Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Metropolitan, Cosmopolitan and Twenty Something

While coming back from office today I was introspecting. Tomorrow is a holiday on the occasion of Eid. And being a cook I was thinking what can I cook, special, for tomorrow. It can be an Eid special. And I laughed at the idea. My granny would have taken a holy bath on this idea of mine. My aunts still raise a brow. My mom has kind of accepted it as part of my life, cooking Christmas dinner and Eid Lunch apart from all other festivals.
I was just wondering from where and when such thinking came into mind. I came to a point. I am one of the 20 something Indian, with a Job, away from family and with a life of my own independent of all. My own society, i.e. Assamese, is far away to look at anything in my life. My live in society is too busy or reluctant to be bothered about us. We are neither here nor there.
That's part of comopolitan India. And life in a metro is as cosmpolitan as metropilitan. We get up and rush to office. Wait desperately for the week end and never realise when it is Monday again. And weekends are packed with a big time cleaning and re stocking job along with other commitments. Than as a new age couple, sharing quality time is also of concern to us. We need to look at our partner for his or her comfort. I wonder if my mother ever had such problem. Did she ever complain to my dad about not giving enough attention? I do not think so. To her, Love and care was enough. No fuss about any of the new age terms like space etc. My granny was happier, she used to get good food, good cloths, took care of her seven children and a small discussion, rather a FYI, from my grand father on major issue. And I do not remember seeing them ever fighting or complaining against eaxh other.
Now we live in a Metro and think of all possible occasions to celebrate. I mean, think of rathere having a good time with good food :D.

Friday, September 19, 2008

MTR, Ashirwad etc and my Kitchen

It was I think some time in 2001 when I was introduced to ready to eat. It was a room mate of mine whose some relative used to work for defence reasearch or something and she got hold of a few packets of ready to eat. So we had a treat! And than it was only Daal Fry, Upma and something more. Was not upto our mark of taste. I do not even remember if it had any brand. And I was informed that this was made for our defence guys who work on impossible territories for years.
Now whenever I go out to a deppartmenal shop, there I find a hwole section full of READY TO EAT. I some times wonder do I have to give up cooking some time soon. Will there be people left who would know home made food or for that matter " once upon a time there used to be kitchen in each Indian house". I wonder! However, this has a positive side, there will be no more Dowry Killings where the woman burns to death due to some kitchen accident. Not bad! But thant that's something out of my crazzy brain. Which keep producing funny thoughts and inspires me for trying different recipies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Down the Memory Lane

We, me and my husband, some times talk about our child hood beyond sharing.. It's kind of good. He shares his part of child hood. Here are a few small little incidents of his time.
He had a bunch of friends in school. And a chana wala at the school gate, as all schools in Assam has. So one friend of his and he always used to discuss and share the same deep feeling of being able to eat "sab misal" chana from the chana wala. ( BTW the time line is when he was in first or second standard). As he says" One day that friend of mine came rushing to me with a cone of their much wanted chana. And I was really impressed with him and happy to the core. We are going to have chana today.WOW. I went ahead and asked my friend how did he manage to get it? He said," I was standing at the same crowd around the chana wala and the chana wala looked at me,I said, give me my cone. He asked where is the money. I said I just gave you and than he asked how much? I replied ten paisa" That's how we managed to get chana that day."
A ten paisa was so important and could buy his heart full happiness for that day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pete's Wallet

I have recently joined a new organization with happy people. And till now I am enjoying it.
I have a very senior colleague, we call him Pete. As he says himself that he ends up leaving things all across. Surely his personal things; as I never saw him to be that disorganized in the office.
Well now the story part. One morning when I reached office I learn about a commotion. Something to do with Pete. And I am sure you know HR people. They feel that they have the right to all people related news in the office. So here it goes, Pete has lost his wallet. He seems to have had a bad day. Got banged by a so typical Hyderabadi auto wala, and left his wallet in the ATM. That's early morning. When contacted with the bank for help; they seem to be more help less than Pete.

So what does he do now. Pete was seriously upset. The good news came in towards the evening. Some one calls him to tell him that Pete's wallet is with that unknown angel. And we get to know that Pete got the wallet back in solid ! Well that's a small drama in real life! And may be a good side of human being! The honesty still lives. And I feel good to get it re confirmed at times.

10 Rupees Note

My father is a banker. And he has literally grown from the scratch . After tenth class he was sure to become a farmer as there was no money for him to study further. And may be his roots has taught him to be careful. When we were young and school going, we were allowed some monthly allowances. It used to include our daily rickshaw fare, to and fro school and some more money for miscellaneous work. But for anything major we need to tell him during the last week of the month so that we are allowed for it by the next month. On top, he always insisted on a written account of all the money spent and saved, of course he never asked for the saving back. We could do anything with that saving. We used to save it mainly for the annual book fare and when I grew up a bit than for my parents anniversary, birthday etc. One big chunk of my savings used to be for my sister's surprise birthday gift. Guess how much? It started with Rs10/- . That I am talking about my first sister. When I was in hostel the Rs10/- reduced to the value of one evening snack from the local bakery or Momo wala. I have one more sister who is much younger to me. I some times feel she is more like a daughter. That Rs10/- note was so important for me. I had to save for a year for that one note. And whenever I ended at a count of ten rupees collection of various smaller currency notes, I would ask my mother to give me a ten rupees note and take my changes in return. And she happily did that. Now I think she did that because that was the only way she actually knew how much money I had and what am I doing with it.
Now after years of that time. And being able to spend a lot of such ten rupees, I no more feel the same attraction to that note as I did before. And when I look at our youngest sister, I feel such a big gap. Now her allowances are in Rs500/- or more. Than there would be top up from both of her elder ones. Some times I feel that may be we are spoiling her. Or may be already spoiled. But than, I myself do not feel the attraction for the Rs10/-. She recently gave a comment saying "he is that poor type you know" ( about one of her studious class mates). Well, are we affluent? I do not think so. Still I cannot do what I want at any point of time. But her statement got into my head. May be still there is a lot of value of the ten rupees note to the people who struggles for two time meals. She surely knows that ten rupees still can do lot, if she feels she is well off at five hundred bucks! That's time ! That's probably growing up! And I think I need to re look at myself once more!
This post is in fond memory of the Rs10/- (black, old design) note.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Man Friday and His Sister in Law

My husband and my sister are distinctly similar. I do not mean the gender or appearance. One is born on 8th December and the other is on 9th; Years are far apart though. And they both are constant source of mischievous on liners. Some times intentional and mostly by mistake !
This post is about them.
I normally fall in the trap of Monday Morning blues and on each Monday I want it to be a Sunday. So this Monday, I told my husband to cook dinner; rather if I am specific, to cook some rice as rest of the things were already cooked. Like my very good caring husband he agrees... VOILA! And additional offer is, he would also cook some side dish! Here he goes. He started with the offer of cooking a cauliflower dish, demoted to a mixed veg type ( we call it khichiri bhaji), further down to some potato recipe of his own. Suddenly at around eight, he realises that he has a conference call to attend ( one of the biggest disadvantages of marrying a MNC employed software guy; you can never guess their meeting schedule and cancellation followed). So it's back to me. When I entered the kitchen,I see a Brinjal and a Potato on my kitchen otta. There goes the enquiry, from self invented potato recipe to Brinjal Potato???? And I get a fishy smile from my man Friday. Why?? That's what he finally reduced to ! And I get to cook it. This is not the end of it..... It took me like ten minutes to finish my kitchen job and I reach back to him and his DELL made Oracle supplied mistress, Bingo....the conference call is cancelled. And I am left with another feeling of "cheated by his luck".
And than I have this sister of mine. She is planning on her masters and got a seat in the best place in UK. Well I am surely happy about it. But..... she has questions like why the www is www and not ttt...... any guesses?? Neither do I. She is so blunt at times, she end up telling people on face what at times a blunt like me fear saying! No need of guesses there. She ends up in a store with out money and plans to call me ( BTW I am in Hyderabad and she is in Delhi) for rescue. She did fly to Bangalore to catch up with a fiend, with no address and no return ticket and not enough cash to do anything; no response from her Friend on landing at Bangalore airport ( was a joke played by the friend). And when she ends the story what she has to say? " My immediate thought was call babi, i am sure some how I will be back because she is a manage master." What am I suppose to do in such case? Laugh? Cry? But she does what she does best..... Call babi and laugh at herself. That makes her beautiful !

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Signs that you have no work...

I was known to be an workaholic. And some where I read a topic talking about various signs of being an workaholic. And I fit into each and every point. I worked on week ends. Eat Subway for lunch and Switched off the office AC. Then I got married. And took up a new job in the city of Nizams. I though Assam is the worst place with civic sense and laziest of all, rather slowest. But, hang on, my such opinion lasted only till last year. Now i have some contestant for the same.
Not that I have any personal grudge against this place but some few things we will all agree. You know your neighbor is a Nizam lander when:

1. even on a eating out, he would order curd rice at the end.
2. he drives to the rightest most possible lane, even on a two way without a divider
3. when you asked some thing he would say " ho jayega na"
4. at least one person in his family is in the "SATES"
5. every new born get a passport along with it's first milk
6. he is an engineer (mostly) from some college, no one knows.
7. does not matter how qualified he or she is, has an additional deg/dip/certificate in computers.
8. knows everything about Chiranjeevi.

Well... I am sure we assamese will also have long list. But that's not part of this post.

Internet Reading......and Change

Off late, I have developed a liking for reading blogs. I mean I used to read even before but, only selected things. But of late, I am kind of reading everything on the net. And it seems every one is writing.... My husband being the only exception.
He is definitely not the type who would do anything just for the sake of it, but surely an easy going person. We have been married over a period now. Before this also, I stayed of my own, ran a home ( for one person though) and did all I do now, minus the husband. But I really do not understand why I was not this happy or so confused. How, why and when things change I am sure no one can actually pin point it. I changed, and still changing. Things that used to depend on my mood before, like folding cloths, cooking dinner, checking on the maid, keeping the house clean etc etc now becoming a habit and need. I used to freak out when my mother used to force us to do such things. My arguments was always that it's our home and we should be able to stay as we wish. But now I think I am following my mom's foot steps. Some times I wonder am I becoming a bit more social?? Or what is it???
It is surely not my husband. Because I am sure one gets such a husband, who asks you to sleep an hour more and make his own tea, with some kind of miracle. Because I do not think I have so many good karma's to get such a man !!!! May be at times he is the one who would say, do not cook, let's order out !!! But then he is the one who has that option.
Then, I am changing. And I have changed, from a kid to a girl to an woman. From a daughter, to a wife; from a sister to a sister in law. And from a slim trim well maintained urban power woman to a Plump and domesticated working wife. Changes have found it's way into me. How when and where is the question. As I do not like such intruders.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let Go

It's been long since I wrote a poem
It's been ages since I danced to a tune
It seems too long
Seems my feelings are no more that strong.

Now I fear
So much that I shiver
Something is missing
My heart pains and always teasing.

Days go to Months
And Months become years
Like I became a wife
From a spoiled adored daughter

Time runs as fast
It seems nothing is there to last
I find it hard to let go
Why do I cry, Oh No!

The rain and the Breeze
Of my old days
I miss them so much
In my every day rush.

Now I am at an end
Where there is no looking back
Move ahead and hold it tight
I say to myself
That's the only thing right!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Religious Experience

One cannot call me a very religious person. However this spring when I went to my home town; I visited an age old naam ghor with my family.
Well let me explain it to you what is a NAAM GHOR, just in case you are not familiar with it. We Assamese people have our own religious system apart form the Traditional Hindu, Muslim etc. This was spread and inaugurated by a Saint called Srimanta Shankar Dev. You can call him our Guru. According to this, the Vaishnav Dharm, we do not pray to any idol. We rather pray to a supreme power with a vision of Lord Vishnu / Bishnu. The base of this religion is Hindu and was practiced mainly for the same reason as Buddhism or Jainism; to demolish the cast system. Well to be honest if we look back to the history, probably he succeeded in His motive. So the temple or the place where we worship is called Naamghor. Does not matter what sect, cult or group you are from, A Naam Ghor is a place where every one is welcomed and any one can go and pray. To cut short, it is a place of worship and place to practice traditional culture.
So, coming back to my things, we went there to accomplish our Family Ritual of New Year visit to the god. Initially I was not sure about the experience that was coming my way and the episode as a whole. That Naam Ghor is one of it's kind. One of the oldest and acclaimed. The Gayan and Bayan and the Namacharya started the chorus singing of prayers known as Naam Kirtan. We were to sit on the ground cross legged ( it was tough though, with a city life style in practice). And gradually I picked up. I realised that I knew all the Naam Prasanga and the verses that were sang. And one thing kept coming into my mind is that as a child I was taught almost all of these. And in the stream of time seems I have lost all of it. It only the "roots Bacon". I some times wonder where are we heading at? where will my children be? There will be a day when we will have some Jackson Borkotoky ( Borkotoky being one of typical Assamese last names), working in interiors of some African country. Where he will have to "Google" his roots. Well that day does not seem to be very far.
Am I speaking too much of philosophy in a Blog that is for babbling our feelings.......??? You keep thinking and let me know... I will think at my end.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Meleng Paani..... and me

Here I am back. I felt this blog of mine was getting a little less importance than it should. Actually i have been thinking for past couple of days that I should dedicate a corner to my Mother. She is one super funny woman. An example is, she wanted to buy a couple of things off late and they were really a lot... so what she says is " eh, iman bor bostu laage... eko nikino de ( shit, I need so many things, lets not buy anything)" Another classic example, She went shopping after this and literally shopped almost everything, while packing her bags at my house so that she can go back to her, she comments " Oh, now I am so ashamed of myself to take all these, I cannot have so many things". Well good or bad thats my mom with her classic confusions.

Any ways, that's that, I have one more blog dedicated to my recipes mixed with my moms and granny's. So in a traditional Assamese kitchen when you make a blended super watery curry, with almost no taste at all, you call it MELENG PAANI, (its not a praising word). I also made some egg curry one day, and when I tasted for salt st almost half done state, I found no better word for my pathetic curry. And was telling my husband that lets post it on My cooking blog and name it as Labhita's Egg Meleng Paani. Because if I do not call it Labhita's, I am sure at least my family will sue me for being such a horrible curry and not giving it my name.............

Thursday, January 24, 2008

24th January 2008 - A YEAR

Its been a year we are engaged to each other. And almost a year of A lot about us.
So how do I feel now? Ummmmm...... happy for sure, complete of course and BROKE as usual :D.

What i did in the last one year is itself a very very tough question. This was probably the fastest running year of my life. I could not even blink properly and the year is gone.A lot of fast happening. And DEV, no idea. One thing for sure, he no more feels like doing his work at office... :D. And for no reason.I can surely be writing about that great saying of Dilli Ka Laddoo; but to all my friends who wants to know, you must try it. And I love this !!!!!
And I love this blog of mine. So for now I am involved in a lot of stuff and running a little short of time; will be back soon. Till than bye bye !!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Great Indian Maid !!!!!

I have recently shifted to Hyderabad after i got married. Before, i was always living with a room mate and for last year six months my sister was with me. So the topic of the day for me is the great maid without which I am not able to live my life very comfortably. I have made a few new friends out here who are also new wives! So the most interesting topic between all of us is the maid crisis, which we normally face almost every couple of month or so.

So what do we do?? Nothing as such. For me, I always saw my mother maintain a maid for ages. She would come, live with us and get married after couple of years when she grows up. And my mother would do whatever possible to support her wedding. Most of the time she would try to educate them. And in those five seven years they would be self sufficient enough to sew, cook, read - write etc. They were also trained in making Jam, Jelly, Pickle etc, as my mother herself is a good cook.

Eventually, I also grew up with such vision and dreams. Now when I try to get one for myself, I either landed up with some thing or the other problem. If with one maid, I had super high grocery expenses than the other will be raising my phone bills exponentially. I am really at loss with this unique problem of mine. While I was in Noida I used to call my maid hunting exercises "maid fishing". Why? Hummm.... I mostly got a house which is definitely not on the ground floor. Noida is full of Bengali Maids and Cooks. So, I could stand at my balcony during maid working hours and call any such maid looking woman and ask if she is interested to work. And if she is not interested, the news will spread like fire and maximum by next day morning I will have a maid. Since I speak Bengali, my scoring points as an employer was high amongst all other people. That's how I used to fish out a maid. But here, one I do not know the language neither I like the food they cook. So I am at this point facing the " great Indian maid crisis" !!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Maghor Bihu In Hyderabad

Hummmm..... this was one interesting and tiring weekend for me. Yah It was Maghor Bihu and a lot to eat and do as an assamese.
The Magh or the Bhogali Bihu, the harvesting festival is celebrated in January by community feast, buffalo fight and such other entertainment. Magh Bihu is celebrated during second week of January. The eating festival keeps on going all most for a month. How ever the main celebrations are observed in three days.

Day 1: It is the last day of Puh Maah or Poush mash of Hindu Calender. Onthis day, The house is cleaned, all the corp is put in to the Store ( called Bhoral Ghor in assamese) for the coming year.
In a common place of the community or village, a Haroli Ghor and a Meji is build with the help of hay, bamboo etc. The Haroli Ghor is also called Bhela Ghor at some parts of Assam. The symbolization of this is to Make a Common Kithchen and store for the festival. The Young and old togather starts the preperation almost a month prior to make this temporary hut.
Meji is the symbolization of Fire God. It is kept secred. This is made by stacking a lot of fire wood, hay, bamboo etc.
At night the whole community will cook a feast for every one and eat togather to celebrate. The women folks preperae traditional assamese dishes for the coming to days. They are mainly Pitha( Kind of Cake), Sira( Puffed Rice), Doi ( Curd) etc.

Day2: It Falls on MAKAR SANKRANTI. This day starts very early. Every one wakes up and goes for a holly bath and gathers at the Meji. The head of the village / community or some elderly people puts the Meji on fire and every one offers prayer and food to it. Women add the sweets made the previous night to offer to the God through fire. The Haroli Ghor is also burnt the same day. At some places they keep it for another week or so to have one more FEAST.
During the day, traditional food is served. People visit each other. NO Proper full meal is cooked. Woman Clean up their main cooking vassels at the out side cleaning area. This pot is normally not taken out of the main kitchen. At night they cook feast dinner for the family.

Day3: This day is usually for visiting and wishing people well being.

Well, being in hyderabad, what i did was attended a community gathering. Cleaned ( rather washed) my house and cooked whatever possible. It was a nice feeling to be able to do what I did. To keep close to my culture and my land !!! Thats the flip side of an MNC job and being Non Resident Assamese. 9 years really matthers. Hope I will remember what I was taught in my child hood days by my mother and my grannys. Also by BIHU Essays in school.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Relationship Confusion & Cyber Age...... from mofid

Debasish da and Labhita Baa …….the connection I have with them till now is very typical and modern…we three are in Hyderabad…..we three are from Assam….and we have not met yet…..Yet we three know of each other and I have only respect for them …for their Views, their Work….link :Orkut !! We are truly living in a cyber age !!

Debasish Da, I got to know of him through orkut……has some great concern for his homeland assam…….this may lead him to head back assam in his 40's or late 50's—that's what I have a gut feeling for Dev da…..His views and opinions have been very thoughtful …..very motivating personality indeed

Labhita Baa, I got to know of to know of her through orkut, She knocked my gmail and gave me the opportunity to help her in her pursuit of publishing the Looitporia Newsletter……while working with her , I got to know the same feelings as dev da generated as well as great passion for completing a task on time at any cost…..blessed with great editorial and leadership skills…….it was a pleasure working under her with my own R&D work….she directed and I worked…. very motivating personality indeed

Then one fine day , while working online, she told something which made me ponder whether Newton's Third Law always work or not. Debasish da and Labhita Baa ,who are very motivating personality themselves, are infact husband and wife !!!

So, baa or Nabou ?? I am getting confused what to address my editor Labhita baa with !!!!
Best wishes to you both and wishes are for some new winds in the coming days with some really fantastic and colorful NEWS towards your door.

Mofid (Bhaity / Devarji??)

Happy New Year and Pocharam Dam

oh well.... I know we have behaved like manner less people, but sorry.
Here we wish you all who are reading it a Grand Year ahead. Wishes are never late right???

We went on an outing to a picnic place. Its a real nice place around hyderabad. About 120 minutes to reach. Am I sounding like an tour agent trying to sell that place? Hummm okay lemme try as hard to imitate a sales guy trying to sell is readily available plots around hyderabad. We started about 8 in the morning, and eat bread +jam+egg break fast on the way. I think it was one of the prime attraction of the picnic as we all wanted to recreate a little bit of school picnic feeling. Oh well, no idea if we all really eaten well. We reached ( all boys drank) we had lunch and photo session and we all came back. On way back we visited the 150 year old Medak Church. This is really a place to see. I have not had a very close encounter with Christianity But some how i do get fascinated with such beautiful structures, well maintained and super clean. While going one of our friends were not keeping too well, and while coming our organizer fell ill , along with my already unwell dev. And sources very close to him says it was a pasta effect. I will talk about what is a pasta effect later with his permission. It might take some time as it needs approval from a lot of people. But to sum it up, what I admired was their enthusiasm and effort. And for sure, they will say no girl can have so much fun when unwell !!!!!