Showing posts with label photo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photo. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2018

A date with a rainy day

Today has been a non yielding day in more ways than one. No work (pre decided holiday which had nothing to do with the forecast), no chores, no writing and nothing at all precisely. All through the day I found myself utterly silly doing nothing but jibing on the long to do list that I was supposed to tick off by this weekend.

It all started in a happy note when I woke up to a beautiful toned down sun. My nephew turned twelve today and we were overwhelmed by the fact is he is already there. The sky gotten absolutely dark by seven in the morning. The wind was rapturous and almost swept the palm trees to the ground and sometimes on the other side to the wall.

I couldn't hold myself back and started musing as I used to as a child. 'Mashi', our cook, passed me the second cup of steaming black tea which I found still holding after many minutes. I was completely contained in the scene. An euphoria that failed me in recent times. I have developed this crafty little thing recently that helps me barter all the liberating things (very conveniently) with erratic work hours, back logs, inundations and other ilks. But on other occasions I find myself procrastinating on the same stuffs! It's funny how I have become an ace on making excuses these days.

So, several minutes later I decided to do something productive. This was when the phone rang and I indulged in an engaging chat session with my sister. Much recharging that was, I decided to clear off the remnants of the recent repair work and discovered a wee leak on the staircase faucet from the recent drilling of the electric work. This discovery (although it was actually 'mashi's') was the only tangible achievement of the day.

Around this time, the lovely little girl showed up. She is the daughter of our house help who accompanies her mother and sits through as her mother helps us with the chores. I fondled the little one for a while. Meanwhile the rain almost flooded the balcony and the plants were cleansed of all the grime. Loved the green color on them today. So supple, full and so green.

Rain never quite stopped today and I had to come inside as it started to get really dark by six in the evening. And to my surprise, my mom decided to prepare khichuri (a mix of rice and lentils in equal portion in mostly running consistency) - the ultimate rain food for the bengalis. What better end could have been to a perfect rainy day! Khichuri, dim bhaja (omlette), ghee (clarified butter), achar (pickles) and papad (poppadam)! Heaven!

To end this memoir I would like to share an open birthday note that I wrote to my nephew earlier in the day hoping that he would understand what I meant many years later when he actually grows up.

Dearest Golubabu,

Happy 12th birthday from all of us here. Did we tell that we love you so so much and will do so no matter what! (you are giggling, right?) 

The day you learn to forego minecraft, morse code, roblox etc. and understand that life is as good otherwise we will cherish your growing up more. You have such big heart. Aka and you are appreciative of nature and animals more than any of us in the family. Be kind, be curious. Grow your own plants at home, nourish them, touch them, see them grow each day. Kindness is beautiful and sharing your little acts will attract more such. Do share whenever and wherever and inspire us with your brilliant ideas.

Meanwhile here we are going to cherish your growing up like never before. 

Much love, 

Photo copyright: MouD

You may also like:

Khichuri - the ultimate rain food for the bengalis

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Of Janmashtami, Malpuas, family tradition and more

Janmashtami (Janmashtomi) is one festival that we look forward to ever since the childhood days. It was the time we would have our house wrapped in some undefined joy of festivity. Janmashtami is celebrated all over India in the month of August/September and on the eighth day of the Hindu calendar. The birthday of lord Krishna is a very special occasion for the Hindus. They consider Him as their savior, philosopher, friend, lover and everything that is human, everything that is Godly.

The festival has transcended beautifully over the years and today I see it with much love since that is the time we are fondly reminded of our Dida (grandmother). She was a lady of strong integrity and was revered by one and all. She never forced the ritualistic regime. That probably is the reason that we have learned to imbibe the true fervor of the festivals in their entirety. It was never forced, it was never too much of something that we would have detested later in lives. We never detested it nor did we regret later. It was probably because of the values that were instilled upon us very subtly.  

We have grown up seeing the grandeur of family tradition while celebrating Janmashtami. At the wake of dawn, my grandma would immerse the idols of lord Krishna and Radha (his muse) a lavish milk and ghee bath, deck them with new clothes and ornaments and start the puja (religious rituals). The food offerings included assortments of seasonal fruits, our own home made sweets made for this occasion alone, Bhog – a special rice and pulses mixed food, rice polao, luchis (puris), kheer (condensed milk with rice), 8 different types of fries made from 8 different vegetables, other special vegetables side dishes, sweet and sour chutnis/ pickles and whole savory of sweets. Having said that, Janmashtami is never complete without Taler Bora and Malpua for these are supposedly lord Krishna's favorite sweets.

Our role was not more than just hopping around eating all the goodies. I particularly liked the occasion since I was not told to study that day, something that happened very very seldom. Things have changed since. We have grown up, my sisters have relocated to different countries, and my grandma is no more. But some things never change, I still live in the same old house and we still have the more than a century old Krishna and Radha idols along with the legacy that my grandma has left behind. Today i see my mother doing everything that she has grown up seeing her mother do, and I on my part still enjoy the Bhog, Malpua, Sweets etc. 

Coming to the special Janmashtami Bengali sweet savory, Malpua needs special mention. It is one savory that every other household celebrating the festival will prepare and needless to say every household has its own Malpua recipe. My mother has hers and I have mine. I have streamlined on the ingredients and made the recipe much easier and faster to cater to my taste and time.

What is Malpua

Malpua is an Indian delectable dessert much similar to sweet round pancake dipped in sugar syrup. It’s a gourmet’s delight. To prepare them you will need easily available kitchen ingredients. The ingredients will be available in almost every store round the corner.


Milk (8 cups)
Condensed milk (2 cups)
Water (2 cups)
Sugar (3 cups)
Fennel seeds (1 tablespoon)
Refined flour (3 cups)
Rose essence (1 teaspoon) - my addition
Clarified butter/ Ghee/ white oil (1 cups)
½ teaspoon of cardamom powder (optional)
Few strands of saffron strands (optional)
Silvered almonds and pistachios to garnish (optional)

Preparing the sugar syrup

Prepare a sugar syrup of single thread consistency. Add 1 tsp of rose essence and a few strand of saffron. Set aside to cool.

Preparing the batter for the Malpua

Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling till it reduces to half. Set aside and wait till it cools down.
Sieve the refined flour and add it slowly to the reduced milk. Keep stirring to avoid the lump formation. Stir well and stir continuously.

Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir to attain a smooth consistency of pancake.
Add fennel seeds and cardamom powder to the batter.


Heat the ghee (clarified butter) on thick bottomed frying pan and pour the batter in a blob in the center to form small pancakes. Wait till the sides turn golden brown. Turn over and wait for the side to cook till it gets golden brown.

Dip the Malpuas in the rose sugar syrup and let it sip the juice.


Remove the Malpuas before serving and drain on a wire rack to drip the excess syrup. Dish them out delicately on a flat platter, garnish with chopped dry fruits.

And that's Malpua for you!

Note to yourself

With all those goodies, Malpua is, no doubt, a guilt food. Nonetheless you can indulge in it once in a while since it's irresistible. 

Image copyright: Mimpi

Friday, June 21, 2013

The day that was at ST Xavier's College, Calcutta

It had rained heavily yesterday and I thought of postponing my visit to St Xaviers College to visit the Fathers. I specially wanted to see Fr Mani who is not keeping well of late. Brother Chintamoni, a very special person in my life wanted to come down to my workplace to take me with him. It was thoughtful of him indeed since it was raining cats and dogs. I somehow convinced Brother not to come with the promise of visiting him if the rain had stopped. It did. Later in the evening, around 4 pm, the rain stopped leaving the city with water everywhere. e to take me with him. It was thoughtful of him indeed since it was raining cats and dogs.

My visit to St Xaviers was long pending. So, I did wish for the rain to stop. Happy and wet, I walked up to the next block to get a cab. It was very messy outside and a cab driver finally came to my rescue. The road was full of traffic, water and murkiness and the cab finally dropped me in front of one of the metro gates and charged some extra bucks which I agreed to pay. I was already running late and did not want to waste more time. Brother was waiting for me. His worried face soon transformed and he gave me his signature smile. He greeted me with lots of sweets, chocolates and warmth as always.

From there we went to see Fr Mani who was reclining in the library of the infirmary watching TV. I met Fr Neol, Fr Bruylants and 65 novice students in the corridor. Fr Noel was having his evening walk and was delighted to see me and we exchanged some old jokes. Finally, I arrived at the infirmary. Fr Mani and another Father were watching a movie in AXN. I smiled at Father Mani and  he smiled back. It was a smile full of apprehensions. 
Before I proceed further, I should tell you more about Father Mani. Father Mani is a beautiful person. The kind of person who always exudes love, happiness and a person who is funny in his own ways. 
Till the day before yesterday, I knew him to be always like that. He was also the minister in charge of the important portfolio of SJ. When I met him last, he was fit and fine. However, a few days ago, he had an emergency when he got dizzy, nearly fell and had a paralytic attack. Later, he was diagnosed with brain hemorrhage. It felt horrible to see him like that - down and depressed. I would always like to see him as the hale and hearty person that he was.

Feeling bad and helpless, I returned soon after with a heavy heart. Get well soon Fr Mani. You are in my prayers.Your true spirit is being missed and we all love you.

Also read:

My rendevous with ST Xavier's College, Calcutta

Image: (C) MouD

Monday, May 7, 2012

Snack on with healthy and yummy aloo chat

One of my favorite lunch box food while in office is aloo chat or aloo kabli, as we Bengalis call it fondly. I just love it, so much so that it has become my favorite workplace snacks now. I have also managed to inspire my colleagues to snack on it as well and in no time one of my colleagues volunteered to take up the elaborate task of preparing aloo kabli in office. He is a pro now and I am so proud of him.  

Aloo kabli is a popular street food of Calcutta and the people of city love it all round the year. Enriched with vitamins, carbs, protein and vitamin C etc. it is a wonderful all time snacks and it is healthy too. The best part - it's so much fun when eaten together with friends and loved ones. I have tried to prepare aloo kabli at home, several times, and I have understood one simple fact. It's but impossible to make perfect aloo kabli like the aloo kabliwalas do. It's an art that's not taught in B schools but requires years of hands on experience, sometimes passed on from one gen to the next and so on. So, if you are still tempted to make a decently done aloo chat at home you will need some very common kitchen ingredients. These should be hand picked with much love (the most important ingredient). 

For aloo kabli you will need:

Cut boiled potatoes
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped onions
Chopped green chillis
Ginger julienne
Chopped coriander leaves
Fresh lime juice
Sprouted chana (chickpea) soaked overnight
Tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
Bhujia (optional)
Roasted peanuts

And then you will need a very special masala (spicemix) nicely roasted and ground:

Red chili

Toss all the ingredients together, very nicely, till the masala blends into the potatoes and you are done! For aloo chat you can also add variety of other stuffs like yogurt, pomegranates, sprouted green dal, grapes, muri (puffed rice) etc. I love aloo kabli more than aloo chat and it has to be only with potatoes, green chillis, coriander leaves, onion, tomatoes and chickpeas tossed with lot of tamarind water. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My rendevous with ST Xavier's College, Calcutta

Life is a little more beautiful, a little more happy because of some people who come in our lives as angels and tie ribbons of happiness around them. Today has been one such day in my life. It was a break from the monotonous log in and log out from the office. Little did I realize that it would be so much fun and blissful when Brother Chinamoni of ST Xavier’s, Calcutta had invited me to his place a few days ago. This was not the first time though, but somehow it didn’t materialize. Blame it on my procrastination. He had been equally persuasive every time. I was a fool. It became apparent today when I stepped inside the hallmark premises of the prestigious ST Xavier’s college. He walked me through the sprawling corridors and conspicuous dormitories of the heritage building. Holiday season had made it easier.
To begin with, our destination was the third floor where the not so well fathers live. Brother Chinta takes care of the ill fathers.

It’s a nice set up with basic medical equipments to facilitate immediate domiciliary aid for the semi-ambulatory staffs before they are shifted to the major city hospitals. Fr Abello and Fr Mongal Das, who are stably ill longterm, are being taken care of by Brother China, sisters and doctor there only.
As we strolled along the beautiful corridors, through the mellowed orange sun, I tried to delay the moment to breathe and frame it forever. I saw septuagenarian Fr Noel, who has had put in permanent pacemaker recently waving at me. He was looking absolutely fit even with those small fidgety steps. I waved back.

I virtually went into every corner of the college and breathed the historical bricks. The College was founded in 1860 under the leadership of Fr Depelchin. The college campus is located at Park Street, Kolkata. It is now the first and only autonomous college in Calcutta. Bro Chinta, a true Jesuit, told me many stories - the stories of the hardships during pre-novice and novice period. How he spent 18 long days without a penny in his pocket yet never slept without food. He told me about the college, school, plans, projects his family. In between, I got the opportunity to chat with Fr George who has been stationed to Malta recently and not liking it at all. It was great talking to Fr George after so long.

The dining hall is big, just as it was expected, with round, considerable Victorian tables. We self served ourselves. Today’s menu was courtesy Bro Mani whose family is visiting him. The meat was delectable and so was the vegetable. I couldn’t eat all that was served. Bro Mani’s mother made fun of me. Brother Chinta is a small eater - 2 chappatis, one serving of the vegetables, fish and yogurt. He doesn’t eat sweets after he’s been detected with diabetes. He is not on med but maintains a stern lifestyle for he believes in healthy living more than anything else. He’s been doing well whatsoever.

Post lunch was beautiful with the sunset sun, oranges, cakes, tea and snacks, and more stories. We visited the nursery thereafter. The aquarium was small but nicely maintained. I couldn’t meet the 35 year old tortoise. He was happily hiding somewhere. The sun had mellowed down considerably. Having received lots of goodies from Brother, I had to leave St Xavier’s. I bade goodbye to the Rector Father, Fr Gaston Roberge, Fr Saju, Sebastian and a few others. I looked for Fr Noel, but he couldn't be found, neither in the corridors nor in his room.

And as I held the little Buddha statuette - the parting gift from Bro I looked back to have a glance for one last time. I saw Brother Chinta silhouetted against the setting sun, like an angel, against the Jesuits' building. An angel, who made my day so special, made me feel special and gave me much honor and love. I am going to cherish this day forever.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cutting down trees in the name of fire safety code

In a country where the fire department is inadequately equipped and inefficiently administered, it would be sheer foolishness to expect the medical and para medical staffs to perform the strictures of fire norms with finesse. The recent Calcutta AMRI fire opened up a new facet along with the callousness of the civil society. After a series of unhealthy, 'beeped' blaming game, the fire services are now geared up to inspect the top hospitals in the city. They have put forth innumerable points and have given narrow deadlines for the NOCs.

The hospitals have set up appreciable efforts with the trainings and the mock fire drills and to meet the fire codes. The approach roads are too narrow, there is no fire evacuation plan, the buildings do not have even ramps, no proper hose system - all are being taken care off. However, it's dis-heartening to see the people (visitors, patients) laughing at it. The civil society today is more concerned with others shortcomings, failures than theirs.

All said and little done, it feels killing to see the age old, beautiful, shady trees being chopped off in the name of upgradation of fire safety fire norms, and yesterday as I looked through my office window I heard the heart throbbing chirpings of the evening birds as the beautiful trees being cut to death.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Five brown eggs and Happy Easter

Five Brown Eggs

Five brown eggs in a nest of hay,
One yellow chick popped out to play.
Four brown eggs in a nest of hay,
Another yellow chick cheep-cheeped Good day.
Three brown eggs in a nest of hay,
Crack went another one, Hip hooray.
Two brown eggs in a nest of hay,
One more chick pecked his shell away.
One brown egg in a nest of hay,
The last yellow chick popped out to say,
Happy Easter!

Poem (C): .nurseryrhymes4u

Photo (C): MouD

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Dawn to Dusk

The two most beautiful moments in life are the dawn and the dusk. Both are similar, with the same kind of mellowness, but they bring in different kind of feelings. One the beginning and another the end. Both have mesmerizing beauty and an overwhelming presence. Both are precious and magical yet so different, unique and individualistic!

“Don’t look so sad, it’s not so bad, you know.
It’s just another night. That’s all it is.”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chili Fish: Mom's style to spice up the day!

Today was one of those days when you get an unexpected off from work and like to spend me-time to the fullest. The holiday season is on and what could be a better day to celebrate it. With the rains still drizzling and the sky accentuated with the sun and cloud, lazing around was the only and unanimous option.

Mom sneaked into my room early in the morn as she usually do and waited for the nod over the menu she decided instantly when she came to know about the holiday. Chili fish and sparkling white rice - that was what she decided on. Anything Chinese and soya sauce is my favorite. She has her own recipe that takes her only 15 minutes at the most. It's the easiest, healthiest and the tastiest recipe on earth! I just added more to acidity and she poured heaveful teaspoon of chili flakes. Father out of station, just the two of us and our simple recipe to spice up the day. Have a look for yourself and decide!

You can envy me now!