Scene : Dinner time , no chicken , no fish , not every egg. Okra fry and Indian bread. My life sucks!
Suddenly , I feel a pain in my heart. OMG ! Am I having a heart attack?
My head tries to focus on food , trying best to relish it , but my heart has given up. So you see “the” heart attack.
This is how blabbing goes…
I have always felt pain and sorry for vegans. I mean , what do you get to eat as vegetarians? I see them jumping at paneer dish , craving for chole-batura.
Oh my ! What a pity …Have they ever tasted keema rolls??
Head : .. You seriously can’t be saying this ?
No , no , I do. really. With all my heart , I feel for them. A good vegan food is an oxymoron.
Head: Oh C’ON , veggie is good.
I know I should not be saying this on a public post , I will get backlash from all my vegan fan following..Sign! Not to mention my vegan friends.
Head: fan? Do you mean the ceiling fan ….. ha ha ha I mean this is your best joke ever!
Ignoring head , he is a nut….
Head: You are confused again, I am you , your head. I cannot be He. Wrong pronoun lady. Again!
How can you be Me, you just advocated for vegans!
Head: You do know capsicum is your favourite. You like Began ka bharta and Aloo pitika is the best mashed potato in the world!
So, I have few favourite. But I cannot live on veg alone , I mean I need chicken , egg or fish.
My refrigerator needs protein , and so does my stomach.
My liver needs to filter some chicken soup and my eyes are looking out for surmai fish , covered with semolina , soaked in masala , ting of lemon juice, cooked slowly on a pan with mustard oil . Aaah !
I hate my dinner . And my vegan friends , I will show some solidarity and be happy and jump at paneer butter masala , but my true love will always be ..
Head (to his fans vegan fans ) : This is not my heart!
Click on one of these and receive a plate full of fish fry. I promise.
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 bored of eating , eating the same vegetarian diet day after day , night after night.
Am not pure vegan , neither my husband , but we are I am the most laziest couple person on planet earth. Laziness supersede all other love , even love for good food. We I can’t get our my ass off our house to buy meat, to order online. (PS: Asked my husband to edit and he strikes out “we” to “I” , but trust me , it is we as team lazy ..)
It’s been more than 2 weeks since … the fragrance , the sound , the touch , the physical presence of chicken plate, It still lingers in my mouth and keep me awake on lonely nights. Everything reminds me of it. I look at moon and think why cant it be like chicken leg. I look at flowers and think why cant it be fragnant as chicken curry.
I rage for you , my body aches for you.. to be specific stomach , watering tongue , and the Mademoiselle Pallate.
Oh dear lord , hey bhagwan , Allah! Am in love with chicken.
Am missing it so much.
Aaah , my heart aches even to write fish. Or when my son sings the rhyme of fish “Machli jal ki rani hai”. I should code-name it something else , as well teach my son another rhyme. So my poor heart can be happy. Henceforth , no fish but hsif.
Now , some of your will be think , What rubbish. Am vegan and am quite good without meat.
If you answered Yes to this , please go to nearest doctor and get your eyes checked out.
What?! Eyes , why ?
Still not clear why ? Proves me right , no fish means no good eyesight AND no brains.
Am bored. I know I have said this like 100 times already for you to read , but I hope I have made by point clear – am really really bored of eating vegan diet in past 2 weeks, bored to death, eating is not fun like before.
Heck, even my fridge is complaining . “Do you remember party at Somjit ? Fridge at his place had a kilo of basa fish and a kilo of chicken and perhaps more meat jam-packed into freezer and look what do I have – Ice”.
Fridge is right , it need protein. Protein that comes from fish. Am thinking Salmon and Chicken and Surmai , pomphret , rohu and mince meat.
Am bored. So when I had to cook vegan again, specifically this below , I said enough.
I refused to create any usual vegetable. At least , lemme spice it up. But I will not waste time cutting it up into bite size pieces. To hell with bite size ,like it is gonna make bite size coccinia into chicken. I will just cut it into half and cook. That is my bite size.
It’s just co-incidence , both starts from “C”. Chicken or coccinia or cundro (In hindi , should start with C , but ..
Anyways – here is a dish for your boring vegan days , tip for broken heart and stomach -From -another green eating rotten stomach.
Steps to follow… after cutting each one into half.
(1) Look at leftover , Do you think anything will get along with this?
(2) Nothing . Look again ?
(3) Al rite ,look at sauce compartment. Anything? for the love of looking .. pls look harder. I cannot cut onion and tomato paste to make elaborate masala.
(4) Got it – chutney , peatnut chutney , leftover from Dosa yesterday. It is just simple roasted peanut , powdered spice and two rounds in grinder with a bit of water.
(5) Add a tomato and fry it a little . That should be step 5.
(6) Next add the chutney directly to the pot along with tomato and coccinia.
PS : This is the exact moment when my husband reminded that I should have cooked chutney a little before adding it and that it is a bad choice coz it sticks to pan and I need to stir it constantly now . If only he was present during step 1.
Aaah ! Too late.
(7) It sticks to pan , but remember pan-stick-gravy is always tasty. So praise the lord and continue the stir. Add all powdered spice like Salt , Coriander , Turmeric. And then I added those white and black seeds for looks only!
(8) Sorry – keep stirring . Try not to curse ALL vegetables on planet earth. We need vitamins and minerals for good skin and hair. Stir ,else it might stick to pan like below.
(9) By now , I was bored of stirring , bored of cooking a vegeterian dish. I mean, what the hell it is not like am stirring continuously from last 10 minutes to cook chicken curry?! It is not magically transform into chicken or fish curry ? Will it.
Screw it. Add water. Lots of water.
(10) Close the pot , simmer the heat and go watch “Street Food” on TLC or read blog.
No wait. I have to get ready for office and get Adi ready for school. Forget about chicken.
(11) After a while , check on pot. End was not so bad , I will say. The lunch was a semi success 🙂
PS: That was on Monday , Today is Sunday and I bought – 2 Surmai and a packet of mince meat . My stomach is happy , So I completed this post 🙂
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.