A Celestial Event and Breakfast Shake

This week [22/07/2009] parts of Asia witnessed the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century.

As usual I started my day with the cooking and cleaning and as the time for the eclipse drew close it started turning dark, not as dark as night but definitely darker that the evenings would be, [I would call it near darkness] and I got excited for I too was going to witness a celestial event that is so rare and one which millions were eager to watch.

Dad had been watching the eclipse being telecasted live on TV and came online to tell me this. I liked the idea and tried tuning to any channel that had a broadcast on eclipse. But couldn’t find any.

So armed with my digicam I open the drapes of my bedroom window and what do I see!!! A beautiful silver semi-circle among the clouds. It was cloudy no doubt but the eclipse was definitely visible! I clicked a couple of shots and my excitement grew. Then within a few minutes the day got brighter signaling the eclipse was over.

Many parts in China witnessed a complete eclipse. I heard from my friend in Shanghai that they were in complete darkness of a couple of minutes.. Lucky guys!! But we live a little away from Shanghai so all we had was a partial eclipse but something is better than nothing rite!!

Talking of eclipses, they have always been a thing of fear and fantasy among the people from time immemorial.

There are so many myths and fables about eclipse and their impact on the humans and the earth. One famous fable is that a dragon-demon swallows the sun!! As kids maybe we liked the idea of a demon actually eating the sun but of course our textbooks chase away all our fantasies and teach us the realities.

Anyways, it is believed that during the eclipse the rays are harmful to us especially to pregnant women and children and they are mostly advised to stay indoors and if possible in a darkened room. Don’t know if this is a myth or a reality but people still continue to follow it as no one is willing to take chances with their unborn child.

On the other hand, some travel agencies offered charter flights to watch the eclipse from the air and the tickets cost a fortune. Call this business opportunity!!

Astrologers for their part have envisioned doom for the earth citing that there has always been a disaster in the months following an eclipse. Everything from a mini war, assasination/death of a nation’s leader, to tsunamis and earthquakes has been predicted.

For the astronomers and nature watchers this eclipse is a thing they have all been waiting for. Apart from the fact that it is the longest eclipse of this century, we will not be witnessing another one like this until the year 2132!!! This makes it all the more special.

I got a forwarded mail quoting the do’s and don’ts during the eclipse. And one prominent point was to abstain from eating and drinking any stuff. The reason-They may turn into toxins in the body during the eclipse time due to the radiations. This point was elaborated and cautioned – “Please observe this [abstain from drinking liquids], as they are even expecting a Tsunami because of the proximity of planets or something – if it can cause a tsunami to the earth imagine what it can cause to the liquid in our body!!”

When I was a little girl, I have heard people talking about ‘Dharbai’ a dry grass to be used during the eclipse. The dry grass/straw also called Dharbam or Agrostis linearis was cut into small bits and put into each container which food stuffs were stored. Water that was stored for drinking also had a piece of this grass floating on it. I was told that this grass prevents food spoilage during the eclipse. At that time I did not understand what was being said so I just accepted it

Yesterday I remembered this and looked up for ‘Dharbai’ on the net and found so many interesting facts on it. It is also called ‘Holy grass’ and in one of the websites, the writer quotes that it has certain properties that make it valuable. It is said to absorb radiations from the atmosphere! Maybe is the reason why they use it in food stuffs during eclipse. But what happens when you don’t use it? I don’t know coz there are so many people out there who may have never heard of this grass!!

Anyway, on that day I had a very early breakfast [a cheese sandwich] with a cup of coffee, [not because the mail had cautioned me not to eat or drink during the eclipse, but for the plain fact that I woke up hungry], and witnessed the amazing celestial event. After all the excitement died down I was hungry [again!] but was in no mood to cook breakfast. I wanted something easy, filling and refreshing and thus was born my breakfast shake. I just put in some of the things I had and blended it together and enjoyed it.

You need:

Banana - 1 roughly chopped
Milk – 150 ml, cold
Almonds – 5
Condensed milk – 1 tablespoon

Powder the almonds.
Put in the remaining ingredients into a blender and blend till frothy
Pour into a glass and relish it immediately!!


The condensed milk and the banana were sweet enough so I did not add sugar. You may add sugar / honey if needed

I drizzled sweetened chocolate condensed milk for extra flavor and color.

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