Reading book on the beach. Next to mighty ocean , the waves never letting anyone come close… And
Reading book on the beach. Next to mighty ocean , the waves never letting anyone come close… And
Last December, I was home. Am now approx 3000 Kilometers away from home. Too far to be away from home, for anyone, Isn’t it?
My home is Assam and is part of North East India. It is one of the seven sisters and is a beautiful place.
It is my cynefin. Being there, I feel, am exactly where I need to be, among people and nature I wish to be always. Just bring in my husband and son here and the scene will be complete.
My father, after retirement settled at his native, an indistinguishable small village, fulguri, 17 kilometers from Guwahati airport. Guwahati is the biggest city in North-east and is the pseudo- capital of Assam.
I have memories of spending my school vacation there.At least those were a month long. Ever since life caught up, I could only visit for two weeks in a year. I remember looking forward to my visit every year during school days and I was so determined that I will be more frequent when I will have my own money and time.
Hmm, Don’t I have enough money and time now?
Honestly, It is sort of unreal. My longing for this place. What possibly could be the reason for loving this place so much? I have actually never lived there, at least for any time longer than a month. I have no real friends there. No childhood chadi-badi. I cannot speak the language correctly. Am no expert in its cuisine or culture. Assam and I have nothing in common! I shouldn’t fall for it..fulguri ! Sign!
But, it feels like a big part of my heart is left there, the part refuses to come with me, miles away, where am settled with my husband and son.
Perhaps it is the people – my parent, sibling, all my cousins, relatives, uncle, aunt, niece-nephews whom I probably won’t recognize anymore.
Or perhaps it is the place- the air, the language, the culture, the cuisine, the lahe-lahe attitude, the laughter, the curated smiles, the music, the raw, the freshness, the incessant pour, the early sunset/sunrise, the terrible heat of hot summer, the bonfire in chilly winter, the warmth of winter sun, the orient eyes, the shiny hair, the makela-sadar- dress, the fashion, the nail-art , the dekhi-local grinder, the mighty river, the hills, the green, the tea-garden, the mountains.Everything.
May be it is my mother’s kitchen garden or the pukhuri.
So, As I was saying, I was home at the end of Dec, last year. Most of the time was spent in visiting new places and meeting relatives. I was hardly home. But one day was special, between all busy schedule and slipping vacation, the day I remember the most was when my husband decided to try fishing in our pukhuri. Pukhuri is a small pond next to my father’s house. Where my mother dumps all left-over food for the fishes. It isn’t too romantic or clean. It is actually muddy water.
Some of the pictures from that day below.
And there was my little pumpkin. Trying to see how good fisherman his father is.
Moral of the story.
I miss my home. I miss pukhuri . So am gonna build one, right next to the swimming pool in my apartment. Throw in some fishes, get a fishing net and settle my butt right there…some 3000 miles away from where it wants to be.
Aha..By the way, Today is my Ma’s birthday 🎂..Happy Birthday Ma. I terribly miss you.
Me ( with 1000 watts smile , when an idea worth 1000 watts stuck me) :
“Let’s just pretend , we don’t know each other. Am with my son and you are a stranger. And here is the fun part –You are hitting on me! Imagine that. I will pretend to frown , roll my eyes , ignore you , but you will persist , push conversations..smile. blah blah”
After 2 minutes , I have already improvised , and continue blabbing .
“Better, I will script it. We will start when I will ask you “What is the time , Sir” , and you will take it as a cue …you will answer but continue talking..ask personal questions, play with my son.. .. .. blah blah …be really friendly … try to impress me … try to make a joke … funny line .. act intellectually .. hoping I will be impressed .. nervous to ask me ..”
After 2 minutes ,More blah blah…
“So , are you ready? Shall we start the act?”
I adjust my dress , hair , take a sip , pretend to be super -busy and ..
Me: Hello Sir, what is the time?
Husband (wtf-who-the-hell-are-you ) :I DON’T TALK TO STRANGER.
Shit happens, on train , jokes fell flat, train moves on ….And am like..
I think he is crazy. Spending hours with his microlens trying to capture the tiny winy flower/insect/bug. Sometimes other stuff, larger than 10mm might catch his fancy..and be lucky to be immortalised in the digital world.
My husband. Love of my life, with the love of his life – Camera , Bike Ride to Madhe Ghat. I wonder when did I slip from number 1 position .
Isn’t this beautiful?
I first read about Tawang in an in-flight magazine. It was one of the location in the list of 10 virgin places in the world. A place , so beautiful , soclose to my home. I should visit it once. The dream is still a dream 😦
But , my husband is lucky. He should be , he has me as his wife 🙂
He is also lucky because he got chance to explore this virgin place , on his Thuderbird. Deal was that he drops me and my son off at my parent’s house , stay with us for customary 2 days and then proceed to his freedom for 5 days on his Royal Enfield Thuderbird , And Boy! He did enjoy his freedom at paradise.
Tawang is at Arunachal Pradesh , my sister state. It is about 500 km from Guwahati. Won’t say much , will just let the pics do the talking..
Welcome to Tawang and enjoy!
I love the colors, just look at the canvas…
That lucky bird .. !
The frozon lake, partially.
Mountain dogs .. six feet under!
This road is so inviting .. isnt it. Just keep swimming..
Frozon Sela pass , some 4170 meters
Icy cold water…
Road to the mountains..
Don’t you wish you were born here …? Hell , I wont mind if I die here..
I attended a wedding, a fulguri wedding , a small awesome in distinctive village where I spend 15 days every year.
Didn’t get an invitation , They invited my parents before I arrived , now are too busy arranging for big event to send a word out for me but who care’s for an invitation. It was my nephew’s wedding. That translates to wedding in family , must attend.
Wedding was at next village , actually 3rd next. Assamesse have big yards, plenty of space to carry out an event as big as wedding. The house is surrounded 3 sides by paddy fields , no street light and in-frequent commutation. It gets pitch dark at 6 in evening or 3 during winter and someday and sometimes walking is the only way to reach.
I do not know what kind of picture you get from that one line , but (with a dramatic effect) I Love that description , There is no way anyone can stop me from visiting it even if it means gate crashing a wedding.
And wedding means fish. Not that am sucker for fish(he he he evil laugh). But I also like the mixed veg curry , sometimes accompanied by tok -the ultimate tomato chutney served on banana leaf or rather it’s stem .
This is on the way to their home. Unfortunately I was so engaged during wedding , it didn’t dawn on me to take photos until I was back home to write post about it. Aaaah
But finally , I didn’t have to gate crash wedding, coz I was invited by at least 3-4 family relatives. To think of it now , who-ever saw me that morning , asked me to go. They were perhaps wondering I will skip it coz I wasnt invited. They do not know about my love for fish and that I was feeling special. The mother of the groom sent a message with my brother. eeespecially for me.
I thought I will spend only an hour. I dressed in my 3 year old peacock blue sari. I think it should be a unique color , not-in-vague considering its almost 4 years old. My head pictured everyone saying wow-that’s-a-different color sari. In the end me , my son , ma and pa loaded into car and reached the venue. My eyes were surely happy , green is my favorite.
Mother of groom was happy to see me.She is my cousin. This was her son’s wedding. All my cousin’s , spouse , kids ..were there..Aunts /Uncle’s . Senior , Juniors. Newly wed.
I met all of them , I mean ALL of my paternal relatives . I met many after decades. I realized the awkward shy kids are not kids anymore , but young , pierced-ear , SUV driving lads and glads!
Wow .. All of them beautiful and the chit chat. They were curious about me and I about their life.
I met A’s kids – 2 girls and 1 boy. Boy with crew cut and pretty girls .
I met C’s kids – One was wearing nice dress and the other one in Indian traditional dress.
I already know N’s son. I met him at home. Shy , but big boy.
I returned many smiles and hellos thinking very very very well that this hello face is one of my close relative but no idea who she/he was. I was so damn happy that I do not need to address all of them by name , just “Boa” or Dada!
I met B’s husband. Both are skinny. Match made in heaven.
I tried to memorized where they live , what they do.
All of them , A to Z invited me to come to their place. I said I will try. One said I can come with Kobi , another said I can drive with Dhoney.
Am sure you are bored of reading this , but I wanna tell you
1. That’s why the Indian population is touching a billion. My father are 8 bro and 2 sis. I have 8 cousins from only one uncle. Others- dont get me started.
2. Am not that old even though am an aunt and the fact is am at my nephew’s wedding. Pa’s eldest brother’s eldest son is about his age. Both got married about the same time…
3.Am so so happy to see so many so many of my relatives… I can imagine my family tree. Huge wide banyan tree.
An hour was already gone and I was still there.I looked around the surrounding. Wind was flowing in and out non stop and am pretty sure they never ever need air conditioning here.
Wedding is a day-night event here. Come for lunch ,have some snacks anytime of day and leave after dinner. After lunch, we decided to visit another cousin living across the paddy field. . She was also at the wedding. She invited a bunch. I wondered how we are gonna go. SUV kid was there with his SUV. He could drive us. Seeing the crowd and playing safe, I took the seat next to driver. The back seat was filling up soon and very soon it was jam-packed, Then someone suggested that I could fit in one more person with me and a kid. God has plans to outdone mine.
It was getting dark and finally time to go home. Am sure I was smiling all the day back home , re-playing chats and events of the day.
After the wedding.
And the best thing. I got the best part of the fish in meal and they served the tomato chutney.
Writing this today , a week since the event, I do not remember any of spouse or kids name. If only there was a wedding in family every vacation every year making us the largest Banyan tree!
PS: I bet most of you just skimmed through my list. Didn’t read it fully. Do not be asshole .. read it.
And then comes the shoes , sandal , heels , and accessories , gold jewelry , BAGS! and how can I forget my lotions , creams … perfumes..ear-rings !
And then gifts – for all , of all kinds.
And then comes stationary – My diary , a pen ..what if I need to write something , my mother’s house surely may not have a pen and paper. Duh!
Total weight = 14.9Kg . Oh my , just what my airline will allow.
Oh wait , 7 kg allowed as cabin baggage. Hurrah..!
Let me pack my loafers ..so comfy. And an extra pair of pajama. And some nuts for journey.. and this small purse for small occasions..
Time taken : Months of analysis , weeks of shopping , hours of packing , re-packing. And then I might as well miss my eye-wear!
Open up wardrobe. Picks up 5 T-Shirt randomly and 2 pants.
I insist on carrying a shirt for formal occasion. Open up wardrobe again , Picks up a shirt.
I insist on buying new T-Shirt .
Says his 2 year old tees are just as fine as new.
I insist on carrying something light woolen for nights.
Says he is … done. Done.
Total weight: 5 kg or less?
Time taken : 10 minutes.
He thinks this is all he needs for his trip to Nanu ke ghar. Cute , Isnt he ?
Coz now is the time in calendar when all our God’s said “Lets have some fun ” and decided to have one party after another.It’s the unofficial festive season ; the last quarter of the year. Started with Ramzan , Ganapati , Durga Puja , Diwali and then finally Christmas ,new year and ending sometimes in March with Holi. Hell of a party time here.
Am an atheist , slowly getting there , Influence of my atheist husband. What he could not put off is my love for celebration during festival . I love the air of festivities , anything . Colorful Holi or the lights of Diwali. Love for Biryani makes every Eid delicious. Durga Puja is the time when my east indian hormones are at full bloom and out comes all mekhala Sadar from my wardrobe.
The magic that works on everyone and uplifts everyone’s mood. Everyone plans for new dress , sweets , rituals , leave plans! and hmm, some boring , very boring rituals. I hate rituals , I never believed that is the way to connect to God, if there is one. But I love to attend rituals
Why ? Oh Boy !
I remember as teens , I would love to go to Gurudwara to have the yummiest tastiest prasad – Ghee wala halwa .What a treat for sweet-tooth. Halwa -I miss you so much . I was fortunate to attend langar (the community meal) 2-3 times and Gosh the food ! Awesome will be an insult to the food. It’s heavenly and surprising its veg! The only time
when I would say vegetarian food could satisfy the non veg body cells of mine.
Holi in airforce campus is the best. All ladies will make special sweet , place it on the table and leave the door open. Like a dog smelling a bone from far distance , we will hunt each house , have lump sum sweets to our stomach satisfaction and then proceed to next hunt. Would gather and discuss which home is serving what and what did I miss.
Diwali – The biggest festival in India is a noisy affair , but a treat to eyes and belly of course. I remember helping Ma to light diya and distribute sweet plate to every home and looking forward to plate in return.
Assamese are little less creative with names . Every festival is called Bihu, even the dance form is called Bihu.W hat’s in the name anyways 🙂 The fun is Bihu is celebrated thrice a year and then we have mother of all festivals – Durga Puja. Aren’t we more simplistic? Name all festivals as Bihu and make same sweets in every Bihu. Of course , there is more than that but who cares ? Eat laddu and wear new dress!
Durga Puja is time for shopping and shopping. Bihu is about everything else.
Ganapati is the only idol who is depicted in thousand different forms , always up-to-date and following the latest trends . Ganapati playing cricket or saving farmers or whatever is cool today. Isnt he the coolest God?
It is celebrated widely in western India , where I reside currently and My apartment society celebrates with games and fun for everyone – Salad decoration , Master Chef , Drawing competition , race , drama , song , dance , dinner , prasad … list is endless!
The housing complex atmosphere just lights up !
And the sweet Modak! Ganapati is not only cool but lucky God. Modak offered to him is so very delicious. Thanks to you Ganapati , we get to eat modak. Check out the pieces from Kaka Halwai – absolute divine!
Am lucky to enjoy Hindu and Muslim festival. After my wedding into a muslim family , I had my first ramzan fast . Fast for one full month.. By end of the day , I could eat anything that is in my sight , my voice decibel will go down and chit chatting will be reduced to half. But am amazed at the tolerance of my in-laws family who weren’t dying by hunger by evening. But over years , I understood the importance of Roza for building my tolerance and I could survive roza .. I could never understand the true meaning of all religion
The best part of Roza is the Eid /Ramadan . It’s a family union. The biryani is awesome and it is the time to try my culinary skills and act like a “bahu”.
And the photo sessions , family photo sessions , am no less than a model that day 🙂
Food is sidelined , now it’s about “what should I wear on … ” . All my sari which never see daylight , are out of box and glittering in night. Whatsup and call discussion is about when to what and when to wear sari and jewellery.
And this list is only of major festival , India has plenty of festival and billions of people to celebrate with.
Eat , dress like a queen ,pose like a model and enjoy , its magic time!
Is he crazy ?
When my husband said, Let’s go for trek with Adil, I thought he was kidding. A trek with 3 year old boy. He must be out of his mind. But hmm ,wait ! The thought of mountain, monsoons , him ❤ and little Adi trailing with us was too tempting to pass. So I agreed, but with a deal that I wont carry Adi if he refuses to walk.
Destination : Purandar fort . I asked him a hundred times if it’s easy and can Adi walk the whole walk?
We planned to start early at 7, but what the hell ! Purandar is just 1.5 hours from here, So why start so early on a weekend,especially on a weekend! So in reality I got up from bed at 7 to start.I packed some little food, boiled 4 eggs , picked up banana and boiled pasta for my son. Trust me when you are hungry after a good marathon , even boiled egg will be delicious.
We live near Pune East , So we took the road from Hadapsar , Saswad towards Narayanpur and then a left before Balaji Mandir . There is a board at left and a petrol pump on right, It is hard to miss. The weather God was in good mood, gave us lots of clouds, drizzling rain and no sign of that world famous sun. After taking the left,the road to the fort goes through purandar village and after a short bumpy road the way up to the mountain by car is very good.
Son was little sleepy but he woke up in time to see the mountain. We prepared him for the trip saying we are going to mountain and he can see big dinosaurs and monkey. A lie to excite a boy who lives and breathe on cars and after Jurassic World , is big fan of Dino ! Today , he was cute puppy in car , “oui oui oui me cute puppy mummy”,could not agree more :-*
Purandar fort is situated inside Army cadet camp , so we had to show ID and then proceed to inside. The road inside the camp was too bad , totally muddy. But who is complaining! I like everything about rains , even the mud , dirt and the slippery ground. After a distance on the super muddy road [I really wish I could get my hands ,oops ! leg on that mud ], we came across the sign “Fort” and a army guy directing us to park car.
He said no mobile camera and no camera . I took it damn very seriously . No camera means no pics , but it really really didn’t strike me at that time then to break the rule once a while.
We started the trek, The beginning is simple steps towards the hill. I looked at my little mountain boy and he was ready. I gave him my finger and we started . Me and Adi holding hands and husband leading way .
After few steps Adi surprised me.”Mummy Khud se !” Hey ! He wanted to walk by himself without holding hands and I let him go . I told him to follow his papa and he did that exactly. What a sweet sight to see him walk , balancing himself . He picked up stones , one in each hand , the dirtiest , muddiest one he could find. His little feet , one here, next there , on a green slightly rocky path, excited about meeting his Dino !
And then it started ! I didnt see it coming at first 😉
In his ultra cute voice .. Mummy hum mountain main ja rahe hai .. Papa suno wohkya hai ..Papa monkey sad ho raha hai ..woh dekho mountain blah blah and blah. There is no stopping. I should teach him to conserve energy by not talking but who would not mind a little entertainment 🙂
This is gonna be a long day of commentary !
The trail is well , easy peasy for kids. The path has small stones , rocky here and there but all is manageable by kid. In fact there were other family ,some kids younger than Adi. We let them over take us and slowed down to have all the way to ourself. We walked very slowly , to pace with Adi.
Adi was happy, I was constantly telling him to walk slow and small steps. He was actually doing good.After a distance, I pointed out him our car visible from a distance and that we were in mountains , up above , and down is the village. I hope he realized that we are going to the mountains !
The trail after some time leads to a little open space , fort wall begins and you can see those typical fort boundary .There was first water man-made water hole. There were more , the water collected is supplied down to army camp by pipes.
By now we were hungry and missing eggs..We choose a spot which was a little away from trail on steps and feasted on the lunch. Didn’t I tell you hunger makes even egg a delicacy from exotic land ?
Adi gets his energy from air and water , no food! He only had 2- 3 bites of pasta and one egg. He was more interested in peeling eggs than eating. With his little fingers he was so focused that I didn’t mind waiting for 10 minutes for my peeled egg.Now the thing with toddlers is that if they like something they can do it for hours without being bored. He peeled one , picked up second and was already eyeing 3rd one. . I had to hide that one ..didn’t wanted to spend all our afternoon peeling eggs with him.
Water and stone and the the first reaction is “Lets throw stones into the water”. Adi has never seen it -the ripples , never observed . I showed him one and the next sec regretted. Showing a 3 year old fun with water and stone! What was I thinking ?
So Adi, tried his first throw , little less in power so just made it to water . He picked up next and I asked him to try harder with more power and he did . And ! then he was hooked. Stone , splash and ripples. I let him be while Abu went around to see whats ahead. What did I tell you about toddler ? He can spend a day doing just that stone , splash and ripple. I told him this is gonna be his last. He threw it, picked up next and said “last one” , and then there were 5 more last one’s. Finally Abu came for rescue and dragged him out.
He was walking and careful. His chatter was on. Once in a while I will show him how high we have come , The path is well made and surrounded by green. I will show him really small flower not plucking it but cupping the flower in my hands and he will follow my actions , holding the tiny winy yellow flower in his tiny winy cups ! Then there were leaves size of my palm and he pointed out that. We looked at dew drops . One time he noticed a earthworm and stopped. Abu played with him while Adi was curiously looking at it.
He was happy just to be with us, would be excited if I show him anything in excitement , See there is purple flower. As you go higher , the path gets narrower. Only one or two could pass through. Adi was balancing well. He was repeating after me and then taking steps “small – small ” ,cross the rock and “small”. There was only one spot which was a climb of about 6 feet with some support , the rest of the trek was well managable.
Like all other forts, summit wasn’t directly above us,Puff ! The path always leads us to top of mountain , then walk across to next peak. Adi was tired now and was showing sign of “Mujhe ghar jana hai”.
But didn’t I say he is mountain man .We sat for a while and observed all white flowers and the spider. And we could see where we had to go , across , few steps and then temple at top.
The Shiv temple at top was small and cold. It didnt look like very old temple , but hell , this was Adi’s first visit to temple! He looked curiously at Nandi Gai and was little afraid of bell . I showed him how to pray and he followed me. His hands folded ,eyes sparkling and giggling all time. This was new and it was like a game for him. It was exciting. I put a little tikka on his forehead and he did the same for me. We sat on the cold floor for some time and then forced , dragged and lured him outside.
We started the journey downhill.
We left the temple and started our trek back , that is when the clouds started surrounding us. The temple was no more visible and it started raining , not drizzle but pouring . Like the rain God woke up and in hurry emptied his bucket!There was no shelter and who the hell need one!
Ah , Rain and Abu . At this point it seriously crossed my mind , WTH am I doing in rain with a 3 year old “kabab main haddi!” , but that 3 year old needed protection from rain. So we wrapped him in raincoat.
By this time , Adi was tired . No amount of lure or monkey tales will keep him on his feet and he just wanted to be on shoulder. While it poured , Abu carried him down on his shoulders.Mid way Adi feel asleep. Downhill , watching Abu was a treat . With no one around I was on top of my voice and screaming all the rain songs I can remember while marveling at husband’s stamina to walk carrying our son , Wow , I am married to a super hero ❤ . Getting wet in monsoon on mountains surrounded by clouds is the most romantic feeling in the world!
We reached our car and now it was time to go back to city 😦 But , what the hell ! Purander, am gonna be a regular now !
Whenever I tell any one that am from Assam , I always get a good response – It’s a beautiful place , Isn’t it ? Well , the truth is its not only beautiful because of its natural beauty but it’s truly awesome ! and am not saying this coz its my home town , but it really is.
Assam is a state in North East India . Guwahati is the pseudo capital . Now what are the best places to visit in Assam , how to reach there blah blah – You can google. This post is about my personal favorite place at Assam , which is hard to find on map – Fulguri.
Fulguri is a small village about 40Km from Guwahati , where I would spend my summer vacation every year . I once tried to find it on google map , and my husband claims to be successful in doing it Here. Never mind goggle , I can find it , spends there the best 15 days of every year and enjoy its beauty.
So whats so great about this place? I have a list…
Literally , The place has shit load of green. God has special routine for this place .. it never goes out of green view- as far as I can see! There are 50 different shades of green. Now , Do you know why trees /leaves are green – coz it is the most pleasant color to eyes. Just look out of window your window, spot a tree and imagine it being
in a color other than green? Nah , Isn’t it?!
Now to this green canvas –
and you get a picture of what it looks like everyday from my window. It’s a view every city dweller aspire to see.
This place is peaceful , quite and relaxing – the kind where creative juices flows out of grey cells. Well ,for some . The part of my brain which makes me lazy and sleepy overflow 🙂 It’s so quite , yet its full of sounds. Sound of bird chirping , sound of Koel , sound of firefly , toad and the best sound of rain during monsoons.
Birds – Boy! They are easily busier than Mark Z ! Always in meeting together- chirping louder and louder.
Koel – Have you heard this bird ? A singer I tell you , better than Ms Dion. Kids just follow her cooing and koel sings back louder , as if to teach them . We used to repeat after koel as kids and now I try to teach my toddler son [but he is more interested in woooo -the howl of wolf !]
I have seen rain everywhere , but it’s most romantic at Fulguri! A walk in the rain with your partner under an umbrella activates the most romantic grey cells ❤ , activated by the continuous non stop rain and I never get enough of it.Everything cools down and the air becomes so fresh , wet and moist. Its freshness everywhere like someone has sprayed a giant room freshener!
People have adjusted to rain and its continuous presence during monsoons. House are built with slanting roof , not cemented but made of tin.Our main house have a huge courtyard surrounded by rooms on all 4 sides , leaving some place at one corner for entrance. My father has a small pond next to his house and breeds fish there. Every house has pukhuri =pond and breeds fish.
Sometimes water overflows all ponds and then all small-big water holes unite to create a big water entity . Many people go fishing on the road side and kids jump around proudly showing the fish they caught… every where is a fish market :-*
The best is when rains hit hard on the tin roof , Voila !- Home becomes a pub house! Its so noisy that we cant hear each other . I remember as a kid screaming from across the courtyard to each other. The sound is so loud but such music ! Every nite is a thunderstorm. It’s scary but its definitely something to experience.
At Fulguri , no one keeps door closed. It’s wide open all day long and anybody , absolutely anybody can come in , without knocking straight to where ever you are .. GASP ! Breach of privacy ? No I say . it’s so welcoming !
There is no boundary wall to separate us from our neighbor.
Assam is famous for tea (c) . So that should make us expert in tea ? Well our cup of tea is not everyone’s cup of tea!
Morning begins with tea prepared by my father and delivered straight to my bed – now that’s is something I wish he would pass on to his son-in-law..asap! But hold on, where is my sugar? Tea , here is prepared in minimal sugar and sometimes no milk -lal chai. It’s completely opposite to my in-laws [who are not from Assam ] where tea is close to sugar syrup!
In fact when someone from outside visit my home , drinks tea , they are absolutely sure that we haven’t added sugar and how is that every home they visit here forgets to add sugar :-0
So I have to instruct the host in advance : Please add at least 3 times more than usual.
Now , I take my son there once a year , it’s a paradise for any toddler – free huge space to run around , can play with grass , dirt , mud , mitti anytime , Gets to chase kabutor ( pigeon) , duck , dog ,cat , firefly . Bell a cow , checks out the mud pool. It cannot get better than that!
Here is my son looking for his missing duck!
My earliest memories of Fulguri is it’s kitchen – the common kitchen , when all my uncle and cousin were still a large single joint family. There were abut 50 people. Morning roti [Indian bread] making session was so fun like a picnic. All ladies of house gets together , makes roti on a single chulaha – a cook stove heated by burning wood. Lunch and dinner was prepared in those big big kadai , using spatula as long as 3feet over burning wood !Dal, Chicken curry or fish curry had more water and less meat – but even the top chef cant beat the taste – absolute divine.
Everyday is a picnic 🙂
The natural beauty of Fulguri promotes the photography juice of my husband’s brain -especially with macro lenses. He is seen always with a camera , up early in morning , puts on whatever slipper/shoes he could slip on and then trying to check out that one small flower bud or strange bug . At city apartment, I have hard time waking him up in the morning and at Fulguri I have hard time finding him on bed when I wake up!
I have to turn into a macro flower to get his camera attention ! When we check out photo’s of our trip , 7 out of 10 doesn’t have any human presence !
We have plenty of wood around , so every home has furniture -wooden bed , sofa , dinning etc . Solid Shesham wood , the kind of wood which furniture wala will proudly give you with guarantee for 100 years . So every home has a dinning and that piece of furniture should be renamed as gossip table.
That’s the place where all gossips begins , take shape , analyzed , extrapolated and finally passed on to the next dinning table. All members gather around dinning , pull extra chair , stool whatever fits their butt and join in the conversation. So a 6 chair dinning table can even accommodate 10! The dinning is busy , long after we finish our meal.
One of the thing I have seen only in Assam is : Poo and Pee place is different. When you go pee , you just pee . No poo. So dont need to bath :-o. But if you go for poo , you have to take bath after it. It’s still followed . So what do I like about it ?. The toilet for poo was about 500meters away from main house ! So we will be scare to go alone and ask cousin to accompany us to there – ” I have to poo”.
So while I poo inside without any fear, someone is guarding outside. Sometimes I tell my cousin to sing loud so I know she is there 😉
How do you call your friend say named Tom ? Tom , come here ..but at fulguri Tom will be addressed Ooooo Tom.It’s just a habit of people to call out as OOOO <name> . Now I really did not realize this until I was married and my non Assamese husband visited Fulguri. His reaction – Why is everyone calling you Oooo Hira ?
I like it though , I call Ma as ” Ma O Ma , Maye” . It’s our way to saying “O” I missed you , Now lets get going 🙂
The O sound is like a song prelude , before the important song .. that is the name. Even if the person is sitting next to you , you call out as O. Crazy habit ? May be for someone who hasn’t lived with it , but for my assami sister , it’s a music that she want’s to hear from her daughter before she would finally respond to her call- “Ma O Ma ,Maye”.
Try it Ooooo Sweetie 🙂
Now this is something , am not only fond of fulguri , but am very proud too. What’s best is it’s true for Assam , not only fulguri.
Fulguri may be a small remote village in north east india , or Assam may be a small entity in Indian political scene , But I tell you from my experience of living in almost all corners of India – Assam /fulguri is the place which still follows traditions but yet are super liberal and unorthodox , lot less of mumbo jumbo then rest of India.
Assam is far ahead when it comes to giving liberty to women than any other big metro city. Women are given free rein , to choose their own partner , to choose not to get married , to choose to work , to dress as they feel like , to voice opinion , are given equal right to education/work /property and all this is nothing modern . Assam has been like this in its traditions as far as I can remember! Once in my kitty party , the host had a game to write down things you only see in city not in villages and I was silently laughing when some said – women wearing makeup ,skirt , pant in city not in village. Fulguri girls are better dressed , knows better makeup than many of city girls I know , including me !
All this freedom , liberal thoughts yet Assam is traditional . I love to see the traditional brass utensils used , we even have our own towel – Gamsa. Ladies are dressed mostly in Makhela Sadar [most beautiful attire , it needs a place on its own in my list] , even the small knife used is kotori , a special knife. Every house has jhapi or sarai
Am a real proud Asamiya!
Assamese can go to war for fish 🙂 They absolutely love fish. I remember my uncle will always comment on an Ad featuring a person holding a big fresh water fish as-” if only I could eat that fish”.
The best thing of Fulguri is every home has a pond and every pond has fish and I have my father to catch fish for me , mother to fry it and the fish finally find its resting place in my stomach. The fish fry prepared by Ma is absolutely crunchy , nutty , yummy and addictive ! I don’t know how many fishes I kill during my annual trip.
Guest coming home ? No problemo .. father is out with his fishing rod 🙂 . So fresh water fish straight out of pond>kitchen>plate>stomach .
Specially during winter days when papa will put his chulha of burning wood outside and fry fish. I would sit just next to it and eat my heart out ! Here is a pic of papa cooking on chulha
Fish you are my favorite , you will always be my first love ❤ ❤ <3.
I keep loosing my phone when am there ? Why ?
Coz , I don’t need it . There are so many things to do , so much to feel , to enjoy , sounds to hear , scents to take in . There are so many “touch me not” waiting to be touched ! fish waiting to be fished out and eaten 😉 No wonder internet penetration is so low in rural India . It has it’s own network , it’s own social media. It has it’s own charm which you certainly do not get it in other touristy places !
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