Thursday, October 24, 2013


Talking of synchronicity, it is how this story you are about to read unfolds. In September 2013 my wife and me, flew to Sharjah to assist my son and family, as my daughter in law was expecting a child. In such matters, it is the lady of the house, whose services are most sought after, I was just an add on, helping the family with small house hold errands.

Under the circumstances, I had ample time on hand, so engrossed myself in reading. I was reading the Book ' Dying to be Me. My Journey from cancer....' by Anita Moorjani. During the course of my reading, I traveled to Dubai to spend a day with my niece Sarah Boriyawala. We started to discuss the Book, and talked about faith, prayers, NDE, faith and pranic healing, Chi Gong etc: Sarah is teaching Yoga to a selected few.

On account of a life threatening medical condition that she had, she is well read and has tried alternative medical therapy.

Talking of synchronicity, it was in Dubai on March 16, 2011 which also happened to be Anita's Birthday, that she received a surprise mail from Hay House, stating that they were willing to publish her book and provide all assistance and Wayne Dyer will be writing the Book Introduction.

Here in Dubai two years later, in my small little world, Sarah Boriyawala agreed to share her healing experience, and how FORGIVENESS and freeing your self from past hurts, helped her in complete healing.

Her Story in her own words. Hope her experience will help others to look at life threatening disease in a different perspective. The body has the capacity to heal its self, we have to learn to find the cause.  

It was the last week of November 2010. I was visiting my parents in Kolkata during the Eid Al Adha holidays. I had been suffering from arrhythmia for about a year now. I had consulted a Doctor,  when it had happened the first few times, but since the frequency was very low and all the ECG  and thyroid tests had come back normal,  he had put it down to stress and asked me not to be too hyper and calm down.

After that,  the next time I consulted  the Doctor,  was when the frequency had increased to almost once a week and I went to him on a day when it had been beating at an increased rate since 9am to 6pm. He did an ECG  and my heart was beating at 150 bpm. He told me it was SVT or supra-ventricular- tachycardia and gave me some medication to take for three days. Within the first day my heart rate was down to 40 bpm. He asked me to stop and take only half of the tablet if another episode should occur. He knew I was travelling and asked me to take expert advice there. 

Now on the very next day of arriving in Kolkatta I decided to consult a Specialist for second opinion. We went to BM Birla  Heart Research Center and Hospital,  where I got an attack right in the Doctor's  chamber. It was beating at 180bpm and he had me hospitalized right away. They administered  isoptin which brought the heart rate down right away.

 They did a couple of tests and here the beat seemed to be more of V- Tach i.e ventricular tachycardia which is way more serious. I was sent for an MRI which said I had Recurrent Ventricular tachycardia and ARVD.

 ARVD is arrhythmic right ventricular displasia. The only treatment for this is placing an ICD which is an implanted cardiac defibrillator which shocks the heart back into sinus beat every time it begins to throw out these extra beats. These beats do not allow the heart to complete the function of pumping the blood from one chamber to the other and finally to the lungs properly because of which proper oxygenated blood cannot reach the organs particularly the brain. This causes dizziness and blackouts and people suffer serious injuries due to falls that may take place due to a sudden blackout. I was asked not to cook as I could suddenly topple over the gas, not to drive, carry weights and I was to be monitored even when taking a shower in case I blacked out.

I was discharged with the advice that any recurrent attack should be treated by putting in an ICD. However, Dr. Haque who was the arrhythmia expert there was surprised to find that I was responding to only 120mg of Calaptin which is a very mild dosage so he asked me to see Dr. Yash Lokhandwala who is the second best in Asia in this field and based in Mumbai.

 As I was travelling  alone I decided to fly back to Dubai and consult the Mumbai Specialist later. The medicine was also working, and I was feeling fine. In Kolkata before leaving I did take two experts opinion, did the necessary tests, and both confirmed ARVD.  

Once back in Dubai I called my relative Dr. Aliasgar who was aware of my problem and read out the report to him. He was taken aback as he too had thought it was SVT  and thought an ablation would sort out the problem. He took the film of the MRI and sent it to a lab and got an expert opinion, which again confirmed it was ARVD.

 Now I had also started looking up the net for reports of this disease. It seemed allopathy had no cure for it. Many testimonies showed that even after putting an ICD people had to make many lifestyle changes and live very compromised lives. And after finding out that I should get to a hospital within 20 minutes of my heart beating in this manner or else there was a possibility of death really scared me.

Initially I was depressed and never ventured out of home. I was aware of my heart rate going up for a while now and again. It was at this juncture that I started seeking alternative medical treatment.  I would do yogic anulom-vilom breathing, I had a relative do reiki on me. I watched my diet. I was also reading books by various New Age masters, which taught me to enjoy the present moment and stop living in the constant fear of death. I found solace and peace but the threat to life was still there, at the back of my mind.

My moment finally came, when a  friend of mine who does pranic healing scanned me and put it down to a deep emotional hurt that had caused a scar in my heart and asked me to do forgive everybody who may have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me.

At the onset, it did surprise me, but as the saying goes - 'dubta ne tinka no saharo' under the condition I was, and having read many life changing books, I put firm faith in her advice.

I had read 'Dying to be Me ' by Anita Moorjani, and in response to one question as to what caused her cancer, this was her reply, which at the time resonated with me.

She said: ' I believe my cancer was related to my self identity, and it was though  it was my body's way of telling me that my soul was grieving for the loss of its own worth - of its identity. If I'd known the truth of who I actually am, I woud'nt have got cancer'

It made sense that may be, in my case as my friend had stated, some deep emotional hurt was the cause.

 Now I had  a pretty decent childhood and considered myself to be happily married. There was no deep trauma or abuse that I had suffered which could have caused this problem. But she insisted  that different people had different levels of sensitivity so though I may not have had any big traumatic issue maybe a lot of small small issues had gotten hold on me.

 And I did agree that I had a habit of bottling up my feelings. Now this bottled up feelings and emotions are the cause of many of today's life threatening disease. In trying to maintain status quo and in trying not to ruffle feathers in our day to day relations, and feeling of insecurity and our perceived notion of  not living  up to the expectations of our peers, are some of the prime causes.

On reflection I came to know that  I could not tolerate people being upset around me, and would always be the first to make up even if I felt I had been wronged. Not because I could forgive and forget but I could not bear with  the stressed out atmosphere.

So she asked me to basically  write the story of my life starting from as far as I could remember to the present day and while doing so to forgive whosoever had hurt me even if it was something as silly as my grade 2 friend for having taken my sweet from me !!

 I was to forgive the soul of each person seven times for every hurt and after that also if some incidents kept repeating themselves in my mind I was to forgive again 7 times. It was a whole process where I was to forgive saying that,  as humans they were bound to make mistakes as that is how they would learn and grow and with this understanding, I was to forgive and cut a cord through which holding on to this hurt was keeping me connected to them.

 I also asked for forgiveness from the souls of those whom I had hurt knowingly or unknowingly and made a resolve not to repeat those mistakes. I was also to forgive myself for any guilt that I may be feeling for those that I had hurt with the same understanding that being human we do make mistakes and must learn from them. That is how we evolve.

At the onset I found it very intimidating but my dear friend encouraged me and finally it  turned out to be quite a thick manuscript and I genuinely wrote all my deepest and darkest secrets in it.

 It was quite an emotional roller coaster and I cried quite a bit as I went about this therapy. At the end of it I felt emotionally cleansed and also,  in retrospect I saw a lot of  incidents in a different light now than as I had viewed them then as I was more mature now. When I wrote this I somehow thought that she will read it or give someone adept in her field to read it and probably advise me. But she just asked me to burn it and release all my hurt and allow the universe to now take care of it.

Around the time that I finished doing this, we planned to travel to Mumbai and got an appointment with  Dr Yash Lokhandwala.  As is the case in normal medical diagnosis,  as some time had elapsed, Dr. Lokhandwala, asked me to get a fresh MRI done. The MRI showed that I did not have ARVD.  He diagnosed me with a much more benign heart problem of RVOT.

 Which is right ventricular outflow tachycardia. There were two points which were throwing out the extra beats. He ablated one and on repeated attempts also could not find the other as the heart stopped throwing out the extra beats as soon as the first ablation was done. Because of that there is a small dosage of daily medication that I have to take. But since then I have been symptom free and my heart does not beat fast unless it has valid reason to do so. I lead a normal healthy life today  teaching yoga and travelling around the world. Both of which I enjoy immensely and both of which would have had to be considerably compromised if  I had ARVD.

Now whether it was a misdiagnosis in the first place, in all probability it could not have been, as several expert opinions all confirmed ARVD  or whether the forgiveness therapy genuinely healed me, I am not sure.ALLAH KNOWS BEST.

 But I do know that the events that unfolded ultimately lead me to a path from where I have learnt a lot and grown a lot. So I believe that whatever happens no matter how difficult and awful it seems ultimately happens to teach us and guide us so that we may live our best lives ultimately.

Sarah Boriyawala - Dubai 

Sunday, September 1, 2013


In FATEMI PHILOSOPHY the best means of refining the soul, is to seek for an awakened and enlightened Guide, and to always strive for his guidance and fellowship.

It is related from Ibn Abbas, that while we were in the presence of Nabi (SA) when it was asked  ‘ Who is the best companion ? He replied : ‘ That person, who when you see him, you are reminded of ALLAH, when he speaks, your knowledge increases, when he acts, you start thinking of the Hereafter and Resurrection’

A variety of ways have been recommended, for reforming one’s moral and refining the Soul. Among the various methods, one is the Socratic method. According to this, man must reform himself, by way of his intellect and his own devising.

Socratic method entails that one must learn to gradually remove moral lacune,  with patience, perseverance, careful reckoning and applied thought, and thus slowly and steadily, purify the baser elements to pure gold in one’s nature. Philosophers try to achieve this by thought and reckoning.

But this method, though good in itself  , has many limitations and pitfalls. However, there is a much faster and better way in the Spiritual journey, and in FATEMI PHILOSOPHY  it is simply put - love and fellowship in place of following the way of intellect and reasoning.

One should seek out a perfect being and hang the halter of love for, and fellowship with him round one’s heart. This is much safer and swifter, than the way of intellect and reasoning.

A car is a good means of transport, but in comparison to airplane, its value is greatly diminished.  

A mumin is doubly blessed to have his MOULA to take him swiftly and surely on the Spiritual journey.

The effect of the intellect in reforming moral evils, is like the work of someone, who tries to separate, iron filings from dust by hand. How time consuming, excruciating, that would be.

A mumin holds a powerful magnate in hand, the devotion to his MOULA, his unflinching faith in him, and thus in a single sweep, and without much effort and brainstorming, he can at one go remove the iron fillings - the baser traits in his character , and become spiritually radiant and pure.

There are hundreds of such example to be found amongst us mumineen. The presence of MOULA his nazarat mubarak, his doa mubarak and lo and behold, a complete transformation.

Experience has shown, that companionship with the pure and enlightened , his fellowship, unbound love for him, and faith in him, has had a miraculous effect on one’s spirit, which could not be achieved if one were to read hundred of volumes of ethics.

‘ If there is desire for union, in your head O Hafiz
 you must become like a clay, in the craftsman's hand ‘

We mumineen should forever be thankful and offer Hamd to ALLAH that kablas sawal, HE has bestowed HIS azeem neamat, a roohani craftsman, by his shafakat, karam and ehsan is moulding our base clay to perfection.

On this urs night of Abdulkader Hakimuddin moula (RA) let us offer Hamd to Allah and beseech HIM to grant our Aqa Moula (TUS) and A’li Qdr Muffadal Moula (TUS) sehato a’fiyat ta kiyamat. Ameen. Let us also resolve to become supple clay, in their hands, and submit ourselves to be moulded as desired by our roohani craftsman.

Based on my reading of an article having the above title from

26 Shawwal 1434 H  Sunday 1st September 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Uskuni Ya Mubaraka

I am indebted to Mulla Husainbhai Kheriwala - Murakeeb MSB for giving me hadiyah of his compilations of Kalemaat Norraniyah of Aqa Moula (TUS) delivered on different miqaats arranged under different subtitles.

In  the sub title - maqamat Doat ul Satr is the Kalemaat Nooraniyah on 'Uskuni  ya Mubaraka' I am sharing with you, my rendering and my reflection, and also my thoughts on 'sukoon'  - contentment. Click on the below link to watch a 3 min video of my rendering and my reflection, which has resulted in this post.

If one has cared to observe A'li Qdr Muffadal Saifuddin Moula (TUS) in the past few months has been with  Maw'ziah  ( Spiritual, moral advice and admonitions)  counselling  mumineen, to take a 'break' to pause and reflect and do introspection.  It started with Back to Basics - Wudhu and Quran recitation. No matter what your status in the community or in your family, he exhorted with affection, and set up an action oriented and monitored working system, the benefit of which are very much evident.

The ever present doa mubaraka of Aqa Moula (TUS) and the mauhim of his A'li Qdr Muffadal Saifuddin  Moula (TUS) has had a very far reaching effect. Seniors like me paused and reflected in our self, and had no inhibition and shame in stating that yes - we have still to learn. My blog Wudhu - Back to Basic published on Jan: 26, 2013 is a clear evidence in this regard.

A'li Qdr  Muffadal Moula (TUS) is advocating the joys of simple life and at the same time, advising all those who are doubly blessed with material wealth and knowledge, to empathize with the marginalized.  To understand their hopes and aspirations,  to come forward and help them in improving their living conditions. These marginalized section of the society are an integral part of the community. To bring home the point, very recently he made the noble gesture in Rozat Tahera of making 'roti' and thus elevating the position of all those who struggle for survival. By this singular act he managed to  sent an emphatic message to the community, and all those in position of power, that where his priority is.

Here I would like to take my readers back in time to the Year 1915 ( 1333 H) which was the watershed in the annals of Fatemi Dawat.

Excerpts from my article : Fajr Sadiq

' Sayedna Taher Saifuddin Moula (AQ) at the young age of 28 years assumed the august office of Di -ul - Mutlaq, and since that period Fatemi Dawat has been effused with vitality and radiance. However, at the onset, the young Dai had to face and uphill task, as the community was rife with pseudo intellectuals  ( educated and influenced by the West, as the British were the rulers) and money bags with bloated egos, who straddled the community like pantheons. It was indeed a daunting and herculean task for the young dai to rein them and their incessant scheming and plotting. Sayedna Taher Saifuddin Moula (AQ)  slowly but surely overcame all hurdles, with Taeed of Imam uz Zaman (SA) his profound I'lm and Statesmanship.'

The circumstances are different, now the Community is at the zenith of wealth and affluence. the players are different, but Akhlaq Mazmooha like ego, selfishness, materialistic mind set, insensitivity, mad rush to outdo each other with gross display of wealth and acquired positions, reliance on tech gadgets and many other vices concealed in the garb of development are very much prevalent.

I would not like to comment further, just sharing a recent picture from Sehrullah which had gone viral on Whatsapp. This pathetic picture of not a child but an understanding young man engrossed in Temple Run video game is an eye opener. This is not an isolated case, if one cares to observe, such numerous instances are played out in different metros and towns, where the contents of the mobile gets precedence over ibadat.


So dear readers, now you can understand , how daunting is the task of A'li Qdr Muffadal Moula Saifuddin (TUS) but he will surely succeed , as he is drawing spiritual sustenance and direction from the ever radiance presence and doa mubarak of our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) the mubaraka of RasulAllah (SA) who is full of contentment and peace, in  awakened awareness that his Mansoos  A'li Qdr Moula Muffadal Saifuddin (TUS) will turn around the community, with his practical, action oriented measures.

He will make the community reflect and introspect and will make the affluent section of the society, more sensitive to the cause of the marginalized section.

I personally feel, and you readers have a right to agree or disagree with my thinking. I feel the sins, so many times alluded for which our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) is suffering from infirmity, are those related more with the insensitivity of the affluent class of our community, insensitivity of those in position and power, rather than the shortcomings of the marginalized, who in spite of their niyat and convictions,  because of financial constraints, struggle of daily living , are unable to live up to the expectations, that the tenets of their Deen requires of them. Do reflect.

Let us desist from blame game, mud slinging, back biting, but to do self introspection. Has my action in any way hurt the feelings of my fellow mumineen directly, and if so, it has surely hurt the feelings of my beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) and the realization that ,  my insensitivity has been an impediment in the full recovery of health of my beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) This than, is the need of our times.

Recently came across a very moving account of a mumina bhen in Mumbai engrossed in making roti in the early hours in a very run down, small home.  A very moving account by Shk: Adnan Abidali - Jamea Nairobi Khidmat gujar, where he depicted the struggle of daily living and the faith these people have on their Moula (TUS) to see them through.  In his article ' Eid - Back to Basic', he quotes some one saying that A'li Qdr Moula  (TUS) has come to be known as the 'Champion of nobodies'

Here I would like to add that he is Moula of everybody, but in his scheme of things the 'nobodys' are giving precedence, and it augers well for the community as a whole.

In the video I have tried to reflect how the doa mubaraka of RasulAllah (SA) has been answered in our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) This azeem doa will also be answered in each one of us, if we care to follow and adhere to the Maw'ziah of A'li Qdr Muffadal Moula (TUS) in true spirit.

He like a benevolent 'hadi'  is leading us all on sirat e mustaqim and telling us 'uskuni - uskuni' We should heed to his call of contentment, joys of simple living, sensitivity etc: If we are able to do so, than surely the azeem doa mubarak of our beloved Nabi (SA) will find resonance in all of us.    

A'li Qdr Moula (TUS) by his words and actions,  is telling us to become more sensitive, to enjoin simple living, to reflect inwards, to reach out and to empathize, to strengthen the  basic tenets of our Deen and avoid superfluous thinking and living.

The community at large is following his Maw'ziah in true spirit, and it is being reflected in many instances. Alhamdolillah ! 


Saturday, July 20, 2013

FMB Barakat in Sehrullah 1434H

Since my very first post - A STORY LUCKY ME 
on the barakats of Faiz ul Mawaid Burhaniyah published on Sept: 10, 2011., I have been been obsessed with acquiring knowledge on healthy  and nutritious eating.

Have since poured over hundreds of internet documents and studies, watched countless videos, gone through several blogs all related with  Nutrition and Healthy eating. I have been trying to master the nutrition basics, which comes down to understanding the different food groups and becoming aware of the calories and the roles that specific nutrients play in a healthy diet.

What I have understood is that nutrition and diet is a evolving science and there are divergent views on Health foods and debates are going on with regard to Multigrain vs Whole grain. What are functional foods ? etc: etc:

In the process I have learnt that the world's healthiest food, just to name a few are Avocados, Broccoli, figs, carrots, bananas from Vegetables and fruits. Almonds Cashews from Nuts and seed group. Barley, Brown rice from Grains.

We need Vitamin A along with Beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant and studies have shown it helps to protect against cancer and ageing and is found in carrots, Dark Leafy Greens. melons, Butter nut Squash etc:

Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin required for proper energy metabolism and wide variety of cellular processes is found in Almonds, Dry Roasted soyabeans, Wheat Bran etc :  Proteins, Minerals are required for proper growth and muscle building.

However, dear Readers this post is not about Healthy Foods and Nutrition, but a Wake Up Call and realization that I was blessed to experience this Sehrullah. 

As I was doing tilawat of  Surah Ar Rahman  on Jumoa , this Sehrullah, sitting out in my balcony which overlooks a busy fast lane, a sight I witnessed made me reflect, and gave a rude shock to my obsession with Healthy Eating. Let me share with you.

Our colony has numerous pigeons and their repeated flights make a beautiful sight, specially when the monsoon clouds gather and there is thunder and lighting. I have observed that the flight of the pigeons, is immediately followed by thunder on many occasions.

In this instance my attention was riveted on the road by the noise generated by a young man on his mean machine, riding full throttle, and at the same time I saw a group of pigeons just swooping down, flying just above him, for quite a distance and to my utter surprise overtaking him.

I have seen pigeons feeding on grains, seeds and legumes and drink water and wondered how can this small creatures develop such strength and vitality. A pigeon outpacing a man on his machine, fueled only on bajra and water, was the most humbling experience this Sehrullah.  On the other hand, we are so obsessed with healthy eating, and in spite of all the knowledge and nutrition intakes, balance and checks, and all good eating habits, feel so in adequate in this particular instance.

I tried to reflect and understand, and came to know that Bajra ( Pearl millet) is the most humble food eaten since pre-historic times.  It is high in protein, with good source of iron. The pigeon beats its wings up to ten times per second, while maintaining a heart rate of 600 beats per minutes up to 16 hours without rest. Raw power man !    Bajra and water and nothing besides. Unbelievable. All Hamd is for Allah Who Knows what is best for each of his Creation. He is All Knowing.

In Surah Ar Rahman Allah has beautifully narrated about His Glorious Creations and Blessings, and repeatedly questioned mankind to reflect. In Surah comprising in all of 78 Ayats, Allah tells mankind to reflect and seek answer in 30 Ayats as follows:
' Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (Jinn and men) deny. ?

So dear readers for each day of Sehrullah we should reflect and increase our understanding of the Glorious Creation of Allah.

In Ayats 11 & 12  Allah states about His Creation of fruits, date palms, corns, leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet scented plants.

In Quran  besides the honorable mention of high end seasonal fruits, like pomegranates and fig, the perennial, highly nutritious and low priced bananas get a mention. Surah Al Waqiyah (56) Ayat 29 - 
' an among the Talh ( that is banana plant ) with fruits piled one above the other' 

In this Ayat Allah refers to people of Jannat to be found enjoying the fruit and being amongst them. Bananas being light on your purse, are a rich source of Vitamin C - Vitamin B6, dietary fiber, Pottasium, Manganese etc: It is Nature's energy food.  As you partake, do remember the Abundance and Bounties of Allah and offer Hamd.
' Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (Jinn and men) deny. ? Surah Ar Rahman.

Readers hope you enjoyed reading my reflections on the barakats emanating from FMB this Sehrullah. Hope you will also find spiritual joy, fulfillment, abundance by reflecting on the countless Bounties of Allah.

Bajra roti with pure Cow Ghee

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FMB Barakat - Amazing Health Benefits of Peaches

I have been sharing with my readers posts on health benefits of nutritious and healthy eating, a direct result of the FMB initiative and barakats. Just the other day,  read a write up on Mawaid na Fawaid Group on the Amazing Health Benefits of Peaches.

Peaches have a number of health benefits. Good for the eyes and for the skin. It helps in weight control and is a good Toxin cleaner.

It is a rich source of multivitamins and minerals, besides antioxidants and  fiber.

The cherry on the cake is that they are 'in season' in India and will be available for another month or so.

                 PEACH PUDDING -  Easy to make, simply delicious and highly nutritious  

All you need  for one bowl.

500 gms Peaches / 250 gms whipped double cream / 50 gms Lime Jelly / 1/2 cup sugar

METHOD: Peel off the skin and cut the peaches into small pieces, add sugar, mix well and put to boil, till the peaches are soft and pulpy.

Take out a small portion of the syrup, add Lime Jelly and boil it and let it cool, and than add to Peach pulp.

Add whipped cream gradually to the mixture of Peach and Jelly, and let it set in a Fridge.

Add Peach pieces on top for decoration.

ENJOY ! But more important while partaking this delicious pudding, become aware  of the above health benefits and eat consciously, so that the goodness of Peaches infuses good health in your body.

It is true with all food you partake, you should be aware of what you are eating, partake with Hamd and Shukr, and eat consciously. This to me is a singular barakat of FMB. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FMB Barakat - Pol Sambol - a Sri Lankan dish that enlivens and relishes your meal

As a follow up to A'li Qdr Muffadal Saifuddin Moula's  recent Sri Lanka safar mubarak, Bhai Moiz Esufally of Colombo forwarded a link of Colombo Jamaat, and I inadvertently chanced upon the Thali Menu of FMB - Colombo and one Sri Lankan dish POL SAMBOL  caught my attention and resulted in the following idea, which I share with my readers.

Now that FMB is a world wide phenomena, it would be really nice and all inclusive if in our Thali menu includes dishes from all continents. In India each state has a particular local dishes which have great health and nutritious benefits. In this way mumineen families around the world will get to savor different food dishes and  indirectly help in better understanding, and bring each other more closer. 

The idea motivated me to immediately write a mail to Bhai Moiz Esufally and it was so nice and kind of him to send me immediately the recipe of this healthy Sri Lankan dish. I hope all those who are associated with FMB will give a thought to this concept of incorporating different nations / regional  dishes in the Thali Menu.    

POL SAMBOL is really very easy to prepare, it does not take more than 10 minutes and the ingredients are not elaborate, but it is really good in taste and has great health benefits. We prepared it at home and used the Food Processor to shred the coconut. We relished it with our menu of today - Egg curry - roti - daal and chawal. I discovered that adding Pol Sambol to dal chawal gave a good crunchy taste. From the Net I found out a lot about the health benefits of coconut. Here also I have a point to make. 

If one eats with awareness and knowledge, the health benefits will surely multiply. So this is very important. 

One cup of shredded coconut contains 2.68 gms protein, which helps in maintaining healthy tissues and muscles.
4.2 gms of dietary fiber, which reduces the risk of constipation and hemorrhoids by helping proper digestion and regular bowel movements. 

1.79 milligram of iron which is crucial for formation of hemoglobin. 

So if one is to partake food with awareness and knowledge of what the benefits are, for sure thoughts will generate more positive health in the body. Science has now conclusively proved that positive thoughts help in healing the body faster.

Shredded coconut contains 33 gms of fat, but recent scientific studies have stated that the fat has medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) which gives energy and strength to immune system. So in all, so moderate consumption of raw coconut, is very beneficial.    

1 fresh coconut
1/2 red onion finely diced
2 limes
1 tbsp of chili powder
Garlic / Tomato optional

Method: Add finely diced onion in to the shredded coconut in a bowl. Add chili powder and mix well, till you get a reddish color. Add the lime juice and diced tomato and Garlic and mix well.

There you have your crunchy and tangy Pol Sambol, as a side dish or to be eaten with roti.  Or try it out as I found out, by adding it to your dal chawal.

The Sri Lankans eat it with a little parripu and string hoppers.

Hope this post of mine, will encourage readers and all those associated directly with FMB to incorporate such dishes in the Thali Menu.

I was looking at the Colombo safar and Masjid Tasees photos, and a wrong click by me resulted in myself looking at the FMB Colombo Thali Menu. Every thing happens for a purpose, had it not been for a wrong click, this post  and this idea would have not materialized.

I am indebted to Bhai Moiz Esufali - Colombo.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cooking with Mindfulness and Love

Mumineen house holds are blessed to be receiving the barakat of 'Thali' and with each passing day, more and more mumineen are partaking the barakat. For the elderly living all by themselves, for those with permanent disabilities or constrains of any kind, for college students, working professionals, school teachers with family to tend, specially in big metros, it is a boon from heaven.

The good fall out of the 'Thali' is that many home makers are having more free time at their disposal to pursue their hobbies, give more quality time to their children, in many cases to supplement their family income. The common refrain is ' thali thi ghani rahat thai gayee'

However, in this blog I would like to share a very important aspect of cooking for your family with Mindfulness and Love. It has its own joy and pleasure, and the home maker surely earns great sawab and boon, for doing her duty. There is an apt proverb - ' the surest way to a man's heart ( and her entire family) is through his stomach' -  so very true.

For a home maker cooking for the family is an integral part of her life and the well being of her family. 'Thali' gives the home maker, more space and energy, more time to learn and cook nutritious food for her family. It should not be an easy way out.

I just came across a very interesting article by Debra Moffit on Intent Blog, which motivated me to share some nuggets with my readers, and my wife Rabab co-operated whole heartily in our effort to better understand this concept of Mindfulness and love by cooking the local Maharashtrian cuisine - 'sabudana (sago) kichri' which is full of starch and great for a quick boost of energy.  It is also very low in fat. However, it takes a great deal of time to prepare it, and here plays love and Mindfulness.

It has to be soaked in water for 3 hrs, after draining the water, the sabudana has to be dried for another 4 hrs. Then starts the cooking. Hope readers got the 'drift' as to why Rabab chose to make this dish, and  it was being made for the  first time.

Sabudana Kichri with Bangkok Soup 

As sabudana (sago) is low in protein and does not contain any mineral or vitamin, Rabab made Bangkok soup, to balance the diet. Believe me it turned out great, and in the cooking and partaking of it,  a great lesson learnt. 

Debra Moffit  is an award winning author of ' Awake in the World : 108 Practices to live a Divinely Inspired Life'

Excerpts :
The kitchen offers one of the best and most creative places for practicing Mindfulness. Turn a meal into meditation experience. Cook with Love.

 In ancient traditions it is said the cook is able to transmit subtle properties of his or her thoughts and emotions into food.

Food cooked with Love and Mindfulness provides nutrition for body, mind and spirit of the family.

She gives an example of Walter Danzer - founder of Soyana a natural food company located in Switzerland, their quality of food is very different from factory processed food.  

So ladies, try making a conscious meal at home - it does not have to be elaborate, it can be simple, but having the delectable energy of love. As you cook, be  fully aware, be mindful, and have positive thoughts, enjoy your cooking, and for sure,  your dish will have the soul nutrients - very subtle, it cannot be seen nor proved scientifically, but its effects will be evident, once it is served. You will surprise your self.

Give it a try. Set out a date, shortlist a meal to cook, enter the kitchen with a positive mind set, and see for your self as to what Debra says is true or just another crap.

'Dil thi jamara - dil thi jaman banayu' is well known. It means the meal has a delectable energy of love and soul nutrients, besides the required ingredients. In those old days, many have gone for Kathiawar ziyarats, and stayed at many small towns, where the musafirkhanas, generally in those days were entrusted to a family, who looked after the needs of the zuwwar.

One noticeable thing, and every one who has experienced it first hand will surely agree that, though the meals were basic, it tasted great. Even if you reached at odd hours, and if you had missed your lunch or dinner, they would be ready to rustle up a meal for your family.

We had such an experience many years ago, and as I write this I vividly recall the love and affection with which, we were served - a group of 14 - lunch at very short notice by a mumineen family  at Barod on our way from Rampura to Ujjain.

We had halted for Namaz and to freshen up at Barod masjid and asked for some hotel where we could have our lunch. The bhai who escorted us to the masjid said that, as it is a small town, no good eating place is there. Shortly he came with his family members and offered us izan, and within a short time of 30-45 min: we were taken to their home, and served piping hot zaman.

Such memories stay with you for ever. The above are just two examples and personal experiences of cooking and serving with delectable energy of love, having soul nutrients.

But please do not take my word, just try it out your self. Give one try, cook a conscious meal and see if there is a difference. It would be great, if you can share the experience. Click on the comment, so that all those who read the blog will also benefit. If you are not comfortable to go public, you can mail me at : and I will keep it under wraps, all to my self.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

God's Own Country - My Travelogue - 4 Thekkady - Allepy

Leaving Munnar in the morning, we reached Sterling Thekkady mid afternoon. Thekkady - Kumily is a tourist hot spot, having numerous good hotels and resorts, and a laid back atmosphere. The Periyar Lake, part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve is the place which offers one and half hour boat ride, and very popular with tourists. The Periyar Lake Boat ride is most frequented as it is right in the heart of Thekkady.

Sterling Thekaddy is located at one of the boundaries of  the Periyar Tiger Reserve, having a nice forest lodge type ambiance. You enjoy all the modern comforts, but have a feel of a forest lodge. Monkey families from the adjoining forest reserve are frequent visitors. From the presence of a number of foreign tourist groups, it seems this Resort is very popular in its aesthetic appeal.


A must see performance is the Martial Arts display known as Kaliyarapattu -  the oldest and original Martial Arts,  purported to to have originated 3000 years ago by  sage named Parsuram. Stick - sword / dagger -sword  duels and a synchronized jump through the rings of fire by two proponents of the art, keeps you mesmerized. At the end, you get to a photo op.

My Kalariayattu Moment ! All these years have been changeling opponents with words and wit. First time got a chance to handle the sword and shield. 

Stage managed Kalaripayattu. My opponent told me first to pose like him, I was smart enough not to oblige. With a weak back, if I had done his bidding, would have made a fool of my self, as with my medical condition, I would have been all floors with sword and shield. 

Gavi Forest Eco Tour - Periyar Tiger Reserve

Although the Periyar Boat ride is more relaxing, and less time consuming, we decided to go for the Gavi Forest Eco Tourism Trek. At 5.30 in the morning we started from the resort, and after one hour Jeep ride, we were at the Forest Check post. A few Tiger Posters at the entrance and on the way proclaiming that we are about to enter Tiger Territory added to the excitement, and in hush and awe we moved forward. 

Our Driver Mohammad had earlier informed us that during his 5 years of doing this trek, he has spotted the Tiger only 7 times, but just 10 days ago he had made the last sighting. A heavy fog and the lush green vegetation, with creeks and small watering holes, and distant bird calls and chirping, a sudden movement in some of the branches, all added to our excitement, as we slowly moved on, in eerie silence.    

The Periyar Wild life sanctuary is spread across 300 sq miles out of which 140 sq: miles is thick evergreen forests, and home to 44 Tigers, many species of wild life and the oldest inhabitants - the honey gatherers who have lived for centuries in harmony deep inside the forest.

Gavi at an altitude of 1000 ft above sea level is a quiet, beautiful and pristine evergreen forest. Travelling through it makes you reflect on the abundance of Nature, it makes you feel so small and insignificant. An Elephant mahout told me that, in the wild on an average each grown up Elephant drinks 200 liters of water and eats 150 Kgs to 300 kgs of vegetation. There are hundreds of elephants roaming in the wild and protected confines of Periyar Tiger Reserve. 

So much abundance in Nature  - there are in all 320 species of Birds and Botanists have confirmed that there are only 2 Gopher Trees ( Nirampalli) in India, and both these are in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Gopher wood is mentioned in Genesis 6:14 as the wood from which Nuh Nabi made the Ark (shafina)  !!

The safari is not merely sightseeing but a learning experience. It is an intimate and enriching experience and makes us respect Nature and Conservation. During 1970 on wards the Sri Lankan repatriates, were settled in the Gavi Forest area and Cardamom plantations were set up for their livelihood. 

The Treks are of 1 hr and 3 hr duration and there is an 1/2 hr boat ride and lunch is provided during the course of the safari. We were back at the resort in the evening and after getting refreshed went for the famed Kerala Massage, and I have already dwelt on the after effect of the Massage in my earlier post !! 

Tiger Roar
my grandsons did not get to see the TIGER
but I did manage to surprise them on the trek
with a tiger roar !!

On the Trek with Mani our guide
we were made to wear leech socks,
although there were no leeches on the
trek. Leech socks made us look like
serious forest trekkers. 


Boat ride on the serene
Periyar Lake

Next day we left for Alleppy, reached around noon, into a completely different natural scenery of vast expanses of water and paddy fields, where a house boat was waiting for us, to get us a feel of the famous Backwaters of Kerala.

The Backwaters are a chain of lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea. It is fed by 38 rivers and forms 900 kms of man made and natural waterways. Vembanand Kayal is the largest lake covering an area of 200 kms - largest lake in Asia, and on account of its waterways and in-habitations around Allepy is called The Venice of the East.

The House Boat ride is a memorable experience, but I would like to warn you that if you are visiting Kerala during the summer months, as we did, it is not advisable to stay overnight. As all the House Boats are berthed before night fall, and on account of frequent power cuts and fluctuations, the heat and the mosquitoes take their toll, and before the on board generator kick starts at 9 pm and air conditioner gets switched on in the room, you really wish you were staying home or at an hotel - there are many in Allepy. 

During summer, a day ride on the House Boat in the early hours or late afternoon is more enjoyable and less taxing. A smaller boat is much better, as it can navigate smaller waterways, and you get the opportunity to view the day to day lives of the inhabitants living in the villages at very close quarters. 

After staying overnight in the House Boat, the next morning, we headed for the Kochi Airport. We had a wonderful time in the few days we spent in God's Own Country. Nature is indeed a great teacher, if one is an aware and observant learner. 

Just sharing one of the many lessons learnt. Allah has created this beautiful Universe with a purpose, we have to learn to respect it. Everything in Nature has a purpose. During our Gavi forest safari, with the help of our Driver Mohammad, we understood, specially my grandchildren got to learn, that even the  leeches (eeek  ! was the first reaction when Mohammad put two leeches on his hand) serve a purpose. 

Dr. Aliasgar explained that leech medical therapy is widely practiced, and is beneficial in blood circulation disorders, such as, cramp veins, cardiac infarct, rheumatism etc: The bite of the leech is not painful, as the saliva is filled with pain killers. Leeches can consume between 5 to 15 ml of your bad blood, that is 4-6 times their body weight in a single feed. When done, they fall off. !!

My Moiz overcame the fear and managed to place one on his hand. A great lesson learnt. 

We reached Kochi Airport and the Departure Lounge was a welcome surprise. Dr. Aliasgar has traveled a lot, and he also found this one to be one of the best. Spacious with comfortable and regal upholstery chairs, complimentary News Paper racks, and tv monitors showing different news channels.

Hope readers enjoyed reading my Travelogue, I for one did really enjoy writing it and reliving the memories.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

God's Own Country - My Travelogue - 3 Munnar

It is worth a visit to the Spice Garden, specially if you have kids in the group. A guide accompanies you for a half an hour tour, and you get to know a lot about different spices, their health and medical benefits etc:

Cardamom - the Queen of spices is the most sought after from Kerala. Although smaller in size, it is of good quality, and the loamy soil and medium slopes are ideal for its cultivation. Every one loves chocolates, and it was my first hand experience to get the feel of cocoa cultivation.

Each of the Spice Farms has a selling outlet, where you can shop for your favorite spice. The home made chocolate bars, without ant preservative are worth a try. With the growing awareness in our eating habits, it is good to understand about organic farming and to develop a taste for the produce.

Cocoa fruit 

Towards afternoon we entered Munnar town, and found it to be too crowded, it has changed its character and has become a bustling town of Tea Planters. We were fortunate to have booked ourselves in  Terrace Green - Sterling resort nestled in the hills, a peaceful heaven at  a distance from the hustle bustle of the town. Club Mahindra also has their property located near by in Chinnakanal.

Many years ago I had stayed in Terrace Green just for a day, but this time round I found the property to be greatly up scaled, with aesthetic room decor, impressive reception area, and large refurbished dining and activity areas. 

It covers a large area, so you can have a relaxing morning walk, and return to have your tea and coffee. The rooms have a small fridge, a microwave, a tea pot and the room service smiling keeps your tea/coffee, sugar / milk sachets full, so you can enjoy many a hot cuppas in the cold climate. 


Numerous indoor and outdoor activities keep the tourists in good spirit and cheer. A forest trek, Muuttuputtey Dam and lake, where you can hire a power boat, a flower and plants Nursery, and a visit to the first Tea Processing factory and Tata's Tea Museum, where the original Tea roller of 1905 and other related exhibits are on display, and at the end of the visit, we get to enjoy, complimentary famous brewed Munnar Tea.

The history of Munnar is that the verdant beauty of the place caught the attention of a British Commandant in the later part of the 18th Century, during the Third Anglo Mysore War, when the British  were in hot pursuit of Tipu Sultan, who managed to escape.

It was the British Resident John Daniel Munro in 1870 who had interest in Plantation, that brought Munnar to the outside world. However, it was an European - A.A. Sharp who planted in 1880  the first tea saplings in the 50 acres of land at Parvathy. Now the entire region is covered with Tea plants. The Tata's entered into collaboration with Finlay in 1964. At present the Tea Estates in the entire region by owned and managed by a Co-operative.

After a 3 day stay at Sterling - Munnar we left for Thekkady where the Periyar National Park is located. It is approx: 4 hrs downward journey, with sharp turns and bends, so if you are prone to travel sickness, eat light and take medicine.

Monday, April 22, 2013

God's Own Country - My Travelouge - 2

As we left Kochi after breakfast and headed towards the cool climes of Munnar, why Kerala is called God's Own Country was evident in the breath taking landscape that slowly unfolded before us, as we started to climb the mountains.

On our journey towards Sterling Resort, it was a good decision to check out on one of the numerous Spice Farms that line the road. Spice Farms and Elephant safari are two of the many activities, and there are numerous both in Munnar and Thekaddy. Munnar although at an approx: height of 4500 sq: ft has turned into a bustling township, crowded and noisy, whereas Thekkady is quaint and tourist oriented, although at a lower height, but less polluted.

However, it is better to visit the Spice Gardens and do Elephant safari, while going upwards towards Munnar, as we did, because it is more fun, when you have to trek a slightly hilly terrain, when the Elephant tries to negotiate you down a slope, it is more fun and exiting.

Kerala is famous for its rejuvenating massages. Our Murtaza thought it fit, to have a head massage instead. :)) As for the massage, I went  in for one of recommended place at Thekaddy. There are 108 body points, which are 'woken up' so to say, by experts, who do a 4 year course.

Now it all depends on how much money you are willing to cough up. There are 1/2 hr to 2 hrs 30 minutes relaxing massages, which they claim, the effect lasts for 6 months. All body points are covered,   in all the different categories, but the body points receive the expert attention and time, depending upon the money you have spent !!

After massage there is a detox steam bath which opens all the skin pores. The fellow who gave me a massage, seeing my limp and age, thought that I will not  be comfortable, not knowing that I am a Bohra and a banya to boot with. I was perspiring all over, but was not willing to let go, because I had paid a goodly sum.

After about an hour you are to take a hot bath. I went to the resort and while having the stipulated hot bath, and thinking of 6 months of good glowing skin and robust health, it is what was claimed by the front desk guy. However,  on account of the oil and tiled flooring, slipped badly and fell head long on the floor.  Luckily no major damage resulted, and being fortunate to have the company of my son in law Dr. Aliasgar, who looked me up, and said all was fine.

So friends this much for now and the famous Kerala Massage.

(to be continued Insa Allah)

Friday, April 19, 2013

God's Own Country - My Travelouge

It was pleasant afternoon as our Spice Jet flight touched down at Kochi at around 1 pm on 4th April. Just before touchdown, got a panoramic view of God's Own County - Kerala. The greenery, the laid back feel, uncluttered road,  as we drove straight to Hotel Abad Metro, right in the heart of Ernakulam, was in a way beckoning  us to 'good times' in the days ahead.

Abad Hotel and Resorts have economically priced business class and upscale Leisure class hotels in all the major tourist places spread across Kerala. We found the service courteous and the rooms well maintained. It is off in a quiet lane off the hustle bustle of M.G.Road.

One noteworthy aspect is that the Hotel accepts provisional booking over phone, and confirms the Booking by sending an e mail. I was pleasantly surprised to receive their call 4 days prior to our travel, to reconfirm the booking.

We are travelling in lean season, hope they maintain this service in the peak Holiday season that is October to February.

After lunch and rest, we went to the see Fort Kochi, the old town famed for its Chinese Fishing Nets, the living quarters predominately in blue and white, having porticoes and fused with nature and Santa Cruz Basilica, the first Portuguese Church built in 1555.

Ernakulam has much changed since my last visit many years ago. The swank M.G.Road is lined up with glittering Gold and Diamond Boutiques, at places the entire building houses just one Jeweler store. I think with most of the Malayalees working in the Gulf,  the Dubai Gold souk effect is evident.

With two ladies in our entourage, the temptation to window shop was inevitable, but as we had to leave for Munnar next morning, I somehow managed to convince them that Fort Kochi and the Chinese Fishing Net are a must see.

The Gulf effect is very evident. Lulu has recently thrown open a swank Mall and I was surprised on my return, to find that there are three Mac Donald outlets, one in the Basement Parking, the other on the ground floor and the third one in the food plaza !! These fast food chains will surely change the food habits, in the coming years. I found 20 people lining up, much before the store opening time of 11.30 and would you believe it, it was Thursday.

It will not surprise me, if for the city population,in the coming years Puttu - Kadala - Iddiyappam - the traditional Kerala cuisines will be well forgotten.

Much before KFC and Mac Donald monopolized Fast food, our enterprising fishermen, with the help of these nets used to catch fishes from the shallow waters, 20 or so fisherman would clamber up on the pole, the huge net will be pulled up from  the shallow waters, with a good but small quantity of catch ensnared, and this would be sold immediately , fresh to the locals. The quantity of the catch would be small, but they would operate the net many a times. Fast food right from the shore to the nearby kitchen, and fresh too.

Now, no fishing is done, these large nets lined up on the river front are mere exhibits for tourists like us, while the Fast Food Chains cash counters are raking in.

As I set besides the fishing nets and admired the setting sun in all its majesty, I reflected on how an Eastern idea has been monopolized by the West, and in stead of fresh stuff we are hooked on all that is rich in trans fat leading to obesity and all the problems associated with it.

With this sobering thoughts I returned back to the Hotel and the next morning onward to the Tea Gardens and the cool climate of Munnar.

We are indebted to Bhai Murtaza sk: Hakimuddin Rampurawala for helping us plan the tour, and booking of Sterling Resorts at Munnar and Thekaddy and House Boat at Alleppy.

(to be continued Insa Allah)