Wednesday, October 14, 2015


January 2016...New year

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.
                         Rabindranath Tagore

Painda for Chotee Chotee Bhook

i am looking for quick healthy snacks all the time. Something that is not completely dry. And something that is juicy, chew able, which is also full of flavors with some raw freshness added in.

i know and make salads and in that my all time favorite is the sprouts salad into which i keep adding and subtracting ingredients when i get fed up of a particular taste or flavor. But last time on my trip to Mukteshwar (Nainital) i came upon this. Thought then that through my blog i must share not only the recipe but also save the recipe lest my fickle mind forgets it. Besides other subjects might also take precedence. i mean the talker in me might want to talk of other stuff and forget entirely about this simple yet tasty snack for chotee chotee bhook .

Mr Manoj thank God he beckoned me with his lovely smile and the warmest call that i can ever remember to try it when disgusted with all that garbage and muck at that spot which supposedly was one great scenic spot of that area i was returning quite upset. Cursing within myself as to when my country folks will ever learn to keep their surroundings clean. Animatedly telling my husband if the 'Swachata Abhiyaan' ( Cleanliness Drive) will ever take off in a major way. As if my poor soul of a husband was responsible for the stench and the garbage that was there. Yeah i was going on and on. "... Has it really taken off if at all or is it restricted to those biggies sweeping the already clean roads with a brand new broom and their photos flashed in the dailies...''

Mr Manoj stopped me and my ranting with his gentle call..."Madam jee naraaz mat ho,  aao Painda khaa lo..."
i at once my walk and my angry talk...
Looked at that face with the neat hair cut who had pleasantly asked me to quit being cross and just eat his snack. Was surprised too how my facial expressions must've conveyed so much for him to make that passing observation, 'Cross' if at all it was one or did he understand every word i was saying to my husband. Oh God was i that loud !.
i bet that i would've been. Family members have often reminded me time and again to speak softly.
Painda. Pronounced not as the D in English but that which we have in Hindi Devnagri script. In fact we have a proper word 'painda' in Hindi which means bottom or base of anything. For example the base of a vessel or anything. We also have a proverb too ' bin painde ka lota ' which translated would mean a small round pot with a round bottom...the application thus suitably would be a person who is of highly unreliable character or has varying conduct. A chameleon character maybe.
So Painda with that D...

Then because my mood was rotten...i glanced at that offering dismissing it perfunctorily as, " Oh no...not another Chana Chaat is it..." .
Then looked at that colorful basket with the lovely fresh greens and reds and the shining in the sun goldens. 
 Okay this potpourri looked slightly different. This must surely be different to those i have had in Patna my native place or in Delhi where i am residing now. 
 i chided myself inwardly for being so miss- know- it- all. But could i help myself for being so. After all Chana Chaat or Bengal Gram Savory Snack Vendors are there everywhere in India aren't they ...
i must confess...the entire looked not only appetizing but there was a faint delectable aroma too...a tangy spicy aroma and the sight of those perfectly chopped fine pieces of fresh cucumber, tomatoes, coriander started it's tricks on my tongue which instead of wagging and making sounds was moistening by now and i felt that quietening down deep inside. What then caught my attention apart from the boiled gram was the deep fried Bengal gram lentil glistening golden and looking very fresh and crispy too. Was that to be added to the preparation or was there an entire different preparation with that one ? i was mulling over the idea of asking the vendor man to do one of that too if it was another.
i waited and watched with fascination the entire procedure as the hands set to work the moment i placed my order for three 'Paindas'.
So then, my curiosity was taken care of when i saw that the deep fried daal ( Bengal gram lentil) also went into it plus that secret spice and finally a dash of fresh lime juice.
 The three of husband, our taxi driver and me hardly talked but chewed on to this sheer simple tasty delight which had it's juices, the crunchy freshness and took care of that chotee bhook which had actually made me more irritable than i normally would've been. i finished mine and went back to drop those paper cups in the makeshift cardboard bin that Mr Manoj jee had kept by the side of his little vending hand basket. It was then i thanked him for introducing me to this lovely snack and then happily i asked him about that area and talked to him for a while. Came to a deeper understanding about the garbage and the stench too which was primarily because of those horses there that took the tourists uphill.
 But in all this talking i forgot to ask him if the word ' Painda' was it a local word for the chat he served...
And i now am left wondering if it was Garhwaali or Kumaoni... 
i cannot quit before explaining what Chotee Bhook is... 
It is not so much of a hunger but that intense desire to munch on to something in between meals, movies, tv programmes, get-togethers or even just like that. Period.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Blessed are the Meek for They Shall Inherit

i have through these years of my life come up with many theories of my own. Eerily some that family members can remember have been proved to be true. Not just like that but in a complex manner like those theorems in geometry. i know this comparison too sounds strange but just like those equations had to be first learnt in order to know how triangles are congruent or non congruent or for that matter any of those eleven or more maybe one more theorem we did in high school. So did we live to see my theories getting those proofs.

Theories that i propound have been built up with years of simple observation and sample analysis of very many kinds the disclosure of which might rather sound rude and is not really required nor important. What matters is my theories have received acknowledgement if not from the world forum but from those who matter to me. And for me that's more than enough.
And yes i have used the word eerily because many of these known people get afraid nowadays when i say things because they immediately react with words like, " Don't utter, because however strange and illogical you might apparently sound your words come out to be the long run".
Kaali Zubaan (someone whose words are like premonitions) that's how they might prefer to say it in our mother tongue but for the love of me refrain from using the harsh and negative word. But the mere consternation and restlessness conveys what they mean.
Poor pathetic superstitious souls, sigh ! they will never learn. Sigh !
i mumble within myself and thus continue quite unperturbed with what their reaction is or how they might think but nevertheless continue assimilating my theories based upon my own personal experiences and observations of facts as and when situations have happened to me .
These situations also have within their gamut all the five senses mind you...sight, sound, taste, hearing and most importantly smell.

Taking time out and seriously acting on my son's advise i think it is time now i ought to save these theories. What better way than to do it in my blog.  One by one as they come to me.
So here it is.
Theory # 1:
Today's theory is about taste and smell. This time relating to FOOD and thus it's aroma.

What thou deny/ reject today is what thou would crave or seek tomorrow and shall never receive nor obtain.
This again is one which experience and years of observation has taught me.
On my own i try not to disregard food whichever way it is offered to me. No matter how not up to my liking it is. Because i am terrified of this imaginary concept of 'HUNGER'.  i have been by the Divine Grace never had that unfortunate moment ever in my life when i was hungry and never got anything to eat.
i wonder however then being born in the land of plenty and then having been forever there why then do i still have this fear of being without food just like i have many other fears and insecurities. Which thus leads me to propound another theory but then i'd rather not spill that one here. That for laters.

So then there was this time i denied food.  And it rained on me.
My own thundered...striking me with full force and lightening. Making me feel wet, homeless and pathetic...
Here i was sitting tired and hungry...alone on the terrace remembering those hot rotis offered to me with a gentle and loving smile. Some kind soul had asked me to break bread with them one fine day and i had refused.

How i craved and wanted to eat nothing but that particular sweet- smelling- like- roasted- flour rotis when i knew very well that those rotis no longer existed. They were just in my memory. Making my stomach ache with one unknown to me knotty gnawing pain. i had not cooked. Did not get the time to cook. The kitchen downstairs maybe had other dry snacks and some fruits that i could go to and eat but just like the pregnant lady gets a serious craving during which she wants nothing but that particular food so did my mind, mouth, saliva, stomach every part related to the process of digestion seem to scream for one and one particular item only.
"i want to have that haath sey thapak key bani huee meethee meethhee khushboo waali garam garam roti..." ( hand made fresh bread smelling sweet and hot, one that is not rolled but patted by hands...)
The one i had denied which was once offered to me.
Now as you read this story of mine think of your own experience and compare. Do let me know if it has happened with you too. Have you ever denied and later regretted ?
As for the rest...let my pictures do the can see which roti then i am talking about.

Not a single day goes by when the hand hoe that i got from the lovely, kind lady does not remind me of her rotis and her warm loving smile. But if only i could just get to eat her rotis if only i could know how to get to her somehow...i know definitely this time shamelessly i might ask to be fed.

i would have to go find her first along the highway to Mukteshwar where by the side of the road i had found her. Maybe pitching her tent for sometime to perhaps have that lunch and then perhaps move on. 
Meanwhile i am making do with my own insipid rolled on with the help of a rolling pin and thin rotis but her hand hoe is doing wonders making my job so much easier than i had ever imagined. God alone knows how i was managing with a khurpi ( garden hand shovel) all these days while when actually to work on a caked with dryness mound of earth on the terrace you actually need a hand hoe.