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Monday, 3 December 2012

The Magenta Diary: : My entry for the Get Published contest

A love story i grew up with, lived and breathed with the protagonist and grew apart as i moved into my own stories. A love story i relived  again as the dreams, feelings of an impossibly impractical eccentric at times , an early twenty something woman  unfurled through the pale yellow pages of an old magenta coloured diary.

If one ever asks me of a love story...leaving apart my own tryst with this thing called love.. it has to be the story of Ananyadi. The 'di'  in the name ( pronounced as in dee) is of course the endearing term for didi ( not to be confused with the ubiquitous ' didi' ruling the Bong state). Ananyadi was  five/six years elder to me, taught me Calculus and Physics before she became the 'Ananyadi' of my life.. intelligent, funny, silly at times with a haunting pair of eyes. I heard of her affair from her neighbour  my classmate before i  knew Ananyadi personally. The most striking thing  in that time in that small town was  a seemingly seedhi saadhi studious girl having an affair with a married man!! Bombshell really. Her boyfriend it seemed was at least fifteen years older to her, a top notch surgeon in some gulf country, married..

I was drawn  to her love story along with her Calculus lessons. Her boldness and her love miffed the teenage me. It happens.. love really happens across age across oceans..She loves him so much.. may be he is cheating on her, fooling her as Reshmi said but the spark in Ananyadi,s eyes dazzled me .
Then actually one fine day Dr Vinay Sengupta was in our little town.. to meet her.. yes out of chat windows and instant messages he was in real.. a victory for Ananyadi,s love.. her man  travelled 1000 miles to meet her..her eyes danced with joy..joy of love as she showed us Reshmi and me the gifts he got for her and it wasn,t those foreign gifts but the love they bore radiated in her elation.

Then.. did they get married..obviously  no. Life isn,t a Hndi film where loving a married man and getting married isn,t an impossibility, the  insecurity, the stigma parents, society..a different ball game altogether and if you get past through all these.. the reason for which you did all these get lost..love gets lost. What happened to them.. Ananyadi and Dr Vinay next four to five years they were together to the extent i also got gifts from the gulf country once year at least. Then Ananyadi moved out of our small town, national capital was beckoning her with a new career. And.. well i had an affair and forgot about them for sometime, as i broke up and then got married in the hurried attempt by parents to hide my affair and send me off to another city.

Then...they broke up .She told me when i met her in my wedding. By that time i was' eager to get married' type  and thought it was fine..Ananyadi should move on and get ' settled' like me. She is getting old.

And then.. the magenta diary.. you can sniff and live love even if  you think the writings carry no meaning..


This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Our first visit to the zoo

Dear Ninni

Winters are just on the doorsteps..some warm clothes taken out, most of the times we remain confused what to wear, if the cloths are a bit too warm braving the scorching sun during noon or the chill of the evenings causing a slight shiver..which indicates normal cloths are not just enough. Fog, smog.. Delhi sky remains veiled most of the times but a pleasant feeling freed of extremities of the Delhi weather.

So one fine day we decided to visit the zoo. Actually we have been planning since many days but our work schedules, weather, other commitments did not allow. Your grandparents are here and thanks to your father's over enthusiasm when they are here..do i sound cynical..let me.. you will be discovering my cynicism and eccentricities gradually and may be find them irksome...but.. no i won't say thats how i am..i will try to be better..anyways we set for zoo one early sunday morning.

We are always late for everything, reach everywhere just about when entry gates are about to close, or the movie is past 5-10 minutes, or the shows are over, mall entry is closed but that day somehow we reached early when the crowd has not yet built up..and as your grandma remarked even the animals were not up from their slumber!! A lovely morning and we started with white ducks, then made our way for the White tiger. You know in Guwahati I've been to the zoo many times in childhood but with you it is like looking through your eyes again and hence the thrill and me and your father getting more excited than you!! With you it is a backward journey be it enjoying Durga  Puja, Deepawali, visit to the park and now zoo..like we are going back in time and finding those lost joys....

The tigers... one lazing in the sun, other too seemed extremely lazy drinking water near the ditch, you know it hurt seeing them forced out of their habitat and left idle here, nothing to do!!  One was kept confined in a cage like area and it was moving ferociously inside..out of its abode, out of its instinct, out of prey..may be it did not yet succumb to the environment thrust upon it...

Next was reptile house, a disappointment i must day barring a few pythons, most of the cages are empty,clay models of turtles and snakes... wonder where all the species have vanished! Yes i loved the white swans lazing about near a pond and a strange big bird called ' emu' resembling ostrich. Then we could see the ' sloth  bear' dark and all bear like..talk of bear hugs.!! And we absolutely loved the two giraffes loitering in the woods.. as your grandma remarked they seemed the most amicable  may be because of the fact that they had a partner or rather a compatible partner was my analysis!! Or may be as the day progressed the animals were waking up and caught up with the day.. and most of them were nocturnal as well. We had passed by a crocodile which your grandma swore was made of plastic, though your father and grandpa argued for the contrary, i was in doldrums as well doubting if the crocodile was real. And to dispense with all the doubts it opened its eye body position remaining same!! We remembered one famous line by Tagore from his story wherein one character  believed to be dead by all had to commit suicide to prove that she was not a witch and indeed she had been alive!!

Ah.. now all of us were beginning to get exhausted and you changing from one shoulder to another, Choco Bars, Biscuits...but no you won't walk. So some coffee and we had plans to skip the ' lion, elephants' part and moved in to the bird cages. Peacocks, pheasants, parrots ( other names i cannot remember)  all were chirping, chattering fun to watch. A ferocious cheetah banging on the cages...freedom Ninni is so sought after may be you realise it only after losing it, a lonely chimpanzee snuggled at the top of a cage with its back to us, it never showed its face once, another lonely rhino looked totally lost in the huge space meant for it.

You know while i went as a child i remember the ' fun' part which was getting tepid as i grew up, but this time though the loneliness of the animals, their lack of freedom and natural habitat was a sore sight but i won't complain...they the zoo authorities had put in effort after these animals so that they thrive and breed  and thats how we can see them.

Last was the algae lake with lots of cranes and other migratory birds, that was very lively as no one was caged there. The birds were catching fish from the pond, protecting their eggs and chics.. you know some of these birds come from far away countries unable to bear the cold there..strange how they find their way thousands of miles across the border and return home once winter is over

Panchi Nadiya pawan ke jhoke..koi sarhad na inhe roke..

It was a fun visit, we had lots of fun with you and as i said it was just like going back in time for us, taking a look at the animals through your eyes, gaping at the size and shapes like seeing them for the first time removing the layers of cliches already embedded deep in brain, just looking at things without preconceived ideas. I was telling you father.. i cannot find a proper children story to tell you, Cindrella, Snow Ehite were so cliched  with mother dying father getting a step mom!! He told me why not Panchatantra tales, i tried to tell him those fables we grew up with.. now while i tell you sound irrelevant most of the time. I gave example of the fox and grapes story.. hungry fox trying to have grapes but not being able..i feel sad for the fox!! Yes your father looked at me with unbelievable eyes trying hard not to laugh. I tried to reason, we grew up with these tales they are printed in our memory but when i begin to tell you the cliches become so conspicuous....

So where do i find non cliched things for you as i let you gobble up super cliched episodes of doraemon and chota bheem while i laze about in blogs and facebook !!  Anyways this post was about our visit to the zoo and the fun we had and the pics we clicked. Hope you love it when you read it.

Yours Ma


The Ferocious One

Growing up in Baba,s shoulders!!

In Happy times.. with your grandma

White Pheasant

Migratory Birds...

We visited Purana Quila as well

The Team

Thammu  Dadu and you

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Prelude to a Short Story

A short story on ' Real love in new India'..my short story may not have the format of a conventional story.. climax,anticlimax and specially the punch on the end so characteristic of a good story. The story begins and perhaps ends with the reflections  and introspection of a woman who has read about this contest and while trying her hand at participating in the contest delves deep into herself from where she had began and where she is now. Yes, I know it might sound a bit auto biographical but more or less all stories have the shadow of the author as the soul underneath it ..get heavily influenced by the life of the author and hence lends the ' reality touch' all readers craves for in reading fiction.

Strangely though fiction is seemed a getaway from hard core life, in some way all of us look for a bit of ourselves in any fiction we read and it rejoices us when similarity strikes, ' this happened with me' feeling and the writer stands complacent somehow her writing has struck a cord with readers. Will it happen with me..nice to muse..

The story hovers over the protagonist,s quest for love and the subsequent void she has reached in her life where perhaps love has no place or has it... she embarks on the journey of her life trying to decipher what she missed, what she achieved, her apparent loveless life, her past. She toys with all the pros and cons and ifs and buts and though unsure and confused somehow she knows love or no love in her life.. this is the life she is in love with. She has reached a stage where she had begun to love all she had, and her curious adventurous mind has stopped yearning for someone new..someone who would arouse her senses and make her alive. She had been attracted to men and men to her, but somehow like every mortal being each relation had its birth, life and death, some died young..some lived longer . Anyhow she could not outlive death and has moved on in life.

 She has grown on books where love is ethereal, perennial and wished to love one person in life, or spend life mourning for one..but she is not the character of the books she love to read, she is a realist and the force of life has made her love the real life she leads more than the mystery of the unknown. She accepts her life with her husband and amidst the hard core real life they lead with careers, emi,s,sales pressure, customers, a daughter to take care of.. may be somewhere far away there is a glimpse of love she has longed all her life or being the intelligent realist she is..may be  over the years she has painted this obscure picture of love..and will channel  the entire forces of her life believing this picture to be true.

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal andHarperCollins India.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Durga Puja.. Looking back and forth..

Dear Ninni

Owing to a complex cross cultural upbringing we are giving you where Navaratri, Dusshera, Karva Chauth, Diwali are being celebrated with full pomp and festivity, we took special care this year to give you a feel of  ' Durga Puja'.  Strange something which has been such a vital part of our young days , me and your father,s, something which we would long forward to the whole year,something which would begin with the whiff of ' Shefali or shewli ' flower in the air, sky a shade bluer and gear up with the beginning of  many shopping trips by ma and neighbouring aunts. Many shopping trips didn,t mean they used to shop like we do now, it was like one saree at a time  after a lot of shop scanning and the next trip to return it as neighbour aunty has remarked something negative or may be simply raised an eyebrow in disapproval!! I have seen my father,s extreme irritaion but guess that was the fun of Puja shopping and  final envious nod by neighbouring aunt and Mashi...the battle was won!!

You of course have seen malls and supermarkets by the time your senses worked, learned to take a trolley and pick up your stuff, have seen your ma shopping, learned to check the price tag as ma does though unable to decipher the meaning. While we were young, when lucky, ma used to take me along for shopping  and believe me it was a very boring affair.We would sit in the shop, the salesman would get out sarees, after around a dozen is seen colour, design demanded , price bargained..it was a daunting task to walk out, but the trick was if you walk out and if your bargain was correct salesman would call you back ' Arey boudi.. madam suniye to' .. still you have to pretend to walk out till he gives a call again!! Since my mother emulated our neighbour aunt and it seemed ma always felt she was a master at bargaining and walking out so she followed it when we went for shopping. It never worked as fine and the salesman always did not call back!! If he did.. ma would doubt not only doubt but try to bargain further as she thought he agreed a bit too soon!! 'Perhaps her face.. she makes it so grim.. they give in' she would remark about her neighbour.  Shop hunting in the busy alleys of Fancy Bazar  Guwahati before the pujas.. was an experience into  itself.

After Ma,s saree part , our outfits.. sometimes ill fitting (no trial rooms that time), shyness and awkwardess dominating during teens, white based typical Bengali sarees for oldies, totally white dhoti like cloths for the widows in the family (though things changed gradually..widows were given normal sarees but white had to be dominant), father,s cloth came last and sometimes he went without new cloths..may be to cover up for the expenditure incurred or as he would put it.. ' I don,t need new cloths..'  By Mahalaya ( It marks the beginning of Devi Paksha in simple words the Puja season) preparations would gear up..in the Mahalaya day Ma would invariably switch on the radio at wee hours of the morning and Birendra Krishna Bhadra,s unmistakable voice year after year ' Ya Devi Sarva bhuteshu'...and in the early years all would wake up in the morning, the entire neighbourhood, collect ' Shewli' flowers. These subsided gradually with just lame playing of audio cassettes then CD,s and no early morning walks.

Finally Pujas would begin. Shoppings completed, gifts distributed, showed to all and sundry who come home. No parlour hopping that time by Ma or aunts..things were simple. In the Shaptami day Baba would give the first report of the idol in the morning of the Puja in neighbourhood. We collected flowers..those Shewli strewn in the ground..filled our baskets..not an easy task..braving vector bites (thankfully no dengue that time), squatting all the time and then stitched garlands to be put across the photo of Goddess at home..these seem a fairy tale to me as well now!! And yes all those Sharadiya Bangla magazines ( Sharadiya because of Sharat season I guess), we would finish the novels one by one me, Baba, my aunt, grandma later my brother and discuss which was the best. You know one of the most loved writers, creator of ' Kakababu' expired this year and i have read Kakababu from the first Puja magazine i learnt to read. But this is life... some new writings are good, some are average and this year I haven,t read a single one because I could not go to C.R. Park and get the magazines in time. Another young character i was so fond of when kid ' Gogol' also disappeared with the writer,s early demise like happy Puja days.

In the evenings we would go out with parents mainly, sometimes with Bubu (my aunt), pandal hopping and inspite of father,s strong dislike me and ma would go for the carts selling hot chaats!! Ma used to be extremely happy as she was relieved of cooking at least in the evenings though no formal 'eating out' then.In the Ashtami day sometimes we would visit Ram Krishna Mission offer Anjali amidst the huge crowd, stand in queue for Khichuri served as prasad. When a bit older i started visiting with friends, neigbouring didis and there was a different aspect to Puja.. getting dressed in your best and longing for attention...i understood that gradually as i noticed them getting all attention from boys and they laughing it off with  pride..there was envy for the pretty girls and extreme consciousness and gawkiness in the teenage days would lead me to stick to parents  or friends and never venture out alone.

In the Dashami day when the idol was immersed i also went behind the truck with my neighbouring aunt ( four years older to me) and her father when we were kids and saw boys dancing in Mithun Chakraborty style and i remember she also trying some moves with slogans like ' Asche bachar abar hobe!!' Evenings were reserved for offering ' pranams' to elders, tying the sacred thread around wrist and then gorge on coconut ladoos , nimkis, sweets.. gradually less home made stuff and more outside stuff.

A void used to be there after Puja was over, though holidays continued but the climax was over.. While we grew, up me and brother, some years we used the holidays to go out for a trip with parents and sometimes got the chance to watch the Kolkata Pujas or Delhi Pujas, sometimes we missed it altogether but now..since my brother moved out of Guwahati , coming home is a must for the Pujas and me.. after you have come is a diligent pandal hopper though before you in Delhi i longed for the cultural programmes and the big names who performed but with you i want to feel the ' Durga Puja', both your father and i.. just like bygone days brushing us with a breeze, to show you a part of us we left back home in a different time, balloons, toy pistols what not...we got them only in Puja time and my neighbouring aunt i talk about ( tutu pishi) , she preserved her cherished balloon beneath the lid of a drum containing rice ( earlier we used to have drums or tins containing rice and we used to have rice thrice a day) so that it survives a longer time and believe me it did to my surprise and she would open everyday and show me her blue balloon!!

Last year in Barapani i was not able to show you Durga Puja, this time we took you around Delhi and though we thought it was more for you guess it was more for us..to find a bit of lost days again, a bit of togetherness in this tight paced life..
Leaving you with some pics.

Yours Ma

During childhood we used to have idol counts to boast of to friends and peers so just an idol count for you

Elite Puja of GK II.. Pandal is all empty before 11.. good for clicking pics

Olympic rings at Matri mandir Safdarjung Enclave

Dont miss the huge vessels of delicious prasad..:)

Pious you...

Original you?

Mayur Vihar Puja had Rabindranath theme

Your mom going all traditional

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

All India Radio

When i first fell in love, i can,t even remember, may be  my first crush hit me  when i was about ten. This love affair with radio..exactly when it happened. Early childhood days, i remember my father shaving in front of the mirror and the tiny radio playing Assamese songs and  father waiting for the 9'o'clock news. ' This is All India Radio.. the news read to you by..' what a voice..stern, so nonsense..and that impeccable English which i could make out most of the times. Confession..many times I,m happy with subtitles in Hollywood soaps and serials..and a hush hush thing even if i watch an episode of Friends for the nth time there is always something new that I,ve missed before or so it seems.

Grandpa owned something like it
Google Images
 My early childhood days ma used to switch on the radio at mid noon 12:30 which started with the music of a Bengali song ,' Hao dharamete dheer, how karamete beer nahi bhoi..'  I hardly ever heard the song but the music was a phenomenon.. 12:30..just the middle of the day..and the music..then came my favourite ' Sainik Bhaion ka Karyakram'  It started with ' Aaj ka Geet' requested by many Sainik Bhais later i remembered the names as well... Radio became such an integrated part of daily life as i began to enter teens, a getaway to the outer world may be from the tiny room i occupied for studies, from Bhupen Hazarika to Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey classicals to English country songs..i remember carrying  the little magical device with me bathroom bedroom to the bed..people began calling me akin to the daily labourers, rickshaw pullers loitering around with a pocket radio..i was embarrassed but radio, me, eagerly waited Chitrahaar songs to be played again we sailed along...

Evenings most of the days I,d wake up to the 5:15 request programme on Guwahati Station.' Chitramanjari'if i remember correct..alternate Assamese and Hindi songs..i,d wait for the Hindi songs and kept falling in love with the Assamese songs bit by bit..Night was on with 9:30 request programme by Vividh Bharti followed by Chhaya Geet.. theme songs so to say with an anchor with romance and nostalgia in voice and then finally request programme again from 10:30. But not to be satisfied with these and taking lessons from my neighbour i listened to Nepali channel at night for Hindi film songs complete with Nepali ads!! Then my discovery was All India Radio Urdu service I guess it came upto 12 in short wave and with words like ' fankar' , ' mausiki', ' nagma nigar' ( If i can spell them correct) my Guwahati nights in early nineties were indeed colourful. Though in between constant changing of the band from short to medium wave  Papa,s radio gave in.. and did i give in as well...

Got a new radio in my 10th class birthday..and newly found was film ads programme Chitralok..came right in the morning 8:15..All these before onslaught of television and onslaught of the mind.. I didn,t fall out of love with the tiny device college, university, working days and it didn,t let me down either .. FM the frequency modulated wave band gave it a new lease of life. FM began in small towns with broadcast of Vividh bharati programmes, lots of  request programmes with names of a host of listeners and mostly ' chalu' songs but good audio quality after all..long awaited for listeners like me.

Almost like the one i had
Google Images

Delhi gave a host of channels to choose from Radio Mirchi, Radio City, Red FM but somehow I missed All India radio difficult to trace in the FM jungle...constant chatter of RJ,s, flurry of new songs with missing melody..was i missing my old love in my old home. My new radio in the city was again a combined gift by my colleagues when we joined workplace newly, needless to say i went about demanding unashamedly for a radio in my birthday!! Purani Jeans in Radio Mirchi, Love Guru in Radio City and yes the story of a girl called Maya in her husky voice and her army boy friend at around 12... those were my initial days in the city.

After marriage a different tussle altogether..soft numbers lulling me to sleep was a no no as husband longed for some 'peace and quiet' ( though full volume Radio Mirchi in the car did not give him his quota of peace and quiet). My radio crashed and i nagged after husband to get it mended.. ' In Delhi..where do i fix a radio...' he sounded clueless Mobile was the latest gadget for radio and i managed to acquire one , by that time i had discovered FM gold. Finally i settled with the radio in digital photo frame at home placed comfortably at bed side with FM gold and BIG FM churning old numbers through out the day...( I still could not set the other channels)
The one i have now

I didn,t know when i beacme an old hindi music lover..and new songs barring a few failed to leave a mark..Gulzar, a dash of Urdu at times and some Ghazals at FM gold 5:10 show . My parents.. Baba always spoke about Akashvani Kolkata and Anurodher Asar and how it used to be a festival in the  neighbour hood and Ma about Radio Ceylon and Binaca Geetmala when in those days Hindi film songs were a taboo in Bengali household and she used to switch off as soon she heard her father,s footsteps.. This also reminds me  of Radio in Kolkata during my short stay the variety, the melody the mix of  Bangla and Hindi songs, R.D, S.D combos added to the charm of the city apart from the spectacular food and gregarious public

So many shows.. so many songs..one stumble after another..i remember Phone in Kalpataru ( Kalpataru as in ' The wish fulfilling tree') from All India Radio Guwahati and the mesmerizing voice of the anchor. It used to come every first and third sunday, my mother drooling over ' Koto jawanor mrityu hol' by Bhupen Hazarika ,me listening to Pal Pal dil ke pass umpteenth time, sharing in morning assembly at school with my best buddy the songs of Chhaya Geet previous night..

I still listen to the radio.. ' yaadon ke idiot box' sometimes with middle class nostalgic sentiments, ' Purani Jeans' with RJ,s having good voice and command , ' Andaze Bayan'...and most of all i love the radio while driving, my newly acquired skill in very raw form while Delhi roads are a delight ( very rare instances) and lazing about in bed after sending daughter to school and if some rain behind the window.. and Aaj hoon na aye balma...sawaan beeta jaye and a cup of tea with Jhalmuri..( yes yes very bong style)...My first love and me we came a long way....together.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Happy Birthday....

Dear Ninni

A post about your third birthday..before that let me tell you as all mothers do..three years..a long time and time does fly and see from the tiny bundle the doc got out of me, stands here chatting babbling dancing, a bundle of energy now, a living soul full of life. Babies are born, turn to infant, grow  to toddler, be the child..perhaps the most normal cycle yet each phase is no less than a miracle for the parents. Yes me and your father continue to be dazed fascinated by your antics and share this silent pride at bringing you in this world. Perhaps this phase you can understand when you become a parent yourself, this is like your own creation unfurling slowly in front of your eyes, with each turn a new dimension which leave us flabbergasted.

Sometimes I do try to be practical and know this is so temporary. This joy won,t be ours forever. Soon you will venture out of our world and move into your own. But as long as it lasts.. we are overwhelmed, overjoyed.. Why is it that we would always want the people we love to be just like us, it can,t be and it won,t be. Just hope your father accepts it easily.

You have crossed the three a year mark approximately a month back. I think as a child you are like any other talkative, active, cranky, moody, selfish. I have no idea what sort of person you would grow up to be but it seems at this stage you are friendly, long for company, more or less get along with other children of your age, can strike up conversation at public places and enjoy attention. This is a relief because I fee to a great extent me and your father were shy , loner and confined to our worlds upto a certain age then only we learnt to ' speak'. May be you or hardly any child of your generation with the kind of exposure you get won,t be soft spoken or shy.Another thing, kind of whirlwind life we gave you since your birth, sometimes your father away, sometimes I,m off to night duties leaving the little you to wail all the night, sometimes moving to Allahabad, Kolkata , Barapani you seem to have pretty much adjustable nature. You have accepted people coming and going in your life and only recently the picture got a bit clear when we came back to Delhi that you do have a Baba like Gudia, Shashank and the Mummy Papa picture got framed in your mind when you started going to school .

Apart from babbling too much, imitating Nobita from Doraemon using sentences like ' Baba tum kabhi nahi sudhroge!!!!' or the girlie stuff like ' Mummy bhi naaa' with a wave of hand, I am afraid I do not see any great sparkle in you as of now ( most mothers do) though I thought you were brilliant initially when you showed a inclination for reading books and identified the letters A-Z too soon. But then I learnt through mommy blogs of all the brilliant toddlers around achieving much more in less time so left  it at that. Also your interests are very short lived ( can,t blame you really if you take on your mom ) books, jigsaw puzzles, cartoon shows and from one to ten it has been never an easy ride from eleven onwards and since you were least interested I left it at that as well :) . 

You can throw tantrums at any time you please, yes I know I am not a strict parent. And we are in awe when we go to the market because your tantrums get endless but my money isn,t!!! Specially the last year in Barapani each time we went to Shillong or even the local market.. you would blackmail me like anything and being a single parent I had to give in many times.I handled your ' terrible twos' almost alone. Really tough believe me, specially in public places it gets so embarrassing. Once in a Guwahati Delhi flight you were sitting on the floor and counting the beads of a pink chappal of the elderly lady beside and needless to say the lady wasn,t pleased. In our frequent train travels you would lift the curtains and try to tug at the socks, never sleep at night in trains unless past midnight. Once we were travelling in AC 3 and did not have a lower berth you refused to sleep in the middle berth.. started howling.All elderly persons were there who cannot climb, one lady did try but was about to slip and fall.. you started howling more. Finally following your father,s suggestion I spread a bed sheet in the floor of the train and lulled you to sleep there with me gradually. Yes this is true.. though it brings a smile in my face now. 

One good thing as of now you have learnt Hindi well.. survival technique may be but would you continue speaking Hindi with us..shudder at the thought..we will see as you grow up. Cannot go against time but at least I will try.. so that you learn to speak and read Bangla. But as of now though we speak Bangla, you reply in Hindi and gradually we are moving towards Hindi..child is the father of man..they say!!

This was meant to be your birthday post so coming to that we had a nice time in your birthday. I baked a cake, took leave from office, your father too came early, your pishi made payesh..really sweet. Then the coming weekend we had a party at our Gurgaon home. Though I always  feel we should keep it short but somehow me and your father ended up throwing a good party I must say. Your first two birthdays were spent in Silchar so in a way first in Delhi. We worked hard me and your father.. though your father would object and say that only he worked hard!!! You looked lovely in the red frock I am so in love with, we ordered a Doraemon cake for you, all in all things went well as you can see in the pics. This is the first time you enjoyed singing ' Happy Budday to Youuu'. Food was ok.. and you had a fun time playing with kids.

So dear daughter..this was about your third birthday..two loving parents doting on you, spending your birthday, trying to be with you most of the time..even your pishi cooking for you, I need to mention her, she loves you a lot. So with lots of love and many many best wishes..for the lovely girl you are and in anticipation the beautiful human being you are going to be..

Yours Ma

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Kitchen of awadh...( An attempt at food review)

Food and me..me and food... we had been sharing a long bond..grown weaker over times..with age when you cannot indulge in all sort of unhealthy junk at anytime you wish.. when the worry of High BP, cholesterol and above all the perennial weight issue bogs you down. But first love survives..and hence first food blog. 

Being in a land locked island called Barapani for almost a year deprived of ' Outside ' food..but relishing the joys of fresh garden vegetables (donated by neighbours, workers or from the weekly market), some bites at Shillong food joints, Delhi offers myriad options.But when options are many exclusivity diminshes.  Anyway I discovered ' kitchen of awadh' when after a huge face off with husband over not going out for dinner and he convinced me he would order ' good food' at home. Though being the nagging grumbling wife I am went on blasting him as usual. My husband had ordered for a minimal menu..since I would blast him more if the fridge is piled with leftovers.. so it was Chicken Tikka ( Safe bet to order always), Roomali Roti , Murgh Biriyani and Awadh Daal ke Kebab. 

Chicken Tikka was normal stuff.. the colour a bit too eye catching, but then The Awadh daal ke kebab.. I just had opened my mouth before grabbing a bite ' You ordered veg kebabs!!!' ( Nothing can be more criminal).As my teeth sank in and the aroma filled the space.. and we just stared at each other ( I might add this was one of the rarest of rare cases.. as our eyes met and spoke!!). Soft, delicate, the aroma was amazing.. My husband basking in the glory of kebabs declared ' This was my discovery in this year.. in your absence'. Indeed for once without retort I was nodding and savouring the amazing kebabs.

The real surprise of the pack was ' Murgh Biriyani' sealed in an earthen pot.. being Miss Know- it -all I began explaining my maid.. ' this pot is only for packing.. they don,t cook it here' . But the after the ordeal  of unsealing the pot..the first  whiff completely numbed our senses... Biriyani was way above the normal stuff we have without being overly spicy or laden with ghee, the pure joy of Dum Biriyani wherein the aroma of the earthen pot mingled with the rice and chicken.. aah sure bliss...the door to a different world..

A great discovery by my husband.. I have to admit .. and just waiting for the next day we would order again hoping to be immersed  in the senses, elevated to an aroma world and relish the tickling of the taste buds. And yes the price was not exorbitant.. these four items cost near seven hundred, quantity was generous, food was delivered in reasonable time, hot and very well packed.. should be a delight for Mughlai food lovers.

P.S. they have delivery at South Ex, Defence Colony, Golf Link, Jor Bagh, Niti Bagh, Hauz Khas Gautam Nagar etc in Delhi and closed on Tuesday.. So Happy Eating...