Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

That Little Old Woman

Copyright: Sandra Cook

Genre: Fiction
Word Count:107

It was a long drive on a rickety bus, traveling through the steep curves overlooking the never-ending expanse of tea gardens. I am only here for a day to meet my grandma, and then I will bid adieu to this small town for greener pastures.

I made my way through the lonely stretch to reach the stable where she would be milking cows— her daily ritual. Her wrinkled face lit up as she saw me, I reached out to her and she hugged me tight.  

That night, I lay on the heap of hay stack gazing the stars consumed by the thought of her holding onto me.

This is written as part of the Friday Fictioneers Challenge – Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. Today’s prompt is the above picture.

Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Blues

How on earth is it last Monday of February? Weren’t we shouting Happy New Year few days back? Woah!!

I love putting mommy's bindi

See, I look so pretty as a girl

It's Sunday
Mom, stop taking pictures will you!

So today is Monday, the most difficult day of the week. Leaving Aurko for work is hardest on Monday, not that it is easy any other day but on Mondays its extra difficult as we spend the weekend almost glued together.  Long time back I use to take Mondays as a clean slate—a time of renewal I use to say to myself! But motherhood has put a stop to that in past 1 year. Although I am striving to go back to that state of mind again and take Monday as a fresh start to the week and look forward to achieve what I missed last week. My little man is 18 months old and on the brink of leaving his babyhood behind. You have any idea how it feels? It feels weird, I don't remember him being a baby now! He is growing so fast and I am trying to grapple the changes and store it in my memory for ever. He is learning  new skills everyday and it's becoming hard to remember his all firsts. I want to learn that from him -- learn to be inquisitive. Every day is a new day be it Monday or Sunday, and I just want to start afresh and rejoice the fact that I am sailing along in the path called life with some of the most amazing people around who make my days and nights crazy yet perfect in a sweet way.

Monday, June 18, 2012

R.I.P: Mehandi Hassan

Ranjish hi sahi, dil hi dukhane
ke liye aa,
Aa phir se mujhe chhod ke jaane 
ke liye aa....

Mehdi Hassan, the famous ghazal singer passed away yesterday at the age of 84 and with him the curtain came down on the Dhrupad-style of ghazal gayaki. Though I don't claim to have heard him a lot, me being of an age where ghazal was a genre which was limited to sad, melancholic moments of hero, heroine of Bollywood. I know some of my colleagues and heard many celebrity claiming being obsessed by his songs. My knowledge of Ghazal has always remained limited to the likes of Jagjit Singh (another famous singer who passed away few months back) and Ghulam Ali, I can't help feeling sad about his demise and the void it created in Ghazal gayiki.

The heart rendering lyrics of the above lines are truly touching!

Tag: Songs, Singers, Maetros, Ghazal, India, Pakistan, Mehndi Hassan

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition 2011

Phew, just called it a day in office and no swimming for me today as it's TGIF.  Anyways my real reason of jotting down my thoughts today is this awesome Scripps National Spelling bee finale, 2011, that I saw last night ( If you have no clue about Scripps check it out here ) and boy I loved itttttt! I have been following Scripps ever since my school days. Many a times I'd secretly imitated being a  participant, asking questions like " May I have the Origin please? or "Are their any alternate pronunciation?". The whole idea of knowing a word to the core might be alien to us Indians, but seems its not so alien to US kids of Indian origin, they are rocking the US soil with their dominance. ( Why can't the Government of India raise the bar of primary education in India). The participants spelled words as difficult as "Prospicience, Pococurante, Appoggiatura, Laodicean, I haven't heard any of them let alone spell it. And these all are the winning words spelled by Indian kids over the year in the Scripps. Out of the 13 finalist last night, 6 of them where Indian. Sukanya Roy eventually went ahead to win the competition. The world is going ga-ga over Indian intellect, we have 9 Scripps winners in past 13 years and this was the fourth consecutive win for Indian Kid. The stat shows it all. How I wish I could seize a little time from my schedule to learn the nuances of words. I think one has to start early if they want to develop a niche. It also depends on how good your primary education is. The spelling bee is a competition I can place over the French Open. We also have a Spelling Bee small level competition in Metros but the level is too pathetic to compete with it's US counterpart. This competition made me remember my school days. I had a swell time watching it after so many years.

P.S : The picture is of Sukanya Roy, her winning word was “cymotrichous.” which means wavy hair. How about that for some hair raising ending. I was almost breathless with happiness and jumped up with joys at 2.30 am all alone amongst the sleeping In-laws & a snoring husband.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The other day Mommy (she is with us for another week) and me sat watching Dhobi Ghat ( movie ), and I just loved it. The whole point of me jotting down this blog today is not centered around the movie but few blink and miss songs played on it. When Aamir Khan was painting away his blues in the movie, in the background one can hear a subtle Tappa, Dadra, Thumari  playing. (For those who have no clue about what I am talking, Tappa, Dadra, Thumari are dominant genre of Hindustani Classical). Though I am very much a novice in Hindustani classical, my knowledge is mostly restricted to Rock n Roll and Country Music, having heard this genre took me to a different planet altogether. While watching Dhobi Ghat I got intrigued by the songs in the back ground. My mum said the singer probably is Girija Devi. Though I am still not sure about it. Ever since that day I am  incessantly listening about it. On Saturday morning, I woke up to my  Mother's version of banshee screaming, she read out the news paper to me saying, Girija Devi is in Delhi for some Music Festival. Pronto, I grapped the phone, asked few people for the passes. It turned  to be the famous Shankarlal  Musical Festival, dedicated to the memory of Pandit Bhim Sen Joshi, and the performance included Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Rahul Sharma, Rajan Sajan Brothers as well as Girija Devi. It took me a second to convince my Dad about joining us ( Dad just had his eye operation, I thought he will be reluctant to go), and Mrinal as usual had no choice but give in to the demands of married life. So sharp at 5:30 we left for Kamani Auditorium and saw one of the greatest concert of my life. Girija Devi sat among her disciple who where 1/4th her age and the audience were simply awestruck by the melody she presented. After seeing her performing for 1:30 hours she has a fan in my for life. The songs included lots of Kajri, (Kajri- means black-rainy clouds explaining the pathos of separated lovers). I am still taking baby steps, so don't hold my words for it, as I am only two weeks old. But would love to get into this deep lost world of Gharanas, and a music which has become so relevant to me in such a short period. Nowadays I love waking up to the sound of Raagas, hope this is not just a passing phase. The evening was more special because I saw it in the company of the three most important persons of my life. My Parents and Mrinal.

Disclaimer: The songs played in Dhobi Ghat may or may-not be Girija Devi's. But it seemed like her, my Mommy felt the same. And I stuck to it, at least it introduced me to this whole genre of music.

P.S. The first picture is of Girija Devi, along with her many students and great grand sons. The second picture is Me along with my Mommy, the fourth picture is of Rahul Sharma and Ram Kumar Mishra, the former is a Famous Santoor player and son of Shiv Kumar Sharma, later, is one of the India's eminent Tabla player. The last picture is of Me & Mrinal.  

Mumpi you were highly missed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bong Connection !!

I'd few funny experience in my last Kolkata trip. Firstly, let me clarify I am a hardcore bong girl and I take great pride in my bangaliyana. Recently, I went to Kolkata for my cousin's wedding after and we (me & hubby) were very excited, as it was our 1st trip to Kolkata together after marriage. My last trip was on Feb 2007 with my friends, and boy was that fun. This trip was special as I was going there for the first time after my marriage and meeting with my side of the big fat family after ages. Yes, I love this old fashioned city named Kolkata, right from the intriguing salesman, chaiwallas,  Jhhalmudiwala to the trams, taxis, filthy roads, Ganga, Howrah Bridge, I love everything about this place. Like they say, people make the place, have a tete-te-tet with any of the locals and you'll understand the meaning of satire, humour, quirky, tight-upper lip, straight face comedy and what not, they all are hardcore humorist (or maybe leftist), but they'll make you laugh your ass off.

One afternoon, while we were roaming around, we decided to take a haath rickshaw ride, so I went upto this rickshawala, who was obviously taking a nap, I called him and asked him for a ride, in response he gave me one of those dhutth chhai, disgruntled look and muttered "dekhte parchen na ami ghumochhi"(Can't you see I am sleeping). I was left agog with surprise, that he is more keen on sleeping than earning few bucks was actually shocking for me. I couldn't help laughing at his laziness. But in retrospect I realised, for some people it's not always about the money, that doesn't always includes the rich. Another ingrained quality that bongs have is their love for literature, they might be bathing in the pond but they'll know all the verses of Shakespeare, they know all the Tagore's poetry by heart, their chest swells with pride for Satyajit ray, they will teach their any form of art, be it dance/ music/ painting/ drama/ poetry/ recitation and they love to flaunt the fish they eat. Hilsa, chingri, papda always makes a good topic of conversation. And I've not yet started writing about their love for politics or football.

Their no frills attitude keeps them grounded, they don't have a religious bone in their body, they believe in celebration. They celebrate the Goddess, and  indulge in building the biggest, grandest of pandal and pomp and show. They rather have a good time than keep praying and asking for all the materialistic cravings from God. A steamer ride in Ganges was in my "to do" list this time. We took the ride on one of those rickety boat, with some tourist and some locals, the tranquility of the setting sun and us on a boat to oblivion will remain on my mind forever. We went to Belur Math to see the evening prayer, it was once in a life time experience, the chanting and echo of the prayer was something I've never experienced. The blog will be incomplete without a mention about the food that Kolkata has to offer, a Rs.20 road side Mughlai Parantha, with chunks of chicken will put Karims to shame, and that too for such a price, this would've cost me 250 bucks in Delhi and that to for half the taste. The charm of paranthewali gali in old Delhi will look lame compared to this. You can have a huge fish cutlet for Rs.3, tea for Rs.2 after every hour, and I'am still talking about street food here. They equally have the finesse of fine dining, offering gourmet delights for the ever experimenting bengalis. Have a stroll around the Park Street, have breakfast at Flurys or Chelo Kebab at  Peter Cat, the food that Kolkata has to offer is vast, delectable and scrumptious. But the real prized-possession of that place are the priceless people.

Survival of the fittest as they say, but you will see the happiest bunch of smiling people, doing what makes life more richer i.e, eating the best, learning the best, living the best, instead of running after money in this so called busy but mundane life. The pride of the bhhodrolok is something to be proud of. I salute the spirit of the rickshawala who put his sleep first than a few bucks. As for me, I think I'll always remain a girl fascinated by a big city.

TAGS: Kolkata, Belur Math, Flurys, Peter Cat, Delhi, Karims, Ganges, Satyajit Ray, Rickshaw

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jhumpa Lahiri

After badgering myself for past 12 hours about being a lazy-bone,  I am writing this blog. I didn't even peeped here for sometime, didn't even wanted to cause my reading habits have started over shadowing my writing ones. I've become obsessed with reading now a days. I am turning into this online reading junkie who cannot have enough of it. My eyes are straining  like hell and I am spending half of my salary either on books or eye drops. I am writing about this particular one because I've to get this book out of my system. I read Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth almost two months back and I am still stuck with it like a teenager's first love. I've read all her novels, needless to say how much I love her writing. I just cannot get her narration out of my head. It's addictive & simple & profounding, like watching porn as a kid and not been able to get it out of head. I went to Turtle Cafe, few months ago, bought this book and read the last story right away. I know Ms Lahiri's writing is evidently about Bengali Diaspora. The little nuances of her writing creates a kind of belonging one gets from being at peace with oneself. She paints such a beautiful pictures with her words that it stays with you for long, almost like it happened in your life. I felt this same ache when I read Interpreters of Maladies. She ignited the same emotion with The Namesake. She has done it all over again with this one. I started this book from the last story 'Hema And Kaushik'. I have not read it after that one time, I didn't dare to because it was too poignant. Such was her storytelling. It is a masterpiece. Other day I  watched 'The Namesake' again, I'd the most intense & profounding cinematic experience. If Jhumpa Lahiri is a genius, so is Mira Nair.

Excerpts from the book:

Unaccustomed Earth

"He owned an expensive camera that required thought before you pressed the shutter, and I quickly became his favorite subject, round-faced, missing teeth, my thick bangs in need of a trim. They are still the pictures of myself I like best, for they convey that confidence of youth I no longer possess, especially in front of a camera." 

The Third and Final Continent from Interpreters of Maladies.

I wanted somehow to explain this to Mrs. Croft, who was still scrutinizing Mala from top to toe with what seemed to be placid disdain. I wondered if Mrs. Croft had ever seen a woman in a sari, with a dot painted on her forehead and bracelets stacked on her wrists. I wondered what she would object to. I wondered if she could see the red dye still vivid on Mala's feet, all but obscured by the bottom edge of her sari. At last Mrs. Croft declared, with the equal measures of disbelief and delight I knew well:
"She is a perfect lady!"
Now it was I who laughed. I did so quietly, and Mrs. Croft did not hear me. But Mala had heard, and, for the first time, we looked at each other and smiled.