Thursday, 19 December 2013

63. Karaikal

I don't know why I suddenly remembered Karaikal today.
I mean there was nothing which was associated with the place.
That is one of the mysteries of the mind.

 This came from nowhere.

I still find peace in the memory of that spot.
Maybe I should visit the place again. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

62. Food 3: Meghalaya: Traditional

On the way from Guwahati to Shilong, I saw it number of times.
Initially I thought it was Radish.
When you think you know, you ignore.

At one spot, where we took a break, I had an opportunity to look at it closely.

Yes, you guessed it right.
These are bamboo shoots.

Well, I do not know how it is cooked .... maybe, that is the agenda for next visit! 

Monday, 14 October 2013

61. Food 2: Manipur

On the way and back to Imphal, on a roadside shop I saw this.

Then I kept on seeing this. I was especially curious with the green round fruit which apparently had some buttons on its surface.

People were purchasing it. Of course, roadside shops won't keep things that are not wanted by customers.

It was kept with fruit, so I concluded that it was something 'eatable'.
"What is it?" I asked.

They purchased it for me. I was opening it - must be in a wrong way.
The driver took it from me and opened in an instant.

What next?

Pull the seed and consume.
Ah! They were really testy.

Lotus Seeds!
No, it is not lunch item - but very popular traditional food item.
I really liked it. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

60. Fast Indefinite

I hope you have read my earlier post on the same blog - Development?? 
Unfortunately the story continues. 

Four of them (two women and two men) enter into 8th day of their indefinite fast.
Kamal Mohite,  Balkrishna Patil,  Dilip Kadam, and Suniti S R are fasting along with number of villagers at the gate of Collector Office, Satara (Maharashtra).

 The Wang Marathwadi dam affected people are fighting peacefully for their rights for many years and have recently intensified their fight. What are their demands?

  They seem to be simple and rightful. They are:
  1. Rehabilitate in the same area (in the villages that are going to be benefited by the dam)
  2. Until the rehabilitation is complete, don’t store water in the dam (which submerges living villages for last 3 years)
  3. The loss of crops for last three years should be compensated.
  4. Complaints registered again peaceful protesters should be withdrawn. 

As a person who is not at all connected with these villages, I don’t understand what is wrong in these demands and why government has failed to implement its policies regarding rehabilitation.

Even after a week-long fast the energy levels of these four persons is very high; they are actively involved into proceedings. This shows their commitment to the cause.

Today everybody gathered at the fast site too will observe fast. Not only that; today the dam affected villages have decided to observe “Chulha Band” – nobody will cook and nobody will eat except for the patients and young children.

Hope the meeting with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra today is fruitful. I hope that government understands the reality and the rightful demands are met at the earliest.  

Sunday, 22 September 2013

59. Crab Catching

First I saw their colony.

At glance I could count at least 50.
As the day progressed; they too progressed towards the human residence.
However, only us – the outsiders – were either amused or scared or interested.

First it was Neelesh – a 12th class student – who caught the crab and threw it.

Second time when another crab appeared (or was it the same?), Yogesh – 10th class student was around.

Have a closer look.

No, it is not only the expertise of boys. They remember one of their taai (sister, actually one of the elder girls) , who used to catch many crabs and cook for the entire group. Lately she has not been around.
“Ah! That is the reason their number is increasing,” I commented.
“Oh! No! They are not enough to make our one meal,” a spontaneous reply from another 10 year boy.

“Hmm… since these boys are educated by people like us; by next generation this art and skill will completely wither   ….” I was sharing with my colleague.

  “Don’t worry. Will teach our children how to catch crabs”, Yogesh assured me.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

58. Development??

Another day.
Another village; another area.
Another scale. 
But the story is the same. 
We never learn. 
We never want to.

People against big dams have valid reasons. 
Small dams are not a problem, we thought. 
But when I visit village Umar Kanchan in Patan block in Satara district (Maharashtra); it is the same story again. 

A small dam, of 2.73 TMC (proposed) with  0.60 TMC present capactiy.

4 villages are completely affected by it; 5 partially; in total 1862 families are affected and need to be rehabilitated. 

The project started in 2000; and 60% of the families are yet to be rehabilitated. Since 2011, villages - LIVING villages - are getting submerged into water.  The crops are destroyed every year and villages get cut off. Protesters are jailed and later have to appear in  court regularly. How can rightful and especially peaceful protest can be a crime? 

Yesterday, National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) organized a meeting, in which along with many villages and Andolan volunteers, Medha Patkar addressed the meeting. 

After having experience like Sardar Sarovar Project (popularly known as Narmada Dam), I thought Government has learnt right lessons.
Unfortunately, we have not.
We keep on ruining people's lives in the name of Development!

Is it Development? 

Friday, 23 August 2013

57. Two Years Ago

Dreams. Hopes.
Enthusiasm. Eagerness.


It was just two years ago.
We have lost the opportunity to bring in change.
Once again!!
Because we did not act in the right manner?
History will have a story to tell....

Saturday, 10 August 2013

56. Food 1. Daman

Like circuit house, I suppose 'Food in India' also deserves a separate series.

Daman and Diu is one of the Union Terretories of India. Their closeness to two big states Gujrat and Maharashtra is obvious. Sometimes I felt that it was closer to Gujrat and at some other times, I thought it was closer to Maharashtra. Being a tribal locality, it also shows lot of Portuguese influence.

I stayed there for three four days and every time ended up eating Gujrati thali.

And if you like pickles, there are many options here.

Try one of these and you will like it. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

55. Circuit House: 1. Raipur

I know that we just shudder at a thought of staying even one night in a Circuit House. 
A Government Guest House is popularly (or un-popularly) known as Circuit House in India. 
It is a guest house where government officials can stay either for a minimum charge or free of charge. 
Some guest houses accommodate non government people who have are on government duty. 
I had an opportunity to visit number of these and I plan to present a series. 

Gone are the days of those stinky, old, ghost-like circuit houses. Modern construction is replacing the old ones. 

Here are some images of Circuit House of Raipur, capital of Chattisgarh. This is  'New Circuit House'

It is specious. It is clean. Service is good. Variety of menu is offered. 

In the front-yard, there are some sculptures. Have a closer look at one of those. 

From where it is brought, I do not know. 

And from the balcony it gives this kind of view.

It is peaceful, amazingly peaceful. 
For few moments, it helped me to forget the turmoil in the state. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

54. Art and Use!

Some people can combine Art and Work.
Of course, the perception of Art differs from person to person.
For example, for this man in a small town in the State of Bihar, this may not be labeled as art, but just hard work.

Can Art be perceived when one has to work hard?
Or Art is felt only when in luxury?
What is Art for one, is Work for other.

But whether Art or not, the 'work' of this potter has been used by many. 

Monday, 27 May 2013

53. Kamakhya Temple

It was after almost twenty years, I was visiting Guwahati. 
I had visited Kamakhya temple then, but hardly remembered anything about it.

So, one evening, when couple of colleagues asked me to join, I happily went with them.
The entrance was like any other temple.

However, the first view of the temple was beautiful.

And as I watched it more closely, it was amazing.

Only the site of animal sacrifice was heart-breaking.

Why this in the name of religion? After all, the Goddess does not eat anything, we human beings only consume the food!! 

Friday, 17 May 2013

52. Outsiders

They all had come to the place from outside.
Even I was an outsider.

I was at Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
Some of them had come there to enjoy and relax.

Obviously they had good time.

And there were others too, who also came from a distance of at least two thousand miles.
But they were here to earn their livelihood, do some hard work.
Food is different, language is different, living away from their dear ones.

Still it was amazing to see them smiling.

We were all outsiders .. to Golkonda Fort! 

Friday, 10 May 2013

51. Two Stations

Railway journey has always been a joy to me - in spite of the crowds, the dirty stations and the cockroaches in  the compartment.
Some of my best journeys are associated with railway.

Kanyakumari, the southernmost town has a beautiful station.

I have seen the station at different times and different phases of my life - and I have always liked it.

The other station that I liked but have never entered into it is thousands of miles away from Kanyakumari.

It is Agartala station in Tripura.
Once I want to reach this station by train.

Friday, 19 April 2013

50. Where is the Market?

Many times the poverty exists not due to lack of production but due to lack of access to market.

I was amazed to see this in Barmer district of Rajsthan.
Not once, but repeatedly.

There is so much watermelon, but no market to sell it.
Hence it is used to feed animals.

The people living in these types of remote areas will have a better life only if they have access to markets.

Friday, 15 February 2013

49. Hunger Feast

15 February 2013.
Delhi IIT. 


The key speaker was:

Yes, Dr. Amartya Sen.

The IIT Conference Hall was overflowing with crowds.

It was interesting to listen to his ideas - about inequality, about development, about food security, about democracy ...

For me itt was a Feast on Hunger!!

Monday, 14 January 2013

48. Ki Noo?

The fruit looked like orange.
But it looked different as well.
The board on the tray said 'Ki Noo' in Devngari script.

I was wondering what this 'Ki Noo' could be.
Is it a Hindi name for orange?

I brought two.
They were glowing and fresh.

Very much like orange.

I opened it.
It's skin is more thick within.

Tests almost like an orange.

After consuming it, I 'googled' the word.

And here it is "Kinnow"

Liked it.
Plan to have more of Kinnow now. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

47. Protest at Janatar Mantar

I went and joined the protest at Jantar Mantar on 31st December evening.

The wall of Rapid Action Force personnel was not looking aggressive at that time.

There were many groups and many people around. The media was eager to cover the happening.

The message is loud and clear. Are we (not only government, but all of us) listening?