Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Sights From Shillong

My sons clicked these pictures as they criss-crossed Shillong
on a cold December day! Some images.






Sunday, December 14, 2008

Umiam Lake

Our next-door neighbour, the state of Meghalaya, has
several scenic spots. Umiam Lake pictured below is
one such destination. Also known as Barapani, it was
created when a hydro-electric project was constucted
on the Umiam river. It's an angler's paradise and offers
boating and kayaking facilities. The hills, the shimmer-
ing waters of the lake and the pine make it all look so
beautiful.


My son Nishant (with cap) and nephew Joysho pose against
the Umiam backdrop.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HAPPY DIWALI


I wish all my visitors a very HAPPY DIWALI. May you life be
filled with peace and happiness!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Beautiful Meghalaya




The neighbouring state of Meghalaya has many stunning views.
These were taken near the village of Smit. Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

SAARE JAHAN SE ACHCHA

HINDUSTAN HAMARA....

To all my compatriots----A very happy

INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My first-born turns Seventeen!



Raja, my first-born turned 17 today. And as his friends
trooped in, one after the other, the thought that came to
me was, 'Time really flies!' Strapping young boys and
lovely girls on the threshold of a promising future! My
son did not want his photos to be posted so I'm posting
the flowers and the cake. A friend of mine baked this
light summery lemon cake as Raja cannot have any other kind.
To my son--a very happy birthday, and to everyone--a won-
derful life ahead. Joy, happiness, and the strength to
tackle life's sudden turns with grace and fortitude!
Happy birthday, son!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lauki ka Raita (Bottle-gourd Raita)




Raita is made of curd and a vegetable of choice. Seasoned with
salt, sugar , chilli powder and roasted and ground cumin seeds
it is a refreshing accompaniment to a summer meal!
Here I've used grated bottle-gourd, and let it stew in its own
juice. I whipped the curd with rock-salt ( I used sweetened
curd) then added the cooked gourd. Then I created the pattern
with roasted and roughly ground cumin and chilli powder.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pithas for tea!


In Assam, a favourite tea-time snack is, pitha. The taste
is sweet and melts into your mouth. The ingredients are--
rice powder or flour, sugar or jaggery, depending on the
type you're making. For the ones in the picture, I used--
One small coconut, grated
Two cups rice flour
One cup sugar
One third of a tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
Water to mix
Oil to fry
In a bowl, add all the ingredients but not the water. Mix
with hands thoroughly. Now add very little water.The con-
sistency should be such, that the dough can be shaped into
round pithas.
Heat oil. When it becomes really hot, reduce the flame and
start frying in batches. They need to be turned just once,
when the colour turns golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Your tea-time snack is ready!
The same mixture can be used for steamed pithas. For this,
more water should be added but the mixture must not be
runny.The mixture can be put into idli moulds and steamed
till done.
Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bamboo Shoot


A Bowl of Bamboo Pickle

The shoots waiting to be cut into thin slices

I come from a region whose terrain and climate nurtures
an ocean of bamboo. When you drive through the great,
wide plains of the north east, you see them in different
shades of green. And yellow too. With such abundance
the plant has myriad uses. Huts, furniture, bridges,
baskets--decorative and functional, the list is endless.
Without bamboo scaffolding, building highrises would be
difficult! In the hilly areas too, it's a sea of bamboo,
never-ending.
The shoot is either plain food or a delicacy, depending
on how it is prepared. The first shoots of the year appear
in late May and continue to sprout till late October. It's
fried with meat, mainly pork, mixed in curry, dried or fer-
mented. The fermented bamboo is made into pickle or used to
enhance the taste and flavour of meat and fish dishes.
To the uninitiated, the pungency of fermented bamboo is
something that whacks your sense of smell. Or to sound
euphemistic, the taste needs to be acquired.
The shoot has a pretty tough exterior. I use my sharpest
blade to hack away, taking care not to touch the fine
hairs. For that would be asking for itchiness, with a
capital "I"! But once that is done away with, the lovely
white vegetable is ready for the wok!

LONE FOX DANCING by Ruskin Bond

As I walked home last night
I saw a lone fox dancing
In the cold moonlight.

I stood and watched. Then
Took the low road, knowing
The night was his by right.

Sometimes, when words ring true,
I'm like a lone fox dancing
In the morning dew.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kitchen stuff


The ripe fruit of the palm, juxtaposed with the ones on
the kitchen tiles.

Next to the egg-rack is a 'can'did confirmation of
my belief in recycling!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ode to Wine by Pablo Neruda


Day-coloured wine,
night coloured wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
wine,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
soft
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
amorous,
marine:
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
memories;
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
your
glorious
spring dress
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Birds of a weather.....



...brood together. Silhouetted against an overcast sky,
one on a tree, and a wood pigeon on the wire, my feathered
friends seem to wonder, "Will the skies be clear by tomorrow?"

Ever since I started my blogs, I've started noticing the
different kinds of birds who come to my compound everyday.
I still do not know them by name but I'm taking a lot of
photos and I hope, through these, I'll be able to learn
much more about them. I've just learnt to identify the
calls. The bird on the tree has the sweetest and the
gentlest of chirps......

Friday, July 11, 2008

Going Bananas!


I recently had the girls over to lunch and the theme
was 'Going Bananas!' It helped that my backyard
bananas had ripened ( LOL) so there were three dishes
that had the flavour of the day!
The photo is of one of the three banana cakes that I
baked with coffee and chocolate swirls. The trifle
pudding also had generous pieces of banana cake topped
with home-made banana liqueur!
Since it's always good to get together ( after all, it
doesn't happen often), 'going bananas' is an apt theme.
It reflects the mood of the moment, looking forward to
'catching up' and enjoying the dishes that'd certainly
taken time to be planned and prepared. And if not the
fruit-based recipes, don't we go bananas about other
things/interests in our day to day lives?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kitchen-corner



A corner of my kitchen. The eggshell face
has cornsilk for hair. This patch of blue
adds some colour to my otherwise, 'neutral'
colours in my kitchen.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tea time!



Baked some, steamed some the other day.
The cake is lemony-pineappley and the
idli look-alikes are made with rice-flour
sugar, grated coconut, some baking powder
and mixed with water. The mixture is then
put in idli moulds and steamed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day!

Of all the blessings in heaven and earth,
there's none more real and beautiful as
a mother's love...
A very happy Mother's Day to mothers who
dropped by today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A weighty issue

Going through the recent holiday pictures for the nth
time, I came across one of myself standing on the bridge
on Ward's Lake in Shillong. There I look as pleased as
Punch on a bright and sunny day. But why do I have second
thoughts about posting it? You guessed right, it's the
Weight! In the past ten years I've gained some and shed
some but 'gained some' has remained steadier. The thought
about losing weight stays somewhere in the back of my
mind and the actual attempt at exercising is yet to take
off. Anyway, I thought my ailment must've got rid of a
kilo at least. Since my boys were home and glued to their
game as if their life depended on it, I asked their opinion.
Quipped the elder one, 'No appetite for just a few days isn't
going to make any difference. A month, yes, that'll bring some
change!'
Why did I have to ask?

Monday, April 21, 2008

More gushing power for the cascades, after the rain!


Pines and a desolate wind-swept landscape

Wildflowers



If all flowers wanted to be roses,
Nature would lose her springtime beauty,
And the fields would no longer be
Decked out with wild flowers.

                                                      --Saint Therese of Lisieux

Moss-covered stone on the way

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Misty mountain high


Rain, rain





At night the rain came, and how! My  sleep-heavy brain told me
this was not the one we were accustomed to. By the sounds, I felt
every raindrop was way bigger than their cousins from the plains!
I suppose when you go to a place, which for years was known as
the rainiest place on the planet ( Mawsynram took over much
later), and if there's not a drop from the skies, that would be a
disappointment. It wasn't just rain. There were hailstones too!
From the noise I figured they were the size of cannon balls. Well,
maybe almost!
The next morning, the valley was bathed in mist. I could just
make out the outline of a tree shorn of leaves and a few more
trees near it. But within minutes the mist cleared a little and I
clicked the second picture. The skies still threatened to open up
any moment and when we hit the road after breakfast, it was
pelting with rain!

The village of Laitkynsew

Flowers blooming at the Resort




Saturday, April 19, 2008

And now the photos!



Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort, Laitkynsew

We went to the Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort in the village
of Laitkynsew in Meghalaya. Thinking that it would be just
another resort near Cherrapunjee, we trundled along the
narrow road crossing spectacular landscapes. 18 kms
  beyond Cherrapunjee, we reached the Resort on top
of a hill. The setting was, to say the least, breath-taking!
On one side was the beautiful valley and on the other,
 the vast plains of Bangladesh.

Mr. Denis Reyan and his wife, Carmela, started this venture with the aim
of developing the area and to provide employment to people from the
village. All the employees are from nearby villages and for a nominal 
amount, musicians from the area come to play for the guests. We had 
a group playing for us and I must say their enthusiasm and sense of
rhythm and their smiles made our evening worthwhile.

The Resort also organises treks, canyoning and caving expeditions. Going
through the pictures in their several photo albums was a real treat. Domes-
tic as well as international tourists keep coming. The place is also mentioned
in Lonely Planet and Rough Guide. Another unique feature of the vicinity
is that the living root bridges of Meghalaya are found here. To learn more 
you can visit their website-www.cherrapunjee.com. 

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bobby Cash

Bobby Cash, the one and only Indian country music star, sang for us Guwahatians, at the Sankardev Kalakshetra, last evening. Dressed in his trademark cowboy gear and with just a guitar, he was amazing. Not only did he sing tracks from his albums, but he also belted out the popular numbers like Country Roads, Annie's Song, Rhinestone Cowboy and many more. He even obliged us with a request from a member of the audience by singing Angelo--the lyrics he wasn't very sure about. I must say he did it very well. I especially liked his rendition of the Kenny Rogers' hit
Coward of the County. Hats off to you Bobby, you said God has given you a gift which must be shared, may you keep sharing your wonderful voice/music with billions!



Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?/
For a drink of water from a spring/whose surface will xerox her
soft muzzle?/Why does she lift her head:does she hear something?/
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth/ she pricks up
her ears beneath my fingertips./ Silence-- this word also rustles
across the page/ and parts the boughs/ that have sprouted from
the word "woods".

By Wislawa Zymborska

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Speckled pink!

Played Holi yesterday....five families (the usual suspects)
landed at Vikram and Indrani's for an afternoon of Holi
revelry. Out in the lawn, the collective kids had a ball
playing with all hues and upstairs, we downed our
cocktails in vivid shades of green, blue, and crimson,
respectively, in keeping with the spirit of the occasion!
Vikram spares NO ONE, and has an array of wicked-
looking mixtures for us, his definitely not unsuspecting
friends, on the Holi-est of days! Suspicious because
he does not deign to use ordinary coloured powder!
Although he did promise to behave himself, we still
ended up in varying shades of silver, gold, black and
pink! My face is still speckled pink and I suppose it'll
 remain that way for another day or so.. 
 
Whatever the occasion, getting together is the best part...
catching up with each other, sharing a meal together
...such a relationship transcends the term 'friendship' .........
and may this last for ever!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Very Kylie!



This simple dish will pep up any table. Colourful capsicums stir-fried with hoisin sauce and garnished with white sesame seeds. Rather felt  like a  Kylie Kwong presentation!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pure onionhood


                      The Onion

The onion, now that's something else.
Its innards don't exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a cover-up
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there's only onion
from its top to its toe.
Onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity.

                                           By  Wislawa Zymborska
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I love....

  • Dew on the bamboo, yellow flowers and orange sunsets, the sound of rain...the whistle of the wind, the rush of flowing water, the smell of woodsmoke, the crackle of a wood fire,the moon in all its phases.......

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