Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Older

As the youngest sibling,
I was a jealous little cat.
Eleven years older than me,
our brother was
almost an adult,
possessed of many skills
that we couldn't even aspire to,
in a league of his own.
But my sister: my sister
was only two years older
two years and two months older,
to be precise.
And those mere two years
granted her privileges
that little me craved.
I wanted to be older,
and smarter, and taller,
and prettier.....
It all seemed because
of her being older.
(She had her own
jealousies, of course.
I was younger, hence
pampered,
spoiled, lazy.
I had nicely shaped fingernails
compared to her stubby ones).

And now, now that
I'm a few days older than she ever was,
ever can be.
It's not fun at all.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Scent of Privilege

The RE has reverted to type, and is, once again, only Sometimes Resident.
The house is tidier, and emptier.
I even watch TV, sometimes.
And I do go out and meet people.

Since we moved here, we have not employed a regular, full-time driver. The RE drives us most places, and if required we have an agency who provides drivers for the day, as required. We have been using this facility since we came here, and are familiar with several of these young men.

I had to go out for a family function yesterday, and young M came to drive our car.
When I sat in the car, he asked me if I'd be offended if he asked me something.
I told him to ask away.

He asked me if I could give him the wrapper of the scent I had used, so that he would know what to buy.

I happened to be using Kenzo's Electric Wave, a gift from my younger daughter.

I told him that it was a gift, that my daughter had bought it while living abroad, and that it wouldn't be available here. I didn't want to say that it would also be much too expensive for him.

It was heartbreaking, the privileges which we so unthinkingly take for granted.




Friday, June 30, 2017

Dholak drumbeats

The well travelled dholak
started out from Indra Market, Noida
hired for a few days
for a family wedding
in distant Mangalore.
Thanks to airline mendacity,
it first flew to Bangalore,
bussed it to Mangalore
where we tunelessly
sang to its mellifluous beats.
(The groom and family
were perhaps
zapped by our dholak traditions!)
We didn't have the energy to bus
back to Bengaluru airport
after the wedding
cars were hired
(expensive business, that.
Rotten Spicejet)
The dholak came home,
to my home, as the
daughter who had hired it
didn't think it worth while
to collect the mingy balance
from the shop
(the deposit was the cost of the dholak)
We changed flats last year
and then it moved
to our basement store room
with the empty trunks
and cartons of cassettes
and the grandchild's high chair
and bath tub
and other sundry items
useful and useless, but not yet
discard-able.

And then our niece
needed a dholak for
an informal celebration
at her home,
for her daughter's wedding.
So the dholak travels
across town,
and is celebrating a wedding
once again!
And then the bride's uncle and aunt
host the mehndi at their home
and the dholak visits their house too.
No, it doesn't attend the beautiful
monsoon wedding in Goa!
It comes home after the mehndi,
in the boot of the car,
and stays there
as the basement key is upstairs.
One trip to the hospital
for Chacha's knee check-up.
It goes riding to Connaught Place
bouncing on the speed breakers,
and visits a Noida mall,
for Chachi's final shopping .
I finally take the key downstairs
and put it back in its place.

Let's see what it celebrates next,
and when...


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...