Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My take on the few places that I have been to in Delhi:

1. Dilli Haat: dragged there by my over-enthu aunt on a sunny winter morning. Nice place to be on a winter morning if you like shopping for new-market-pavement-type stuff or ethnic fabrics. I was not shopping, so was quite bored. Then I noticed few puppies and started clicking photos. People love the food out there. Food was great but the place was dirty--sorry I am not a fan. Many people lurrrrve this place. I did not. It's okay.

2. Select City Mall:  huge mall, huge shops ... yes that's about it.

3. Hauz Khas Village: erm ... no clear verdict on this place, it's where you find filth alongside the most expensive boutiques. I actually enjoyed taking a leisurely walk down the place. Narrow lanes, shops selling overpriced food and clothes. I went to the Yodakin store, which I liked. You can shop for books published by independent publishers which you are not very likely to find at your local Crossword.

4. Lajpat Nagar: uhh ... love-hate relationship with this one, hate the crowd, hate the congestion, (New Market is also crowded but I'll never hate it!). Anyway it's quite near to my pg in south Delhi so I do frequent this place mostly out of necessity.

5. Green Park market: It has two places which offer South Indian food (Jyoti Vihar--Malgudi Junction--type) where one can have good filter coffee and south Indian food at a very reasonable price.

6. C.R. Park markets (1 and 2) : Any other person from Kolkata would instantly feel at home with the huge fish markets, Kali mondir and Dadur dokan (I hope I am getting the name right!) selling chop, cutlet, dimer devil etc. But what spelt home for me was the sight of a packet of Mukharochak chanachur in one of the shops. That old bespectacled man cheered my heart. So many nights I have lain awake under a mosquito net in my bed in Kolkata either reading a book or observing lizards, with a kouto of chanachur beside me. Only to wake up with an upset stomach. Sweet memories.

7. Fact and Fiction: A tiny bookstore opposite the Priya cinemas. Amazing collection. Must visit.

Have also been to the Book Fair and Comic Con but too lazy to write about all that.

Wish to visit the old forts and CP and Janpath and Sarojini ... as and when I get the time.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The first day my rommate mentioned the word 'bellies' she left me slightly confused. Something like 'I have a rack for my bellies' ... bellies? stomachs on racks? how violent! Of course it took me a while to understand that these are shoes. Pretty, dainty, shoes.

Shoes are very important. Ask Cinderella.

Sleeping Beauty woke up from her deep sleep after the prince kissed her. She did not kiss him back. She had not brushed.

Also 6 pm in Dilli is like 4 pm in Calcutta. How very amusing! It's still bikel byala when you leave office. The amusement ends when right after shondhyebyala it's dinner time. Very strange.

Okay bye.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Stuff that spills out when tubelights stop working.

Okay I was supposed to have finished some pending work by now. But the tubelight in my room just stopped working. I won't be able to read. I won't be able to sleep.  So well ...

On a bright sunny autumn day, when the soft clouds floated in the clear blue sky like small cotton tufts, Bhuto was born. It was that month of the year when Debi Durga visited her earthly abode, four children in tow. Bhuto was the youngest of nine children. His eldest sister's son was born a month before him. It happened like that in the 1950s.

Bhuto's family lived in a village. They weren't poor, in fact, they were quite rich. With several orchards of the choicest fruits--mangoes, jackfruits, litchies, a pond, and many cows--poverty was something they knew nothing about. Bhuto's childhood was a colourful kaleidoscope of memories--learning how to swim with an upturned kolshi (a metal utensil with a narrow neck used for storing water) that would float on water, climbing trees, attending the local school, eating a basketful of mangoes perched upon a tree and in the evenings whispering sweet nothings in the ears of his best friend--Budh,who was the gentlest cow they owned.

Bhuto's father was a doctor. A fact that explained why he had such luck when it came to marriage. His wife Nonibala Devi was the most beautiful woman in that village. Had Bhuto's father been a regular village bumpkin, he would never have won such a beauty as his bride. She served him well. Nine healthy children; six of them boys. No one could complain.

But the female in the house who enjoyed undisputed authority was not Bhuto's mother it was Bhuto's paternal grandmother, Shoshthi Devi. She was a woman of voracious appetite (one large jackfruit would be her breakfast), sharp intellect and an enormous memory that had soaked up all the verses of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (the compulsory daily ritual of reading aloud the two epics that her daughter-in-law was made to follow had something to do with it perhaps!). When she passed away in her late 90s her grandchildren were running about joking and laughing as her white-haired son assembled her funeral pyre. She was too old to evoke tears. Can anyone grow so old? Should anyone grow so old?

Years later when Bhuto's mother Nonibala would die, in a different house, in a different country, all her six grown-up sons would gather around her, as she would lie peacefully dressed in white, sandalwood smeared on her forehead, surrounded by tuberose flowers--her sons would gather around her and pose for a photograph. Photographs are for creating memories, capturing beauty--but this one captured death and robbed it of its dignity.