 
These guys were rushed to the nearest hospital. 
While doctors were doing the best they can to save the victims' lives, 
their friends and family prayed for their safety."

If you were a god, what would you do?
Would you hear and answer the families' prayer 
or would you prevent the accident from happening altogether?

You see, if I were a god, I wouldn't let any harm come to my children,
therefore, I'd prevent the accident from happening!
And I know you would do the same.

Now, apply the scenario to ship sinking, fire, plane crash,
murder, shooting, etc. The answer is all the same.

And that, my friends, is the difference
between your god and me or anyone who chooses
to prevent bad things from happening.

Less than three minutes later, my niece shared a link to an article titled, "why so much suffering" in the comment section. It was a link to Jehovah's Witnesses website. This is the link if you're interested. 

We exchanged arguments, questions, and answers (although much of my rebuttal were ignored).

She shared the link for me to read since, according to her, I have a lot of unanswered questions. Well, I do. But just because these questions don't have answers...yet, I'd leave them to god. No way! And it's fine if they are left unanswered. I am perfectly okay with it.

She encouraged me to go through that article, which I did. I read lines after lines with verses quoted from the Bible. There are many flaws in that article if one really tries to understand it, but I didn't enumerate them all to her. I took two claims and added my own interpretation. But before I go further to discuss that, I'd like to mention three (there are more) claims presented in the article:

1.  Jehovah, God, never causes bad things to happen, for it is unthinkable for the true God to act wickedly, for the Almighty to do wrong!

2.  The ruler of the world is Satan the Devil. (That is why there so much suffering in the world.)

3. With God, all is possible. 

So, let's dig this deeper. 

~If there is a benevolent God, then number one must be true. (Yeah, it would be nice if everyone on earth is happy and no problems to face, including global warming. Yey!)

~But wait, famine, riots, war, hunger, diseases, conflicts, murder, shootings, atrocities with each other, etc. are all over the world! Ah, Satan the Devil is behind all these. (Well, it's actually great to have someone else to blame for all the mess in the world created and governed by the Almighty that doesn't do wrong! Perfection!)

~Oh, geez! All is possible with God! If so, then it means that Satan the Devil can be destroyed, immediately! Once Satan the Devil is defeated, all suffering in the world will disappear, will dissipate into thin air. With God, all is possible so those people who are victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time can never be in the wrong place at the wrong time anymore. 

"Do it, God! Do it!" plead these starving innocent children.

"I will, my children! I will. Be assured that I know when all of Satan’s challenges will have been fully answered.So be patient 'cause I am patient. For now, I am giving you time to come to know me and choose me as your Ruler. While you do that, I'll let you starve!" answered God (Jehovah).

"Don't bother about that promise, children," I butted in. "God is some egomaniacal, capricious piece of sh...., err, human imagination that has extremely low self-esteem. Why else would he want his children to please him and creates a tantrum if he isn't pleased and let you starve instead of smashing that head of Satan's so you'll never starve and suffer again? So, go home! Tell your parents to wear contraception and demand from over-eating, obese, mansion-owning dregs of humanity to spare you some food for your bellies! Don't depend on God. He's got a huge ego to please!"

27 November 2017

Persimmons or Amarphal or Ramphal: Hachiya and Fuyu Variety

Five days ago, my husband had some business to attend to in Dehradun. Going to bigger cities is something that we don't do often. In fact, we would be glad if transactions can be done online or through someone. We just loathe the pollution -the traffic, the crowd, the garbage, the horrible plight of non-human animals and the apathetic and cruel treatment of human beings to these poor earthlings!

So, to make the trip worthwhile, my husband and I would buy the fruits, groceries, vegetables, nuts and seeds that aren't available in the place we live.

This time, he took two varieties of persimmons -Hachiya and Fuyu, and other fruits like Thailand guava (huge and bland but tasty and crunchy), chicos, custard apple, canary melons, red grapes, Midknight oranges, etc.

The above picture is a variety of Hachiya. From medium size to large size, the fruit is a delight. Hachiya variety looks round but pointed and they are astringent or sappy, which means, they cannot be eaten when hard and firm. They have to ripen from top to bottom. They must be very soft, only then, sappiness goes, and they're enjoyable to eat.

A few of the vendors selling this variety shared their stories involving Hachiya. This variety is NOT popular among customers! At first, we were puzzled. Such beautiful and tasty fruit and people don't like it? There must be a reason.

There is only one explanation. And I'll go through that below. In the meantime, here's Fuyu variety.

Fuyu variety is the non-astringent variety. They are quite small, round but flat. These are the characteristics of the non-astringent persimmons -round and flat.

Until three days ago, we've been eating this variety the wrong way, or shall I say, eating it one way -the soft and ripe way!

My husband's experience in buying this variety this time gave some light as to  
when to eat Fuyu best, and that is, when they are hard and firm.
This goes back to the vendors' stories. People like this variety because they can be eaten immediately making it popular.
Customers only buy Fuyu!
And that is because, these fruits are displayed and sold hard and firm, never soft and ripe, and that is the first experience most customers have.
So, the moment they buy Hachiya and eat the same way they eat Fuyu,
the experience would be horrible
because Hachiya variety is astringent.
Nobody really likes a sappy tongue, right?

Also, not many have the curiosity to ask why and find out how to properly eat Hachiya persimmons! So, the next time they see the fruit, they'll pass by it remembering their
disgusting first experience.
The thing is, not many know how to eat it.
Even the sellers themselves!

So, now you know!
The next time you come across these fruits, buy them in loads, for they really taste good!

Just a few tips. We keep them in the fridge, wash them thoroughly, 
and eat them with their skin on
The skin of Fuyu is a little bit coarse and tends to separate from the pulp onceit is soft and ripe. When hard and firm, it is crunchy and sweet (an iinformation we
just paid attention to even though we've read the same info two years ago).

~two platters of fruit goodies: Midknight oranges, chico, local orange, guava, Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons~
  • Hindi people call persimmons Amarphal or immortal fruit OR Ramphal or fruit for the Gods.
  • In the Philippines, Filipinos call the fruit Mabolo. For 27 years in the Philippines, I'd never seen the fruit. I just heard it. Though I wondered how does Mabolo fruit look like. My imagination pictures a round and black fruit. 

15 August 2017

Stephen Grellet, Quaker Missionary

Though there are variants of this quote, I prefer the use of "fellow creature" because it embodies all creatures on earth, which makes sense since the author was a member of the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) that practices vegetarianism and veganism as a reflection of the Peace Testimony, extending non-violence towards animals. 

We don't need to be a Quaker or a Christian or a Muslim or a Jain or a Hindu or a Buddhist to be good and kind to our fellow human beings and to all the non-human animals we share this planet with. After all, we are all Earthlings, citizens of the planet Earth!

Be vegan.
Non-human animals value their lives as much as we value hours.
Let peace reigns in our hearts and it begins on our plates. 

24 July 2017

I Am a Vegan Anarchist

I am a vegan anarchist because meat consumption is just one of the symptoms 
of a larger evil that pervades our society, which is capitalism.

The disease of capitalism erodes compassion and makes humans see, not only other creatures, 
but also other humans, as commodities which only have value for the profit that they may fetch 
in the market, regardless of all other considerations. 
A capitalist mind-set, not only prioritizes profit, but also terminates 
everything else that it sees as not marketable. 
Since values are arbitrarily set by the market, 
in a capitalist system, a large proportion of the planet’s beings, both living and non-living, 
are arbitrarily discarded, as the market sees no value in their existence. 
And the ones that are seen as valuable are most often seen as valuable only for their final value of profit, thereby leading to horrific holocaust-like conditions for all their existence 
until their ruthless extermination in the name of generating profit.

I am a vegan anarchist because when an animal or human being or a tree is tagged 
to have this value or that much value, it becomes a one-sided world - a world that is run 
by people whose personal interest is always put at the top, 
regardless of who suffers or dies. 
A road worker works hard so the rest of the world could have a pleasant journey 
or so goods could reach their final destination without getting rotten but is paid meagerly. 
Does his life and work least important among other kinds of work? 
Definitely not! 
The same goes to the life of a pig or any other animal. 
Does a pig’s 6-month life worth 10000 rupees? 
But the capitalist mind would say so! 
Only a vegan anarchist recognizes that all earthlings have inherent value of their own, 
that the pig’s life is invaluable - a value that can be determined by nobody. 
It can neither be sold nor bought. It cannot be traded for anything else. 
And as long as people put a monetary tag to anything, 
whether it’s  natural resource or human and non-human living being, 
exploitation, in any form, 
will never cease to exist.

Capitalist systems breed exploitation over cooperation, 
perpetuate control over empathy, 
and drive cruelty, death and destruction over love, life, and protection. 
Hence, I am a vegan anarchist because anarchism is the necessary solution 
for transforming the world into veganism. 

12 July 2017

Potato-Tomato Dish: Simple & Quick No Oil Recipe

If I were to get rid of one thing that I do every day that is cooking. Fortunately, I only cook once almost all the time except in some rare cases when we have great stuff like mushrooms (it's a rarity around here) or when my husband and I feel like eating extra. When it happens it's always light. 
Like this recipe.
And this recipe is for two people. 

~my share~

What are needed?
  • 2-3 medium size potatoes (washed thoroughly, never peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 5-6 ripe tomatoes, preferably round variety because they're juicy (chopped)
  • salt to taste (I used a pinch since we're used to it already)
  • red chili powder, according to your preference (I used half a tsp.)
  • lemon juice, optional (I use it when it's too spicy for us)
  • 1-2 tbsp. poppy seeds, optional (I generally add them because we have them and they induce sleep
  • half to 1 a glass of water
What to do?
  • In a deep pan, add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add salt and potatoes. Mix and cover on a low flame.
  • After a few minutes, add red chili powder and poppy seeds. Mix again.
  • Add little water at a time.
  • Cook until the tomatoes get smashed and the potatoes get cooked.
  • Check the taste.
  • Let it cool a little bit and serve.
  • Add lemon juice just before it is served. (Heat destroys vitamin C in lemon juice, but for the purpose of enhancing taste, lemon juice ca be added when the dish is still hot.)
~this time, this dish was eaten alone~

Serve alone or with roti!

~This one is with black and white sesame seeds. What a great way to eat sesame seeds!~
  • When I make it for lunch, we usually have this with roti and our roti is not the usual roti. It's made of whole wheat flour which is grounded in a bigger grain, meaning, it's not refined at all and it's full of bran (fiber) then with it are mixed grounded flax, melon seeds, and watermelon seeds (readily prepared with vitamin B12 so we won't be ingesting B12 in one go), sesame seeds and zero salt.   
  • Most of the times we eat this dish with one small roti each. Sometimes, half each of one big roti.
  • Our cooked food, especially with rice or roti or chapati, vegetables always weigh more than the roti. For example, for 1 roti we will have it with a big bowl of vegetable dish.

This recipe can certainly be modified. 
Do let me know in the comment section below. 
Use the section of what do you think of this recipe, too!

04 July 2017

Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd. (THDC Koteshwar Hydro Power Project)

The Koteshwar dam is on the Bhagirathi River located downstream of the Tehri Dam in Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. KHEP dam is an important part of the Tehri Hydropower Complex that serves to regulate the Tehri Dam's tailrace for irrigation purposes and water load balancing. 

KHEP dam as seen from Pokhari - Koteshwar road. The photo was taken in November 2016.
 There are two roads to reach Koteshwar from Rishikesh. First is through Narendra Nagar -Chamba - Gaja -Pokhari -Koteshwar road. From Chamba, one can go to New Tehri directly. Second is through Devprayag - New Tehri road. Koteshwar from Devprayag is around 40-45 kilometers and deviates at Chaka village. Along the way, you have to ask the road to Chaka because there is another road that goes to New Tehri bypassing Koteshwar road. It's easy to reach Koteshwar once you reach Chaka. Everyone knows Koteshwar dam.

The upper houses of KHEP colony. The right line of houses is CISF line where CISF constables and next ranking personnel along with a few of THDC staffs are housed. Below this line is a two building, eight flats for higher officers of THDC. Most employees here come from B.Puram. They don't stay here in the colony.

KHEP township taken a little out of the temple. Just below the BSNL mobile tower is KHEP's dispensary where, as of this time, two doctors (one CMO and one ACMO) are managing the dispensary along with three nurses, pharmacist, lab technician, assistant lab technician, and other hospital staff.

 The entrance to KHEP from Bhagirathipuram. There's a checkpoint ahead. Just state your business, whether visiting or just passing, and you're good to go.

P.S. Keep visiting my blog for more pictures.

27 June 2017

Tehri Dam, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand

Tehri Dam taken somewhere in August from one of the viewpoints along Tehri Dam - Bagirathipuram road.
The road that goes in the middle of two green parallel lines is a national highway New Tehri and Bagirathipuram to the neighboring towns like Rishikesh via Chamba, Koteshwar through the left road, and Srinagar Garhwal through the upper road.

We once traveled this road from Rishikesh via Narendra Nagar - Chamba road to Gauchar in Chamoli District.

As you can see the water is aqua-marine during the months of August through June, but the level of water falls down in winter.

Tehri Dam Hydro Power Plant is located below Bagirathipuram (B. Puram) where the main office of THDC is located and where its employees and staffs including CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel and their families are housed. There is a reasonable market at Bagirathipuram. Fruits and Vegetable stores, grocery shops, pharmacy, sweets shops, clothing, and textiles, etc.

 Government offices include India Post, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.

It is known that when the dam was built an entire town including the villages in its lower vicinity was submerged and residents were relocated and the new town, New Tehri was born. New Tehri is around 15 kilometers from Bagirathipuram.

The backside of Tehri Dam. The excess water flows down and gets dam in Koteshwar which is around 25 kilometers from here.

This is the view of the dam if you are coming from Koteshwar, particularly if you use the left road from the zero point bridge which leads to the township of Bagirathipuram (the view on the top left). The right road from zero point bypasses B. Puram if you are heading towards Srinagar Garhwal but will still have a good view of the dam.

Like many dam areas, the surrounding hills are damaged and the water is lifeless.
One serious thing that can be done here is a massive reforestation in and around the areas where fruit-bearing trees are planted along with other non-fruit bearing trees for diversity.

The place is cold, but not that cold, in winter and quite hot and humid in summer. Since the roads are not yet fully completed, some landslides occur during rainy days which sometimes cause roadblocks.

There is a road from Bagirathipuram to Koteshwar. Many of the employees and staffs in Koteshwar come from B. Puram and commute every day to work on THDC buses. There are private jeeps as well for public transport but not frequent. 

For more information about the dam, visit THDC website.

Koteshwar Dam soon...keep visiting for updates and new posts!