Thursday, July 25, 2013

Groundnuts and Discrimination

My FB and blogger friend, avid traveller in the backroads of Maharashtra, traditional food connoisseur, and avid photographer and chronicler of culture, Priyadarshan Kale's joy knew no bounds when he spied freshly harvested groundnuts in their shells, on his foray in possibly the Grant Rd  market in Mumbai. 

While there is nothing better than eating these steamed and salted in their shells, (as Priyadarshan did, and so posted on FB) on a wildly rainy day, when the government itself urges you not to venture out into torrential rains , there is another world out there, where others are fighting it out, hot in the kadhais, as life gives them a roasting. 

First inspired in Marathi, then in English. (Be grateful I don't know Gujarati....)

 (photo by Priyadarshan Kale)

देशावरील पश्चिम महाराष्ट्रातील
भुइमुगा बाई शेंगा परिवार …

त्यातले काही ,
हाय-फाय भागात राहून,
मीठ वाफेचे फ़ेशिअल करून,
दक्षिण मुंबईच्या रस्त्यांसारखे
गुळगुळीत बनतात,
खोटी खारट आसवे गाळतात,
आणि चीनी मातीच्या ताटलीत
आराम करत
कोणाच्याहि आहारी सहज जातात …

आणि काही ,
खड्डया खड्डयानच्या रस्त्यावरून,
पुरा संसार एका सायकल वर घेउन
निघालेल्या फेरीवाल्याच्या बरोबर रहातात ,
आणि समुद्रावर
एका काळ्याकुट्ट गरम कढई मध्ये
आयुष्याचे चटके खाउन
इकडे तिकडे फिरत
मुंबईच्या आम जनते सारखे
कधी काळवंडतात,
कधी फुटतात ,
मग कालच्या वर्तमानपत्रात
न छापलेले , गुंडाळलेले
वृत्त बनतात
कुणाच्या तरी चेहर्यावर समाधान बनून
अंतर्धान पावतात

 Generations of the
Lady Groundnut family
residing on the plains
of Western Maharashtra....

frequent hi-fi areas ,
enjoying exclusive
steamy salt facials,
then revel
in competing
with South Mumbai roads
for smoothness;
then lie back luxuriously
on bone china plates,
shedding salty tears,
as some one powerful
and in white,
and swallows
so many nuts of the ground.

And some,
crowding together
in a vendor's basket,
his entire life carried along
on his bicycle,
on hugely potholed roads,

end up
tolerating roastings
in a dark thick wok.

Like the city's own folks,
a burn here,
a hurt there,
a darkening here,
and sometimes
they just go to pieces.

Becoming a happy piece 

of unprinted news
for someone,
who gets them
wrapped and served
in yesterday's newspaper.