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.
Not by me.I prefer airlines, airports, long waits but no long drives. Guess am more of a destination person than the journey.
Anyhow, what I don’t do, my husband does. I think he knows I won’t come, and hence THE PLAN. A trip on his Royal Enfield Thunderbird to the world’s highest motorable road
Husband: Let’s go to Leh on our bike…
Me : No way, am not coming.
Husband (sounding sad): okay, guess I will have to go ALONE then. I was planning for 15 days, have booked my tickets to Delhi already.
He must be dancing in his head, away from home for 15 days in the mountains with his precious Thunderbird! Did I hear his humming already?
Whatever. Am still not a destination person. Plus someone has to take care of 5-year-old little super-hero at home. Leh is seriously beautiful and we have visited it together in our honeymoon. Huge mountains, beautiful landscape and lovely people.
See for yourself. Isn’t it awesome?
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.