The brainchild of Poonam, who is a parent, teacher and lifestyle blogger, rolled into one, Stir Your Souls sees the author blog about all people, places, things, situations and experiences.
The blog also sees poetry, photography, creative writing, reviews, celebrity engagements and her musings on life.
The author can be reached out to, at email@example.com
Last Saturday was a perfect blend of knowledge, skill-testing and fun. I was provided with an experience to cherish by the in-house professionals of the Academy, which has, after establishing their art with the Malaysian and Philippinean audience, forayed into the expanse of welcoming Indians.
I was greeted by this magnificent sugar sculpture, which you can see, to the left, in the snap above.
That beauty-in-the-box told me that I was in that day, for all things, creamy, floury, sugary and nice. :)
And, I couldn't be happier to witness four of the experts of the trade, acquainting us with the know-how to being a master baker in the comfort of your modular kitchen at home!
Interactive sessions form the basis of a sound learning experience - be it the classroom or the kitchen. :)
After being introduced to the appliances being professed in their kitchen, we proceeded to the Master Class.
From L to R: Niklesh Sharma, MD, Amit Sinha, Mukesh Singh Rawat, Executive Pastry Chefs and Dinesh Rawat, Director of Pastry Studies.
Chef Amit Sinha was to be our 'Guru' for the day.
And oh! Did I tell you that the floral embellishments on the sides are edible? :D
First things first. We must don the Chef's Cap, mustn't we? :)
Second, we must step onto our stations.
Third, we must pay attention towards the lesson being taught.
Attention towards the whiteboard, taking quick notes and listening raptly to emulate the expert afterward.
Would you want to take notes of our Travel Cakes too?
Here you go. :)
Did you know of Madeleines, also known as French Butter Cakes?
If you don't too, let me show you their adorable molds - Madeleine Pan, as it is called. I thought of them as Mini Oysters baked to perfection.
Don't the molds look like oysters to you too?
One pan gave us nine Madeleine to try.
We made them in Vanilla and Chocolate variants. :)
That is Chef Amit Sinha piping the first vanilla Madeleine.
What resulted after piping and baking, are these...
Those are the first Chocolate and Vanilla madeleines, made by Yours Truly.
A dozen of them. :)
I loved them and made a basketful! :D
The lemon zest gave them a tangy taste.
How do they look?
Next, we moved on to the Apricot Crumble Butter Cake.
The crumble could be made of Oats, Hazelnut, Chocolate, Coconut or even Spice!
We made it with Coconut and Sugar Icing.
Have a look. :)
These are the barters poured into cups, which would then be placed in the oven to bake.
Vanilla barter at the bottom, an apricot in the middle, layered with crumble, and then again vanilla on the top.
We garnished it with another layer of crumble and icing after it was done baking. A caramelized apricot slice was crowned atop too! :D
Good things are to be saved for the last.
We finished off with Orange Chocolate Cake.
Bar shaped chocolate cake, glazed and topped with caramelized orange peel.
The two main ingredients of this dessert complement each other really well, I was told. :)
There is this fabulous mobile app, MyAirtel from none other than the telecom giant Airtel to assist you in managing all your requirements and responsibilities related to DTH, mobile – prepaid or postpaid, and broadband services in a very efficient and smart way.
That is not enough, it goes beyond these basic services when we talk of bill payments, recharging of our DTH connections, multiple kinds of tracking and much more.
Out of so many fascinating functionalities housed in MyAirtel and made available if you are told to choose your most favorite three, it becomes quite difficult to do so.
This is because all the features outdo each other in one way or the other and not a single one is less than the other. In fact, the moment you download the app on your smartphone, you will become an instant fan of its GUI (graphical user interface). It is so simple and fast to operate.
If I were to choose my most favorite three features from MyAirtel, they would be these:
1. Since I am fond of surprises, (pleasant ones, of course) I liked the ‘Airtel Surprises’ feature a lot. The concept is quite fascinating in its own way. Every time when you recharge your DTH, mobile or broadband connection, you are treated as if you are attending a party and at the end of successful execution you receive a return gift which is presented to you in the form of ‘Airtel Surprises’ coupons.
These coupons in turn, can be redeemed against the various options available. You have all the freedom in the world to use these coupons against your transactions in various categories. The wide range of categories - food, entertainment, wellness, online shopping etc. make And to redeem these coupons you don’t have to compromise with any sub-standard brands. You find yourself spoilt for choice, with names like PVR Cinemas, CCD ( Café Coffee Day), Amazon, Myntra, Ebay, Flipkart, Archies, VLCC and many more such famous brands at your disposal.
2. Since security is a prime concern when we transact online, either via a laptop or a smartphone, MyAirtel comes bundled with inherent Secure Payment Gateways to ensure that each transaction of even the most miniscule value is safeguarded against all kind of online threats and vulnerabilities.
When you recharge your talk time, data, DTH or landline or making bill payments, each transaction adheres to PCI DSS that is, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. On your approval, your card details are saved in a secure manner so that when you transact the next time, you don’t need to enter your credit card details again thereby saving a lot of time.
On top of it, you are bound to love the responsive and instinctive interface that provides you a personalized user experience and you will be compelled to feel as if the application is specially designed, keeping your requirements in mind. This makes you feel special and valued as an end-user.
3. Since I make a lot of online transactions, I need to remember which payments are due on what particular dates and for which of the many services that I am availing. MyAirtel provides me, with a personal assistant that keeps track of all my due payments and timely alerts are provided to me, well before the due date approaches. Not only this, I am now a proactive user of this application as I now set alerts for low balance and low data as per my convenience.
I am in love with the convenience and ease which comes bundled with MyAirtel.
Are you? :)
I could never have imagined that imparting education could be such an innovative, involving and interesting foray, until the day I observed a glowing smile on the faces of students I met. The same, pure selfless happiness was to be observed on the faces of the faculty members I met. This is probably the best example of a win-win situation.
The students not only got enough opportunities and liberty to learn and enhance their individual knowledge banks but also, ample innovation and freedom to explore newer and unvisited worlds in their respective fields.
All the credit goes to the teaching methodology and a nurturing environment which has been adopted by them across all the courses, across all their campuses. That is the real reason behind the global reputation of this Academy in the arena of fashion, design, and creativity.
I was among the privileged ones to witness #Portfolio15 - a sea of talent, creativity, innovation, out-of-box thinking, and fun - by polished Pearlites of the well known, Pearl Academy, formerly known as Pearl Academy Of Fashion, organized at the NSIC Exhibition Ground, Okhla, New Delhi.
When we talk of creativity, it is mostly limited, focusing in one direction. For a wonderful change, we witnessed the meaning of creativity going beyond its rudimentary definition. For a change, creativity could be witnessed all around us, universally in all the directions, that day. There were an unmatched energy and zest around, and a superb bonding between the students and the teaching staff.
The moment I reached the venue there were barriers right within the immediate periphery beyond which I was not allowed to take my vehicle. The burning sun had me worried when I realized that from that point on, I would have to walk along the dominating ball of heat. To my relief, the Academy had run a shuttle service for the masses' convenience.
Proclaiming myself as a Blogger and grabbing the exclusive Media Invite was as hassle free as reaching the venue. The moment I entered, I was greeted by the faculty in-charge of the four 'Schools of Pearl'. I was acquainted with a kiosk familiarizing me with the School Of Foundation, meant for the first-year students to grasp the world outside their cocoons, and discover their inherent creativity.
This funky bicycle is what welcomed me into a world of out-of-box designs...
In my opinion, all the Schools are quite interestingly and aptly named, in tune with their theme and strategic grooming of the respective students studying in these schools. It was astonishing to see more than five hundred projects on display by the Final Year students, who were ready to take the Fashion Fraternity by storm. These projects are a part of the proceedings for the fulfillment of the requirements of their course I was told, where they need to put their best foot forward, demonstrating all their skills in a polished and innovative manner.
The first day of a three-day long #Porfolio15 had over fifteen hundred school-going students from around thirty top schools of Delhi - NCR, attending an exclusive series of workshops on 'Design Immersion Experience'. The students who attended these workshops were quite thrilled to familiarize themselves with this new and unexplored world of creativity and design.
They were seen enjoying the sessions and absorbing the insights with complete enthusiasm. These workshops were conducted in various streams like Product Design, Photography, Styling, and so on. It was the expertise of Pearl Academy that was mesmerizing the visiting students and I am sure most of them would have been thinking of joining this wonderful world once they cope with their school studies. That is the magic of Pearl Academy.
Sneha's tea-set was refreshingly geometric...
This is what the School Of Creative Business had to offer...
On the same lines, the second day was set to welcome a special guest – Manish Malhotra – as Guest of Honor. He had a number of things planned for the time he was going to spend at #Portfolio15, during the latter half of the day. He had to address the final year students after going through the effort each of them had put in their projects. Pearl's final year students were seen having the time of their life when they got a chance, with not only Manish Malhotra addressing them face-to-face but also to grab a memorabilia - a 'group selfie' with the renowned designer.
The students were assigned groups to walk to the stage and grab their moment with Manish, and all this was in such a disciplined manner that there was not a single moment of chaos or disorganization.
After that, in the evening, there were two fashion shows, one before the Guest of Honor's arrival, and the other, in his presence. Both the shows were fantastic and it was quite good to note that the creativity demonstrated by students had taken him by a pleasant surprise.
Not only Manish, but also the ace designer duo Shantanu-Nikhil were present at the event and were all praises for this ocean of talent, that has been churning Pearls in the era of Creative Business for over a good two decades! :)
An epitome of strength, courage, beauty and elegance who nurtures her child endearingly.
My Mother is no less than a superwoman for me.
Her pearls of wisdom, her experienced outlook towards life and her balanced persona have made me the woman I am today.
A child can never be thankful enough to the selflessness that her mother possesses.
It is impossible for me as a Mother, to imbibe all her qualities into myself, for my Daughter.
But, as they, imitation is the best form of flattery.
As long as I'm able to emulate the mannerisms of my Mother as a parent, I'm happy.
It is in these emulations that my Mother is with us, not in physicality but in her emotions.
A mother's relationship with the child is established with the advent of the first of those most blissful nine months.
It grows deeper, stronger, resolute, day after day, and year after year.
A daughter-mother duo complements each other in every aspect and are each other's comrades in the best of celebrations and the worst of catastrophes.
My earliest memory - nestled in her arms Oh, learning to fall, rise, trotting, walking Trusting her as my only angel from Heaven Hearing, telling, sharing all stories, secrets Engaging in moments of joy, sorrow, surprise Reveling in her, she is God Almighty in guise
There is something in the air with various proximities of guesswork doing the rounds. Some proximities indicate it is going to be a live quiz show, some looking at a real time game show. Well, whatever the guesses are and whichever of them turns into a reality, the fact is that when it is driven by none other than Kapil Dev, the great legend of Indian Cricket, it is going to be a sixer.
As per the information revealed so far by Kapil Dev on various platforms, today is the inauguration of some new adventurous league, #EkNayiLeague in Mumbai and so far it is a big suspense what it is all about.
Kapil Dev has also confirmed that the league members confirmed so far are Mahi (Mahendra Singh Dhoni), Sehwag (Virender Sehwag), Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) and Bittoo (Kapil Sharma). With this team, one thing is for sure, it is going to be a league of intellect being presented on the idiot box.
It might be a reality show. Kapil will be our host. Which Kapil it would be, is yet to be known. ;)
If it is indeed a reality series, I'd be looking forward to some newness to set it apart from the run-of-mill shows.
Kapil Dev has recently stepped into the buzzing world of Twitter, in the last week of April and has received a very warm welcome from his friends, fans, and followers. His tweets are quite interesting and are a mix of Hindi and English.
He has been able to build quite a rapport and suspense around this new to-be-declared league. The tag line that is being repeatedly focused on is – If you play this league with your heart, you are bound to get hit wicket or bowled out with a googly.
Now that is really a good catch, hinting it to be a mind-boggling game where you make a careless mistake and are out of the game in a flash. Then, the league is not about the power of physical muscles, it means. It is going to be about the power of grey cells, the mental muscles.
We all know, whatever Kapil Dev does, he does with a perfection. Be it batting, bowling, playing golf, commentary or a public address. His personality exhibits a requisite amount of self-discipline, control, intelligence, power and practice.
His achievements are far away from a fluke. Whatever he has earned, he deserved it. His marvelous batting in the Cricket World Cup, 1983 was a master stroke which brought his quick-wittedness and self-control, to the light.
We also know of Kapil Dev’s love for golf. He is a very keen observer, fast learner and a master player in all streams of life. Now, whatever is being planned for this league is going to be a very interesting affair, indeed. Let us wait and watch one of the guess work turns to gold.
A tree would be planted in my name by the kind folks at Green Yatra.
Towards A Greener Planet...
Two Trees At A Time. :)
वृक्ष कवि की गर्जना
बबूल शूल ले उठो,
सपूत साल तुम उठो!
नीम तुम हटो नहीं,
आम तुम डटो वहीं!
उठो मिठास छोड़ दो,
ज़िन्दगी को मोड़ दो!
तुम्हे जो काटने चले,
तो हाथ-पैर तोड़ दो!
छीन लो कुल्हाड़ियाँ,
बीन लो ये आरियाँ!
सतर्क जागते रहो,
छोड़ दो खुमारियाँ!
अब नया विधान हो,
अब नवीन गान हो!
मिटे समस्त क्रूरता,
सुवृक्षता का मान हो!
I was moved. So much so, that I was compelled to ponder - What if this was to be a true scenario?
What if the bearers of Mother Earth's anguish were to call out to us, with all might and shove all those adversities, in our face? :o
After all, the proceedings of events in today's time call for it, in a very unwelcoming way, though.
We wouldn't be happy if these words turned to actions, certainly not!
We, homo sapiens, or humans are a peculiar species. The early man stumbled on rocks, to learn to create fire.
He foraged on and utilized leaves and meat skin to cloth himself and satiate his hunger.
Gradually, he started to practice the art of being an agriculturist, reaping what he sowed, which were the fruits of his blood and sweat. He experienced bliss under the cool shade of sheltering trees amid the sweltering sun.
Early man had to master the art of 'Survival of the Fittest' in order to explore the soil he was inhabiting. He had to practice and substantiate for himself and his kinfolk, the concept of sustainable living.
Gradually, the vulnerable, naive ape turned into an intelligent, sophisticated man.
Every day, we hear scores of news bulletins announcing, proclaiming to the world, the adverse effects of the disappearing green cover over the face of our Earth, of the ill-effects of global warming, which are setting base to uproot us from our very existence, and to prefix a 'Late' with 'Mankind' and hold a mass funeral.
Yet, it does not baffle us enough. It isn't unsettling enough that the face of mankind has embraced a certain form of 'Reverse Engineering' to make the same intelligent man lose control over his gray cells and wreck havoc in his own territory! :(
Yet, man learned to chop off the same branch which he was seated upon. Yet, man learned to exploit the pool of resources, nature's bounty had provided him with and then complain of scarcity.
Selfishness and greed took over kindheartedness and giving. Man, knowingly or unknowingly was vehemently marching on a path which lit his own pyre!
Humans are creatures who cut trees, make paper, and write on the same paper, 'Save Trees'.
Ironically, we don't learn!
We fail to realize that it may be earning someone his means to bread and butter, when he decides to cut trees, but in turn he also resolves to rob millions on the face of the Earth of their lives, some day or the other.
We fail to acknowledge or respond to the numerous cries of despair from an agonized Mother Earth.
We proclaim that we are constantly doing our 'bit', even I do at times, but the truth is that just like it is perpetually impossible for a child to repay the debts of his mother, so is it seemingly difficult for us as a human to repay the debts of Mother Earth, if I may write so.
It is a matter of self-pride and a feel-good factor associated with the perspective of having done something for the world we inhabit. It is indeed blissful to experience that kind of a contentment.
The joy of splashing feet in the puddles of rainwater, or plucking ripe fruit from the orchard's trees or even playing with the raw, earthen soil, to uncover it, dig deep, follow the snail's trail and plant a tiny seed to observe it sprout into a plant and flourish into a tree as a child, is ever empowering.
We've to now time-travel to our childhood and those unselfish explorations and innocent treasures, to rediscover ourselves as Nature's Comrades.
An initiative as elementary as opting for paper or jute bags over the big bad bags of plastic counts.
An initiative as elementary as adopting the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle of an eco-friendly lifestyle counts.
An initiative as elementary as segregating the household waste into the Green Biodegradable and the Blue Non-Biodegradable waste cans counts.
An initiative as elementary as opting for LEDs and CFLs over those archaic bulbs can prove sustainable.
An initiative as elementary as opting to carpool or travel to the means, by public modes of transport, can prove sustainable.
An initiative as elementary as opting for energy-efficient appliances, demarcated by their BEE ratings can prove sustainable.
An initiative as elementary as opting for eco-friendly toiletries as handmade soaps or green cosmetics can work wonders.
An initiative as elementary as opting for bio-fuels or organic food as pointers to a 'Green Citizen' can work wonders.
An initiative as elementary as making an attempt to keep a check on one's Carbon Footprint can work wonders.
As a science teacher, as a conscientious citizen of my country and as a responsible daughter of Mother Earth, I have taken a pledge.
I've taken a conscious decision, to embark on a journey.
I've taken a step.
Onward To A...
Gauging The Severity Of The Matter,
Renewing A Parched Bond With Earth.
Enriching Fruits Of Bliss, Lay Scatter,
Entitling Us To Rendezvous Of Rebirth.
Now Is The Time To Take That Call...
Yearn For The Dream World To Be True,
Accomplish The Dream, Aim For Reality.
Tap That Essence Of Repaying The Due, Reap Gratitude, As You Sow Humility.