Things I learnt from The Adventures of Jim Corbett

Not much introduction is required for Jim Corbett. As the Wikipedia says :

“Edward James “Jim” Corbett (25 July 1875 in Nainital, India – 19 April 1955 in Nyeri,Kenya) was a legendary British hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author andnaturalist, famous for hunting a large number of man-eating tigers and leopards in India.Book Cover

I have read some of his famous books like: Man-Eaters of Kumaon and The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag and I would like to say that being an expert hunter he was indeed a great writer. His books tell astounding and amazing adventures and encounters with the wildlife, and while his stories remain a historical register for the events in that era, they are also a great source of information on strategy, planning, detailing and hardwork.

So coming back to the topic of my post I would like to share some of the key points which I learnt from Corbett’s experiences:

  • Passion: Reading even a single chapter of his books will tell you the level of passion Corbett had towards his work and duty. Though he was a freelancer and hobbyist but many a times his projects were funded by the govt, but that never made a difference towards his dedication.
  • Strategy and Planning: Jim Corbett’s secret of being so successful in killing so many dreadful man-eaters is not only his bravery but more than that he was a great strategist. He used to have specific plans for each of the targets. His tactics and plans were at times so novel and result oriented that even experienced hunters remained clueless of his ways.
  • Learning from Experiences: The greatness of Corbett lies in his strength of learning from his experiences. He tactics and maneuvers in the jungle were not always dictated by the target but at times he used his wits and learning to tame the game towards his traps. On many occasions he directed a tigress towards the trap just by calling her by imitating the call of a tiger.
  • Attention to Detail: Corbett used to use his environment and surroundings to his advantage. A flip of a leaf, a chirp of a bird, monkey and kakkar warnings were all used to locate the target. Wind directions were at times used to decide the location of the machaan (platform erected in a tree, ) or the trap. His analysis of the footprints of the animals was amazing, he could get so much information about the target just by the footprints like age, gender, speed, direction and the time.
  • Self belief and Leadership: It would be wrong to say that Corbett never believed on others that’s why he avoided taking other hunters with him on his expedition. It was his self belief and confidence over his subject. He never wanted to fall into a situation of cross fire and misunderstandings. So though he always worked as a team but he seldom took others into the jungle. He used other resources for tasks like trap building, food, logistics, preparation of the bait etc. He always lead from the front and as he always knew about the nature of the danger he avoided putting others into problem. On a few occasions he took his friend and a fellow hunter Ibbotson on his expeditions because they had a very good understanding and knew each others strength very well.
  • Hardwork: It would not be wrong if I say Corbett was a hunting machine. There were scenarios where he stayed on a very uncomfortable tree branch, or on ropes hanging from trees for more that ten hours and that too without making any sound and movements. He used to walk miles in a day on a terrain difficult even for the locals. On many a occasions he preferred walking over taking a horse with him just to avoid getting noticed and missing the target.
  • Care and Respect: Though he was a dreadful hunter but that was only for his targets, he was actually a person with a very nice heart. On most of his expeditions he himself faced the danger just to keep the villagers safe. On several occasions he stayed with the frightened people to increase their confidence. He slept alone in open to keep vigil and secure the people from the man-eaters. Many a times he went into petrifying situations in the jungle just to bring back the remains of the dead people from the clutches of the tigers so that the last rites can be performed.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Last but not the least the most important character of Corbett which I liked was the way he shared his knowledge with others. He shared almost all his tactics and methods with people. He documented most of his adventures taking utmost care towards detail. He used to analyse the cause of a tiger becoming man-eater and he found that in most of the cases these animals became man-eaters because of the human actions like hunting games, where tigers were wounded and left in the jungle to find easy human prey in the villages around. He tried to remove lots of misconceptions and superstitions surrounding the wild animals.

These were some of the things which learnt from Corbett’s experiences and the list is not exhaustive.

Would request your comments and feedback. Any additions to the above list is most welcome.

Hyderabadi Biryaani — The easy way …

So guys today we will see how we can cook Hyderabady Biryani … but the difference here is we’ll try to make it hassle free and even more tastier … 🙂
So here we’ll go ..
The ingredients:
  1. Chicken or Mutton whatever suits you 😛 … You can try others too if your state govts allows you 😛 — 1 Kg
  2. Basmati or any other good quality rice … So here is the question .. good quality rice ??? hmm Any rice which is fine and long can be considered as good quality. 😛
  3. Onions 1 Kg
  4. Tomatoes 1/4 Kg
  5. Garlic Ginger Paste – 2 tablespoon full
  6. Dhania Powder (Coriander) — 1 big spoons
  7. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tablespoon full
  8. Chaat masala or tamarind powder
  9. Salt — to taste
  10. Whole Spices like Badi Elaichi, Choti Elaichi, Pepper, Cloves, Zeera, Tezpatta, Darcheeni – small amounts of all
The Procedure :
Now here is the exciting part 🙂  :
  1. Soak the rice in water for about half and hour.
  2. Fry finely chopped onions in a pressure cooker(5liter) till they become pink.
  3. Add all the whole spices and fry again till onions become red and crispy.
  4. Add the meat and mix well.
  5. Add garlic ginger paste, dhania powder and chilli powder and chaat masala (you can add tamarind powder too) and mix well.
  6. Add the tomatoes cut into small pieces into the mixture.
  7. Do not let the mixture stick to the base of the cooker and get burnt, so u have to keep stirring the same and mix well.
  8. Dhania powder will take time to cook and hence we need to add small amounts of water during the process to avoid the mixture from burning at the base. We need to add water and then mix. Wait till oil separates and then add small amount of water again. This we need to do atleast 3 times. This step is very important, so no need to hurry. Wait till dhania is cooked and taste to check.
  9. Let all the tomatoes to get cooked and mixed properly. Mash the ones which are left uncooked. 😛
  10. Now put all the rice into the mixture and stir well. DO NOT FORGET to drain out the water from the rice before adding it to the mixture.
  11. The water should be just above the level of rice. Should be about half of the length of your finger.
  12. Add salt now 🙂
  13. Now put the cooker on full flame and put the lid on. After the first whistle, cook it on sim flame and wait for 2 whistles in case of chicken and about 4 for mutton.
  14. Your Biryani is ready … Enjoy with Curd Raeta ….
In case you want to make a proper hyderabaadi style … then :
  1. While you are preparing the gravy, sideby side put rice for boiling in a separate vessel.
  2. Cook the gravy with meat in the cooker as told above till meat is cooked properly.
  3. Now take another vessel.
  4. Put some oil and fry onions with whole zeera.
  5. Just stir the oil so that it reaches the sides of the vessel. This is done to avoid rice from sticking the sides 😛
  6. Now add a layer of the cooked dry rice.
  7. then add a layer of the gravy. Put big pieces of meat before and small pieces in teh end.
  8. Then add another layer of rice followed by gravy. Do this till nothing is left in other two vessels 😛 …
  9. Take a flat pan, put it on the flame, and put the vessel on this pan. (This is done to heat the vessel uniformly)
  10. Then put cover on the vessel and put the flame on sim. Seal the vessel with a wet cloth or flour dough.
  11. Wait for 15 mins.
  12. And the biryani is again ready 😛
Though the second method is a bit trouble some, but it tastes different and the flavors too are awesome …
So now u can try … Happy cooking 😛

Qorma

Qorma … I am definitely not going to waste your time in telling what is Qorma … there are only two ways of knowing about it … first you can check Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korma .. 😛 …or Second you have to cook and taste it .. 😛 …

So we’ll start now …

What all we need :

  1. Chicken or Mutton whatever suits you 😛 … You can try others too if your state govts allows you 😛 — 1 Kg
  2. Onions 1/2 Kg
  3. Garlic Ginger Paste – 2 tablespoon full
  4. Dhania Powder (Coriander) — 3 big spoons
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tablespoon full
  6. Salt — to taste
  7. Whole Spices like Badi Elaichi, Choti Elaichi, Pepper, Cloves, Zeera, Tezpatta, Darcheeni – small amounts of all
  8. Curd — 100gm
The Procedure :
Now here is the exciting part 🙂  :
  1. Fry finely chopped onions in a pressure cooker till they become pink.
  2. Add all the whole spices and fry again till onions become red and crispy.
  3. Add the meat and mix well.
  4. Add garlic ginger paste, dhania powder and chilli powder and mix well.
  5. Do not let the mixture stick to the base of the cooker and get burnt, so u have to keep stirring the same and mix well.
  6. Dhania powder will take time to cook and hence we need to add small amounts of curd during the process to avoid the mixture from burning at the base. We need to add curd and then mix. Wait till oil separates and then add small amount of curd again. This we need to do atleast 4 times. This step is very important, so no need to hurry. Wait till dhania is cooked and taste to check.
  7. Now put the cooker on full flame and put the lid on. After the first whistle, cook it on sim flame and wait for four whistles.
  8. Your Qorma is ready … Enjoy with Chapaati or Naan ….
To enhance the flavor:
Add finely cut garlic, ginger and Red Chillies while frying onions.
Add khashkhaash and cashew paste while frying the meat.
Also you can add a little Shaan Qorma Masala in the end to enhance the flavour.

Trip to Tavankere as part of Hewlett-Packard CSR Social Innovation Initiative.

What an amazing and exciting day I had. Went to a Village near Tavankere, 35 km West of B’lore and the motive was to plant Trees as part of Hewlett-Packard CSR Social Innovation Initiative.
Had a chance to meet some very nice people and make new friends.
The village was really beautiful, and we were amazed to feel the calm and peace being with the villagers. We planted Guava and bamboo trees to help them in adding some income.
The villagers were basically tribals who migrated from their native near Mysore to this village around a century back. They were all farmers and grow jwaar and rice. We learnt that their main business was used to make artifacts from bamboo which they stopped because of increasing cost of bamboo due to illegal trade.
Trees

village

Then we all visited the Arkavathy River Dam built in mid 1933 by the British.
It was a beautiful sight to be on the Dam and watch the rivers Arthavathi and Kumudavathi meet.
This Dam still serves as one of the water reservoirs for a part of Bangalore.dam2

Me at the Arkavathi Dam

Trip to Nandi Hills, Bangalore

On 14th Jun in the afternoon, my cousin Husian who recently joined here at Cellworks Bangalore with us complained that we have not taken him out to any place in bangalore. It was 12 pm and we were having breakfast at that time. Suddenly Mahtab decided that we will go to Nandi Hills, which is a picnic spot near Bangalore. I had heard alot about this place. So we made all the arrangements and started the 80 KM journey on our Pulsars.

We reached there by 4:00 pm. The road trip was a very new experience … first time I was driving on a hill. I enjoyed it. Driving on the turns and slopes was very exciting.

The weather was awesome, we had a great time at the hilltop and took a lot of snaps. The wind was blowing at its peak. The camera (which we borrowed from srilakshmi) gave  its full support … and we tuk all the snaps possible….

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