Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Calcutta Cutlet Experience

On my way home from weaver's centre walked passed baked and fried. Like I have before. Only this time, I stopped and ordered 4 chicken cutlets. Ah what an experience. That little shop in a garage, that bhishon bangali owner and staff, the regular clientele, that auto ride home with the cutlets warm in their box, against my legs, ah the aroma as I sat sandwiched between two commuters - fellow savorers I imagine. And then home and ma's carefully concealed delight and baba's extremely mild curiousity (!!), Ah the cutlets, those slim sticks of cucumber, carrot and onions and pungent Kasundi. Tea. Life if good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Tutor: Andrea Chapin

Lovely Kate meets Will and make poetry. In between there lies Queen Elizabeth's England, persecution of Catholics, a death or two, passion and betrayal and love and longing. Andrea Chapin's first novel is a marvellous historical fiction and a very entertaining read. She weaves a clever story around William Shakespeare and Katherine de L'Isle and how he persuades her to help him with his poetry. The image of a brash upstart over smart William stays long after the story ends and we are united with Kate as we shake our heads and say "How could you?".

Waiting for your next one Andrea Chapin!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Tsundoku - Japanese for accumulating piles of unread books. That is me. Thing is I can't help buying books and then also get tons from the public library which get reading preference on account of "due by date". And my own accumulate, unread. From years back. Too precious for me to discard. Too busy to read them.

Got it from here!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Perfect Lunch

Perfect weather, beautiful place, striking people and then just the lunch waiting for us in quiet Rupkona village. The menu - rice, dal, sag, kundru's sabzi, tomato relish. Perfect.
 Luunch at Rupkona village, Rayagada district, Odisha

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: Arctic Summer

Arctic Summer. An incredibly intimate, sensitive journey into the life and passions of Edward Morgan Forester. The book among other things takes the reader through a largish part of EMF's life -- in particular his two loves - one unrequited and the other where he finds fulfilment and woven in between these two is the slow development of his magnum opus "A passage to India".

This is my first Galgut. I have read EMF's Howard's End, A room with a view and the hugely entertaining "The Hill of Devi" - an account of his year at Dewas Senior as Secretary to the Maharaja. But I have not read "A Passage to India".

I have also read some of his letters or journal extracts and was already familiar with EMF - the man.  That is perhaps why, Damon Galgut's portrayal of EMF felt authentic. Or perhaps it was just the magic of Mr. Galgut.

I could feel EMF's internal hesitations, the awkwardness of not fitting in, his twisting his fingers or stumbling at the edge of the carpet and then feeling embarrassed about it, his pain, his loneliness. It was as if I was there with him in England when he was "Poppy" to his overbearing mother, in the bus in Egypt seeing the bus conductor Mohammed, in the hot and dusty Dewas with Bapu Sahib, In his rooms, in the horse drawn carriage where he imagines the young sais leaning inches from him;  and everywhere else...

Mr. Galgut, thankyou for this journey.

PS - I also highly recommend "The Hill of Devi".

Arctic Summer
ALEPH Book Company
Pages: 355
Price: Rs. 595

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Janakpur Jaoge?

At last we arrive at Janakpur, Koria District, Chhatisgarh. Even the smallish Ambikarpur, from where we had begun four hours earlier, is gigantic in comparison.

A quick tea later, we hit the dirt road to the Villages for my official field visit. Like everywhere where else in Chhatisgarh, the wide open expanses are a constant source of surprise. The car stops on a sleepy little dirt track, we get off and walk  across fields and up to two mud huts in the middle of nowhere. As we near the huts, we are greeted by a pint sized thin as a reed totally naked boy who goes straight upto Fr. Xaxa and lisps in Sadri 'where did the car come from? I want to go to Jankpur'. Fr. Xaxa points at me and says"madam has come in it".

Half an hour later, when we are returning after our survey of the field and meeting with a few farmers, there is little Kisan ... dressed in his best shirt and shorts with both eyes shining in anticipation of Madam taking him in the car to far away Janakpur.

Surprising that a tiny town like this even exists today in the jostling India of more than a billion. But apparently a comatose town to one can be a  fabled Shangrila to others.

Alas, with a heavy heart, Madam has to leave.Without him. But Kisan is going to go far, far beyond Janakpur. One day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Krishna Janmashtami

Our apartment was redolent with the aroma of the frying 'taler - bora' or tal (palm sap) pakora, this rain soaked afternoon.

Afterall it is Krishna Janmashtami!

As much as both the rains and taler bora are traditional Janmashatmi events, so is distributing boxes of the afore mentioned tal er bora to friends and family! Thankgod. It is quite difficult to stop eating them ...

Read if you will

Blog Widget by LinkWithin