Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Payasamic Salute

Sometimes, Payasam is lucky for you .

The Courtyard by Marriot Mumbai Airport, announced a short contest, asking "If Republic Day was a dish, what would it be and why" and asked folks to write in.

I wrote in my entry, in the form of a poem, reproduced below.

The result was heart warming, to say the least. Gut-warming to say the most.

The Marriot folks thought i deserved to win, and awarded a voucher for a Republic Day brunch for two, which was duly enjoyed by yours truly , with the daughter, who also took photographs.

To see all the details, check out " A Different Parade"

A Payasamic Constitution,
An all encompassing richness
Of a creamy white mind,

Adorned by strands of saffron,
So fragrantly special;
Waving to the delicious green
Fields of pistachios strewn around;
And they nudge each other,
as they sight the bowl,
And pour their hearts into it,
Celebrating with a
"Jai Ho ! Bharatmata ki jai ho ! ".....

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Land, My Tree

My friend Bhavesh Chhatbar posted this very evocative visual of a proud dry tree standing bravely , all alone, in the midst of the fields.

I saw a face of a farmer in the tree.  (See the visual on the right below).

And then an avalanche of thoughts about GM seeds , farming, the trauma of the farmers, and the thought of a farmer , defiant in the face of all this.

Somehow, a poem happened.

A lifetime of
dealing with an Earth,
slowly withering

under genetic interference.

No greens
for the nesting birds
No greens for
some resting ones,
as he wonders
how this came to pass.

The Raab
done on the fields
after the harvest
irrevocably burned
and killed all his hopes.

a path,
always unexplainably green
for those
walking in
with compensation
for the land.

And still he stands,
slightly bent
but unbowed,
what was once his Earth.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Election Year Tilgul....

Trust my friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne to come up with an innovative tilgul, for Sankranti. Or what is our winter harvest festival, celebrated across the length and breadth of India, by different regions, in different ways.

Some thanking of the Almighty, some awareness of the best seasonal foods one could imbibe,some  following of age old weather determination methods,  promoted as fun kite flying for kids, and a general celebration of the rich bountiful Earth.

Shruti has created a Tilgul recipe that includes the cousins Quinoa and Amaranth, as well as  the flax and poppy seeds . In addition to the usual Til or Sesame seeds.  Jaggery gracefully gives way to Coconut sugar, which she gets in Melbourne.

Read all about her recipe here .   Which brings to mind some coalitions now happening in an election year in India, and what our esteemed candidates can learn from the Tilgul members.......

Some election first timers
popping in excitement,
some sesame veterans

crackling commands
amidst the heated conversation
with Flaxnathji,
much about
the revolt by the poppies
and their eventual return
to the kadhai fold.

Dada peanut and gram types
walking the talk as they
go hotly dark,
and crack up
talking about earlier campaigns.

This time
the Aam Quinoa types,
their misleading flaky demeanour
hiding some
strong peptide minds,
join in,
as first timers
learning the ropes.

It really is all about
everyone doing their bit
and giving pieces of themselves
as they come together
for the harvest parliament.

So many sweetened deals
from the
coconut and jaggery types,
sealed with
cardamom and nutmeg signatures.

When will our elected types learn
that their success
depends on how well
they mix
and complement each other,
and not
how well they
pull each other down
and crumble.

Very clearly,
some lessons
for our leaders
to learn from the Tilgul.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In praise of the Aam Sabji Bhaji

My friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne is not only an innovative and excellent cook,, but she writes brilliantly about memories associated with that food, on her blog   You might want to have a look,  here.

It isn't always about festival food. In keeping with what is happening in our country, Shruti also recognizes an Aam Aadmi food when she thinks up one.

Like this amazing sabji  of carrots and fenugreek leaves, locally described as gajar methi .  It's winter time, and I can see the establishment  gajar halwa ladies going "Hmmmpf!..".

But what to do .  Its time to celebrate the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party. And this gajar methi sabji plays its part .....

A subterranean orangy warmth,
cosseted by
the cool soil mothers,

he peered
slowly outside,
green limbs
exploring the blue.

Coming of age,
and venturing out
in groups
in baskets,
sometimes in trucks,
and sometimes
in some one's indulgent hands,
he would notice
others around him.

And then ,
amidst all the
rounded, polished,
fake blushing folks,
he noticed her,
confidently green,
with her bunch of friends,
sitting en masse,
yet curiously bending here and there
observing stuff next to her.

A no nonsense hardy childhood
spent along the Mumbai railway lines,
small gardens,
and rural patches,
nodding in the wind
as a train whooshed by,
glaring at little boys
with kites
who rushed close to her
mothers chasing behind.

A match made in heaven
as the orange collar chap
looked on
in admiration
at the bindass
confident green,
and she had no complexes
where she came from
and where she was going.

A meeting of opposites,
presided over
by the picky
Oil grandmas,
in law mustards, cumins,
with an approving final
asoefitaedic opinion
ratified by a blessing
from Pa Lemon.

Don't know
if it made Page 3,
it certainly made Page 1.