Saturday, April 23, 2011


The simple, delicate, delicious plant asparagus is referred to in Germany as the Royal vegetable. Grown initially extensively around the now Stuttgart area around the 16th century,this vegetable was meant for the royals. The whole of Deutschland has caught on to it and it is the favourite vegetable of every person high or low. And now is the season till end June. I used to visit Koenigse, a small town in the East of Germany for many years. Coinicidentally, I would be in Germany every year during the "Spargel saison" (Asparagus season). My hosts knowing my vegetarian food habit would stuff me with asparagus- either in the form of a freshly cooked vegetable or as puree or soup. It was Spargel for lunch and Spargel for dinner. In India, it is called Shatavari and is also a seasonal vegetable.

I decided to post a blog on this subject when I received an email from my daughter's mom-in-law on the medicinal properties of asparagus. During the Renaissance, asparagus was valued for its many medicinal qualities against a variety of ailments. It is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and folate, and the stalks are high in fibre. People who have consumed it have sworn by its efficacy in curing fully-blown cancer and also in dissolving kidney stones. If you don't take butter sauce along with it, asparagus can be considered to be a low-calorie food.

'Asparagus officinalis' is a leafy plant whose young shoots are known to us as the vegetable asparagus. In Europe, it is one of the first vegetables of spring. There are two varieties of asparagus, the green and the white. The green one is more common in USA. The Germans prefer it white. German farmers keep the sun away so that they don't turn green with the growth of chlorophyll. Germans consume about 70,000 tonnes of this vegetable every year. Most of it is grown in Germany.

Passionate consumers of asparagus make this a passionate vegetable too!


This was the comment an expert foreign player had made before start of the World Cup. He had to eat humble pie when Mahinder Singh Dhoni proved his detractors wrong.No doubt, Captain Cool had his fair share of luck. He was in poor batting form till the last match,the team fielding was sloppy almost throughout the entire tournament and the bowlers never posed a serious threat to the opposition. With all these apparent weaknesses, how did the players in blue win? That is a natural and interesting question.

The answer lies in self-belief, good coaching by Gary Kirsten and excellent leadership by the Captain and of course the backing of the home crowd.Under pressure,the team performed well.Though backed by punters for winning the championship their performance in the initial matches gave no scope for such optimism. But then all the abovementioned factors helped them to neutralise their weaknesses and win the coveted World Cup.

A good lesson for everyone who wants to achieve. Believe that you can do it. Work towards your goal and you will succeed.

In the recently published list of 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2010 by Time magazine, our captain fantastic was placed higher than global football icon Lionel Messi and US President Barack Obama. At world ranking 52, Dhoni is 9 notches above billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Hats off to Captain Hope.

Jo jeeta wo hai Sikandar, Jo haara wo hai Bandar.