The Indian Dream

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This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 3; the third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

I am reminded of the famous dailogue from the Hindi film Guru(2007) “Sapne maat dekha karo, Sapne kabhi pure nahi hote mera bapu kehta tha”(tr: Don’t dream because dreams never come true my father used to say)

When I saw the topic for Blog-a-ton3 I was completely at a loss as to what to write about but then on reading through the comments of the voting post I found a comment by Indian Pundit who suggested the topic “Its just the DESI version of American Dream……..hope u get the point.
We Indians too have certain dreams and aspirations about ourselves and about our country”
. Oh Ok I got it but wait what is American Dream? Like a true techie ‘Googled’ the words “American Dream” and bang the first on the list was a wiki entry gr8. So I knew the job was easy now and Googled with “The Indian Dream” well there was no wiki entry this time how sad though we have entries for European Dream, Australian Dream, New Zealand dream but no Indian Dream ( I think we can put a wiki entry of ‘Indian dream’ as a summary of the blog-a-ton posts. What say?).

Now what do I do? I looked into some of the search items in Google and found the general usage of the word Indian Dream equates with the ‘Dollar Dream’ that is the software industry which gave way to so many “Indians” from small towns & villages go to West and become a ‘coveted’ NRIs. Let me tell you thats basically a Westerner’s take on Desi version of American Dream. So do I talk of that ‘Indian’ dream or the ‘Indian’ dream of who is born, raised, lives and dies in India.

I think I should talk about the ‘Indian dream’ of one who is born, raised, lives and dies in India. But before I go to the ‘Indian Dream’ lets first define what is ‘India’? “India” that we see today is a country that was shaped by the British who conquered over a bunch of disparate kingdoms and brought them under one administrative system. So now we have a ‘sketchy’ idea what ‘India’ is, now the actual ‘Indian Dream’. So initially the Indian Dream was to live in a ‘free’ country that is a country that is ruled by the “Brown” sahibs instead of the ‘Gora’(White) Sahibs. On 15th August 1947 that dream was fulfilled after a lot of sweat, blood & tears.

Then came the Dream of building a country out of what was left by the British. A strong nation which can defend its people, which can provide the basic necessities to its people. Then we had leaders like Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi who dreamt India can be at par with the ‘developed’ nations. Rajiv Gandhi said “Garibi hatao” (tr: remove poverty) but over a century ago Swami Vivekanada had openly declared that the real cause of India’s downfall was the neglect of the masses.  The immediate need was to provide food and other bare necessities of life to the hungry millions.

Well they were some of the ‘ancient’ dreams.Lets see what a ‘modern’ dream is. Recently a newspaper cartoon caught my attention in which they showed village women wondering How discovery of water in moon by Chandrayan-I help ease their pain of walking miles for water. I am not going into any debate of what should the dream be but what the cartoon conveyed is an ‘ugly truth’.

The epicentre of “Dollar dreams”,  Bangalore which nearly transformed into American nightmare cannot provide its citizens with 24 hrs of power(which is but a basic thing in the countries from where ‘we’ get the outsourcing contracts), the citizens do not have good motorable roads, neither do they have safe drinking water in every part of the city. Yet the city signals display signboards with ‘Texas Instruments’ etched on it.

Then the dream of a ‘strong’ nation. Well for that we have to sacrifice more than 500 brave and talented men just to drive out infiltrators from our own land. So what happens if a “regular” army attacks( The thousands of men there will sacrifice everything again and ensure that we are safe).

So when I sit down to write about the “Indian Dream” I see we still have so many ‘basic’ dreams and surprisingly we have resources to fulfill them yet we are not able to fulfill them. So whats stopping us? I think its corruption, nepotism, favoritism which has got into the very roots of our systems. So I dream of a country ‘free’ of these and then rest of the dreams will come true on its own.(Does it sound too Socialistic, see this is the result of growing up in a socialist state[West Bengal]).

It will really be interesting to see what all of you have in store in form of “Indian Dream” and maybe our descendants(don’t know which generation) in Blog-a-ton ‘n’ write whether those dreams were fulfilled. So Do I end in true Guru Bhai ishtyle “Dekhna hai ek aur sapna …. banna hai duniya ki sabse khushal desh”(tr: “Lets see another dream…. to become the most prosperous nation in the world”)

PS: I have not read “The Great Indian Dream” by Arindam Chaudhuri and Malay Chaudhuri but now I feel I should read it cause the book seems to have answers to questions above. (Google search threw up this book reviews etc as well)

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

The lovely summer morning…

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summer_morningToday I woke up pretty early at around 6 Am(way too early). It was a quiet morning and after a hot night yes Bangalore’s hot nowadays it was really refreshing. Sun had risen but it was mild so it was quite cool and I went out to my Balcony with chilly morning breeze greeting me. I saw the children from the neighbourhood cricket summer camp playing to become tomorrow’s Sachin, Sourav, Dravid. The sounds of the boys with a background score provided by cuckoos, Indian mynas(strangely I don’t see crows and sparrows the most common birds of India in Bangalore) delighted me. Seeing those little boys I lost into my own childhood when summer vacation was a real fun and in the early morning my mom used to wake me up(to my utter dismay come-on it was SUMMER VACATION) and send me to play with the neighbourhood kids. We used play under the gul-mohar, jamun and other trees. We boys used to climb the trees and tease girls from the branches above(though some tough girls used to follow us but it was gr8 fun). By 8 AM it used be very hot and sunny in Hyderabad so we rushed indoor after some frantic calling and kaan moola(ear pulling) by our moms. Once inside my mother used give me and my sister crayons and water colors to draw and my favorite was ahem “Bajar”(market) with mostly fishsellers with huge bonti(A Long blade, You can refer Jhumpa Lahiri’s Mrs. Sen’s story from her book “Interpreter of Maladies” for more apt description), though occasionally I used to draw hills, mountains, rivers, villages I mean “scenery”.

trees

Then the summer morning in Kolkata during my teens was spent well again waking up early and going to swimming club in “Dhakuria Lake” and after swimming lessons used to have breakfast of Ghungni(a special Bengali Peas curry), pau ruti (bread) and cha(tea) there in club, then spending the time under the trees around the lake with nirbhejal adda(chatting and discussing girls, politics actually everything under the sun)  till noon when we had to run home for lunch.

In college the swimming club was replaced by the Gym and after the work-outs we used have boiled eggs, bread and milk for breakfast. With time the relevance or the utility of Summer morning was gone as that is the only time when I get some sound sleep in cool atmosphere so that I can recharge myself for the “hectic” day ahead but on days like today when accidents happen I go back to the “Happy days” of life and a feeling for the necessity of the ‘Summer Vacation’ arises.
 
Image credits :
http://www.hudsonvalleypainter.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/070802-end-michigan-rd-500.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/royalld/image/82497587

Lunch with the CEO

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power lunch

Actually our India CEO has become more visible at the cafeteria now-a-days, maybe due to recession/cost cutting he’s forced to have ‘low-cost’ lunch @ office canteen or maybe he’s trying to get pulse of the fellow employees as he recently declared that there’ll be no pay revision this year.

Anyway it happened like this today my friend lets call him Mr. M, was waiting at one of the tables with his lunch box and we were in ‘Q’ for food when the CEO approached the table with the plate in his hand and asked whether anybody is expected in that table. Well this perplexed Mr. M as he didn’t want to refuse the CEO but the table was only for 4 and including Mr. M we were 4 and getting a place for 4 in the peak hour was very difficult. He reluctantly said “Yes we have 3 more people coming”, CEO not minding at all(well atleast he looked like that) moved to a different table. This is a common sight in the cafeteria at peak lunch time when you hover around with a plate-full of food from table to table to learn that people are expected there(unless you have Mr. M in your “Group” to pre-confirm your seats) but a CEO moving around with his plate for a space to eat….. well isn’t he an employee too??

As soon as we got to the table with our food plates , we  started praising his ‘courage‘ that he refused “THE CEO” that too in these times of job cuts and downsizing. We also chided him for missing the opportunity to have a lunch with CEO who could have provided a more profound view of the state of affairs at the helm as it’s the CEO‘s habit of starting a conversation with people on the table with him. To this Mr.M said that nothing to worry CEO‘s  pretty regular now-a-days so we can catch up with him any day :D…hope we have our power lunch someday soon.

Image credit : http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/p/power_lunch.asp

Second month Wrap-up

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Actually I should have written this couple of days back but somehow got delay :(. Nevertheless its been 2 months since I started this blog and WOW the going’s been I must say great.

blogger_friendship_award_2009

First things first in this second month I got my first award isn’t it too soon :D. Well THANKS Kaddu for considering me for the honour and I am elated. I am supposed to pass on this award to anyone but the problem is whoever I want to Pass it to has already got it a many times over but I must mention some names here and they are not in any order  Adesh Sidhu, Kadambari Singhania , Pal, Kadambari Iyer, Tikuli, Mukund, Mixedblessings89 and all others who have commented and reviewed in my blog(some of the reviews are there on my sidebar).
A special mention about SM Thank you for being a regular visitor and commenting consistently and I love your realityviews 😀 and AnjieThanks a lot for being my very first reviewer and commenter.
Besides Thanks to my family and my offline friends for your suggestions and opinions (How can I leave them out).

Ok 2 months done and the stats are : number of posts 18+1(way below target I can do better, yes I can), 1200+ visitors , around 34 comments (including my replies 😉  more ). So am I  a rocking blogger? Well no I need to improve miles like I said before.

This month was also spent in reading hundreds(well almost) of blogs and commenting but I realized I am not a good commenter at all most of the times I did not know what to say after reading the posts.
Out to many reviews the biggest complaints were about the lenght of posts(size does matter) and having less pictures. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but I am more of a textual person but anyway I am trying to bring down the size and add more pictures. Point taken.

While reading different blogs I discovered that most of the bloggers are really very good more so with Indian bloggers THEY truly rock.

Talking of Indian Bloggers I must thank ‘Indiblogger‘ for most of my blogger friends are thru it only. One more thing I noticed that Indian Blogosphere is round(gol) that’s because whichever network you follow and reach blogs you end up with familiar names in Blogroll or comments :).
Lastly is there any connection between blogging and putting on weight as my weighting scale is indicating northward movement, Hmmm… needs closer observation.

P.S : Excuse me for not using any major pictures in this post other than smileys.

Maa ki Khichdi

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Well finally words started flowing actually I had pictures, title etc for a different post but was not able to write a word from yesterday don’t know why ? Maybe my Mom got a cue or something as out of the blue today she prepared “khichdi” and see here I am again back to writing. Well in this post I am not talking about how to make khichdi but I’ll talk about “Ma ki Khichdi”.

Wiki says Khichdi(also khichri, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri, khichari and many other variants)  is an Indian food preparation made from rice and lentils (dal). Khichdi is commonly considered to be a comfort food, and was the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian dish of Kedgeree.”

Khichdi or rather Kichuri has a special place in Bengali household. Its a “must” dish during rainy days when its impossible to venture out so you sit at home and have Gorom(hot) gorom khichuri with begun bhaja (fried eggplant), aloo bhaja(fried poatato) actually any vegetable that can be fried that bhaja(fry). Being a true Bengali how can we leave Nonveg so we add dim bhaja(egg fried/omelette) as well, actually it can be maach bhaja(fried fish) if available. Khichdi can itself be a Nonveg one How ? well you can add mutton(lamb) or chicken pieces to it. Mmmmm…

Kichuri with Beguni(Eggplant fritter)

Kichuri with Beguni(Eggplant fritter)

The khichuri is also served as prasad(Sacred food) at festivals like Saraswati Puja (mandatory), Durga Puja and all other pujas performed by the Bengalis. Khichuri becomes “Bhog” at the festivals, where Khichuri is generally accompanied by Labra(MIXED VEGETABLES)-A tasty mixed curry of all types of vegetables. The khichuri at the festivals have special taste of their own. But the khichuri that’s prepared at home by Mom is unbeatable, simply superb and this nobody can prepare other than your mom.
This quote from one of the food blogs sums it all “The main ingredients of khichdis made by moms is a dollop of love. There are some things money can’t buy, right?”.
Thank you Mom for your humble Khichuri(Khichdi) which made my day, hence deserved a dedicated post. It brought back loads of childhood memories of the rainy days in good old Kolkata when it would rain incessantly for days and we were trapped inside our homes due water-logging everywhere. Only thing that brightened up my day was ……..

Now those who wanna try here are the recipes :
Khichdi : http://www.indianfoodforever.com/rajasthan/vegetable-khichdi.html
Labra : http://www.dreamindia.com/rasoi/mdvegla.htm

Image Courtsey : http://www.bongcookbook.com/2007_03_01_archive.html

Satyajit Ray a tribute on 87th Birthday

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ray-bio

Though we commemorated his birthday on 2nd of May but its never late for a post to be dedicated to the maestro. I had first fallen for Satyajit Ray when as a kid I had seen Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne(Adventures of Goopy and Bagha) (1968) which was shown in Doordarshan as a summer special program. The antics of ‘Bhuter raja’(ghost king) just mesmerized me. Then one by one I watched his children’s movies Sonar Kella(The Fortress)(1974), Hirok Rajar Deshe(Kingdom of Diamonds) (1980), Joy Baba Felunath(The Elephant God)(1978). Then when I grew up I watched the masterpieces Pather Panchali(1955),  Apu’s Sansar(The World of Apu)(1959) as the parts of Apu trilogy, Jalsaghar(The Music Room)(1958), Paras Pathar(The Philosopher’s Stone)(1958), directors favorite Charulata(The Lonely Wife)(1964) ,  to name just the few. Infact in no time I became a fan and watched all his films and some documentaries as well.

With his debut film Pather Panchali he put the Bengali rather Indian cinema to the world map of cinema the film won about 12 international awards. He was first Indian film personality to have recieved the Honorary Oscar Award in his deathbed. The man was a true multi-faceted personality a true Auteur. He was script writer, story writer, music director, editor, cinematographer, graphic designer alongwith a director and everything else. He had created two most read characters of Bengali literature Feluda-the sleuth and Professor Sonku– the scientist.
I am very common person and donot have the capacity to talk about his works and mastery. But the best thing I like about him was his ability to tell stories without being very hard on his non-intellectual audiences like me. The more I see his films the more I get overwhelmed. I think he became a part and parcel of the Bengali identity. I can keep blogging about him but most of the information about him and his works are available out there in Internet.

I feel the treasure trove he has left for us will be enriching us for many more generations to come.

For further reading you can refer to the following :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyajit_Ray
http://www.satyajitray.org/bio/index.htm

Complete list of his filmography : http://www.satyajitray.org/films/index.htm

Image from : http://www.satyajitray.org

The Sunday morning fishy affair

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Statutory Warning : This post is purely for the Non-vegetarians, so vegans, PFA, PETA, Green Peace and all other animal right’s supporters please excuse, I respect your views and if this article hurts your feelings I don’t mean to do it. 

 gariahatmarket

One of the true Bong(Bengali- as the people from West Bengal a state in the eastern part of India are called) identity is bajar kora(going to market for vegetables and fish). This is a daily morning affair for a Bong in Bongo(West Bengal), its generally done by the male member of the family who goes to the nearby bajar (market) with tholi(bag) for daily supply of vegetables and fish. I think every male bongo sontan(son of bengal) has been to bajar at least once in his lifetime. The traditional bajar kora(marketing) has got two major parts one being vegetables and essential other one being the fish and another optional third part being khoborer kagoj(News paper), misti (sweets), ful(flowers) etc. We cherish this bajar kora lots of funny stories are associated with it like one man is going to bajar with tholi another asks “ki dada, kothay cholen ? bajarey naki?” (what sir, where are you going to ? market?) and the answer might be “na football khelte”(no going to play football). Now I said fish being essential because its world famous that bongs are very mecho (fishy literally, i mean fish lovers). A meal for bong without ek tukro maach(a morsel of fish) is not a meal at all.

The moment you enter the market you’ll come across a lot of din with the maachwalas/maachwollis(fish seller male/female) shouting at top of their voices announcing their varieties and prices. The typical conversation in mach bajar(fish market) is “kire shyamal aaj chingri koto kore ?”(“hey shyamal(the fish seller) what’s the price of prawn[chingri] today”) though you may have heard the price from the shouting Shaymal but you want know your special price. Answer generally is the same price. you say “koto kore dibi bol”(“In what price you’ll give me”), Shyamal may say “arey Sona da asun apni nin na…ei 1 kg tol to”(“Oh sona da[thats ur name followed by respectful “da”] come take” then shyamal instructs to his assistant give 1 kg”), then Sona da(you) jumps and will say “ore dara agey koto kore dibi bol tarpor aar ek kg ki korbo gusti shudhu ke khawabo naki”(“hey wait first tell the price and what will I do with 1 kg shall I feed my forefathers from 14 generations”). In this way bargain goes on and finally the price, quantity etc is agreed and the transaction is done. You return home satisfied with the deal u got and happy that one more day your family can have their favorite item on their paat(meal). On they way back you meet your acquaintances and the conversations can be “sona da bajar korlen naki ? ki maach nilen ? koto kore porlo ?”(sona da coming from market ? what fish you bought? what was the price you paid?” ). You answer everything except you don’t disclose the real price if the person is not any one close as you have got an exclusive deal which obvisiouly can’t be made public. BTW Shymal above can be replaced by Nantu, Pintu, Pocha etc Sona da can be Amiyo da, Bachhu da, Bapi da or Chingri can be one of the innumerable fishes in that fish infested state 😉 

Now if you have read thus far and thinking bong’s bajar kora is fine but where’s the “Sunday morning fishy affair”, well friends have patience every story has a bhumika(back drop) thats what I was doing till now.

photo_hal

 So being a true bong it was my daily ritual when I was in bongo(West Bengal) to do bajar a tradition passed down the generations to me. But now that I am a bong not residing in Bongo and as they say you can take a Bong of Bengal but cannot take fish out of a bong, I have found out a bajar(market) rather a macher bajar(fish market) in Bangalore. Though in this silicon valley of India you have fish stall and vegetable sellers selling vegetables on hand cart right at your door step nothing can compare a bajar and bajar kora. But the hectic schedule and distance has made the daily affair to a weekly affair or rather a weekend affair mostly on Sundays. 

If you visit the macher bajar on Sunday here you get to see the neo rich bongs in full colors there get ek tukro maach(a morsel of fish) to their paat(meal). What is predominantly a male affair in bongo here we see it as full family outing with husband, wife, in-laws, kids, siblings who come packed in Santros, Altos, Maruti 800s i mean at times you feel they are in for a picnic. Bongs being garrulous you can imagine the decibel levels in the market. You need to go early otherwise you’ll see stylized bong women in all shapes and sizes dressed in sleevless and skirts or tight jeans/T-shirts blocking your way and almost screaming “Shiekh[fish seller] ek achha sa bora sa Katla nikalo, dim nahi hona”(Shiekh bring out one big and nice katla[a fish variety] should not have eggs) while their men watch timidly from a distance who are only called at the time of payment. Hats off to these liberated, independent women who share everything equally with the men. Also if you look at the quantity of fish they procure… ahem it can feed several dozens for a gala dinner. So after these self proclaimed Divas let you some space you tell “Sheikh ek der kilo ka Rohu ya katla do”(Shiekh give one 1.5 kg size Rohu or Katla[fish variety]) which you get and also you have to specify “bengali cutting” for the fish to be cut and cleaned as per the standards of Bengal, this is a bonus as nowadays in Kolkata u need to pay extra to specialized cutters doing the job for you. After ensuring the week long supply of maach(fish) you move on to sobji bajar(vegetables market-well you can’t only eat maach whole week), which I avoid as I prefer the home-delivering hand-carts for vegetables .After sobji(vegetables) you fill yourself gorom singara, kochuri and misti(hot samosas, kachoori and sweets) and finally you head home feeling happy that one more week you can be a true Bong and successfully concluded the bajar kora expedition of the Sunday. 

So till next Sunday “Benche thak Bangali, dhoodhey bhaatey aare maachey”(Long Live Bengali with milk, rice and fish[staple food]).

Bonus :  Those of you want to get fishy, Bong way. Check out the Recipe of Bengali Macher Jhol(Fish Curry) –   http://bharatbhoj.com/2008/09/rui-macher-jhol/

Image credits :

http://www.shunya.net/Pictures/NorthIndia/Calcutta/GariahatMarket3.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/co4am7

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