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 ...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Crimson Pride!

The dominant colour this rainy month has been gray in many many many shades! The jaba - (in Bengali) and hibiscus to the rest thought otherwise!  


Ma's verandah. Soggy August afternoon in Kolkata.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gone for a six

I boarded the near empty bus from the Ruby Hospital stop.

This was my first time to Hi-Land Park Multiplex by bus. Apart from being like 100 times cheaper than my usual cab, the ride itself was very pleasant. It was only 11 am on this rainy Sunday. The bus fairly zipped through the empty roads!

I asked the conductor what the fare was.

"Over boundary", was his response.

What? I stared at him blankly.

But only for a few seconds .... before I got it.

6 rupees. And just in time too. Before his amusing poser would be lost on a stupid passenger!

Only in Kolkata, this!

PS - The movie was good too!

Friday, August 09, 2013

The Eagle has landed



Not the noisy crows. Nor the shrill mynah. She is back. Solitary. Regal. Many a nights she spent on the branches just outside my window, waking me up with a single cry early in the morning. Then she'd spread her wings and take off as another day began. Just as suddenly, she disappeared. But now, she is back.




Read if you will

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