Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In praise of Amti Bhat .....

My blogger friend Harekrishnaji aka Priyadarshan Kale, goes exploring in the hinterlands of Maharashtra amd more so when the monsoon starts.

An expert on traditional food items and where you get the best of the lot,  in places way out in the countryside, he with his faithful Zen, often traverse Sahyadri peaks,valleys, unknown jungles, and rivers, to occasionally arrive at a home, where, fresh from howling winds, unrelenting rain, wandering clouds and a cold nose, they are transported to heaven at the sight of steaming hot rice served with a spiced hot dal, called "amti" in Maharashtra.

In his own words : "बरोबर दिशा धरुन चालत, डोंगरदऱ्या पार करत अंधाऱ्या रात्री मुक्कामी पोचल्यावर चुलीवर शिजलेल्या गरम भाताचा तो भलामोठाला डोंगर, त्यावरची ती वाफाळलेली आमटी. विसरणे नाही. अंतिम सत्य एकच. आमटीभात. गरमागरम आमटीभात." 

 These poems in Marathi (original) and and effort in English dedicated to Amti-bhat....

 (photos courtesy Google)

काही अक्खे , काही कण्या,
एकत्र रोळीमध्ये,
पाण्याच्या मोठ्या सरीतून निभावून
दोन मिनिटे स्वस्थ पडलेले .
मग धो धो पाणी ,
चटका लाउन जाणारे पातेले ,
आणि उचंबळणार्या विचारांना
ढवळून काढणारा डाव ,
बेभान पाण्यात फुलून उठणारा भात ,
सगळी एकामेकाला चिकटून बसलेली,
आपल्या भावी आयुष्याची काळजी
करणारी शित....

एका राजाभौंचे आगमन ,
बाहेर वार्याची धमाल,
हात पाय धुउन ,
मनातली भूक ओठावर ,
आणि एका सुगरण काकू ने
वाढलेली गरम गरम आमटी.

भुरका मारून तृप्त होउन
ते वदले,
"हेच ते, हेच, अंतिम सत्य ,
गरम आराम आमटी भात ....",
आणि त्या सर्व कण्या
"इश्य , काय हे !" असा मुरका मारून
आमटीत बुडून गेल्या .....

Some full grains,
some broken in
dehusking times,
resting together in a colander
after a torrential wash.

Then a tumultous dip
in a vessel
full of water,
but searing in its heat,
and their thoughts
bubble forth,
as the spatula
ensures a massive upheaval
amidst the
now empowered grains...

They sit,
stuck to each other,
secure in their numbers
wondering what lies ahead.

Enter Rajabhau,
he of the monsoon drives,
whistling winds, waterfalls,
and lost roads
in deep jungles.

The wind bangs the door shut,
as he dries up,
and sits down
enraptured by
a mountain of steaming
apprehensive rice.

A pot of dal,
just subsiding
after a massive
boil of emotion,
amidst mustards seeds,
coriander leaves toran,
spiced , tamarined,
and turmeric on the face,
finally meets
the rice.

He mixes it all up,
and slurps,
the warmth shining in the eyes.
"This is,
truly, the one and only truth;
Exquisite Amti-bhat,
on a wind swept monsoon day,
amidst the rural green,
straight from the stove..."

And the rice grains,
watch each other,
throw themselves in the Amti,
and say
"Aiyyo ! What a life !
What a life !".......


  1. Language may be English or Marathi,

    No change to taste the Amati-Bhat, Jibhesathi!!


  2. Your Marathi verse is superlative but being the great translator that you are the essence is retained in the English verse too :)

    1. Zephyr, it's all due to the amti-bhat, thank you! :-))

  3. I love Amti-Bhat, the real thing and also this poem :-)