Saturday, November 05, 2011
by a child idle on an afternoon holiday.
Yellow fall on green lawn:
Like hope discarded, like love gone.
Windows fuzzy with cold memories
of sunny faraway morns witness
the flight of orange-yellow leaves
that swirl and tango their last dance.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I had tweeted this about Lali.
She is one of the four dogs that we raised. Born in November 2002, the litter came under our care, when their mother, whom I called Jhingy, suddenly died. They were a month old then. Lali is the most loyal, her territory remains our house and she guards it against, mostly, the postman and the sweeper.
It is Indiraben, who became a part of our family when I was about six months of age, who lovingly and possessively tends to all our pets. On the night of September 10, Indiraben came to my father, very worried, and said she had not seen Lali for the entire day. Unusual, scary. They tried to look around all over the society, but did not find her.
Early next morning, Lali's siblings Dholu and Sheeba literally dragged Indiraben to a locked plot in the society. There we found Lali: weak, frightened. She's old now and couldn't jump the high walls. Baba got keys to the lock from the society secretary, but it was rusted. The guards then broke the lock. Lali came out to hug Indiraben and Baba.
In recent emails, Baba says how Lali is still in a shock. She has given up barking with gusto as she used to. She only wimps and cries, eats less and seldom leaves our compound. Baba thinks she climbed up a car and jumped into the plot, falling on her face. She has some injuries near the jaw. She runs at the sight of medicine and Baba and Indiraben are too old for the hide-and-seek routine I dealt with. I hope she gets better soon. My family depends on these kids more than we admit or realize. Home would not be home without them...
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Being in a different country, a different climate and among people who speak the same language with a different accent, reporting is not the same. Sometimes it takes nothing to approach people and talk to them, sometimes you get cold feet and just can't talk. As I was walking in Harlem scouting for my subject after an unsuccessful recording with an African woman at a hair-braiding saloon, I saw Sean Shawney. He smiled at me and asked if I would buy his tee shirts, pins. The spread looked interesting and we started talking. I found my subject.
Gharpure Audioprofile 0818 Final by Gauri
Shawney's spread of pins. Figures of African leaders and artists
And this is what I bought:
Something about the process:
We had to make a two-minute profile of any person. The process included transcribing the audio, then picking out portions (called actualities) to include in the tape, and to write a narration. Then, in the lab I selected parts of sentences and edited some actualities using Final Cut Pro. Also recorded the narration. The audio levels are high, forgot to adjust. In September, will learn to use Pro Tools for the Audio Storytelling elective that I have taken. After what we learned for the audio slideshow class, I will also try to take more horizontal shots from now on. Indeed, that makes optimum use of visible space.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
It's humbling how many "dream" milestones God granted in 2011.
I assume I shall be hard-pressed for time as the semester rolls on, but this blog is too dear a place to let it remain quiet.
See you with more posts, more musings. And soon!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
As I look back, I see her
in Jr-Kg group photo:
Two thick plaits, kohl-smeared eyes, a huge grin.
I remember the times we laughed to tears,
Her signature eccentric quips
That gave a whacky perspective
To many a life-changing things...
Tomorrow, you will be gone:
Mrs. doesn't sound as fancy as Ms.
But I know you will live it all up
In your flamboyant, who-cares style.
Remember me even as you get engrossed
in the journey ahead, let it be fruitful.
When you look back, I will always be there;
And it's only old friends who can call a spade a spade.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
And the wind stops howling,
Listen to the silence;
It will speak to you.
Hang in there just some more,
This too shall pass.
The fear will fade;
You are brave.
When love restores your faith,
And trust births in you again;
He will absolve you of all
That now crowds your guilt.
Some more faith,
Some more love,
And all shall pass.
And all shall pass.
May 15, 2011
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Ingredients and method to make the dumplings:
About 4 cups besan (I assume it's chickpea flour in English. A friend is convinced I call it gram flour instead :)
1 cup of finely chopped onions
Finely-chopped coriander (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
Generous amounts of red chilli powder, dhana-jeeru powder, salt. And a pinch of turmeric, asafoetida, sugar.
Adding very little water, make dough using the above ingredients. Then, make small round dumplings as shown in the photo. Keep aside.
Ingredients and method to make the gravy:
1 cup finely-chopped onion
2-3 tablespoon grated fresh or dry coconut (I used dried coconut)
Oil, pinch of mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, asafoetida, raw green chillies for tadka
Goda masala (A typical maharashtrian garam masala, easily found in Pune / Mumbai)
Coarsely-crushed black pepper
A lemon-sized ball of tamarind, soaked for sometime. Use the extract.
1 tablespoon jaggery (Optional)
About 700 ml water (Adjust depending on the number of dumplings you have made)
Chickpea flour to adjust consistency of the gravy. Use as required.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the ingredients mentioned for the tadka, in that order, and then add chopped onions. Saute for a minute or two and add grated coconut. Saute for about five minutes, or till coconut turns slightly brown. Add goda masala, dhana-jeeru powder, red chilli powder. Add water and bring to boil.
Add the chickpea dumplings to the boiling water and cover the vessel with a lid. Put some water on the lid so that the dumplings are steamed faster. It will take about 15 minutes for the dumplings to cook. The dough should be tight, otherwise dumplings may break apart when added to water.
Add a tablespoon of chickpea flour to the gravy is required. (On my first attempt, the gravy became a little more dense than is required, but tasted just fine) When the dumplings get cooked, they float above. Now, add tamarind paste, jaggery, salt and black pepper. Adjust spices as required. Let the gravy boil over once and switch off the gas. Garnish with finely-chopped coriander.
1) Golya cha sambhar 2) Apple, grape and walnut salad in fresh cream 3) Mango pickle 4) Tomato aam-papad chutney
While eating, crush the dumplings with you fingers and eat with rice. Also goes well with chapati / bhakhri.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
As you puffed that cigarette in roundabout whirls.
So you talked about the hungry, abused and the oppressed, Sir;
As your wife fried bhetki after bhetki*.
You snubbed her right in front of your comrades
For you insisted "Women must know their place."
So much for equality and social rights, Ha!
Your woman has lost her voice...
Your arrogance was pungent and sorry,
But your comrades perfectly understood the necessary dominance,
They nodded as you commanded your wife back in the kitchen,
She retreated hurt and hounded, sought solace in her sacred space.
Sir, your hypocrisy is shocking, your doublespeak commendable:
How beautifully chauvinism and culture blends in your town
How intriguing is your politics, how stinking is its stink,
Orwell was right when he conceived the idea of doublethink.
How about first bringing the revolution
you propose for the landless and the needy
within the precincts of your feudal patriarchal regime?
How about letting your wife vomit the words she has eaten up all her life?
So much for your suffocating talks of ideals and equality,
So much for your sham of decency and morality;
You can fool a thousand others who think like you,
But you cannot fool a million others who will still see through.
So much for what is gone,
So much for what is left.
As the ballots are counted, manipulated, maligned,
I just have this to say:
I don't understand politics, but I was brought up in equality;
As a woman, I am disappointed in the way you live your ideology.
Don't try it on me, your wife you could snub;
But I am made of stronger stuff.
West Bengal socio-politics.
*Bhetki : An expensive freshwater fish popular in West Bengal and Eastern regions of India
Related articles : And I am thrilled
The Good Governance
Remembering Bhagat Singh and Tagore's Tota Kahini
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I read a post in which a friend justifies her indignation when she hears the cynics whisper that the match was fixed. I would like to believe it was not: I was extremely angry the first time such an insinuation reached my ears. We Indians can be classic killjoys at most times.
But here, I wish to discuss how I resent the cartloads full of goodies that the government smothers the cricketers with at the slightest opportunity. I mean, nation's pride, desh ki shaan and all those passion-packed punchlines seem more advertorial-oriented than anything else. I remember getting annoyed and let down when Dhoni and Harbhajan skipped the ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan to accept their Padma Shree award around April 2009. I mean Hello??
I am upset for two reasons:
A)Why the largesse in the first place..
We may have a hundred other worthy sports and a hundred other sportsmen who are really good. But we are talking about Padma Shree and Padma Bhushans here, not cookies and candies! Kajol gets one, Madhuri gets one, even Saif gets one. I digress. Cricket, Dhoni and Bhajji: let them stay around for a while, a good two or three decades before conferring such honours!! Their callousness may just go on to show that the men really mean business, such hullabaloo of cash rewards and awards may be actually embarassing, irritating them too for all you know!
B) Talking about World Cup 2011. Team India did a brilliant job. Exactly. They were doing just that, their job. We are happy and proud and we love the men in blue, but the God-like reverence seems inane. It seems very cheap and unfair to other worthy professional sectors of our country: farmers, army, navy, police, healthcare workers, teachers and so on that need immediate attention and bureaucratic commitment to meet decades-old demands for better working conditions, easy loans, higher pays. It seems a fickle government that loses hold of its stoic to announce cash awards to the tune of crores, plots in prime locations the country over and a dozen other such lavish goodies to the cricketers at the flimsiest of opportunity possible.
For me, even the World Cup is a flimsy reason when it comes to crores and crores of "official" impromptu cash rewards. Would I be wrong to say that at least 0.0001% of the tax I pay shall go into their Audis and what not? Big money, luxury stuff for winning a match, rubbish I say. I cannot afford to be lavish with gifts for my own kin. I do not dispute for a second that the men-in-blue made us proud, we are happy and grateful, but are these bounties not taking things a bit too far? I have enough faith in Team India to believe they will play well, perhaps better, without these cheap gimmicks and political pull and push. Dhoni and his men earn crores by the way of commercials, let them. Do not commercialise their hard-earned game on the field.
And last question. Is money the only way to show your appreciation? Has India as a country grown so cheap and materialistic to equate appreciation with cash rewards? How can you announce such extravagant gifts on my behalf, me the tax-payer? Did you consult me? Minute as my stature be as the citizen of this country, I would like to believe my money matters and my opinion counts. How you disappoint me every time. Sorry Mr. Pawar and kin, but this largess stinks. And you, incidentally, also head the agriculture ministry. In this country getting a loan for buying an SUV is easier than getting a loan to buy seeds and fertilizers. How about less pricey onions and easy loans for farmers, Mr. Pawar?
April 5, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
Happy New Year, here's wishing for a new year that is happier and more promising than what all the preceding years have brought in their totality. Now that's an ambitious wish! But I can wish and hope so much only because God has been giving and because I have faith in his unassuming, mysterious ways.
Hope to upload some photos towards the evening and edit this post. So drop back later if you can.
*Gudi Padva is when Maharashtrians celebrate their New Year.
Edited to add a few hours later:
This is what I made just after posting this.
Ghavlya chi kheer
I made these little vermicelli-like brown bits from dough made from flour and milk. These look somewhat like wheat grains, and so the name "ghavle". Ghav in Marathi and Gujarati means wheat.
Wonder what are those leaves there in the small dish? Neem leaves (Azadirachta indica).. We start our New Year day by eating this bitter leaf. Many people have these neem leaves / juice or paste for the entire month... Been a very strong tradition, and my grandmother offers no other fancy explanation other than "it's supposed to be good for health."
Friday, April 01, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, slices of raw mango, ginger, lemon grass, lemon leaves, green chillies... Sauted in some butter, pepper powder, a pinch of oregano, thyme, pinch of sugar to bind it all and 2-3 tablespoons of cornflour. Before serving, grate some cheese.
Aaji was irked and did not spare a boiled baby potato for me when I refused to eat the alu paratha she was making. :) Otherwise some potato would have done instead of the starch.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I love Vince's words towards the end of the film. Yes, there are some people in our lives who are like catfish, constantly nibbling us and keeping us on our toes. We need catfish. Then the film makes you think about the confusion that comes between acceptance and wants, between desires and reality, between love and lust. But most of all, as you see the drama unfold, it makes you feel here you are seeing real people, good people. The bottomline, I guess, is that you have a chance to be yourself and be happy with your true self if you choose to be. Catfish (2010) leaves you with a sad, inexplicible doubt about the Facebook generation of which all of us are becoming integral, unwitting participants.
I am not giving the Wiki link as it is a spoiler.
Friday, March 11, 2011
As we all know and can vouch for, sexual abuse of children is not an isolated instance, in fact I can ( thanks to informal discussions with friends and family) aver that 90 per cent of all of us have in some degree or the other experienced some form of sexual abuse as children.
In most families, the abuser is always someone known to the family or even an immediate family member who has unrestricted access to the family and the child. Very often the child does not say anything to his or her parents, and if the child does muster up the courage to do so, often everything is brushed under the carpet.
I'd like us all, as social commentators, bloggers and parents, to take the initiative to communicate to the world that child abuse is more common than you think and that parents need to be alert and watchful before some warped soul robs their child of their innocence.
I propose a month (April) of posts on the topic of Child Sexual Abuse (Prevention/Signs/Help) across the blogosphere.If you remember, I see this as a similar exercise to the one on Food Allergies and Learning Disabilities we had done a while ago.
All you need to do is post one post (or more if you feel like it) on anything relevant on the topic. It could be a personal experience, or what you do to protect your child, or tips from experts or teaching a child good touch/bad touch, anything you can share. We will have a badge relevant to this topic and all posts participating in this awareness month should carry this badge. We will do a round up of all the posts at the end of each week on a common blog so that the blog is there in perpetuity for anyone to refer to.
I have discussed this informally with most of you, and am delighted to see such an outpouring of support. Those I havent discussed it with yet, but have included in this mail, do let me know if you would be keen to participate. Once I have a final list of participants, we can go about deciding posts, publishing order, etc. Please do feel free to forward this mail to anyone you might feel would be interested in contributing/participating.
Thank you so much for your time and effort in advance. We owe it to our children.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
My calling is such that puts me in touch with people from varied backgrounds. Today, I met three special women. All of them strong in their own special, God-sent ways.
It will take time to digest what I heard at the first meeting. Evening gloom has set in and I wonder what might she be doing now in her dingy room? She would most definitely be in the same pain she walked in when I first saw her...
This is a pessimistic song by the 13th-century poet Amir Khusro. Sad that hundreds of years later, at some point in time, most of us may have had this thought.
Attempting to translate part of the song:
You have done this once, don’t do so the next time;
Don’t make me a daughter again.
What is this fate that each girl gets?
The ones she believes her own turn out strangers instead…
She leaves her father’s abode, her mother’s bosom
To become an innocent bird caught in snares;
Only to be counseled at the top of it all:
Discarded like a child throws away a new toy after his fancy flies,
Where do we go?
You have done this once, don’t do so the next time,
Don’t make me a daughter again.
If I have the same parents and the same friends, I would like to be born a woman again. May be even if that's not the case. But does she, in her dingy room, think the same?
Translation (C) Gauri Gharpure
Friday, February 11, 2011
I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It's my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power
to make a child's life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides
whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and
a child humanized or de-humanized."
~ Dr. Haim Ginott
The above quote was also sent by email. He also asked his students to share how he is in class. So, this post.
Joseph Pinto is a taskmaster. He is the one who insists on moulding us to the best of our capabilities. So demanding was his insistence on precision in editing and writing, that we, most of whom were fresh graduates with nothing but starry dreams about journalism, had a tough time trying to live up to these academic expectations barely a few months in the course.
He did not tolerate vague elongated sentences that stretched basic information worth eight words pulled to 25. We got half a mark straight for IDK (I don't know) and serious flak for beating around the bush in an attempt to fill the answer sheet. The teacher is decisive in class and the teacher cannot be fooled.
Thank you for the support, the guidance and for being the demanding teacher you have always been. We need more such teachers. Teachers like Joseph Pinto who steer the direction of your professional and personal growth by just being themselves, by not mincing words and by not compromising on what they have stood up for. May be, in the time to come, their wisdom will give us the courage to go 'against the tide.'
Monday, February 07, 2011
Maggie in a tomato, onion and corn gravy.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Random. Life is random. When time freezes and you have no hope left, you stare at that blank white wall and cry. And as those tears sparkle in the light of the bulb, as they soil the book you are attempting to read and make the pillow uncomfortably wet, you are shaken back into a mortal existence of money and materialism in spite of all your precious, sacrosanct emotional turmoil. "O, that book cost me Rs. 395!" And "O, I hate sleeping on a soggy pillow". The triviality of such mundane worries that can find precedence in your life even in the time of some profoundly disturbing moments makes you smile. Trivia remind you to take it easy, to go with the flow and keep the faith.
Unforgiving. Life is unforgiving. Your past is etched in iron, it won't change. The person you were shall be, safely frozen in the abyss of time. It's up to you to be the person you want to be. Lock your past and lose the painful key for tomorrow is another day. And tomorrow will be better, tomorrow you will be better. Life is unforgiving for a reason: it wants you to be your best every single waking moment, every single sleeping moment.
Loving. Life is loving. No matter what past did to you and what disasters you inflicted on your past, life still loves you. It calls you ever so softly, ever so warmly, inviting you to live. As I write this, I remember a friend from college who killed self. Jumped into a river after parking his bike by the highway. His body was fished out some days later, all eaten up by fish. If I were to meet him today as a ghost in that rotten body, I would slap him tight. He had no right to go. Life was waiting. Don't go. Even if you think no one loves you (and you are grossly mistaken there if you think so) life loves you. Life is loving, don't go.
Colours. Let's get back to colours. The colours of songs, of lyrics, of those words written by strangers hundreds of miles away just for you. Let's talk about the colours of hope, of wait, of denial and of shy acceptance. Let's talk about everything in between life and death, day and night, you and me. Everything happens for a reason and it is not our business to be Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of that reason. Leave reason be, make your own poetry in free verse.
Woman. Let's talk about being a woman, a lover, a mother. What would this world come to if it were not for the feminine? What the world were to be if it were not for our tenacity to soak pain and indifference, digest unfairness and inequality, gulp down chauvinism and abuse with a smile that hides it all? All the violence, sex and massacre- both physical and emotional- would multiply many times over if it were not for those sacrificed women who kept on taking blow after blow for only one reason: their gender and the paramount expectation of strength that comes with their sex.
Today, I am happy. Tomorrow, I shall be so. For I have moved ahead from fantasizing the mushy colours of the rainbow to accept and respect the lovely colours of life. Matt, dull, glossy, vibrant, hopeful, mauve and pink, red and blue, beige and golden- all colours are mine today. I am sinking in the unbearable randomness of being.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I wanted to try these ever since I saw them on Nupur's blog more than a year back. As the link on her blog is not working, I googled and followed this very-nicely-written recipe on Sizzle and Spice.
There are some variations I thought would do well to the recipe. I added one finely chopped capsicum, one roasted tomato, a spoonful of ginger and one finely chopped green chilly. Also, used oregano, thyme and pepper powder in equal proportion instead of using any Pizza masala. Rest all is as given on Sizzle and Spice.
Served this to Baba, I am sure he will get used to home-baked stuffed soon! :)