Desi Thelewale Bhaiyya, Zindabaad !

Today morning, I came across an article detailing certain analysis of Indian food by a well-known Australian culinary historian, Charmaine O’Brien. While reading it, I was prompted within to reflect on my own thoughts related to it.

Last week, we had fresh hot thelewale Samosas (an Indian snack from portable stalls) presented to us by our Help.

I was a bit hesitant since I have just recovered from Viral fever. But ultimately I couldn’t resist the utter temptation – toh “Jay Jagannath” bolke khaa liya (so I had it trusting Almighty) πŸ™‚ … It was indeed so mouth-watering !

Then I remembered my hometown’s 50 paisa /1 rupee variety Chops (stuffed Pakoras) that were incredibly tasty, and just slightly bigger than old one rupee coins. Those from the thelewale used to be a perfect treat with Moodhee (puffed rice) and Masala Chaaye (herbal tea) on rainy evenings ! They are still there but with increasing awareness on hygiene and new options of snacks, now the portable stalls are mostly seen in properly monitored exhibitions and traditional melas (fairs).

samosa_kachori

hmmmmn… Kitna bhi badda restaurant ho le ya aap kaise bhi banalo (howsoever big may be a restaurant or one prepares it with all care), when it comes to Pakoras, Chaats, Jhaal Muri, Ghoogni, Pani Poori, Dahi Vada and these kinda stuff, you can’t beat that of our very own desi thelewale Bhaiyya (India’s street Hawkers) !

For a while, forget the hygiene: zindegi ki woh ‘zing thing’ kahaan se laogey (from whence would you attain that unique pungent flavour of life) πŸ™‚ !!!

And the charchaa (gabfest) around fresh street food and the Hawkers’ portable stalls, under the thundering clouds and in the cool zephyr… usmein baat hii kuch khaas hai, hai na (there’s a special air about it, isn’t it)… ?

muddheemasla

 

Reflections: Part-VI

In the epic of Mahabharata…

[I]Β  King Dhritarashtra’s charioteer, Sanjaya, was granted divine eyes (divya-drishti) by Rishi Vyasa to witness the greatest Dharma- Yudh (War for Righteousness). Seated in the royal palace, Sanjaya watched it all and relayed the same to King Dhritarashtra.

Even the entire Bhagavad Gita is Sanjaya’s recital to King Dhritarashtra of the conversation between Arjuna and Krishna.

Isn’t that just like our modern day concept of live-telecasts via television (duur darshan) and satellite systems ? πŸ™‚

Quite the same with the Brahmastras and Nuclear-war or Star-war; and also with Maya and Stealth technologies ! πŸ™‚

Hmmn… sometimes, man’s conscientious dream or vision leads its actualization and physical perception by thousands of years !!!

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[II]Β  One sub-section of the epic contains a great Dharma-Yudh Gyaan (Wisdom from the War on Righteousness) depicted by Lord Krishna.


Whether it is on the battleground or in the struggle of life, Success is infallible only where there are these three aspects: Dharma (Righteousness), Sahash (Courage) and Dharjya (Patience);

Rest all traits are merely Sadhan (Wherewithals);

But in the pursuit of Success, along those three aspects, when there is also a look out for Avsar (Opportunity) to weaken the enemy, then such an Avsar itself becomes Chhal or Kapat (Deception or Treachery);

The outcome is thus- that Dharma is devoid of truthfulness which requires an Avsar, that Sahash is incomplete which cannot be awakened without an Avsar and that Dharjya is unworthy whose essence is lost before Success even begins to actualize !

Well… let’s note that the aboveΒ Gyaan is relevant when we consider onlyΒ Dharma-Yudh ; the moment we consider Avsar, it becomes today’s Strategic or Opportunistic wars and confrontations within !!! Isn’t it ?
 

Svalpa Adjust Maddee !!!

We are a highly populated country with intensely varied demographies and inadequate infrastructure. Perhaps due to such factors and somewhat due to our inherent liberalism, since childhood we come across these two terms on a routine confrontation “thodda adjust kar lo” (svalpa adjust maddee /please adjust a bit) and “chalta hai” (its okay).

And sometimes that “thodda” / “svalpa” / “a bit” is tremendous πŸ™‚ !

It becomes our habit, then reflects in our behaviour and finally forms our attitude towards almost everything in life !

So much so that at one point, we either forget (do not realize) how to justly rebel or become simply lethargic in voicing our deepest concerns even against things we stood object right away !!! We quietly accept everything, whether subtly or openly- whatsoever unfair it is against us, our families, our societies or our nation.

From the vital healthcare industry to an ordinary kiraana shop (general stores), we keep hearing these two terms.

On my birthday last year, despite proper instructions, the confectioner in the by-lane in front of our apartment wrote my hubby’s name on the cake and that too was mis-spelt. Let alone offering a replacement, the confectioner advised us thus, “anyway, you are a couple na… svalpa adjust maddee” πŸ™‚ !

Well, coming to a serious context… Down the line, when we join a profession involving thorough interactions with disciplined clients (may be desi or videsi), or we are posted abroad in a culture where there is no such ‘adjusting’ business, we find ourselves stuck somewhere. If not for all cases, still quite often, we are then unable to realize what the problem is and end up grumbling that the other person is “such a strict customer” or simply “such a rigid felaa” (friend /acquaintance /colleague /boss) πŸ™‚ . This also happens when we over-commit on deliverables and on our failure to duly meet those targets, then fervently seek all sorts of adjustments and re-adjustments from the other person !!

Worst of all : since many things can be adjusted as “chalta hai” (even when they are not at all okay!), in the process, sometimes we don’t even learn some of our basic rights !! Politeness and generosity are fine but not at such a cost !

Hence, as sensible elders, I believe it is very important on our part to teach children a right BALANCE between tolerance /acceptance and rebel /objection, particularly in any Indian society.

Irrespective of our global status or rank, let’s together address this attitudinal issue and write a new chapter for us… Primarily, it shall serve us good within.

Reflections: Part-V

Here, I actually have one reflection and one confession…

Reflection :

The morning cuppa tea tastes the same. But three things that have certainly changed along with it are –

1. the basking temperature
2. content of the newspapers
3. ‘chaaye pe charchaa’ (chit-chat during tea-time), including the medium of ‘charchaa’

That reflects so much of life !!

Now we realize what that cuppa tea meant for our parents, teachers, elderly relatives and college seniors in stirring up their days…

Confession :

Whether ‘Act of God’ or ‘Hand of God’… πŸ™‚

In any World Cup Football, whether Argentina wins or loses…

It remains my favourite team because of that old teenage crush on the heroic image of Diego Maradona !!!

Now, reacting to the result of this World Cup Football, let me thus confess…

My weakness for Argentina, as always : Maradona !

My weakness for Germany : whether right or wrong ideology – Netaji’s ally in our freedom struggle, and my first posting abroad !

Dil bola : gam hii sahi… wohi manale… tab tu phir bhi Maradona ke saath hogi (even though I had opportunity to rejoice, my heart swayed towards defeat because that way, it would still mean to be with Maradona) πŸ™‚ !!

A Very Interesting Film

The following content is not a movie review.

I would merely like to suggest this movie which is hardly heard of now but immensely interesting and brilliantly performed by the cast. Some readers might have already seen and appreciated it; others, I am sure shall love watching it.

And I request you to watch the movie WITHOUT knowing details of the plot. Only then you can enjoy the play thoroughly !

The movie is: Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986)the Hindi remake of the American motion picture 12 Angry Men (1957) .

Originally written as a teleplay by Reginald Rose, the Hindi version is directed by the famous Indian film director and screen-writer, Basu Chatterjee. Barring merely a few scenes, this drama film uses just a single set !

Here’s a brief account of it…

A teenage boy from a slum is on trial for allegedly stabbing his father to death. After final closing arguments are presented, the Judge instructs the twelve-member Jury to unanimously decide whether or not the boy is guilty of murder. The Judge also informs them that a guilty verdict will imply a mandatory death sentence.

The Jury meets in a separate room to discuss and conclude the verdict. Initially, it appears to almost all of them that the boy is guilty and therefore, they talk about quickly releasing their verdict and winding up their day. But soon it is learnt that Juror Number 8 opines a “not guilty” vote in a preliminary tally !!

From here onwards, the movie is centred on various opinions and reasons of the twelve Jurors, either in holding the boy “guilty” or “not guilty”. Some of the Jurors display personal prejudices but Juror Number 8 focusses on the circumstantial evidences of the case and throughout, seeks a fair deliberation for the boy. The film also depicts certain techniques of consensus-building among a group of twelve men bearing intensely conflicting personalities.

After periodic discussions, votes are cast through the system of secret ballot and finally, the unanimous verdict is inferred.

No names are used in the film; the Jury members are identified by numbers until two of them exchange names at the very end; the defendant is referred to as “the boy”, and the witnesses as “the old man” and “the lady across the street”.

Noteworthily, 12 Angry Men was selected in 2007, for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Well, I have not watched the original American cinema but that too must be simply great. However, I must say that the Hindi title Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (a pending decision) sounds more catchy and apt πŸ™‚ !

And thanks a ton to my hubby for making a wonderful evening by arranging this amazing movie.

Aamjunta, enjoy either of the versions and post your thoughts here…

 

 

 

A Psychiatric Fallout !!

Under the new Budget in India, the price of aerated drinks (water with sugar content) has been hiked up by 5 percent, making soft drinks and sugary juices costlier.

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Health experts are hopeful that this financial step shall help reduce sugar consumption and thus check obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and dental decay – a theory many countries have begun to acknowledge but brands still profusely dispute !

Interestingly, last year I had a terrible dream : after the last gluttonous sip of a soft drink, I “saw” myself discovering active maggots at the bottom of the glass – and that was the end of all sugary relishes πŸ™‚ !!!

Next morning, as soon as I woke up, I threw the remaining bottles out of the refrigerator. We do not buy any soft drink or ice-creams unless a guest arrives and indicates a desire for it.

Now howsoever thirsty, we prefer plain water. And since then, if we really need to have a soft drink as an accompaniment, only fresh home-made sugarless nimbu paani zindabaadΒ (hail lemonade) ; thus goes our newly chosen flavour with spicy Biryanis and Pizzas as well πŸ™‚ !

For the same “visual pothers” of my dream πŸ™‚ , we have ditched other sugar-containing items and drastically reduced quantities of sweets or amount of sugar in every possible ‘prepared’ item, howsoever attractive – jalebis, chocolates, pastries, ice-creams, tea, corn flakes, milk shakes, cookies, smoothies, cakes, pan cakes, porridges, etc.

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Luckily, my husband volunteered to “share” the psychiatric fallout of my dream πŸ™‚ ! So that has now led us to limit our daily sugar consumption to even less than six teaspoons as recently set by the World Health Organization. Normally, I take only one teaspoon – in my morning cup of tea which I definitely require to stir up my day.

Well… my father (who is also a Doctor), tried for years to make me get rid of soft drinks; so he has been very thankful to God for blessing me with that thoroughly health-effective dream πŸ™‚ !!… Now his other routine insistences are about regular exercises (particularly Yoga), a 20-minute exposure to the morning rays of the Sun and having maximally green diets along with natural anti-oxidants. My husband has sincerely met almost all these expectations, whether of his father-in-law or his Family Physician πŸ™‚ , and of late, I am trying hard to partner him in it.

I suppose all health advices, increasing prices or taxes and making rules in these dietary matters aren’t going to help for long… So I wish that my folks who sincerely intend to get rid of aerated drinks and non-intrinsic forms of sugar, also “see” such a loathsome dream πŸ˜‰ !!! Perhaps, there is no other way by which someone like me can be more motivated firstly, to quit all those unhealthy molecules feeding potential cancerous cells and secondly, to maintain sustainability at it πŸ™‚ !

 

Memoirs of Indian Dhabas

Period: 1970s-1990s.

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Travelling in a car or jeep on Bhubaneshwar-Mayurbhanj-Kolkata NH during the rainy season, lunch or dinner at an original Dhaba was a wonderful treat then; especially, the home-bound journeys after completion of an enterprise.

Sitting on the blue /green /yellow wooden benches or charpoys under halogen or oil lamp lit thatched roofs, the whole family would chat and relish the mouth-watering, steaming-hot dishes on big steel thaalis or freshly cut, green banana leaves :

typical Dhaba meals, various Kebabs, Tandoori Roti, Daal Tadka, Paneer Tikka, Gobi Manchurian, Rajma Masala, Tandoori Murg, Egg Bhurji, Chingri Malaikari (Prawns-in-Coconut Milk gravy), Mutton Kasa,Β Murg Makhani, Lassi, etc.

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(Oh God, help me… I am so much drooling !!) πŸ™‚

While watching the promising rains, the shrines of several Faiths beside meandering rivers, the green fields swaying in the drizzles, the farmers working in a row wearing their jute hats, the local vendors selling colourful wares, the movie posters glued onto poles,Β variegated art themes painted on the walls of the Dhabas, the twinkling mini-bulbs strung in pretty designs…

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And the decorative trucks that sometimes squeak-braked on slippery roads and had boldly labelled all over its robust frame, either wishful or funny or spiritual messages in different Indian languages- awaaz karo, burey nazar waale tera mnuh kaala, bye bye dost, abaar dekha hobe, jaldi baata chadda, ikkada nuvu, nenu miru chudaleru, surakhiata rahina, ram-allah ek hain, sai ram-sai shyam-sai bhagvaan, jai hanuman, hum tum bhai bhai, hum se duur raho, meri himmat teri kismat, badda bhai tej chalega naraz mat hona chhotu, etc. πŸ™‚

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Amidst the cat and kittens mewing, and the puppy wagging its tail hard – all, for a bone ! πŸ™‚

Grand-parents or uncles would sometimes lend their ears to an interesting tale or two of the then Chhotus (the young, resourceful and jolly Helps at the Dhabas) . Down the line, a re-narration of it to the children (us) meant so much of revelation of life’s unknown joys and sorrows…

Gradually, the meals would end with a flavoured Paan, that was always claimed to be the famous Banarasi brand :-). And then the remaining journey would begin against the background of quite a setting Sun, with the music of a Bollywood number as selected by the high-spirited Driver πŸ™‚ of the unfailing white Ambassador or the bouncy red Gypsy (vehicle models).

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On some trips, neither the windscreen wipers stopped nor did the music until we halted at a roadside gumti (small stall), usually under a banyan or mango tree, for a “special Chaa /Chaaha” (Tea) or to buy farm-fresh vegetables.

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And if we happened to meet close friends travelling on the same route, it would transform to a great merry-making. At times, even seats in the vehicles also had to be exchanged since the heart-to-heart conversations never paused and the game of cards never wrapped up… πŸ™‚

Once we reached the gates, the faithful Watchman would briskly unlock the doors and the House-Keeping staff at the bungalow would cordially greet us. Combined with a warm shower, all the tiredness of the journey seemed to fade away into the veil of the night and next morning, we would be freshened as the shiny drops of rain trickling down the velvety leaves.

Those were such utterly charmful days…

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