Thursday, February 28, 2013

On being a sugarcane juice puri.....

My friend Shruti Nargundkar, of Melbourne, often comes across something in the shops that transports her back, to her childhood days in India. One such episode happened when she spied bottles of sugarcane juice in the chilled section.

Read about what she did , her memories, and the old recipes , in her post  here.

These are not just puris on a blue plate.  They are  puris, imbibed and drenched with the sweetness of sugarcane juice and some spices, designed to drive your blues away!

Naturally, lots of sweet words, in both Marathi and English, in honor of the sweet puris....

उलट्या ऋतुंच्या देशात ,
संभ्रमात ,
एका कुड्कुड्णार्या कपाटात ,
ती दबा धरून बाटलीत बसून राहते,

अचानक कुणा एका कुटुंबाच्या घरी
जाण्याचा योग येतो.

कागदी पिशवीत झुलत गाडीतून जात जात
तिच्या डोळ्यासमोरून,
… शेतातले ते उंच दिवस,
बैलगाडीने खडकाळ रस्त्यावरून
गुर्हाळाकडे केलेला प्रवास,
काही मैत्रिणीनचा
कारखान्यात जाण्याचा निर्णय,
आणि मग अंग पिळ्वटून
स्वतः केलेला, लोखंडी स्तम्भातली
रसपूर्ण यात्रा …
सर्व काही सिनेमा सारखे सरले .

ओट्यावर पोचली आणि हुश्श झाले .
वेलची, जायफळ, तूप आणि कणिक दिसले
आणि तिला बाटलीत बघून एकच खसखस पिकली .
जुने दिवस आठवले ,
सगळे एकत्र आले,
कुणा आजीच्या कौतुकाच्या पोलपाटावर
मधेच तेलात पडून,
हसून हसून फुगून,
दमून भागून घाम गाळत
एका मुलीच्या ताटातले दिवस आठवले।

फरक आता एव्हडाच ,
कि ती मुलगी आता तळत होती,
फस्त करायला दोन दुसर्याच मुली सज्ज होत्या…. 

She sits,
arms wrapped around her knees,
in a freezing cold  cupboard
somewhere Down Under,
till one day,
she finds herself,
in a huge grocery bag
trundling along
in a car
on her way
to a family home.

Visions of the past
floating by
like a movie;
waving tall
in the cane fields,
bumping along in
a bullock cart,
stopping by
a sugarcane juice place,
wondering why
some friends preferred
joining a factory;
and then a
a trip between
two tough metal cylinders,
that squeezed
the twisted life out of her,
again and again.....

on the kitchen counter,
she spies
the old gang
of cardamom,
poppy seeds,
and wheat flour
and simply cracks up
in ghee, err glee.....

The flavors of
the old days,
as they got together,
and rolled around
beneath  Grandma's rolling pin,
a quick jump in the oil,
a mirthful blooming,
and a final repose
in the plate of
a little girl,
just waiting to eat !

It s just that,
the little girl
is doing the frying,
there are two other girls
who can't wait to eat.....

Just saying.....


  1. Sounds absolutely scrumptious!!!!!!

    And so evocative, with the little girl all grown up!

    1. I feel so pampered and blessed to be that little girl in Suranga Tai's poems ! :)

  2. The English version is just as beautifully written. ...Suranga Tai, taking the liberty to call you that but just wanted you to know you have another ardent fan in me....I will have to start following your blog now...