I’m not Kadi-chawal 

image courtesy:Google

Mama what is new, there for lunch today? My little one was still cribbing , seeing Dal, roti, rice and curd displayed on the dining table. I was lost in retrospect , after all you could not comply with everybody’s demands especially the kids of today, who have no dearth of choices , and so henceforth home made food is least appetising for them.

Yes I could not make everyone happy , after all I’m not kadi-chawal, yes a simple yet relishing dish which Amma made with so much ease, and all of us , the coterie of cousins ,were left fingerlicking and wanting for more. It acted as a chicken soup for hungry souls, which would make even a toothless geriatric to salivate. 
But now , it was a herculean task , to break the monotony of everyday home food ,for the kids of today.

Or was it the taste that mattered, well of course , a simple pakora Kadhi and basmati rice ( cooked once in a while) tasted heavenly.
Though I have attempted to make it number of times but nothing successful has been achieved so far.

The luxurious lunch of childhood , the generous dollops of ghee, the flavours taking control of my taste buds and the table burgeoning under the weight of delicacies with steaming aroma was spread all across the ancestral home but a distant dream now. 
How painstakingly she cooked for the entire family, the bout of nostalgia always hits me, when ever I attempt my most favorite dish, but not even my mother could be anywhere close to what Amma cooked.

A little perplexed, I confronted my relatives including Ma and mausis, as I felt cheated with the recepies handed over to us by Amma. As something was a miss, what ever theoretical in form of hand written recepies and practically performed on the hearth was not upto mark, the result and end product was no where close to what lip smacking delicacies were made by Amma.
Was it a peculiar case of a closely guarded secret, had she intentionally omitted a few ingredients here or there to keep her legendary stuff intact.
The magic of her home cooked meals, her culinary prowess to suit palates was something we all were lacking .

Her tried and tested recepies were doing   

us no good, may be the specifications for spices and condiments to be used as ground or roasted were not revealed by Amma, may be she wanted her progeny to conduct their own experiments and discover for themselves. Or was it done intentionally, so that we all in search of that perfect taste kept asking and bumping into each other.
Was it to keep the family bonds intact , so that siblings could keep meeting each-other x, through these old age recepies.

Or was it in accordance with the Legendary stories, where in old times, daughters of the royal families were forbidden from entering the kitchens of their household, as they would spill the beans of these ancient recepies, once they got married. Therefore, by hiding one or two significant ingredients, they shielded their royal recepies.
May be she had given us incomplete recepies, in bits and pieces, to put the jigsaw puzzle together , for a perfect dish , for which an amalgamation of family was required.
Yes she was a ‘ mistress of spices ‘, but we are still struggling for that treasure box, the hunt is still on. Was it her magic wand or her ammunition box or that steel container which was the answer to the magic potion created by her and made cooking less intimidating. 

May be answer lies in her spice box, with all ingredients , ranging from powdered spices to Kadha masalas to condiments ,she knew the secret recepie of a successful dish, which implied a right mix of all ingredients, a simple yet honest cooking and garnished with generosity. 

For sure these were her secret spices to successful cooking and food served with oodles of love, where the whole family came together for meals, and like last supper believed in sharing and eating together. Simple yet appetising kadi-chawal was relished and became a vital source of Ammas love, keeping everyone content and happy.
Bon Appetit

Being a Pet owner and a Pedestrian 

It’s an early morning walk to refresh and rejuvenate myself , outside the compound of my posh colony. I take my leisurely steps towards warm-up, and sheepishly look around at my fellow homosapiens , who are mostly accompanied with their four pawed furry friends of various breeds and sizes , as they have become an integral part of our social status , but then, they also happen to be a man’s best friend, though ,I cannot say vice versa .
As masters and helpers take their canine mates for the morning rounds along the boundary walls , which can be seen adorned with pictures of Gods of all religions and faiths , may be indicating to us , the message ” that Cleanliness is next to Godliness “.

“, But sigh, despite of expensive high bred dogs , they lift up their legs at that very place. 

 Poor owners, they feel so cheated, they have taught their dogs to shake paws , sit , sleep and fetch, but not been able to control them with pee and poop , alas ! what can be done when it is ‘nature’s call’.

Well, they can only act ignorant and move ahead, may be accepting the fact that “God’s in the heaven, and everything is all right in the world”.
But as I moved ahead, something had gone definitely wrong with me, rather drastically wrong, oh no!! I had taken a wrong step, and now there is no looking back. I was more embarrassed than the ‘walk the dog’ guy , who was acting ignorant despite of knowing , what shit had happened with me. But then, this was not the first time that I had landed on the wrong side of the road . The occult happenings were regular to me, so how could I blame the poor guy or girl, who were busy multitasking, as their hands were full, with the leashed pullers on one hand and attending mobile phones from their other hand.
As I rubbed my shoes on the green grass , it made me realise that it’s good to have green grass on the other side as well, sometimes though. 

I had to be vigilant enough myself, to avoid these unwanted souvenirs, every now and then.

 
Robert Frost was wise enough ,when he said “Good fences make good neighbours ” but with slight variation for now, as we hardly know the next door neighbor in today’s day and age, except when the tail wagger comes out and performs his job near our gates , which may lead to a dog- fight, between the never seen or heard neighbours , further ensuing into barking like dogs. A few cuss words here and there , where the favorite one is, pertaining to the poor pet itself, who doesn’t even realises and now caught is caught between the war of words.
Poor animal doesn’t understand, that his masters who bought him, keeping his pedigree in mind and feed him with same, could not carry a single carry bag and scoop the poop. Well may be, it’s their sheer ‘dogmatism’.
Love of the dog lover , the human kindness , here does not include cleaning the waste product of the pet.

If animals were capable of cleaning themselves then won’t have been strapped by their so called owners.
We flaunt our pets on social sites, put their display pictures on our cell phones ,but feel embarrassed and ashamed to clean their poop performed at public places.
Poor canine wonders where is ‘love labour lost’ of their owner,at such times.
At least they, themselves cover up their act by throwing some mud on it ,with the help of their hind legs ,but we humans leave no stone unturned , we indulge in mud slinging , we are pretentious while wielding the broom for the clean India act , broom swapping sessions are limited till paparazzi peeps in, but beyond that we truly believe that charity not only begins at home ,but is limited till home only. Indoors are kept clean, spic and span , but then , the threshold of our houses are our Lakshman rekha, beyond that we cannot move or step, and so the filth is scattered outdoors. Rest we complain and crib about the ‘poor civic sense’, , deliver sermons on hygiene and sanitation, but ourselves , we are too much smitten by the litter bug, some of our men folk feel so much hesitant to flush or rush to the toilets at public places,that they just empty their bladders in open.
No spitting or littering have just become a part of forward folklore messages, but what we preach, do we practice also , we shun the responsibility of our own created mess, so how do we take the responsibility of our chained best friend.

Dear pedestrians, the fault lies in our stars, when we are lucky , we come out clean, otherwise we land ourselves on the dump and become the golden receiver of the unwanted stuff.

 Remember ,Next time when you walk in dog friendly neighbourhood, Mind your steps, one giant leap may end you in a puddle.  

And if you are destined for so, just be like our chained canine companion, ‘throw some grass over the shit and move on’.

Trenches of RR Hill


.Early morning start from Guwahati, being in a civil hired vehicle, as a part of large Army convoy, the only thing which came to my mind was a phrase “a rolling stone seldom gathers moss” and so here I was , travelling to reach my destination .As being part of Army life never let’s a dull moment in. The life in the Army , takes us to places, which one would not even think of travelling to, in wildest of their dreams.
But then this is the beauty of travelling the country, as Army life comes with its own set of perks and privileges . 
As my journey began, Karupetia in Assam, became my first halt, moving further towards Tejpur, I realised the importance of the place, in terms of a military establishment, as , till this, very place, the Chinese army marched, during the aggression of 1962. Next, As I crossed, the place , called Balukpong, it was time to say goodbye to the long plain roads, as the hills welcomed me , with densely forested areas and banana plantings along the road side with regular water falls on the way, but not a single roadside vendor or kiosks on the way to be seen, except for the hardworking hill folk pedestrians .The tiresome hill journey with twists and turns accompanied with motion sickness and bumpy ride continued till we reached our next halt, called ‘ Sessa’ , for lunch . As I moved beyond Sessa,

  along the roadside , there were end number of epitaphs in the memory of the people , who met with accidents, reminding us about the road safety norms, and cautionary warnings for the drivers.. , . As I touched the place called Tenga, one was welcomed with colourful flags and symbols pertaining to Buddhism, but still the journey appeared to be never-ending, with each hair-pin turn, I became restless , by the time I reached Bomdila, I was only cribbing and cursing my luck, to be struck in this corner of the country. All I could do now, was to just hit the bed and wait for the morning to happen , but that too happened a bit early, as Arunachal Pradesh is known as the land of rising sun, and so I was welcomed by the first rays of the Early Sunrise.

 
As one took to expoloring the place, one could see ladies carrying babies strapped to them, with pink cheeks and running noses clung to their mothers like baby monkeys, but the women-folk in their Bakku looked absolutely adorable , the older lot was the most hard-working, carrying the wooden logs on their backs, and walking for miles. 
  The upper and lower Gompa of Bomdila with vibrant and colourful flags and soothing sound of the prayer wheels , with monks soaking the sun, made the place all so calm and serene, but something vital was yet to be explored. Bomdila is also known for other reasons as well , as it registers the presence of heavy military establishment here. It is the same place which along with Tawang and Rupa saw major Indian resistance, during 1962 Chinese aggression . The memories of which are still fresh in the minds of the people here, as it was hard times for them, the locals. However the Arunachali’s, took it with pride and honour as they helped Indian soldiers to fight against all odds, against the intrusion of Chinese soldiers. Stories of war have become, the tales and folklore’s here, elderly so fondly recollect the happenings of the past, stories being handed down from one generation to another.
   For Indian soldiers it was a prolonged war against enemy , hostile terrain and biting cold , as we look into the history, we see that in the autumn of 1962 , Tawang fell to the invading Chinese people liberation Army 

 And in Bomdila, then , the Headquarter of Kameng frontier division, there was sheer panic.

.Though the place is abundant with the Heroism of our jawans, who fought without appropriate clothes and rubber boots in such hostile conditions, in freezing temperatures, that too, unprepared. The spot where this all action took place is known as R.R hill now.

 R.R hill stands witness to the Chinese aggression, it also holds within itself the the courage , valour and sacrifice of Subedar Pritam Singh, who kept holding the position till the last. The trenches are witness to the history, which look, as they have been freshly dug up, the valiant young officers, who fought without any logistics support. Their names are etched in the history, details of bravery, the direct confrontation with the invaders, but mostly died while retreating ,as the orders came, but along with them their heroic tales lingers on for decades , as well as of the locals here, who are not to be sidelined , as they carried food for the jawans on mules, then.
.The memorial at the hill is dedicated to the 

soldiers, who laid down their lives, who fought the icy cold winds, the ones who faced the extremity of the nature , how unprepared soldiers fought a war with Chinese in freezing temperatures , even the Chinese soldiers walked for days without food , just surviving on the wheat dough, and reached Bomdila , and now this place is witness to the history, when the Chinese infiltrated behind the Indian lines by launching multi-directional attacks, as they caught our soldiers unaware , but still had to face stiff resistance from the platoon of I Sikh LI under SubedarPritam Singh.

Though the platoon fought ferociously, it lost most of its men. Subedar Pritam Singh despite of his bullet injuries, outnumbered the enemy and refused to be evacuated and fought bravely against them. When the situation became grim, he and his men with their bayonets unsheathed, emerged from their trenches with the war cry ” Wahe Guruji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guruji Ki Fateh.”
Now, As I see, around me , along with the memorial, lies the trenches , the observers of the historical event , which changed our equation with our neighbours forever. But apart from this , the trenches, reminds me of the blistered hands of the soldiers, which must have ached while digging them, but then so tired at the end of the day, these constraint spaces must have served a wide purpose, as they also acted as beds for the exhausted souls, while they slept peacefully. Yes, they are still lying here as a witness to the happenings of the past, have acted as frontiers as well as power points , have supported arms and ammunition’s, life line in the form of supply points, as it was through these trenches the soldiers were provided their ration , one may also find the old scraps of tin cans here, in harsh weather these trenches acted as a shield for the soldiers, dawn to dusk, as boredom persisted accompanied with fatigue and exhaustion , the only source of recreation was letters from the home , read and re-read by these soldiers in the narrow trench , by the candle light. In the final moments, while bleeding to death, the moans of the wounded men , their war cry, all was soaked by the soil in the trenches, as their dust covered bodies lay in between these spaces, these confines have now become the markers and makers of the history.   

  ” To save your world you asked this man to die:

Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?

-W.H.Auden
The trenches are reminiscent of the world of sacrifice and courage of our valiant soldiers and as one visits these trenches spread across the Pass, they remind us :

” Their shoulders held the sky suspended;

They stood and earths foundations stay;

What God abandoned, these defended,

And saved the sum of things for pay”

A .E Housman