Ek sweet si love story

“Aao sunau pyaar ki ek kahani..ek tha ladka, ek thi ladki deewani ”
Today is story telling time..this post is as much about the pictures as about the story each character has to tell…so read on…

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Introducing the heroine of today’s story…unbeknownst to her, she the proverbial ugly duckling, in her dry dessicated form knows not the power of transformation. ..but some fresh milk baths and she is transformed! Oh so fresh n lovely!! With dressing of jaggery n make up of khus khus, elaichi, kaju and kismiss, she is ready to play the main lead.. all this heady combination goes to her head, and she becomes proud of her own sweetness…not realising she needs a true partner in “ukad” with just a hint of saltiness to bring out her sweetness…

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This is the villian of the story. ..with his shiny cover, his super fine form and easy-peasy charms, he woos our heroine and promises her the out of world experience of becoming “modak”…”let’s come together n create magic”, he says…and our heroine falls for his words..but can their love stand the test of time n hardships?

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Soon enough our villian shows his true colours…some contact with boiling water n steam, he forms a disgraceful paste…all slimy, sticky and totally non salvage-able…he has to be unceremoniously dumped in trash…

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Enter the true hero…the amba mohar rice…he has been watching all the tamasha quietly…he also knows the amount of effort that needs to be put in to please the lady…and is willing to give up his form to win her heart, and thus begins his transformation. ..he is washed n dried in shade….

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…finely ground into powder. …

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…immersed in boiling water, faces the steam test, and readily complies to every whim..and such is his love, he does all this without a single complaint…indeed he is a joy to work with…

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Our heroine promptly realises her mistake and lands in his lap..he embraces her in his folds, and the past is forgiven. ..but they are yet to face their final test together…the final steaming…but true love conquers all, and they make it!!

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Humbled by the experience, they land up together in front of “bappa”, consecrated by the tulsi leaves, and He smiles in his benign way…Though He is leaving today, He decides He can’t resist His favourite sweet …so just a bite, no more…but will be back for more next year…till then He goes back to His original place in our hearts where He always resides, and we are left with the lingering sweet tastes in our mouths….

The Rockstar feeling

Today, during lunch break, I was waiting in the foyer for the elevator. The elevator stopped, and I noticed there were four guys in it already from the top floor. Funnily enough they seemed to be wearing some sort of dark hoodies, hood up. As I stepped in, conspicuous in my peach T shirt, they politely moved to the four corners. I was carrying a grandfather umbrella rolled up. Now, I am no skinny female, nor was I wearing pink lipstick glitter, nor silver/blonde hair, but hey! for those 15 seconds to the groundfloor, I felt like a rockstar, waiting for the curtain to go up!!

The Meeting…

I was disgruntled by the lack of sleep, travelling in the sleeper class which was packed to the fullest with unreserved travelers. So you can imagine my mood when I set out in an “eshtee” at 4 am to seek Her. She had sensed my mood and had drawn an amazing scenery to sort of placate me..a sleepy village stirring to life, the pinks of the sky, the early chirruping of birds, silent roads..my mood visibly changed and now I sort of mumbled an apology for having put off this visit for long. My job, a family wedding..I had my excuses ready. “Ah, you are a married woman now”, She was baiting me. And I rose to the bait right away “so have You been, as long as I remember. But when did that start coming between us?” “Plus Your Husband has always been with You”, I pouted, knowing fully well I sounded childish and immature to my own years. But that was the beauty of our relationship – I could be a kid, a friend as I fancied with Her. She smiled in reply and said softly “so is yours, you know”. I closed my eyes and smiled, knowing for once that is was indeed true.

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This Lady is very close to my heart…used to meet Her regularly in Goregaon, Mumbai.

Sajan daari ubha…

I had written this a long time ago, after hearing Arya Ambekar sing the song (which is reproduced at the end)…I had heard the poem recited by Bharati Achrekar in Nakshatranche Dene (special episode) and it’s words captured my heart…But hearing the song, was mesmerising, transporting you to another world. It refused to leave me till I wrote this down.

पिया येणार म्हणजे कधीचीच हुरहुर लागलेली अस्ते… तो आल्यावर आपली भेट कशी बरं होईल ? हे स्वप्न डोळे उघडेच ठेवून पाहिलेले असते … तो आपल्याला ओळखेल का? आपल्याकडे पाहून हसेल का? मग आपण काय करू? दार उघडू ? की त्याच भानच राहणार नाही? नुसताच लाजू कि हळूच हसू? त्याने आपल्याला लगेच मिठीत घेतला तर… असेच बरेचसे विचार करत पिया येणार म्हणजे “सेन्दुरी से मांग अपनी सजी …रुप सैया के कारण सजाया ” ही अवस्था झालेली असते …असे पिया जिया मध्ये सामावलेले असतात

पण जर कधी अनपेक्षित पणे साजण दारी उभा ठाकला तर? कसली धांदल उडते!! आता काय करावे? त्याला कसे सामोरे जावे? अजून तरी काहीच साज शृंगार झालेला नाही. छे अजून केस विंचरले नाहींत… न्हायले नाही … काजळ तर दूरच …

पण हा “साजण” असाच अनपेक्षित येतो … त्या करता ना “अंगण” तयार असते न “साजणी”… हया देहाचे अंगण आणि आत्म्याची साजणी ह्यांची कधीच तयारी झालेली नसते … “साजण” पण असा हुश्शार की नेमकी आपली परीक्षाच घ्यायला आतूर … असं म्हणतात “त्याला” पाहायला एक दिव्य दृष्टी लागते. आत्म्याला हे माहित असतं पण अजून ही देह बाहेरचा शृंगारात मग्न असतो. त्या दिव्य दृष्टीचे अंजण डोळ्यात पडलेले नसते

हा क्षणिक मिळालेला दुबळा देह आपण गोंजारत बसतो , दुःखे कवटाळून बसून राहतो … जे प्राण त्या “सख्या”वर ओवाळून टाकायचे, ते ह्या भौतिक जगातच अडकून पडलेले असतात … स्वतःला अजून ओळखला नसतं, निरखलं नसतं … आता देह रुपी अंगणा पलीकडे जाऊन साजणाला भेटायचा असतं खरं पण मन मात्र मागे ह्या शाश्वत जगा कडे वळून वळून पहाता …

साजण परत दार ठोठावतो … परत आपण भानावर येतो … अरे हीच साद तो कित्येक जन्मापासून आपल्याला घालतोय … आपण ऐकून न ऐकल्या सारखे करतोय … तो आपला प्रियकर आहे , राधेचा कान्हा आहे, मीरेचा गिरीधर गोपाल आहे … आपण त्याची राधिका आहोत … आणि “तो” आणि “मी” काही वेगळे नाहीत … मग माझी मलाच मी कशी मिठी मारू … हृदय माझे कसे मीच हृदयी धरू … घर कधी आवरू … मज कधी सावरू?
सजण दारी उभा, काय आता करू ?
घर कधी आवरू ? मज कधी सावरू ?मी न केली सखे, अजुन वेणीफणी,
मी न पुरते मला निरखिले दर्पणी
अन्‌ सडाही न मी टाकिला अंगणी;
राहिले नाहणे ! कुठुन काजळ भरू ?मी न दुबळी कुडी अजुन शृंगारिली
मी न सगळीच ही आसवे माळिली,
प्राणपूजा न मी अजुनही बांधिली;
काय दारातुनी परत मागे फिरू ?बघ पुन्हा वाजली थाप दारावरी :
हीच मी ऐकिली जन्मजन्मांतरी;
तीच मी राधिका ! तोच हा श्रीहरी !
हृदय माझे कसे मीच हृदयी धरू ?

Cinnamon Pumpkin swirl bread

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I have never known what the fuss about Fall/Autumn was back in India…but here in Taipei, from the past couple of days you notice that there is a slight nip in the air in the mornings, and the air is not so hot and humid as it blasts you when you step out of A/c in the evenings..it’s still not the time to pull out the blankets and sweaters, but you definitely want to do away with summer cottons, and keep a light pullover handy..And then this morning, as you wait for the signal to turn green, you notice the sidewalk littered with red and gold and orange leaves…oh the trees still look green when you squint up, but they are definitely preparing…the words “patzhad mein kuch patto ki..girne ki aahat” from “mera kuchh saaman” come unbidden to your mind…this then is the beginnings of Fall perhaps…
There is also some association of Fall with pumpkins (not my favourite veggie back home)…but then I hit upon the recipe of Cinnamon Pumpkin swirl bread and decide to give it a try…Cinnamon is another spice which is a baker’s best friend and the house smells wonderful if you bake something with cinnamon.. picture a warm, cozy cottage filled with delicious smells of cooking and baking…so coupled with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and the goodness of pumpkin, here is a classic Fall creation, in anticipation of many more to come….

Blown away (Part II)

It’s only fitting I post a sequel to the mid afternoon post..and that too with an apt title…because that’s what happened when I did step out to go back home..well not immediately. .but as I was walking back home, I couldn’t help but notice that Sinica was deserted …just a few like me who had braved the winds were now plodding back home…even the gym with it’s super enthusiastic crowd was bare…I was musing about all this when strong winds overtook me…the rain was barely a drizzle but the combined effect was nothing short of powerful (I’m struggling for the right word here)…a entire scene of man vs nature was acting itself out and I was the damsel in distress…I struggled this way and that with the umbrella (and I was carrying husband’s big grandfather umbrella that can double as a walking stick, not the tiny folding one you see)…and snap!! It went kaput (this by the way is telling the husband publicly that his umbrella is no more)…seeing that there was no point in any further struggle, I conceded to the mighty forces, managed to fold it and walk back home, head hung in shame..
If you thought that was the end of the story, well it wasn’t! Right away I noticed my bicycle lying prone near the entrance of our building. Now again this is not some light weight contraption, but suits me in weight n bulk! So we were in this together then…I consoled my bike with a “there there” (sheldon cooper style), hoisted it up and made my way up gingerly the flight of stairs to see what lay in wait…
At first everything seemed normal..and then as I made my way through the rooms..It struck me that everything is far messier (which is how it usually is by the way)..clothes have strewn about which were left perfectly hanging or drying, bits of plastic and all things light are in a disarray…the worst hit is the open plan kitchen (called so because it’s really open, but there was hardly any plan in it)..some dark and suspicious now coats all the cleaned and washed utensils…many have decided to end up in the nearby trash can, while the trash can occupants have decided to come out n have a merry time…
But I have my priorities all sorted out..I have dreamed about the hot chocolate all afternoon and so hot chocolate it is! With bits of cinnamon, ginger and a whiff of vanilla…the umbrellas, clothes, kitchen and clean-up can definitely wait!!

Blown away (Part I)

While we are ensconced in the cozy confines of office, the wind howls and rages outside, the rain plays a secondary fiddle, and the trees sway to nature’s unknown tune…it’s typhoon time here in Taiwan, and work is the farthest from my mind …well, actually it’s lunch time, and I have had my fill of khichadi, just out from the warmer…surprisingly I don’t wish to sleep, but watch the nature in its different glory…and I think of holding a warm cup of hot cocoa spiced with vanilla, ginger and cinnamon (how come I always think about food, when I just had lunch??!!)