When my children were younger, it was not unusual for a lot of menu times to take on an altered state in our household. Every recipe has a set of ingredients that identify the dish. One may add or reduce the spice level to suit the taste buds of the members of the household. But if one or more ingredients are altogether dropped, the dish takes on a new appearance, isn't it? Read on and you will agree with me. For eg. Take the case of the simple lemon rice. It is the easiest, most common preparation one cannot absolutely mess with, right? Not so. I would be asked to prepare it without the chana dal because it would irritate the gums of a child who might wince in pain due to the newly acquired braces and rubber bands on his teeth. Another child would declare that he would actually be gracious to eat it provided there were no leaves. Not to be outdone, hubby would announce that yellow color does not appeal to him much. For years, the lemon rice in our household would sport the look devoid of chana dal, coriander leaves and turmeric. The only ingredient that would remind us of the dish would be lemon juice. My family has outgrown these tendencies. The credit goes to the temple in town where lemon rice is the food often served during lunch hour. Either they had to eat it when we visited the temple or brave another hour or so before we hit the road and find a decent place to eat. Pondering about lemon rice, a thought occured to me. Why can't people be accepted as they are with all their attributes? We often analyze people based on their good or bad attributes, whether or not we approve of their qualities that define them. If we cannot accept people as they are, the least we should do is to learn to practice and set aside the qualities that we do not approve in them. Hopefully may be then ,we can learn to get along with them and cherish the good times. This level of tolerance will come handy for us if and when a time demands that we are forced to work with them in any way. Just as my family learnt to consume the lemon rice that had all the ingredients that they did not approve of at home.