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.
Enough of sob story.
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.
I forgot, how relaxing this corner of my home is.
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.
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
I refuse to bow down to any allegation that I could be insidiously annoying this time of the month. I can prove that in none of the conversations, meetings or personal interactions I had this month, I was eating anyone’s brain.
“Oh my god, Am just out from a meeting with H and She was eating my brain over blah blah.”
Nope! That is a lie.
Am a perfect girl this season. One who is suddenly always a great listener, appreciative, conversationalist, never blah blah blahs. I just cannot annoy anyone. For instance, WordPress is saying I have spam comments and I love these comments but it is all spam, I would not want them to be spam, but it is what it is and WordPress is shielding me,helping me and am not complaining…only hoping that someone selling cheap low Viagra online is also a veracious reader who while enhancing life surfs WordPress and comments on my post “Grade A stuff. I’m unquestionably in your debt.” And instead of clicking on “Empty Spam” because WordPress says it is a spam , I bask in that “Grade A, huh .. I must be good“.
Where am I going with all this? Am not eating anyone’s brain…..I cannot be.
(Coughing) Sorry can’t type anymore .. I think I have some part of your brain stuck in my throat.
(Spitting out) But I cannot eat it .. am fasting. Roza.
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.
My brain now knows all relatives , their spouse and kids.
But everything is cross connected 🙂
Was it A who had 2 girls and a boy or 2 boys and a girl?
Who asked me to come to place with Kobi and which one mentioned to drive with Dhoney? Where the hell do they live!
Fun fact -every third lady was wearing peacock blue. Turned out the fashion of color blue was back after 4 years!
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!
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
Am a smart cook. I realized it, first when I cooked rice years ago…
Cooking rice is very easy- rice , water and a bit of salt in a steam pressure cooker, wait till cooker blows out 2-3 whistles and it’s done.Dumb cooks mess up by adding less or more water, dumbest one do not add salt.
Am smart cook. I do everything right.
I just missed one ingredient – water.
The result ? There was no whistle . By the time I realized this, rice had turned into black pebble sticking to the bottom of the pan so very hard that I was feeling bad separating two eternal lovers .Rice refused to come out of pot even after weeks of washing …
Not bad I would say, still in smart category . I just missed 1 ingredient out of 3, that is 1/3rd recall value , memory memorize ,success rate ..blah blah blah.. I think based on this stats ,I should be called above average smart cook ( am feeling so good about writing this post now ..)
My talent doesn’t stop here . My husband never forgets to remind me of ONE time , just bloody ONE time , in all of my cooking career when I messed up a particular Indian sweet dish “Halwa”, another easy-easy dish with 3 ingredients -sugar , semolina and milk . I forgot ; again just one item….
How bad can a sweet dish be without sugar? I mean really how bad ? Just pour some honey over it honey !!
(One would assume my husband has good memory , but that “one” should wait till I ask my husband about first time I cooked for him and see his good memory show its true color!)
I once mis-read “cut into 1 centimeter pieces” and instead “cut into 1 inches long pieces” and result was raw , plain raw and this I admit was bad reading , not “lack of passion for cooking” issue.
My tea was once labelled gutter water .I meant to cut on some calories with less milk more water..smart move but not exactly drinkable combination for some.
But I will say it’s rather smart .
There are more , but am starting to think the reader of post will join my husband next time I make halwa and don’t want to give any upper hand to anyone via my blog , any-upper-hand-over-me post goes out of window!
This post is about my smartness in kitchen..
Overtime , I learned to specialize in recipe
which needs as little time in front of stove as possible…blink and you will miss when I was kitchen cooking..
which does not ever ever ever needs constant stirring…. just mix all , cover it , low flame and go read a blog.
measurement is not important and free style hand measurement is just about right.. nothing can go wrong if you add more salt or sugar..
most important is you are never ever out of ingredients and nothing is a must ingredient ; Sugar isn’t important for sweet dish , pour honey ,use chocolate syrup..
which can be cooked while you can catch your nap ! Yes , remember low flame , plenty of water , and tell husband to keep an eye 🙂
Here is one very much fab chicken recipe..My style chicken..
Out – The Indian version which needs prep and constant stirring , at least 30 minutes in front of stove , an hour in making ! Puff!
In – read , write , watch TV, nap , play and in-between cook chicken!
Take a pot, put chicken(wash and dry) and mix following
Open kitchen cabinet for spices – add all to chicken , even sambhar powder (its a special for lentil-based vegetable stew only). I have salt , turmeric , chilly ,coriander , mustard and cumin seeds , and sambhar here.
Open kitchen cabinet for special spices – add all into chicken. I have bay leaf , clove , cardamom , carom seeds et al.
Open kitchen cabinet for foreign exotic spices– rosemary , thyme , oregano and galangal. If you already live in land of rosemary or galangal , then look at step 1 & 2 again, that might be foreign and exotic for you!
Open refrigerator, get out bowl of plain curd and add it . No curd – Tell hubby chicken will be a bit dry.
Check your vegetable compartment and look for fresh herbs – coriander , mint, curry leaves and lemon.
Look for any vegetable that is lying there since a week .. c’on you need to cook it now , capsicum , beans .. out out out! Not carrot ..you dont want chicken sweet
Add salt , of course.
Add green chilly – this is my must have ingredient. Am ardent fan of green chills , it’s like oxygen for my food.
If in mood , cut some onions and tomatoes and add it to pot. Add some garlic cloves .. actually add plenty of garlic.
Pour in some amount of oil.
Cover or do not cover the pot, I will leave the choice to you. Put on low flame. That’s it , enjoy – watch , sleep .. do whatever you want.
After 10 minutes , ask your husband to go have a look. Is the chicken tender yet?
After another 10 minutes , ask your maid to have a look.Is the chicken cooked?
After another 10 minutes – get your own ass up there and check if chicken is cooked.
Oh yeah , I forgot to tell you -do not add water . All the stuff releases water and its usually not dry. If you have already added water by now , then never mind, you can watch 2 episodes of Big Bang Theory instead of 1 planned.
After 30 minutes ..and Voila !
I tell you its THE tastiest chicken dish ever and smartest too!
I got a pic 🙂
PS: The smartest dish to cook is rice , but , hmm , though its very good for cook , bad for waistline ,so I say ..be smart , skip it.
PPS: Some of the Indian recipe do not come under my specialty , like making roti the Indian bread – its a full time job in kitchen. Be smart , get a cook or roti maker or order.
PPPS: This post makes me eat chicken so much now . I should probably tell cook to make her special konkan style chicken recipe tonight 😉
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
Ummm, Why is it green in color ? Oh yes , it has Green Palak.The consistency looks good , not too watery or hard solid. The smell , hmm was good then, but now …
Could you guess the dish am inspecting … Palak panner or Green Thai curry ?
Palak paneer , ofcourse . Nothing beats an indian dish.
After it has come to the end of it’s journey ,which is out of my son’s bum with rest of his potty.
Am happily inspecting his poop.
Head : ewww , yukky …potty from bum?
Yes, he says “Potty comes out of bum” , I think its cute , so wont correct him ever!
So, How did this poop inspection began?
I sometimes look at my poop to see how does a healthy poop looks like , I look closely at his red color poop to see if its beetroot red or blood red .. or worst I might even someday be tempted…
Head : Stop ! I think you have made your point waaaaaaaay too clear about poop inspection!
I can never get tired of looking at it, inspecting it , Not until the day he is old enough to shut me out from poop inspection.
OMG! What have I become ??!
Once upon a time!
Once upon a time , life was good ,mind and body balance. I had perfect set of hormones .
Head :C’on …Why blames hormones for this ?
Well, what else can explain how I , from a happy , normal person turned into this crazy , lame guilty mother.
Hormones , am sure of it ! plenty of it!
Head : Aha , Who was crying , whining for “I want a baby!”
That’s the first hormone , which pumps out saying “Lets have a baby!”. Now why can’t baby making be a simple procedure of “pressing a button” instead of drilling , leaking and aah , the pain !
Head: WHAT, pressing a button ?! Are you sure …
* louder* Can you not imagine if it was just a button ? WOMAN ! DO YOU NOT LIVE IN INDIA??? Don’t you have enough neighbor?
Alright , ummm… take a notch down ..Lets not get into detail, shall we..?
Bringing up a child, will completely change you , in every sense. You, your home and your life roadmap. Perhaps it’s result from the metathesis of hormones that a mother could do things never imagined capable of ……She will have all the patience of galaxy loaded with all the guilt of milky way….am never doing enough. I should have finished this early and go home to co-conspirator and his cute son!
Head : So , husband is conspirator ? What did he do ? You were the one crying….
Of course , husband is responsible for getting me into this , for supporting me in everything .. in sun or rain , drilling and pain!
Why didn’t he tell me that I would change so much that my lungs will pump blood !
Head : The word is oxygen sweetie , Your lung cannot pump blood.
Just raise a child and well , lung will be so busy pumping , that it doesn’t matter what the hell is being pumped – just pump oxygen or blood.. Heart is over-whelmed , nervous , confused and hyperventilating from all cuteness and responsibility around .. that it can’t pump enough.
Change is inevitable and motherhood is a crazy change in lifestyle.
Before you realize , you are anticipating his poop to be of perfect size consistency , more than what you expect your new blouse to fit in.
Head : poop again! , snap out of it ,will you ?
Okay. Point noted. No more poop talk.
Can we talk about fart ?
Adi, my son is a parrot , repeats after me all the time , so no cuss words and can’t even call stupidest things stupid in front of him. But one thing I learned hard way- Do NOT ever ever ever do what you don’t want him to do in public.
Don’t pick your nose , that’s gross. ultra gross.
Don’t fart …..Pleassse.
Head : Weren’t you the one who taught him BOTH at the first place???
well, Of course he learned it all eventually, from the only one time I tried to pick his nose ..
In my defense , I was cleaning his running nose before going to bed so he can sleep better and his fingers are more suited than mine .. Believe me, I have balloon fingers and am lazy to get up for hanky!
Head : WTH! You practically led his hands into nose and showed him to pick the .. and were even proud about it!
Hell Yes! I have tried to teach him many other things approved by civilized society , but he never ever learns those in one shot. This ..nose picking. How the hell would I know that he will master it in one night ?
So that’s the thing , when I least want son to notice , he will put all his focus in that and sometimes even when am blowing drum in front of him ,would ignore. Hide something I wish Adi never ever finds out and he gets it the next minute.You think you were discreet enough , fast like bolt? Too late , he saw it already it, labelled it as “Mummy doesn’t want me to see” and added it to must-be-good check-it-out list.
Head : and what about farting ….
What about it ? C’on that’s human , At least , I taught him to say Sorry! He farts , we laugh , giggle and say out loud Sorrrrrrrryyyyy ! That counts as bonding time between mother and son?
In my defense ,this I believe must be those uncivilized hormones talking which were suppressed since beginning of no-fart-in-public civilization!
What else ?
I can easily sustain prolong exposure to insanity , doing the same thing over and over again without flinching. Adi : Mummy , This is your green car , this is my red car.Lets race !
After 30 minutes:
Adi: Mummy * utho na, wake up * This is your green car , this is my red car.Lets race !
I could do things without actually doing it , at least I didn’t realize my hands are racing again with green car.. I stopped noticing ..It is a routine hands know very well , why do I need to focus my head there ..
OMG , am I a zombie now?
I can play car race , howl like wolf , roar like lions and be a big bad dino for an hour straight without even noticing that am actually a human.
I have lost so many races,fights to him that now I can win race for slowest contender! I earn his laughter.
Everything in my head begins with “Start your engine” and ends with ” Yay!Adi first !”.
Need for speed , Turbo , Bolt Lighting Mc Queen .. definitely triggers something in me when am on my red swish scooter , managing a speed of just 40 miles and I accelerate.. think speed , think 238 miles or worst think crash!
Adi is a typical 3 year old boy , In love with car , bike , trucks , animals …big animals, Dino ! If he were a girl, I guess I would be playing dolls for an hour straight .. umm…., that would have been nice . at least its just sitting at one place not crashing , running around.
Head : Do you want another …..bwwwaah ..second could be a girl.
I will ignore that comment from head.. He shuts down when all game begins..sees no use in doing routine, feels no pain.
Head : He ??! louder Why am I male ? am your head, inside you on top floor woman ! picture me as super hot sexy model , female !
Ignore that one too , how can my head ALONE be super sexy when the rest after child delivery could not go back to its glorious days of size S.
Ignoring and moving ahead ..
Am hypnotized by my 3 year old son…
I love his voice , he has cutest voice of a 3 year old. But nobody was there to tell me this .. I suffered , am still suffering.
Do not, I repeat Do NOT go by the voice , listen to what he is saying..try avoid to look into eyes.. The cuteness is a way of hypnotize mother!! I know , I am.. am completely mesmerized when he asks he something with those eyes and that voice , and I turn stupid ..
In my experience, these are the 2 words to look out for warning signals..
Baad main = Later.
This is even more powerful than legendary “No” . He isn’t refusing to do , he is simply delaying… and that later never comes! Me : Adi , Its time for homework. Adi : Mummy baad mein
Me : Adi , dinner time. Adi : baad mein , now playtime.
He is not asking for more , he is only asking for the last one.. Adi : Mummy I want chocolate. Me : Adi , you just had one before meal. Adi : Mummy , one last . Just last one…
Now when he says this , my heart is overloaded and lungs start pumping. Head : hmm and you oblige by giving him last chocolate the nth time..?
In my defence , am hypnotised by his voice , by his eyes , by his demand! Just because he is such a darling ❤ and am such lame 😦
I wonder if he will ever use these words in right way ever?
Me : Adi , Do you want chocolate?
Adi : No Mummy baad mein…
I often wonder , discuss it with husband .. Does he know the effect of his cuteness on me ? What should I name this one hormone?
Head : i-am-moron hormone ???
Will you stop running and pose for camera?
look at me Adi , Look at the camera
Not so close sweetie 🙂
As a mother , the one compliant which is omnipresent – My son isn’t eating enough. Am not just saying .. I know for fact.. he doesn’t. Food is not important in life of a 3 year old. What can you do?
Something which sometimes work .. is fake it , you show you love it , he will follow the suit! My kid love all pomp pomp , announcement and declaration of love!
So food is not just food , but with a 100 watts excitement , “wow, aaj ka nashta pasta“. Pasta got his attention , at least I will have successful breakfast!
You can find me like a jumping fox with a plate of just plain rice and dal. Every meal should be a discovery , exciting , else son has no interest in what otherwise is very important for living , next only to breathing..
One of these days I forget “not” to be excited and Me : Sweetie , * with 100 volts excitement and all white* Your favorite breakfast – Poha and chai! Husband : Sweetie , Its the same old dish my mother made and her mother before that and ..perhaps goes back to the time of Adam Eve! Whats so exciting??
Am lame , but at least am excited about being lame 😉
Well , there are some good things too ..
My general knowledge has increased two folds , I know all kinds of truck types and cars… I know 5 wild animals and 5 domestic animals , know all the good habits. Do you know all the poems in the world , one where humpty fell down , or bus goes around or clap clap clap ?
I can sleep with eyes open , when it’s my nap time and his play time !
Now I now … know-thee-all hormone.
There is always a trick up his sleeve..put him in any place , he is never bored , will find something amusing.
He will do things with perfection – open the jar , take a chocolate and close it tight. My usual steps are – Open the jar , take a chocolate and full stop.
Just when I realize that my son could play independently and I could do other things , comes the phase of Q&A’s – Why series…
Adi : Mummy what are you doing ? Me : cleaning the floor. Adi : Why are you cleaning the floor? Me : because its dirty. Adi : Why is it dirty ? Me : coz I spilled water. Adi : Why did you spill water? Me : I wasnt looking straight and the glass of water fell….. * Here I restrain myself from using any cuss words Adi: Why were you not looking straight. Me : Because I was looking at TV. Adi :Why were…. Me :Sending SOS signals to husband* Sweetie .. help me!
Sometimes I wonder if he even interested in my answers , or just picks up words , add a What or why and create the next question.
some days its “what will happen” series – Mummy what will happen if I eat chocolate , if I don’t bath , If I throw …
My housemaid is starting to avoid my son when he gets into Q&A mode…I cant do that..Can I ?
My perspective changed, am not the same …
Now an ant , isn’t just an ant doing the hard work and let it do the hard work. Smash! It’s a bloody ant , can bite Adi and must be killed!
I can laugh over silly things , coz his laugh is infectious , it spreads even when he isn’t around. Be excited about stupid things. A dog isn’t just a dog but “Mummy Cute dog na”? Everything is cute in his world.
Now this is the deadliest one , coz this will makes my son look like the cutest smartest , handsome with a million dollar smile , twinkle in eye 3-year-old boy living on planet earth. And when love hormone is released ,he can absolutely demand and say anything and I will oblige.
Head : This is happening way too frequently these days .. control your senses. How can you give him chocolate when he hasn’t finished his homework.
Did you see his eyes when he was asking for chocolates ? Do you know how much he makes me happy just being him .. jumping , screaming , running , smiling ..laughing and asking for chocolate?
My son will have chocolate !
And with that all the hormones are released in my body!
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
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.
Festival is magic time.
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 !
Haven’t you had prasad any time?
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.
Bihu , Bihu and Bihu
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.
Now my current favourite is Ganesh Festival
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 🙂
Growing up it was about food, But later it was about dressing up.
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.
Moral of the story
Eat , dress like a queen ,pose like a model and enjoy , its magic time!
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
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…
Green grass goes around around !
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 –
add mountains at far far far away distance .
Fill the space between you here and far far away mountain with trees , cocunut , supari (Betel nut) , Shawl , Sagwan and bloody hell any green trees .
Some small villages – slanting tin roofs , small market place , not so good road , muddy place, kitchen garden and many many small-big ponds.
Wide open paddy fields.
and you get a picture of what it looks like everyday from my window. It’s a view every city dweller aspire to see.
Peaceful yet noisy!
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 !]
Barish = Rain , Pukuri=pond !
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.
Open door policy
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.
Where is my sugar ?
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!
Yay! we are having a picnic !
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 !
Dinning table gossip
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.
I have to poo !
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 😉
What’s your name ? Oooo Hira
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 🙂
Traditional yet modern!
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!
Fish , O Fish !
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.
Where is my phone?
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 !
Welcome to Fulguri 🙂
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Who said that – Need no introduction.
Well, My name is Himadri. It is the name of middle range of Himalaya’s and it means peak covered in snow .When my son was born , I spent countless hours on net searching for a perfect name for him… Me , my husband , my sis-in-law , my close family everyone 🙂
A perfect name – which must have a good meaning , which goes well with family name , which would still mean good if shorten , which does not sound like a name from 1947! , which cannot be mis-spelled , which starts from A so his name will be first in list (:)) , which does not rhyme with any stupid brand/product/celebrity , which sounds good ,which is not so common , which is short not too long , which will keep both sides of grandparent’s happy , which has a good origin , which is modern and no parent is named such ….the list is really long . Some have longer when they add – must be the name of God and ends with “appa”!
Then again, am lucky to be married to a muslim coz muslim only have one name. I (born Hindu) have 1 .. wait 3 names ! Some have 5 names and each name should be according to the perfect list. So now you know the fact – Indian’s name is perhaps difficult but is backed by count less sleepless nights of our parents.
One of my friend with twins had horrible nightmares over naming his children ! He took hmm may be 6 months to come with name for final naming ceremony but was not yet satisfied with them.
Now coming to the point here , let’s go to far far away kingdom . Czech Republic. My company has office there , so I have one very good friend and plenty of acquaintance . Czech is a place where beer is cheaper than water , where people are named either Tomas , Marek , Pavel or Jan , so it’s a country of indefinite loop of ….
Disclaimer : I love Czech , haven’t been there , but have heard and known so much that am really hoping to visit it soon. am not making any fun of anyone’s name here .. It’s just an observation. Do you have same feeling?
Yeah , they have taken Shakespeare famous quote very very seriously. What’s in the name ? Everyone is either named Tomas or Marek or Pavel or Jan.. at least most of the name I know ! Gonna be a parent , what’s the worry – check your neighbour and name your child the next name in line .So I can imagine street with name Tomas , Marek , Pavel , Jan and the cycle repeats itself!
Tomas did not know the meaning of his name , he never bothered to check .. What’s in the name attitude 🙂 Imagine life is so easy for new parent there .. isn’t it. Indians will definitely agree, Yeah ! this is so easy .. no misspelling – you know all the probable name spelling , how can you go wrong with spelling 4 names .
On the other hand , hmm
I wonder how to call out for someone in a crowd .. I say “Tomas” and 20 people will turn around – “Yes ?” 🙂 But then again – where will you find a crowd in Czech – ask an Indian !
Be careful to send message to the right Tomas – Tomas Slivka not Tomas Horak . Slivka is friend and Horak is boss .. dont want to upset boss !
This one always confuses me Marek Reha – Doesnt Reha sound like firstname , yes isn’t it , but it’s last name – as corrected to me by many at several times, but listen to this one – Marek Liolias – now suddenly here Marek suits as first name .
Jan – is not Jan like the month , but “yan” – J is pronounced as Y. This is really good name coz add one more a to already one there and it means “life” in Hindi literally but is used in a romantic context always – You are my “Jaan” .. Thank goodness I have no immediate colleague as Jan
Have seen sometimes on discovery -Someone named “Jan” built something in Prague in 1335 ! hmmm Jan name is antique piece. Its very very old. He can sell it for millions !
Re-Usability at its best , can not give you a better example. Enter Pavel in my office lync communicator – shows only first 50 names , it leaves the rest hmm I dont know . many Pavel’s for next 🙂
Well , Moral of the story – What’s in the name anyways – I love Tomas and will like to hug him tight for free when we meet, whatever be his name coz he is a cool Czech , like most of others there 🙂
PS : Tom , Dick and Harry – Ordinary people ? Really ? Seriously ? wth ! is wrong with Dick’s parent’s – why would anyone name their child Dick !
PPS : My husband name is Abdul Rahim , bro-in-law – Abdul Hassan and father-in-law – Abdul Khader – Re-usability at not its best , but still count!
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.