Monday, May 22, 2017

A Jilebi Philosophy

My friend , Prachee Gokhale  from New Zealand, recently decided to make Jilebis. This involves passing some fermented viscous dough through a small aperture (like that of a squeeze bottle) , and have it falling in artistic spirals , into hot oil; the fried designs are then immersed in sugar syrup and they emerge as jilebis, usually greatly loved by everyone.

Sometimes, the designs are different, not in perfect circle spirals, but in random shapes. There is no difference in taste. At all.  But entire generations grow up, thinking that circular spirals is the only perfect way of making jilebis.  And sometimes , this kind of thinking pervades life.

Think again.  I did and came up with something these  jilebis teach us.  (A little bit of deeper thinking, had me recalling  spiral structures and DNA.  Never mind. I am sure Watson and Crick did not have jilebis in mind. )

Read on to understand why......

Thoughts fer̥menting
with a bit, nay, a lot of help
from those with a

sour mentality,
and a sudden outpouring
into hot oil
through a small aperture.

the design is mixed up,
unique, misshapen, broken
and sometimes ,
a thing of beauty,
all wrapped up in its own curves.

The sugar syrup, like life,
doesn't differentiate.

It makes them all equally sweet .

It clearly, knows,
we humans do not.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Caramelized Lives....

My friend Deepak Amembal has an amazing wanderlust, which he shares with his motorcycle and his car. Currently driving through Goa, he has been posting wonderful scenic photos, and recently posted one  of a caramel custard,  which he probably devoured minutes after clicking it.

Carmelization of sugar has fascinated me. When many experiments in cooking have ended in an unavoidable caramelization of sugar where none was expected,  it is nice to look at a dish where sugar was deliberately caramelized.

Naturally , I saw a political message in all this. There are no free desserts in life.....

There is egg white
and flour white
and sugar white.

But the attraction here
is the golden brown caramel,
a result of sugar
throwing caution
to the winds,
and burning up a brown storm,
before all the whites
pour in.

A piece, slightly shaky,
as if on tenterhooks
as someone spoons a piece.

Unlike in the biped world,
peace reigns in a multi color
caramel custard world,
where the custard simply accepts,
that she would be nowhere
without the caramel .

Something Trump needs to know
as he digs into
his own caramel custard
in Florida.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mind Calls....

When you live away from your folks in another country, and sometimes memories come flooding in,  it is comforting to look at old photos which you took. 
 My friend Preeti Deo who lives near London, recently posted this wonderful capture of doors and windows "that speak" , which she clicked at Jalna , her native place in India. 
For some reason,  this photograph spoke volumes to me. Mostly about closed minds, slowly making and effort to open up, and how we must do our bit to help. A burning question today, where mental health issues are being addressed.
A poem in Marathi was the immediate result. I did an English version later.
(photo courtesy Preeti Deo)
मनाचे कप्पे .

काहींच्या मनाचे कप्पे
त्या निळ्या दरवाज्यासारखे बंद असतात;
आतल्या आत , कधीकधी
अनागोंदी , अव्यवस्था , आणि गोंधळ ,
आणि मग अचानक कधीतरी
मनातली एक अर्धवट खिडकी उघडू पहाते;
एक मूक निशब्द आर्त हाक असते,
आणि मदतीसाठी खिडकीतून बाहेर धरलेला
अदृश्य हात असतो .

आपण तो पकडायचा असतो,
आणि खिडकीच्या आतल्या मनाशी संवाद साधायचा असतो
आतला गोंधळ व अनागोंदी ,
आटोक्यात येईल .

यश येईल
जेव्हा खिडकी सोडून
मन आपले सर्वात मोठे मनोद्वार
उत्साहाने उघडून
आपल्याशी संवाद साधेल.
मग आपल्याला कितीही उंच चढावं लागलं
तरी चालेल .

मनातल्या मनात जगायचा नसतं;
पण जगाशी संवाद साधून श्रीमंत व्हायचं असतं ​.....
 Some minds,
perhaps loaded to the brim
with brownian thought motion,
confusion and chaos,
keep themselves shut from you,
like the blue door;
suddenly , at some point,
a mind window opens,
like a silent scream ,
holding out an invisible hand
for help.

It is ours to hold it,
comfort it, and talk to it,
so as to reduce
the chaos and confusion inside.

Perhaps the mind will learn,
communicate, and perhaps,
open up the biggest door it has.
It is up to us ,
to rush in there to help.
It does not matter
how high one has to climb.

Looking inward is not living.
And holding a dialogue
with the world around you,
enriches you immeasurably.

Friday, March 3, 2017

On being an Appe Patra.... एका आप्पे पात्राची कहाणी ​

I came to Appe Patrams fairly late in life. And I thought they were such nifty stuff. Unlike idlies, the Appe excelled in a taste of their own, despite an inviting chutney lying alongside with come hither looks.

They offer themselves to a multitude of uses, such as making non-fried sabudana wadas, and udid wadas meant to function later as dahi wadas .

I thought it was time to celebrate them . The Appe Patra, that is....

The poem happened first in Marathi, thanks to my friend Vidya  posting a query on FB.  The English version was done later , for my non Marathi friends.

नाही तवा, नाही कढई ,
न्हवतो मी कधीच 'वोक' ;
कोणीतरी म्हणालं
"स्टोव्ह टॉप मफीन पॅन ",
किती मजेशीर असतात न लोकं .

जगात कितीतरी वस्तूंच्या सूक्ष्म प्रतिकृती दिसतात .
फोने टेबलावरून खिश्यात आले,
संभाषणे तोंडावरून संगणकावर आली ,
महत्वाचे चे कागद अल्मिर्यातून
खिशातल्या हार्ड डिस्कवर ;
वाक्यांशातून स्वर काढून सूक्ष्मीकरण केल्याने
आता तुम्ही पाच ते सहा अक्षरात
जमिनीवर गडाबडा लोळू शकता ,
नाहीतर ३ अक्षरात जोर जोरात हसू शकता .

आणि म्हणूनच इडलीचे प्रगत सुक्ष्मीकरण
करण्याचा प्रस्ताव आला ,
तेवहा मी हात वर केला !

मला नाही लागत वाफा , आणि वेगवेगळी भांडी .
इडलीच्या आंबलेल्या आयुष्यात ,
थोडा कांदा , मिरची, आले, कोथिंबीर , मीठ, मिरे
यांचे योगदान मोठे ;
एखादा लहान चमचा तेल तूप घालून,
चमचा चमचा बनवलेले खमंग मिश्रण घातले,
आणि वर घुमटाकृती झाकण ठेवले
कि केवळ माझ्या आत्मविश्वासाच्या बळावर
आप्प्याचं आयुष्य मार्गी लागतं .
एका बाजूच सोन झालं ,
कि पलटून दुसरी बाजू खाली,
आणि जगात पदार्पण करायच्या आधी,
थोडा आजूबाजूनी तेलतुपाचा मेकअप .

कसं असतं ,
एखादी गोष्ट छान दिसली की
सर्व लोक त्याचे अनुकरण करतात .

आजकाल साबुदाणा मंडळी
माझ्याकडे येऊन उपासाचे आप्पे करतात
आणि परवाच कोणीतरी उडदाचे ही वडे केले,
आणि दह्यात पडताच दही धन्य झालं ...

पण कुठल्याही यशस्वी माणसाच्या मागे जशी
एक खमकी हुशार बाई असते ,
तसं माझ्या दुसर्या बाजूस
थेट विस्तवाशी दोन हात करणारा
प्रसंगी डाग पडणारा
खालचा पृष्ठभाग आहे.

इतके सगळं ऐकून
तुम्हाला वाटेल
मी निवडणुकीला उभा आहे.

छे हो! मला तर सगळ्यांनी कायमचे निवडून दिले आहे !
Not a griddle, or a pan,
neither was ever a Wok;
And then
someone in fun,
called me
a Stove Top Muffin Pan.


So many things
have been miniaturized,
in our world.
Hefty phones, from tables into pockets,
Chats from mouths, to computers ;
Important papers from
filing cabinets
to harddisks in pockets;
In an acrimonized world,
you can roll in
uncontrolled mirth on the floor
in 5-6 letters,
and laugh out loud in 3 .

And so when Idliees were the
subject of miniaturizing,
I put my hand up!

Don't need steam,
or numerous utensils.
A fermented Idli Life,
enriched immeasurably
by the onions, mirchies,
ginger, salt and pepper....

A small half spoon of oil/ghee ,
and spoonfulls of mixture,
in the spaces so meant,
now covered with a lid.
Powered by my confidence,
a side cooked golden,
and now turned,
with a bit of ghee/oil,
sliding down the sides,
and the Appe's are set
to face what Life has in store.

Imitation is the best form
of flattery in the Appe world.
I've been doing sabudana appes,
and then someone made udid dal appes,
actively craved by a waiting dahi .

Just like behind every man
is a successful firm woman,
I have behind me,
a surface,
that deals with fire and flames 
on a daily baisis,
and comes out with flying dark colors.

You might think
I am campaigning for an election.

No. For the simple reason,
that everyone has already selected me
for Life! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Carrotnama गाजरनामा

My friend , Prachee Gokhale of New Zealand, makes excellent wadis , combining various vegetables, with milk, coconut, sugar, utilising natural color of the vegetables.

 From a ravishing dark pink beetroot wadis, to some sophisticated colorless almond wonders,  to these difficult-to-guess carrot wadis , I have had a fun time, giving "a life" to her creations.

Sometimes, being the age I am,  I cannot resist connecting them to recent events in the world. 

You may read her original post here

The poem was originally written in Marathi. Then an English version happened . Posting both.

All photographs by Prachee Gokhale.

सुंदर, शेलाटी, ताजी, गुलाबी
गाजरं (तुम्हाला काय वाटलं , मुलगी?)
घरी येतात,
तेव्हा भविष्यात काय आहे
ह्याची त्यांना कल्पना नसते .

कधी नुसतीच गाजरे , लांब तुकडे करून,
चाट मसाला, लिंबू मीठ आलंकृत;
कधी तुकडे करून, मटार फ्लावर प्रभुतींबरोबर
लोणचे मसाल्यात लांब पल्ल्याचा प्रवास ;
मग कधीतरी हलक्या हातांनी दाण्याचा कूट , मीठ मिरची
आणि लिंबू
यांच्या बरोबर मिळून ताटातल्या भाजीला शह;
आणि कधी तरी गाजरानची दिवाळी आल्यासारखं
साजूक तूप, दूध, साखर , बेदाणे , पिस्ते
यांच्या सह शिजून , मधुर हलवा.
गाजरा आपला सुंदर रंग टिकवून असते .

मग अचानक कधीतरी
खवा, नारळ मंडळींबरोबर एकरूप होणे ,
कढईचे चटके एकत्र सहन करणे ,
शेवटी , "आम्ही नाही जा !"
म्हणत कढई च्या मध्यावर गोळा होणे ,
पुन्हा केशर पिस्त्यांचा सहवास ,
आणि कल्पना येणार नाही
अश्या फिक्कट रंगात वडी रूपात अवतीर्ण होणे.

आपला रंग कोणता हि असो,
आपले स्वतःचे चांगले गुण त्यावर अवलंबून नसतात .
इतर रंगांच्या पदार्थांशी मिळत जुळत घेणे ,
शेवटी अगदी अनोळखी रंग होणार असला
तरी आनंदाने त्यात सहभागी होणे,
आणि कुठल्याही रंगाचं, आकाराचं, मापाचं
कोणीही येऊन भेटलं तर त्याचा आदर करून
आपलंसं करणं.

हे माणसांचं नाही
तर गाजरांचं आयुष्यवर्णन.

अजून आपण शिकलो नाही.

गोरे चांगले, सावळे वाईट ,
पैसे दिसले कि स्वतःचेच डोळे पटकन बंद ,
आपल्या पेक्षा वेगळे म्हणजे शत्रू,
आणि काय तर म्हणे,
"मेक अस ग्रेट अगेन !"
अस म्हणून एक माणूस निवडून येतो
आणि जगच उलटे पालटे करतो.

कधी कधी वाटत ,
गाजरांच जग बरं .
 Beautiful, statuesque, fresh
pink carrots
(and you thought "girls" ?)
coming home,
have no clue
as to what awaits them in the future.

Sometimes, long pieces
adorned with chatmasaalaa ,
salt and lemon;
sometimes mixed up with
carrot and cauliflower types
in pickle masallas;
sometimes, just grated ,
and lightly mixed with
roasted peanuts, salt ,
chillies, and lemon,
holding their own
versus the cooked veggies;
and finally,
and almost Divali like celebration
in a carrot world,
with ghee, milk, dry fruits and sugar,
a dream in pink !

And then, suddenly one day,
a getting together
with evaporated milk, coconut
and sugar,
and a gamboling in the hot
singeing pan,
and a final leaving
to congregate in a ball.
A dry fruit magic ,
and a final emergence
in wadis of an unbelievable color.

One's good qualities,
are not dependent on one's color.
Being friendly with other colors,
participating avidly in things
which finally change one's
own color,
and showing respect and love
to anyone
of any color, shape, or size
that crosses one's path...

Describes, not a human life,
but that of a carrot.

We have not yet learnt.

White is always right, dark is wrong,
a quick blinding
by the advent of cash,
and anyone not like us,
is an enemy, against us;
Some guy espouses this,
"make us great again !"
wins an election,
and turns the world on its head.

Very clearly, one yearns for a carrot life .  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Life according to Aluwadis-Collocassia Rolls अळूवड्यांची शिकवण

Aluwadis , or Coloccassia Rolls are widely made in Western India, and called by different names, and look like the picture on the left below;  layers of Besan smeared on leaves, layered , rolled up, steamed, cooled, cut into rolls, fried and enjoyed.

Then there is another School of making Aluwadis , similar to Wadis made with Coriander leaves, Methi etc; involving chopping leaves fine, and mixing them in besan, spicing them , steaming , cooling, cutting and frying.

A fine distinction very clear to me, is the predominant role of the leaves in the first recipe, and that of Besan in the second.

We ignore the aesthetic aspects for the moment. The taste is what matters.

Which has a lesson for all of us humans . A philosophy of living, as it were.  Read on......

वर्षानुवर्षे चिखलात दाटीदाटीने
आपल्या जांभळ्या देठानवर
दिमाखाने मोठाली हिरवी पाने सांभाळत
घालवलेले दिवस ,
आणि मग अचानक गठ्ठ्यात बांधून
कुणा एकीच्या घरी येऊन पडणे .

मग एखाद्या लहान बाळाला अंघोळ घातल्यासारखे
पाण्याने स्वच्छ करणे, अलगद पुसणे.
मग​ इतक्या कोमल त्वचेला साबू कशाला,
म्हणून डाळीचं पीठ लावणे;
फरक एव्हडाच , कि वयात आलेल्या पानांना
जरा चटकदार डाळीचे पीठ
बनवून लावणे ,
आणि मग एकावर एक ठेऊन ,
गुंडाळी करून ,
वाफेतला अगदी अंतिम सौंदर्य उपचार.
मग वड्या कापणे आणि तळणे.

होत काय
कि माणसांसारखं वनस्पती जगतात सुद्धा
भावना असतात , अहंकार असतात,
आणि कुठेतरी डाळीचं पीठ दुखावलं जातं.

नेहमी दर्शनी भागात दिसणार्या पिठाला
पानात गुंडाळून पडणे सहन होत नाही,
आणि मग कर्म धर्म संयोगाने
कुणाला तरी
अळूची पाने बारीक कापायची कल्पना सुचते ;
ती डाळीच्या पिठात घालून,
मीठ, मिरच्या व चविष्ट मसाले घालून,
त्याचा गोळा बनतो .
मागच्या सारखे वाफवण्याचे प्रकार ,
पण ताटलीत थापून .
मग वड्या पाडणे आणि तश्याच किंवा
तळून वाढणे.

मनुष्यजातीत सुधा हा
"मी पणा असतो , अहंकार असतात ,
मग पुरुष असो वा स्त्री .
कुणा एकाला नेहमी उंच्चपदस्थ वाटणे
जरूर नसते .
प्रत्येकाचा सोनियाचा दिवस येतो
आणि त्या त्या दिवशी त्याचे कौतुक होते .
कधी अश्या वड्या
कधी बेसनाला बरे वाटावे खणून तश्या वड्या .

स्वयंपाकातून आपण किती सिद्धांत मांडू शकतो ना !

Growing up crowded
in wet mudflats,
proudly displaying
their immense green leaves
amazingly balanced on purple stems.

One day,
only to be plucked,
tied in bunches, and taken home.

Then a bathing and cleaning  in water
a la newborn,
a delicate wipe-and-dry;
soaps being frowned upon for a baby,
and then a paste of besan.

Collocassia, coming of age,
and the besan gets a spicy makeover,
slathered on the leaves,
piled in layers, rolled up
and steamed,
then to be cut in pieces and fried,
presenting the Aluwadi or
Collocasia Rolls.

Perhaps, like amidst humans,
there is a tussle of egos,
in the Plant World as well,
and very clearly,
Besan, never rolled like this,
used to being at the forefront,
is hurt and peeved.

Then someone gets an idea,
the leaves undergo a fine chopping.
A mixing with Besan,
and assorted spicy stuff ,
and the mixture
set in shallow plates and steamed.
Once again to be cooled, cut and fried.

We humans too ,
face this one-upmanship,
pride and ego problems.
Man or woman,
it doesn't matter.
Each one to have his/her day in the Sun,
to be celebrated by all.

once of one type,
and then ,
another type .

Kitchen Philosophy to the rescue ....


Sunday, January 22, 2017

एका जेवणाची दुसरी गोष्ट Alternate Food Stories....

My friend  Aruna Sambhare recently prepared this lovely traditional Marathi meal, consisting of Rice, Varan(Dal), Puris, Shrikhand,  a mixed Koshimbir(Salad),  a Palak sabji, and a Upwaas Potato sabji. The piece de resistance was the Walache Birde, a traditional Kokan preparation using field beans. 

And then she posted a photograph.

This photograph is a living example of folks feeling full after a look at the photograph. Excellent for those of us  who would otherwise go haywire enjoying it all, and let their diet go for a toss.

I had my fill, both of stomach and heart.  A full heart often waxes poetic.

First in Marathi , and then, an English effort.....

काय दिवस आले आहेत ,
कि कुटुम्ब म्हटलं की
आपल्याला विभक्त कुटुंब दिसतं ,
आणि एकत्र कुटुंब फारशी दिसत नाहीत .

आज काल दिसत नाही ,
पण हे ताट कुटुंब ,
अगदी एकत्र कुटुंब पद्धती प्रमाणे राहणारे .

भातराव आणि पुरीभाऊ
सख्खे भाऊ ,
अगदी गुण्या गोविंदाने राहणारे .
भातरावांची पत्नी वरणा,
तूप मीठ लिंबाचे अलंकार घालून नेहमी हजर.
पुरीभाऊंची पत्नी श्रीखंडा
मोठ्ठया घरातली,
आणि येऊन जाऊन असणारी;
पुरीभाऊंची रस्साबाईंशी असलेल्या जवळीकीची
तिला कुणकुण लागली असावी ,
पण ती तसं दाखवत नाही ,
आणि नेहमी पुरीभाऊंशेजारी उभी .

त्यांचे सुपुत्र पालक भाजीराव,
कांदा-दाणेकूट मस्तानीच्या नादी लागलेले,
आणि माहित असूनही,
पुरीभाऊ आपल्याला काहीच दिसलं नाही,
अशा अविर्भावात कोशिंबीरीला मध्ये घालून स्वस्थ.

भातरावांचे ज्येष्ठ पुत्र बटाटेराव ,
यांचा फराळी पद्धतीने कुटुंबात वावर ;
जिरे, कढीपत्ता , कोथिंबीर, खोबरे,
यांच्याशी उपास स्टाईल सात्विक जवळीक.

पण दिसतं तस नसतं,
आणि वालोबाराव बिरडे ,
हे कोकणातून आपला हक्क सांगायला आले ,
आणि बटाटे रावांच्या मनात जिरे कुचकुचले.

पुरीभाऊ आणि सौ श्रीखंडा बघत असता ,
बटाटे रावानचे स्थितप्रद्न्य असल्याचे अविर्भाव,
पण मनात दुसरंच.
आणि एकीकडे वालोबाराव बिरडयांची
हळूच भातरावांकडे मसालेदार ओली वाटचाल .

इतिहास सांगतो, कि पेशवाईचा अस्त झाला .

सद्य परिस्थिती अशी आहे ,
अरुणाराजे सांभाऱयांनी जेवायला आमंत्रण दिले आहे,
आणि ह्या स्वयंपाकी पेशवाईचा अस्त झाला नाही,
तरी सगळं पटकन फस्त मात्र होणार आहे
हे पक्कं !
What have we come to,
when the mention of "Family"
makes us think
of a Nuclear family,
and not a Joint family ?

We don't see any these days,
but the TaaT Family,
is clearly a Joint family.

Monsieur Rice and Herr Puri,
blood brothers,
living happily
as members of the Joint family.

Rice's wife, Varana,
is always around
decked up
in ornaments of ghee, salt and lemon.

Herr Puris's wife
hailing from a rich family,
kind of comes and goes.
Perhaps she is unaware
of the whispers
linking Herr Puri, with
the spicy Rassaabai,
or she knows
but it doesn't show
as she takes her place
next to Puri.

Their son, Palak Bhajirao,
cooking up an affair
with the Onion-Groundnut Mastani,
and Herr Puri,
ignoring and pretending
that he has seen nothing,
as he pushes the
Koshimbir salad between them.

Monsieur Rice's eldest son,
occasionally involving himself
with family stuff,
pretending to be Satvik,
associating with
Cumnins, kadhipattas , Coriander and Coconut.

At some point
the secret is out,
and Valoba Birde,
of the Kokan Birde's
arrives to stake his claim
as a descendant of Monsieur Rice.

Monsieur Puri and Shrikhanda
watch this,
all agape,
and although Potatorao
is troubled by the news
he pretends to be detached
about it all,
as Valoba Birde
slowly moves in a masala stream
towards Monsieur Rice.

Much like the History of the Peshwas,
and the sun setting on it
at some point.

The current situation
describes an invitation to dine
by Aruna Saambhare,
and although the Food Peshwas 
continue their reign,
folks are simply going to
finish it all , despite them.   

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

पोळी गुळाची......

संक्रांतीचे वेध लागले की तिळाचे लाडू , वड्या , हलवा , व गुळाच्या पोळ्या डोळ्यासमोर येतात . फेसबुक वरच्या अंगत-पंगत  नावाच्या ग्रुपमध्ये आज सकाळी सकाळी दिसलेली एक पोस्ट. 

विशाखा पर्वते ह्या माझ्या एका मैत्रिणीने नुकत्याच केलेल्या गुळाच्या पोळीचा , तुपासह फोटो घातला आणि तो कडकपणा, ते सुंदर वितळलेल्या  गुळाचे डाग , आणि दिमाखाने मध्ध्यावर आसनस्थ साजूक तूप ,  बघून राहवलं नाही . 

डोळ्यासमोरून जणू कणकेचे  वर्षभराचे  वेळापत्रक हळू हळू सरत गेले , आणि एक कविता झाली

(गुळाच्या पोळीचा फोटो , विशाखा पर्वते यांच्या परवानगीने वापरला आहे.)  

भाद्रपद ते पौष ,
कणिक आणि मैदा मंडळी अगदी झोकात असतात .
मनास येईल तेव्हडा मसाज,

गरम मोहन ,
कधी कातण्याने आकार,
कधी गोल करून तळणे ,
कधी मोदकासारखं भरण्याची सवय सुटत नाही ,
आणि पुरणवगैरे मंडळींची रेलचेल.

नवीन वर्ष आणि संक्रांत येते ,
आणि ह्याच कणिक-मैदा लोकांना
एकदम आरोग्यदायी जीवनशैली आठवते ..

किसून किसून दमलेला गूळ ,
गरम तेलात फिरून फिरून घाम काढणारा बेसन ,
तडतड उडून तडकणारे
पण शेवटी अगदी पूड होऊन शरण येणारे तीळ,
आणि ह्या सर्वांच्या साठी
कौतुकाने येऊन पडणारी जायफळाची पूड;
सर्वांनी एकत्र येऊन , गुळात एकजीव होऊन ,
घट्ट डब्यात विचारात बसणे .

एरवी गोल होऊन
वक्र पृष्ठभाग गुंडाळून घ्यायची सवय असलेली कणीक,
अचानक दोन चपट्या गोल लाटयात
गुळाला सांभाळते ,
आणि लाटण्याने, हळुवारपणे शिकवून मोठे करते .
अशी हि प्रौढ गुळपोळी ,
जणू तव्या वर गरम परिस्थिती सामना करून
एखाद दोन व्रण दाखवत ,
आणि तरी सुद्धा ताठ कण्याने बाहेरच्या जगात येते.

आयष्यात हि असेच असते .

कधी ओंजारून गोंजारून,
सर्वांना एकत्र करून काम करणे,
आणि कधी
जरा स्वतःला आणि दुसर्याला
चांगली शिस्त लावून,
यशाचा झेंडा रोवणे.

बघा ना .

आपल्याला अजून पटत नाही ,
पण पोळ्यांना कधीच समजलंय .....

Monday, January 9, 2017

एका खाकऱ्याची गोष्ट ... The Khaakra Philosophy....

My FB friend  Shivangi Datar, made these excellent Khaakras from leftover chapaties or Polis. She posted this amazing photo, making me wonder how perfectly matched the khaakraas and the basket were, and what an amazing pair they  made.

Then folks started writing in about having these with salt, masalas, and chilly powder, and butter and ghee ,  and Shivangi herself mentioned dunking them in a raita of curds, tomatoes and cucumber.

I cannot enjoy these , in a virtual world.

All I can do is honor them with poetry , first in the Chhatrapatis's language, and then in the Queen's...

टेबलाच्या मध्यभागी ठेवलेला
पोळ्यांचा कॅसरोल डब्बा.

इतकी महत्वाची जागा ,
आणि भाजी, आमटी, कोशिंबीर, आणि श्रीखंड,
यांच्या घरी येणे जाणे ,
त्यामुळे पोळ्या अगदी टेचात .

मग अचानक खुर्च्या सरकावल्याचे आवाज,
दूर जाणारे आवाज,
आणि सहा पोळ्यांना झालेले अतीव दुःख .

हळू हळू भात, भाजी, आमटी, लोक शीत पेटीत
आणि पोळ्यांचा सर्वात कठीण काळ
कॅसरोल कोठडीत एकांतवासाची शिक्षा....

कुठेतरी देव असतो ,
आणि कुठेतरी शिवांगी असते.

रुसलेल्या पोळ्यांना एकावर एक ठेऊन,
गरम कोरड्या तव्यावर
मऊ कापड हातात घेऊन
दाबून फिरवत ,
तिने "उगी उगी " म्हणत पटपट फिरवणे.
एकेकीला पालटून पुन्हा फिरवून समजूत काढणे.

थोडेसे डाग तर पडतात ,
पण जसं टी. व्ही वर म्हणतात,
"दाग अच्छे है" ,
आणि एक एक पोळी ,
कडक अटेंशनमध्ये सोनेरी कडा दाखवत
एका सुंदर टोपलीत येऊन

आता आयुष्यात
तिखट-मीठ, लोणी, मसाले, सैंधव, तूप,
असे सालंकृत सजून वावरणे ,
मधूनच न राहवून
अमृततुल्य चहाच्या कपाने जवळ येणे ,
आणि कधी कधी
सगळ्याच घडामोडी गरम व्हायला लागल्या ,
कि धावून
काकडी टोमॅटो नि सजलेल्या दह्यात बुडवून
चित्त गार करणे.

पोळी तशी विचारवंत,
आणि आपल्या प्रारब्धाचा विचार करणारी .

आपण ठरवतो काय आणि होतं काय !
आणि आपण त्यातच सुख मानून ,
नवीन आयुष्याला सामोरं जायचं असतं ...

कधी कधी वाटतं ,
पोळी कडून आपल्याला शकिण्यासारखं किती असतं !

The chapati casserole box
supreme at the centre of the table.

On backslapping and visiting terms
with the
Bhajis, Amtis, Koshimbirs and Shrikhand,
the Polis move amongst all
with  great importance.

And then,
the sudden noise of chairs scraping,
footsteps going away,
and the six of them that are left
almost in a sad depression.

The Bhat, Bhajis, Amtis and others
retiring to the fridge,
and they are left,
although together,
in an almost solitary confinement.

But there is a God
and yes, there is a Shivangi...

She piles them up,
roasting the one at the bottom,
on a hot dry griddle,
comforting it and pressing it,
moving it around,
with a soft cotton cloth,
and gets each of  them done.

A few black spots
here and there,
but totally unconcerned,
flaunting their golden edges,
they sit stiffly,
at attention,
resplendent in a lovely basket.

Life is now all about
being showered with spices,
slathered in butter,
and preening as the cup of tea
surreptitiously steals a look;
then perhaps,
if things get hot,
a cooling dip
in a bowl of curds
adorned with tomato and cucumber .

The erstwhile Chapati or Poli,
now an upright Khaakra
a leading light
of the Snacks Community,
is actually philosophical.

What we plan,
and what our future actually holds
maybe so different;
and ours is
only to face it
and continue to do
the best we can,

Hearing this Khaakrra Philosophy,
there is so much for us humans,
to  learn ,
isn't there ?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Contemplations of Bozo ...

Mumbai's first Blogger Dog, Bozo Amembal, is back , after a longish layover.  Old age does that to you sometimes. It is not that he was unwell, but he was just enjoying himself in peace, doing nothing important.

He is aware of the happenings in the country. He listens to people talk at home. He even reads the paper , by leaning over someone, putting his front feet on the sofa back. He watches TV, and sometimes he simply turns away his head, because what he is seeing is nothing new.

He tends to be a thinker in his old age; and sometimes he disapproves of what he sees, day-in and day out, currently, on TV.

His mentor and chronicler of his Life and Times, Deepak , caught him in one of his contemplative moods.....

So much to think and mull over.

I too love my treats,
I love to hide
and hoard them,
and enjoy them openly over a
period of time;
Occasionally someone in the house
will find them,
and notice
that much of the stuff has been chewed away
that they are now useless,
and throw them away.

I always think about it.

I should be hiding anything at all.

I certainly don't shout
and bark about it,
and go complaining endlessly
in the living room.

I also don't bark and
drown Deepak's words
when he tries explaining to me.

I suppose
Lassie of Carter Road
and my younger friends
don't think that way
and keep fighting
just to win.

In my old age,
I observe things around me
a lot,
including television;
and I certainly
learn a lot
about what NOT to be and do..

As these bipeds say.
"I am like that only...."