Friday, May 19, 2017

Utterly delightful recipe videos: Bong Eats

In all my years of blogging and internet surfing, I have come across many interesting recipes, both as written blogs and as videos. Some food bloggers are now dear friends.

Here, though, are old friends whom I knew in the real world, in a brand new avatar.

I am absolutely delighted to share with you here the link to a great new favourite: https://bongeats.com

Disclaimers:
I am not a Bengali, though I love several Bengali dishes, and have lived in Kolkata for years.
I am a vegetarian.
I usually cook regular desi meals.
I rarely cook from a recipe.

Why I love Bong Eats:

The format of their videos:
You only see a pair of hands working out the recipe.
No face, no voice, no accent to contend with.
All instructions are written, succinct and to the point, including timings.
Most ingredients are accurately weighed out in grams.
The ones that aren't will be a particular number of an item:
say, two green chillis, or one cardamom.
They give detailed instructions on how to precisely cut ingredients for each recipe.
Equally detailed recipes or links to recipes for typical Bengali spice mixes.

The absolutely wonderful Bangla music that plays in the background.
You know that the creators of these videos truly love this fabulous cuisine.

They usually post a new video every Friday.
Do follow, and do try their recipes: you cannot go wrong.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Lifetime Ago: Sisters in the park





These photographs were taken sometime in the early 1960's, on a sunny summer day in London, probably by my brother. It's been two years since my sister left us...
.

Monday, April 24, 2017

A fleeting thought

A fleeting thought
flew in
and out 
of my mind

where did you go, thought?
what were you about?
will I ever know?
It's a matter of some doubt.

You may not have been important
but you came into my mind
and disappeared in an instance:
that really wasn't kind.

I will sit and wonder
perhaps even bite
my nails, as I ponder
what did I want to write?

The great wide world 
is full of mystery
The great unknown,
unexplored, puzzling

Far more bewildering, though
are the mysteries of a single
human mind

What on earth was I thinking about????

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just an hour later


Today I walked
An hour later than usual
The walking friend is away
The maid was on leave
and I was lazy

The walk was a very different walk
Flocks of school children
heading for the bus-stop near the main gate
being chivvied along
by harried mother hens
and the occasional father hen
one running with his son's school bag,
the son running behind him.
I wonder if they caught the bus!

The child who enjoyed
a relaxed chat with the escorting parent
and a sad looking kid who
really didn't want to go to school

The sun higher in the sky
The elegant school teacher
greeted after ages...
The Modern School kids
in the car, with their mother
(We used to live in the same building).

The bunch of senior ladies,
all 'wishing' friends now!

The lycra clad, the elegant,
the casual, the comfortable:
immense variety

The driver who cleans his master's car
with immense love and devotion,
always so patient, so thorough.

The same compound, the same circuit
An entirely different walk...






Friday, March 17, 2017

Further Key Chronicles

Our front door and its key(s) have often featured in this blog.
The last key I remember losing was when I was in college, when my key was stolen from my bag in a crowded Delhi bus. I try to not complicate my life by not losing keys, but...

The RE and I possess two keys for our front door, one on a jingly blue key chain from Taipei, the other, more serious looking key (along with the key to the wooden door, which we never use) on our house owner's key ring. There are days when I go out early and lock the door, so the spouse can sleep undisturbed, and can unlock the door whenever he needs to. 

The Sunday before this was one such day. I was going out with my younger daughter. The RE and I had our tea, and he decided to go back to sleep. For a change I decided to carry the other key ring, not the jingly blue one. As per my usual practice, I locked the door, and walked to the lift with the key ring in my hand. I walked through the apartment complex's garden to the gate, where my daughter was waiting for me in her car. After an hour or so at our destination, we were on the way home. We often have Sunday lunch at this daughter's home, so while she was driving us back, she asked me to ask the spouse to come directly to her place, which he did. We got home after a delicious lunch, looking forward to a Sunday afternoon siesta.

I kept thinking that I must take the house key out of my handbag and keep it in its place, in the drawer near our front door, an intention that I didn't act upon for a few days. The spouse left town for a couple of days, which is when I planned some long overdue social visits to far off parts of the capital.

I hunted through my handbag, but I couldn't find the key. I even felt the entire lining of the bag, just in case the key had slipped through a hole. I wondered if I had dropped it on the colony road on my way to the gate on Sunday. That was scary- what if someone saw me drop it, and identified the key with our house. I decided to override this bit of tension by putting a padlock on the wooden door, and then locking the grill door with the only key I could find. Perhaps I had dropped it in my daughter's car, since I somehow ended up always holding it in my hand till I sat in the car. I messaged her, then went off to meet my friend. The anxious mind remained worried, though. We couldn't manage with one key between us. We'd need to go to the computerized key maker in Sector 16. And, at the back of my mind, the persistent worry of someone in the colony having picked it up after seeing me drop it.

I didn't hear from my daughter regarding the key, so I assumed it was irretrievably lost/stolen from the colony path. Even if I stepped out of the flat to go and buy a loaf of bread, I would use the padlock. Life didn't seem quite 'normal'.

Two days later, the Mostly Resident Engineer was to return. We did speak on the phone, of course, but I didn't want to give him any stressful news while he was too far away to do anything about it.
A cousin was visiting the NCR for a wedding, and I had the good fortune of meeting him and his wife after some fifteen or sixteen years. They decided to spend their last evening here with me, so I quickly made a simple dinner. The spouse was coming back the same night, but it was a very late flight, and he was unlikely to reach home before 2 a.m. I spoke to him after my cousins had left, and asked him to call me on my phone once he got home, since I was unlikely to hear our doorbell once I was asleep. He said, "Don't worry, I have a house key, just lock the door from the inside, I'll let myself in."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! I had completely forgotten that I had left the blue key ring at home, and had assumed, wrongly, of course, that the spouse had let us in when we had returned from our daughter's home on Sunday. I immediately call up my daughter and tell her that the missing key was apparently never missing, after all! (It just happened to be in the pocket of the sleeveless jacket that the RE has been wearing since the worst of winter got over: he never carries a key if he can possibly help it). I had automatically, unthinkingly, unlocked our front door when we came home on Sunday afternoon, and put the key in the right place, quite unwittingly!!!

After all this unnecessary drama and tension, I make sure that after locking the door I keep my key ring in its designated pocket in my handbag at the door itself!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Expired

























They could have been useful:
cured aches, pains, fevers,
allergies,acidity, vertigo,
reducing human misery
in their own quiet way.

Instead, they are ruthlessly
peeled from their foil strips
which declare them useless, expired,
no longer fit for consumption.

An ignominious end to their existence
Being flushed down the toilet...
where else can you
safely dispose of them?

I cheat, though.
I don't recognise expiry dates
on Digene tablets
or Micropore tape
or Karvol capsules
(for steam inhalation).
It doesn't make sense to me.

The medicine shelf is
now decluttered
and these sorry tablets
immortalized
in a little work of art!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Depths, debts

What do I say
that does not offend
or irritate or annoy 
someone, anyone,
somewhere?
My brush paints
a nude, a child,
a god, a goddess,
a pile of rubbish,
torn shoes,
broken limbs
the end of hope,
which offends.
My truth, my being,
what can I say
if not my truth?
The comfort of my 
segregated life
can also offend:
what do I know 
of poverty?
I will speak
my truth, 
as I know it.
Stories of pain,
betrayal,
karmic debts, 
perhaps, that make 
no sense in just
this present life.
Love and jealousy
both abound
untrammelled 
by age and experience
Life, logic, 
a contradiction in terms
wounding the wronged
not the wrong-doer
Who am I  to judge
weakness and compulsions
as wrong doing?
And yet,
those stories sear 
my very soul, 
seeking release 
expression,
villainy and heroism
children bearing 
burdens that weigh
them down
way beyond the 
weight of learning
and school bags
and poor memories
that let us forget
the debts we must repay.....