TEA LOVE

Oh, you have half an hour for the next lecture. Come with us.”

 

“Lecture completed? So, come join us…”

 

“Waiting for someone? Wait here.”

 

“You topped the test? Treat, treat!”

 

“Whose turn is it today for…?”

 

“Where are we going?”

“You know!”

 

The place in subject is one.

 

From at a distance it might look like an ordinary shack, but lo and behold; advance nearer, grab a tea- 5 rupees for the normal one, or the ‘special’ one costing just a rupee more- sit cosily on the stony seat and look around soaking in the ambience.

 

The person behind this all, the gratified owner of the stall, sells not just tea(lemon tea, samosa, gulab jamun, launglatta…) but a catalyst for the stimulation of ideas.

 

Gather some friends, grab a glass, or the ‘kulhadd‘, of tea and let your mind go for a swirl. Talks ranging from how the professor from the previous lecture dressed up today to the deepest deliberations on the Bacon’s essays, everything is ‘served’ here.

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That esteemed stall

 

You can boast your generosity, or show some pity, by paying up for your friends’ tea as well(of course after a lot of debate as to who would end up paying for it- something which is hardly thought of beforehand).

 

Or with supreme efficacy, evade from paying up for the tea this one time by reminding them how you once paid in the past or by promising to do so in the near future.

 

Moreover, even if you have no one to chat to/discuss with/ share your tea with, you can indulge in even engaging an activity- EAVESDROPPING!

 

Yes.
Again, grab a tea, sit cosily on the stony seat and look around and overhear all the conversations within your earshot.

You will, as per my recollection and experience, hear talks ranging from how Rahul should have batted the other day to the nuances of running the government; from Socrates to Shankaracharya ; from Marx to Manto; from Premchand to Paulo Coehlo; from Basketball to Badminton; from concerns over almost flunking a test to strategies for topping the exams…

 

If Heavens be more magnanimous, you might even spot a professor or two or even more approaching towards the stall. You can pounce upon the opportunity to initiate a discourse with them on any of the intellectual topics(or even the trending ones like Padmaavat); and, as a bonus, might(rather, definitely) save your money, as the big-hearted professors would promptly offer to pay for it.

 

If none of these- no friends to fret over the payment, eavesdropping on random conversations, fortunate guest appearances by professors- you can just sit back, with the tea in hand, and marvel at how some water, milk, tea leaves, sugar, and ginger mixed in a divine proportion create the most ethereal potion of all time…

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FREE LOVE

Our customary vegetable vendor pulls up right in front of our house…

My mother, already awaiting him, names out the vegetables and their desired measure to be popped into the basket one after the other…

As Mumma picks up a vegetable, scrutinises it heavily, upbraids the vendor if it is found unhealthy, rotten, undernourished or whatever, proceeds on until her basket brims with shiny, well-shaped, well-grown vegetables,

my frivolous mind wanders over the lush green herbs, corriander and mint, ( and a few more) laid down in neatly tied-up bundles, each costing 5 rupees.

The lustre and density of their leaves gave me a sense of richness and abundance of our natural vegetation and, in my mind, I reiterate the immortal lines by Kavi Sumitranandan Pant-

ओह, समय पर उनमें कितनी फलियाँ फूटी!
कितनी सारी फलियाँ, कितनी प्यारी फलियाँ,-

यह धरती कितना देती है! धरती माता
कितना देती है अपने प्यारे पुत्रों को!

हम जैसा बोयेंगे वैसा ही पायेंगे।

And while I stand there, contemplating that no matter how much we ‘pay’ for these vegetables, it would never be able to equal the love our Mother Earth showers upon us, my mother, done with her successful negotiations with the vendor, hands him the money, takes the change back and concludes-

“Thodi dhaniya aise hi daal do…”

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This is the very corriander I am talking about…

The vendor obliges.

For, why not?!

From one Mother to my mother- Free Love.

Weekly Photo Challenge- GROWTH

Plants and kids…a general photo of these two words come to our mind the moment we think about growth.

Both need cautious care to achieve their full potential and to bloom…

It reminds me of a school hymn I learnt in my school days-

Bloom,bloom ,bloom,

Where you’re planted,.
You will find your way . Bloom,bloom,bloom …
You will have your day.

Both, plants and kids, need proper nature and nurture for developing themselves fully…

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My Uncle’s Son…
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My niece… Two objects of growth in one frame… Aiding each other to grow…

This post is in response to Weekly Photo Challenge- GROWTH

RAJA, RASOI AUR EK KAHAANI

Disclaimer – The following post is written in collaboration with my friend Aayush Jha. Follow his lovely blog TheCommonBoy .

In India, its food is the celebration of its diversity, culture and rich history. It is a thread that connects the multi-cultured people of India; and though the food and eating habits change region by region, the love, joy and spirit of sharing behind cooking throughout the country remains constant.

When we talk about Nawabi cuisine, the first thing that strikes my mind is meat, “Waise bhi Yaar non-veg hi toh asli khana hai baki sab toh ghaas phoos hai”. Talking about Nawabi Cuisine, Lucknow, the Capital of ‘Awadh’, cannot be missed.

Lucknow, one of most beautiful and historically rich towns of North India, famous for its grandiose architecture and eclectic sumptuous delicacies, like Moti Pulao, Tunday Kebab, Lucknowi Dum Pukht Biryani, Arvi ka salan etc. is a direct trip to paradise for all the connoisseurs of food.

One delicacy that beats all the others both, in taste and popularity, is Kebab. They have their own importance, throughout Lucknow, and the saying “Lucknow ke Nawab aur wahan ke Kebab”, which symbolizes the importance of Nawabs and evolution of Kebabs during their reign, proves this.

It is worth-noting that the Nawabs of Lucknow were not as much famed for conquests and expansions as they were for being patrons of art, architecture and food. The Nawabs had a great sense for food and greatly relished eating meaty delicacies.

There is one kebab that is widely known for uniqueness, The Galouti Kebab; it’s the first of its kind of Kebabs. Until 16th century AD, the Kebabs used to be quite chewy and hard in texture. This trend changed with the arrival of Asa-ud-Daula, the successor of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula. He significantly contributed in culinary and architecture of Lucknow. He brought about a ‘Renaissance’ in the cuisines of that era. It’s during this time that the Galouti Kebab came into existence.

According to historians, Nawab Asa-ud-Daula, had lost all his teeth due to his lavish lifestyle; but this did not deter his craving for Kebabs. He asked his ‘Khansamas’, the royal chefs, to prepare such a kebab which was soft and could be easily dissolved in mouth, unlike the earlier Kebabs that required a great deal of functioning of teeth.

The name ‘Galouti’ itself self suggests “soft”. It is said that Mohammed Fakr-e-Alam was the first one who made Galouti Kebabs, he his said have also invented the Moti Pulao.

Galouti Kebab is prepared by finely mincing the lamb meat and then marinating it in an extraordinary variety of spices, precisely 150 different spices, that enhances its taste, it is deep fried in ‘Shuddh Desi Ghee’. These patty shaped Kebabs take your taste buds on a heavenly journey. Galouti Kebabs have placed Lucknow on the culinary world map. If you ever happen to be in lucknow, then now you know what you should do…..

“Lucknow aye aur kebab na khaya, to kiya kya? Aaiye jaanab, kebab ka lutf uthaien…” Aadab…

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Hello? Hello!

“Hellllllooooo!!!” I say.

“Hello?” my very dear school friend answers.

Why that question mark, I wonder.

Not more than a couple of days ago did we have a long hearty talk, just like our other usual talks, wherein we detail out our respective lives, elaborating vividly what all happened with us, around us in the days we did not talk; wherein we feel as if we are talking vis-à-vis with liveliness so unparalleled that even the dust around us assumes life, unmindful of the people around, instead of over our dead mobile phone; wherein we know the very expressions and gestures the other person is making use of.

” Hello, who’s it?” The voice from the other end of the phone continues.

I still stand pondering.

People change‘, so I had heard; but ‘this quickly‘, I had never known.

Even the closest pal would someday desert you‘, so the elders had warned me; but ‘out of the blue, with no apparent reason in sight‘, I had never even remotely imagined.

Yes, we are in different colleges, pursuing different streams, but that does not justify the change of “Hello!” into “Hello?” within no time, does it?

“Hello? Hello?” The voice now sounds exasperated.

“Hey, hello, it is me…” I painstainkingly utter.

“Hellllllooooo!!! Whose phone are you using?”

And even before she asks further, the foolish me realises that I have called her using a new number. Thanks to the network providers offering unlimited free calls!

I clarify. She laughs. We laugh.

The long hearty talk follows.

Huh! After suffering the puny heartache on hearing “Hello?” I can only wish that may you always be greated by the same old familiar ‘Hello’ or rather
‘Hellllllooooo!!!’, come what may.

Weekly Photo Challenge- BRIDGE

What connects the world?

People.

What connects people?

Shared interests.

My school organised a 5-day long International Mathematics Contest- International Young Mathematicians’ Convention.

This mega convergence brought over 550 children together from over 19 countries and bonded them together in a thread of shared passion-Mathematics.

IYMC was not about winning or losing; for whether one wins or loses, one thing is surely gained- Experience.

The event- INTERNATIONAL YOUNG MATHEMATICIANS’ CONVENTION- acted as the BRIDGE between 19 countries and brought them closer together.

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TAIWAN
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BANGLADESH
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IRAN
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BHUTAN
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THAILAND
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SOUTH AFRICA
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PHILIPPINES
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FLASH MOB!
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PARTICIPANTS TAKING THEIR EXAM

Every participant left as better versions of themselves.

In the words of John Lennon

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Some feelings are better experienced than told; and IYMC was definitely one such feeling!

 

This post is in response to Weekly Photo Challenge- BRIDGE

 

WHEN THE CORRECT ISN’T TOTALLY CORRECT

” Ma’am, I clearly deserve full marks here! I’ve written the correct definition.”

” No, that’s not the exact definition. ”

” But ma’am, this is exactly the definition of ‘Ecosystem’ given in our E.V.S. book.”

” Do I teach you E.V.S.? I teach Geography! Is this the definition given in your Geography textbook?”

” No ma’am, but Ecosystem means the same everywhere. Is it given wrong in the E.V.S. book then?”

” Stop arguing! Listen to what I say! Write this definition in your E.V.S. exam not Geography! Go to your seat now.”

That day, one fine day in class 3rd, I understood what rote learning actually is by the virtue of a teacher who, maybe, herself had been it’s(rote learning’s) victim.

Though I understood it, I quite didn’t imbibe it, which cost me a lot of marks in all my subjects in the later classes as well.

I lost marks when on differentiating between ‘animal cell’ and ‘plant cell’ I did not write the ‘important’ points my  teacher made the students mark in their textbooks; for apparently the rest of the differences were not really differences but just some arbitrary information!

I lost marks when instead of giving a long(5 marks long!) explanation of the temperature zones of the earth, I gave a short explanation with a suitable, and self-explanatory, diagram.

I lost marks when I arriculated the ‘Causes of the Revolt of 1857’ in three-fourths of a page when the teacher expected a one full page long answer. I wish I had written the same in a bigger hand-writing!

I lost marks even on correctly evaluating the area enclosed by the given curve because I missed a step in ‘showing’ that it was really me who solved the question!

Sadly Gladly, I was never the class topper. Gladly, I was never a parrot. Gladly, what others roted in two hours, I understood in one. Gladly, I always scored less.

But I sincerely look forward to the day in near future when someone would ask me- ” What do you understand by Ecosystem?”

And I would say-

“Ahem, precisely, it’s the inter-dependent  relation between organisms and their environment, but don’t believe me! My class 3rd E.V.S. textbook said ‘this’ and my Geography textbook said ‘that’…”

Or

” You prefer E.V.S. or Geography?”

Weekly Photo Challenge- TRANSIENT

What’s ephemeral?

Well, what’s eternal- that should be the question!

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DEW- A moment it is there; another, it isn’t…
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RAINDROPS- condensation and evaporation, eh?!
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LASTLY- Every moment is transient.
Capture it before it vanishes…

In response to WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE- TRANSIENT

IN LOVE

You walk with me to the farthest of lands.

I’ll be with you for each step, holding hands.

 

In this expanse, you be and let me be.

Though two yet one, we’ll ride infinity.

 

I’ll rule the earth, and soar like a dove above,

And while people fall, I will fly in love…

 

A/N: So, I was trying something new! Poetry is not exactly my forte, but when i want to write it, I want to write it well. 

So I experimented with ‘Iambic Pentameter’ , a beautiful form of poetry. Do tell me how you found it…