Friday, March 20, 2015
আমি অনেকদিন ধরেই ভাবছিলাম এই বিষয়টা নিয়ে লিখব। কিন্তু ‘অলস আমি’ টা আমায় লিখতেই দিচ্ছিল না। আজ ভাবলাম আর আলসেমি নয়। আজ লিখেই ফেলি বরং। ক্রিকেট ওয়ার্ল্ড কাপ চলছে আর ব্রেক হলেই মাঝে মাঝেই বেজে উঠছে এয়ারটেল এর নতুন অ্যাড, ‘ এক হাজারও মে মেরে পাপা হ্যাঁয়’। আগেও শুনেছি কিন্তু এইকদিন এ এত বেশিবার এই অ্যাড টা শুনে মাথায় কথাটা এল। ফল, এই লেখাটা। আগে এই অ্যাড তার বিষয়ে ছোট্ট হাই লাইট – অ্যাড টার প্রধান মেসেজ টার ব্যাপারে। অ্যাড টা বলতে চায় যে নিজের বাবাকে যদি খুশি রাখতে পার তাহলে তোমার অনেক লাভ। কি সেই লাভ? বাবা তোমার সাথে নিজের ফোনের কানেকশান টা শেয়ার করবেন। এর ফলে বাবার ফোনের বিলের মধ্যেই তোমার বিল টাও জুড়ে যাবে। এর মানে কি? মানে হল, বাবা খুশি হলেই বাবা তোমার ও ফোন (এবং ইন্টারনেট) এর বিল দিয়ে দেবেন। ব্যাস, কেল্লা ফতে। যত খুশি ফোন ও ফোনের ইন্টারনেট ব্যাবহার কর, বিলের কোন চিন্তাই নেই, বাবা আছে তো। আপাতদৃষ্টিতে একটী নিরীহ অ্যাড। কিন্তু কবার দেখার পরেই আমার মনে একটা অন্য ধারনা এল, সেটা বলার জন্যেই এই লেখা। এই অ্যাডটার সিরিজ এর কয়েকটা আলাদা গল্প আছে। কিন্তু প্রতিটারই একই বিষয়বস্তু। সন্তান তার বাবার জন্যে কোন না কোন কাজ করে দিচ্ছে যেটা বাবার কাছে একেবারেই অপ্রত্যাশিত। কখনও বাবার গাড়ি ধুয়ে দিচ্ছে, কখনও বাবাকে ‘বেষ্ট ড্যাড’ লেখা কাপে চা এনে দিচ্ছে বা কখনও বাবাকে নিজের ভাগের শেষ পিজাটা দিয়ে দিচ্ছে। তারপর লুকিয়ে মায়ের দিকে তাকিয়ে একটা ছোট্ট মিষ্টি তাৎপর্যপূর্ণ হাসি। এরপর সেই প্রচণ্ড গুরুত্বপূর্ণ সংবাদ – বাবাকে খুশি রাখলে বাবা তার নিজের প্রিপেড বিল তোমার সাথে শেয়ার করবেন। ব্যাস, তোমার কাজ হাসিল। আর মা তাতে সায় ও দিচ্ছেন। আর বোকা বাবা তাতে ভীষণ খুশি হচ্ছেন, ভাবছেন আহা আমার সন্তান আমায় কত ভালবাসে। প্রথমে মজার লাগলেও একটু পরেই মনে হতে লাগল এটা কি শিক্ষা দেওয়া হচ্ছে বাচ্চাদের? ওদের নিজের বাবার সাথে শঠটা? তাও আবার মায়ের স্বীকৃতির সাথে? আজকাল কার দিনে মানুষকে ঠকালেই সে উপরে উঠতে পারে, সাফল্যের চুড়োয়। আমরা, বড়রা সেটা জানি, ঠেকে শিখেছি সেটা। জানি সেটা ভুল, কিন্তু এড়াতে চাইলেও কখনও নিজেই সেই ভুলের ফাঁদে পা দেই বা কখনও তার শিকার হই। তাইবলে এইভাবে বাচ্চাদের সেটা শেখানো হবে? শুধু শেখানো নয়, সেটা করতে প্ররোচিত ও করা হবে? বোঝান হবে সেটা একটা মহান কাজ? এর পর হয়ত তাদের কোনদিন এটাও শেখানো হবে যে খুন, জখম, চুরি ইত্যাদিও ভাল কাজ, যদি সেটা কর তাহলে তোমারই লাভ, আর তুমি সেটা করলে আমাদের কোম্পানির জিনিস এর বিক্রিও আর বাড়বে। অতএব, সেই সব খারাপ কাজ গুলও তুমি করে ফেলো। ঠিক যেভাবে নিজের বাবাকে বোকা বানালে তোমার লাভ হবে, আর আমাদের কোম্পানির জিনিসের বিক্রি বেশি হবে। কারণ, বাবাকে ঠকিয়ে তোমাকে নিজের লাভ করার সুযোগ শুধুমাত্র আমাদের কোম্পানিই দেয়। আর কি অদ্ভুত, এতে তোমার মায়েরও নাকি সায় আছে, তিনিই তোমায় উৎসাহ দিচ্ছেন বাবাকে ঠকাতে। সেই মা, যিনি নাকি আমাদের জীবনের সব শিক্ষার মুল স্থাপন করেন, যাতে আমরা মানুষের মত মানুষ হয়ে উঠি। মানুষ নিজের বাবাকে নিজের হিরো ভাবে, আর মা তার সবচেয়ে বড় আশ্রয়। ছোট্ট বেলা থেকে মা বাবাই সেই একমাত্র দুজন মানুষ যারা আমাদের পাশে সবসময় থাকেন, আমাদের সব দুঃখ মেটান। শুধু তাই নয়, আমাদের সব বিপদ ঠেকে বাঁচান। আর হ্যাঁ, আমাদের সব শখও মেটান, সেটা নিজের সাধ্যের বাইরে হলেও যথা সর্বস্ব চেষ্টা করেন, খালি আমাদের ওরা নিজেদের জীবনের চেয়েও বেশি ভালবাসেন বলে। অতএব, বাচ্চারা, বাবাকে ঠকাও, তাতে তোমার লাভ বাড়বে, আর আমাদের কোম্পানির লাভ বাড়াও – আহা কি শিক্ষা!
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Disclaimer: This post is not about making an egg roll but the subtleties (wondered if I may use that classification) associated with it. Now that the disclaimer is given, I must say I felt it’s an unnecessary sentence that I had to type, because I believe almost everybody would know how to make an egg roll. I mean seriously, the name itself is self-explanatory. Egg Roll literally means an egg rolled out in some kind of a base, and preferably it should be edible. That is a very simplistic explanation but also a perfectly logical one according to me. I do however would definitely point out that for us Bengalis, Egg Roll is nothing less than ‘Manna Dew’, instead something possibly even greater with its various delicious variants (Notice Points : 1)The stress that I want to put on this point above; 2) I used the term ‘Bengali’s instead of the commonly used ‘Bong’, just to elaborate my dislike for this particular short name for my clan; 3) Various and Variants at the interval of just 1 word sounds funny to me; 4)‘Manna Dew’ refers to a heavenly tasty juice and has been used in Keat’s poem’ La belle dame sans merci’, wanted to use that just to freak you all out for a second – I’m smiling) Now enough dilly dallying, there are enough proofs in blogs of Ovshake, Bongpen and many more about the attachment a Bengali has with Egg Rolls or for that matter with several other variants like an Egg Chicken Roll (ECR was the term used by my ex colleague to direct the boy who took order over phone about the difference between ‘Egg Chicken Roll’ and ‘Ek Chicken Roll’ –an effective method I must say). Ok now, no more diversions, let me get back to the reason why I started writing this post and let me assure you, I will go straight to the point. This post is about how I managed to overcome a few of the many flaws in my cooking, this time my flaws while making an egg roll. See, I went straight to the point but now that doesn’t sound interesting anymore; that is the reason I tried writing a bit of a prologue. Anyway, let’s get back to the point. Last night my plan for dinner was 3 types of rolls. By roll I mean the Maida (flour) based Roll, the way we Bengalis savour this tasty and unhealthy dish, not some dry and pale wheat based 62nd step cousin of the pure joy that an Egg Roll is (I don’t know what 62nd step cousin means, but basically I meant a very distant relative). Type 1 would be filled by some left over ‘Baked Vegetables in White Sauce’ and Type 2 would be containing some Chicken Sheekh Frozen Kababs from Venky’s (I have been frantically hunting for opportunities to try them, now that it was almost 2 weeks that we had purchased them and haven’t tried them yet). Now these 2 had been planned to be mini rolls and the 3rd type would be a grand egg roll and I didn’t have eggs for them. So I whatsappd S to get eggs on his way back and decided to finish the other 2 types, before he is back. The Maida dough was already there but to my dismay, while rolling it out I found that it was too soft (unfortunately this realisation came to me much later and I have happily learnt to tackle this problem -I'm smiling). I tried making a small round Paratha for the Veg Roll and obviously the shape was as close to round as much as my aunt’s place at New Barrackpore is close to mine at Tollygunge. Anyway, the first one was not a roll but a half folded paratha, something like a crepe. The second one thank fully rolled more, this time looking more like a patisapta (Please refer to google images for a look if you haven’t had the fortune of tasting one yet). The second type could not become rolls but took a new avatar of ‘Large Luchi’ sized hard parathas (I know you don’t understand this but it’s beyond me to try explaining this any further; I wish I had taken photos to explain this). Both times, I tried to counter the softness of the dough with little flour and extra oil and of course the effects were not what I had expected. I was utterly disappointed with my efforts. Thus, as soon as he entered, I greeted S with the boomerang that tonight’s dinner could turn out to be muri-makha (Bengali version of Sukha Bhel Puri, the home version much tastier as per me). Encouraging as always, S assured me that we would dine on the rolls or whatever else it is that I have prepared. I smiled and turned my eyes towards Sourav’s popular game show on Zee Bangla, i.e. Dadagiri, though the ghost- thought of finally trying to make that egg roll lurked its ugly head often and kept me very distracted. Finally, I decided, let’s take the plunge, jo hoga dekha jayega. Since these were going to be grand ones, the dough dedicated for these ones were bigger. When I had last entered the kitchen to make some tea for us, I suddenly felt that instead of oil, probably bit more of flour could harden this dough up. To remind me of this sudden discovery, I remembered to sprinkle some Maida on the rolling board and yes, I did remember to mix more flour with the left over dough when I saw this sprinkle. I rolled the first one and it was quite ROU (no it wasn’t ROUND but reached a ROU state thankfully). So my first lesson of the night was to add adequate flour to counter dough softness. As I stretched the Paratha on the frying pan and poured the whipped egg on it, I suddenly remembered the magicians with hands instead of wands. Ok, I meant the people who make the rolls on the tiny dark road side roll stalls with blue wooden borders, places which make the tastiest rolls with all that greenish-yellow chilli sauce, tomato sauce, cucumber and onions. I remembered them taking the paratha+egg base from the huge frying pan to a white marble slab and place one base over half of another one on that slab. Any number, 3/4/5/6 or even more could constitute one such batch, the max that the marble slab could fit, one half of a single base placed neatly on top of the other base' half. They would then remember the fillings that were to go specifically in every one of this batch (For Eg – Say each batch had 6 rolls each with different fillings – chicken, mutton, panner, kabab, veg, combinations, just about anything - and they would remember each. And yes, the next batch usually would come in within 2-3 mins during the busy evening hours and almost 99.9% times they do not make mistakes). They would then fill those specific fillings inside and roll it deftly and then wrap a tissue and hand it over to the customer. Their hands do resemble wands in those moments. The tissue paper helps the customer to hold the hot roll and stops the fillings to fall out from the lower end of the roll. As we bite deeper into the roll, we strip the roll of its tissue clothes (sounds weird but I like it okay). So I gained this sudden common sense of NOT trying to roll the roll on the hot frying pan but take it down, place it directly on opened napkins or tissues, let it cool and then fill in any other filling for the roll (I put onions, tomato sauce, pepper and some of left over sheekh kababs which I earlier failed to capture within the mini rolls. The kabas pieces were of course better settled in this version of the roll). My expertise increased and the second ECSKR(EggChickenSheekhKababRoll) turned out even better (me smiling). We had a happy dinner (the good mega roll overpowered the bad mini roll+mini luchi-parathas). I learnt the happiness of remembering and applying simple techniques while trying to be a good cook someday. And then I thought happiness increases when shared with everyone. So, here goes my post on making egg rolls and sharing with all of you that enlightening realisation which I had while making them. These simple things would be known by most aspiring cooks but sharing feels good. Read this at the risk of head ache, boredom and hopefully some drooling tongues and memories of our very own Kolkata rolls. Here in Mumbai Haangla’s comes close. But I miss my roadside, dust and chilly tomato sauce flavoured, semi-soft hot parathas hiding their newly wedded better eggy halves, willingly and happily succumbing to my blissful bites. Long live Kolkata rolls.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Usually, I write a few lines and then save that word file. But not always is that the case. This time I remembered what I had set out to write on, and so I saved the name of the file at first. It is about Putona, the demoness (sounded like goddess to me, sounds apt to me) who tried to kill Krishna when he was a kid. Sorry, she tried to kill him when he was an infant. Now, let there be a bit of prologue. I was flipping through the channels yesterday, when I chanced upon ‘Ruposhi Bangla’. I love the theme song of this channel – ‘Shudhu Theko Ruposhi’, meaning ‘please stay beautiful always’, probably will write on this one someday, however weird the idea might seem to some of you. I would be visiting the Bengali channels much lesser back in Kolkata, but now I make it a point to shuffle through all of them (yes, even the news channels) before settling on with one of those (Just FYI – I watch DD Bangla too, rarely though. And I wonder and yearn for those days when it was a cable-less world, Saturday’s being my favourite for the Suchitra-Uttam classics aired most probably from 4.30pm – 8pm). So yesterday was just one of those days and I realised Rupashi Bangla was airing the Bengali version of Mahabharata, the one soap which was a part of our weekly Sunday morning 9am entertainment dose besides yummy breakfasts of Maggi (yes, you read that right) or Porota / Luchi Alurdom (I know that’s more acceptable to you all). So I simply decided to stay put at Rupashi Bangla and remember those yester-days of the wonderland called childhood. The episode aired dealt with the chapter of Putona Rakshasi (Putona Demoness – yes, I still am getting a royal ‘Your Highness’ kind of a feel in this term) and her attempt to kill Krishna. That is when the thought of trying to write something came up my mind. And I decided to oblige myself. Well, the show started showing Putona disguised as a ‘feriwali’ (someone who roams across the streets trying to sell small knick-knacks, kind of a mobile hawker), ventures in to ‘Gokul’, the village where Krishna was being brought up by his foster parents Nand and Yashoda. She had been sent by Kansa, Krishna’s Maternal Uncle (the (in) famous KANS MAMA), to kill Krishna before he matures to become the future cause of his death. Before I go on with my thoughts about Putona and this particular incident, let me share a few words on the show that came up my mind while watching that episode. Those few minutes showed me how slow each episode could have been (Putona glanced through similar looking squares in the walls of Nand’s house to get a glance of Krishna and it took her atleast a dozen squares to finally flash that smile when she viewed Krishna. That, ‘O what a view, O what a relief, O what a discovery, O Eureka’ kind of smile glorified her face with the light of a 1000 light houses, when she ultimately sighted her object of kill. But, I was bored by the third square itself and ended up wondering three things: 1. How did they get an idea to shoot such inexplicably long and boring sequences? 2. How did the actors have the patience to implement that idea and ultimately shoot them? 3. How did we devoured those episodes every Sunday, like ‘chatok pakhi’s (a thirsty bird possibly – it’s a saying actually, so I can use it you see), getting a drop of water after the huge time gap of one whole week? Anyway, the sequence in short, goes like this. Putona picks up infant Krishna on the sly, takes her away from Nand’s cottage, reaches a field away from the village and starts growing to her actual gigantic demonic form and howling (i.e., laughing actually), at her apparent victory of getting hold of the mighty infant Krishna. Her objective is to feed Krishna from her poisoned bosom, the milk of death. Seeing and hearing her, the villagers rush to inform Nand and Yashoda who by now, were frantically searching for their beloved child. But surprise surprise! All of them come to the field to see the infant playing on the dead body of the demoness (still sounds grand to me) and manage to remove the Lord from his current playground. While going back, the villagers declare Putona was Kans’s dai, that is the midwife. Well I didn’t know this. And I am not going to research this. If ever the 2 Mahabharata experts I know (AD and AM), read this, they might enlighten me on this but I would not pester them for this information, as of now. But what baffled me (and hence the germ of this post was sown) was the fact that why did Putona choose to feed Krishna. With her gigantic physicality, she could easily strangle the poor baby or even could go all ‘elephant-y’ and squash the baby under her paws, sorry feet. But she chose to feed the baby for killing it. I wondered why. Could it be because she had a maternal instinct somewhere hidden in depth of her huge bosoms? So deep, that her demonic consciousness had concealed it completely from her conscious self? Is it some kind of an unfulfilled desire to get away from being a demoness (I know I am boring you all but it still is majestic to me) and sense for once, the feel of motherhood? What was that howl/laugh for? Was it for getting a hold on Krishna or was it some kind of celebratory laugh, depicting an inner happiness to finally give way to her motherly instincts? Kans probably was never the ‘child’ for her; instead he was only her ‘master’. Did that add to the intensity of her bottled up desire to become a ‘real mother’, without her ever realising it? I instantly remembered a parallel and a second one while writing this, now. ‘Ahalya’ and ‘Mahishasura’ are similar to Putana. ‘Ahalya’ transformed from a stone idol (she was cursed, for details you could ask me, I could ask AD and AM in turn) to her human form again, as Rama touched her. ‘Mahishasura’ got ‘mukti’, from his tyrannical life at the hands of Ma Durga, a well-deserved spot for a devotee at the feet of the Goddess. Did Krishna also release Putana? Did he gave her a ‘one-time’ chance to fulfil her deepest desire to live the role of a mother and also in the process, relieve her from her current life of a demoness (Ok! now I don’t like the feel of this word)? Well, Krishna did relieve many a cursed soul from their earthly birth’s shackles. For instance, I remember the two cursed brothers who were born as joint trees and were released from that life, thanks to the playfulness of baby Krishna. The image of the fallen Putana did not indicate even a tiny iota of pain; instead it was a plain, straight faced Putana lying on the ground. Putana, as she breathed her last, possibly smiled in her heart. It was a content, peaceful smile, visible to none but Krishna. The demoness (again sounds grand to me now) has finally been given what she might have prayed for diligently, may be for ages, for many births and re-births. Her desire of ‘mukti’ had been met. Is it possible that she had been a devotee of the Lord too? I have not read about such a possibility ever, but could not help wondering if there ever was one. Her one last act made her a mother in the guise of a slayer and gave her a final abode of peace at the feet of Krishna. Yes, now she is a royalty. Is that possible? I still am wondering.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Getting Used to It’s easy to say it, very easy. Only those who actually do have to ‘get used to it’, know what it could be. How you look at it, how you adopt in in your lives, is based on you completely. You could be ‘getting used to it’ smoothly, making it a smooth procedure and ‘just another act’ in your life. You could also be someone who tries and ‘gets used to it’ gradually, taking your time and adjusting your lifestyle, thinking and attitude. This could avoid all the chaos of the process and ensure an appropriate alteration and a proper fitting of the ‘new’ in your life. But then, you could also be someone who resists it completely but still have to ‘get used to it’. If you are a part of this last group, then you are definitely doomed and destined for a painful transition. How painful? Again that would depend completely on you. You could decide to don a calm exterior and appear to be someone extremely accepting and open to the change in your life, though you would be battling a storm in your heart at every unoccupied moment, every day. Or, you could be one completely open about it, making everyone aware that you detest this change, detest this ‘getting used to’ part of your life and clearly announce that it was forced upon you. Well it could be forced but it could also be a conscious decision that got your nod nevertheless. If it’s actually forced, then really there shouldn’t be a ‘getting used to it’ part in your lives, it should be avoided at all costs. However, that is the ideal situation, often not the actual one. Let us talk about this last group and the second last group now. Why? It’s my writing, my fingers doing the typing, then why not? Oh come on, I am writing about these two because they are relevant to my right now and hence all typing and the effort to bore anybody of you who tries to read this. How are they relevant? Well, let’s get personal, shall we? One of them is me. And another one is someone closest to me. And what is it that I am ‘getting used to’? It’s a new phase in my life and it’s a huge shift from the as yet prevalent stagnant form of my life. What is it? Oh please, I am not going to bare it all. Keep guessing you ‘already bored’ readers. But for those who still have the patience, here goes. It’s a stage which has marked a changed in my life forever. It changed me as a person, made me change where / what / who I belong to, my approach, my attitude, my liabilities, my ownerships, my answerability, my roots, almost everything in my life. You could wonder how everything could change in my life. Well, I still look the same (thankfully the weighing scale tilts bit lesser though), wear the same clothes (oh please, not the same smelly clothes always but same kinds), talk in the same language, eat the same food and do almost all the things the same way that I would do every day, before. Yet I have changed, in many ways. For one, now it’s a new hometown for me. Now, it’s new people in my life. New people, some who I meet every day, talk to every day. And yes, the old people? No, I do not meet them or talk to them every day. No, I do not see the same movie posters that I would see earlier on the roads; neither do I see the new movies in the same theatres (I hope Priya and Malancha miss me). I don’t eat rice now every day. Surprisingly, I don’t feel the urge to also. That’s a change, a subtle change which has crept in my life and my being, without me realising it till the time before writing the last line. I don’t get to ride the oldest metro service in India any more, but instead I get to ride the newest one nowadays. I don’t get to calculate the taxi fare anymore (fare X 2.4 +1), something I enjoyed doing a lot. Nowadays I do not calculate the transport fare and I again just realised that urge is gone. But yes, like before, I still continue marking how different is the charge for the same distance/route by the same vehicle with different number plates. Yes, I am happy I found something (at least some tendency) similar. There are loads of other things that are ‘changed’ now in my life. For instance, I have new people in my life, some who I care about and some who I am indifferent. The second set is treated not with much difference as before. But for the first group, I am more cautious. I do not want to hurt them, neither do I want to bother them. They are not people I have encountered till the 30 odd years of my life but they matter to me. I want to be close to them, I want them to ‘close me in’. But in the process I do not want to disturb their daily flow of life, I do not want them to change. I don’t want to fail them, but I don’t want to fail the theme of the last phase of my life too. I try to seek balance. Balance, that would balance me as well as everybody else associated with my life. A dear friend had once advised, ‘you will never be able to make everyone around happy, instead make yourself happy’. I try to abide by it often but only when I am conscious. Else, generally I try to strike that balance always, however futile my attempts might be. I am the second last type, how tries to manage with a calm exterior, though I feel I wish I could shout out loud like Konkona in ‘Life in a Metro’. Yes, I often feel that urge, or in substitute, the urge to tear a huge sheet of paper to the tiniest bits (Could I be hired for the post of one who tears the papers in paper dances? Is there any such job at all?). I make repeated daily resolutions to start on with ‘pranayama’ but fail every day. Another dear friend had said, we are too ‘bhodro’, i.e. too decent to people around us and I painfully realised the truth of her sayings. I am fighting that battle to change it and also wondering at the same time, should I? After all this blabbering, I still accept that I have to ‘get used to it’. I know I have to. It has always been difficult for me to accept change. Change is always for the better, yes I do know it. But still I have preferred the pre-change state always, even though change has come in my life, time and again and proved me wrong. I have internally rejected it at first, then accepted it unwillingly and then started living the change. Finally I have also managed to find happiness hidden in some cosy cranny of this ‘change’; boy! they were plenty. I am trying to learn to live this change now, because now I know I have to do it. I am trying to ‘get used to it’ and strike a balance. Help myself as well as all else associated with the process accept this change. (Yes, the other person falling in the last group is one of my closest human beings in this earth). That is turning out to be difficult, I have to agree that. I do not want to change myself or others in the process and loose our originalities, but still wrap this change like the eager comfort of the shawl (I prefer the ‘lep’ or quilt even more any day) around ourselves. I want to learn myself and help all else battle out the resistance and deal with it better (I still think I could have been a good psychologist, who knows someday I might be one). I want to find out those ‘happy hours’ in this change for everybody, yes I would like all of us to ‘get used to that’.
একটা কথা প্রায়ই শোনা যায় – বাঙালি পৃথিবীর সর্বত্র ছড়িয়ে পড়েছে। তা সর্বত্র কিনা জানিনা, কলকাতা ছাড়া আমার দেখা আর দুটো মেট্রো শহর, যথা বেঙ্গালুরু আর বোম্বাই তে বাঙ্গালির অবাধ উপস্থিতি। আর যশ্মিন দেশে যদাচার। জেদেশেই থাকুক, বাঙালি ঠিকই ম্যানেজ করে নেয়। তা সে লোকাল ভাষার প্রয়োগই হক বা সেই জাতির খাবার খাওয়া ও রাঁধায় পটু হওয়া হক বা অন্য কিছু। ব্যাস, আবার এসে গেল খাবারের কথা। আচ্ছা, বাঙালি আর খাবার কি বেশীক্ষণ দূরে দূরে থাকতে পারে কখনও? কথায় আছে --- “বাঁচার জন্য খাওয়া” – তবে বাঙ্গালির ক্ষেত্রে কথাটা একটু উলটে যায় --- বাঙ্গালির জন্যে কথাটা হয়ে যায় – “খাওয়ার জন্যে বাঁচা”। আমি খুব সম্প্রতি ঘাঁটি বদল করে এই মারাঠাল্যান্ডে ল্যান্ড করেছি। আগে যখন বেঙ্গালুরুতে থাকতাম, তখন ভারি দুঃখ ছিল – আরে যত্রতত্র মিষ্টির দোকান পাওয়া যায়না যে। ধীরে ধীরে সে দুঃখ মজে এল। বোধোদয় হল যে বাঙ্গালির মিষ্টি প্রীতির সাথে অন্য কোন জাতির তুলনা করাটা অন্যায়। পরে নাহয় কোনদিন এইনিয়ে বিস্তারিত আলোচনা করব। আজ যেজন্যে লেখা, তার নাম কিউপিস। না, মিষ্টি নয়, তবে স্বাস্থ্য আর স্বাদের বেশ সুষম মেলবন্ধন ঘটিয়েছে এই “কিউপিস”। মুম্বাইতে স্বাস্থ্য সচেতনতা দিয়ে দারুন ব্যাবসা করা যায়। প্রায় সব জায়গার সব পদেরই একটা স্বাস্থ্যকর ছোটভাই আছে, তবে তার জন্যে সামান্য বেশি গাঁটের কড়ি খরচ । এই কিউপিস কিন্তু সে পথে হাঁটেনি। ওদের ভাঁড়ারের সংগ্রহ বিশাল কিছু নয় যে দেখতে দেখতে চিত্রগুপ্তের ফর্দের কথা মনে পড়বে। আর যেটুকু আছে তাতে স্বাদ, স্বাস্থ্য আর রেস্ত, তিনটেরই খেয়াল রাখা হয়েছে। একদিন অফিস থেকে ফিরছি। একটি ছোট্ট, আশপাশের কালো খয়েরি কাঁচগুলো মাঝ থেকে আলাদা উজ্জ্বল লাল হলুদ (ইস্ট বেঙ্গল ছাড়া অন্য রঙও ও আছে এতে) মুখ নিয়ে উঁকি মারা এই দোকানটা দেখে ভারি কৌতহল হল। ফর্সা কাঁচের দরজা ঠেলে দেখি সামনেই তিনটে পরিষ্কার তাওয়ায় কিছু সেঁকছে, তেলের চিন্হমাত্র নেই। ব্যাগের মধ্যে অবশিষ্ট কিছু সোডেক্সোর (ভারি মজাদার আর কাজের এই গুলো) সদব্যাবহার করার আশায় মেনু কার্ডটা চাইলাম। প্রথম পাতাতেই চমক - রকমারি পুরভরা নোনতা পাটিসাপটা নাকি ভুট্টার আটায় তৈরি। কোনটা অর্ধচন্দ্র, কোনটা পূর্ণচন্দ্র আকারের। বুঝলেন না তো? পূর্ণচন্দ্র মানে পকেট আর অর্ধচন্দ্র হল বিগ স্মাইল। ঠিকই ধরেছেন – এইখানে উলটে গেছে আকারের মানেগুলো। পাটিসাপটাগুলোর পেটের বা মাথার কাছের ছ্যাদা গুলোর মধ্যে দিয়ে খুব সন্তর্পণে উঁকি মারছে নানা রকম পুর – তা সে সয়াবিন বা পনিরের রকমারি পদ হক বা আমিষ প্রেমিদের জন্যে ডিম বা মুরগির মাংসের কোন সুস্বাদু রান্নাই হক। পঁয়ত্রিশ থেকে আশির মধ্যে নিমেষেই পেয়ে যাবেন সুস্বাদু চিকেন আচারি, চিকেন ভুনা অথবা ছোলে মসালা, কড়াই পনির। আমার নিজের পছন্দ হল পনির বা ডিমের ভুরজি ভরা পাটিসাপটা। তবে সব কিছুর মধ্যেই স্বাদ আর স্বাস্থের কথা সমানভাবে মাথায় রাখাটাই এদের আলাদা করে তোলে। তৈরি পকেট বা বিগ স্মাইল গুলোকে তাওয়ায় সামান্য সেঁকলেই ওরা লুচির মত ফুলে ওঠে, ওদের ফাঁপা পেটে ইচ্ছে মত পুর ভরে আপনার জন্যে সহজেই তৈরি। সাথে ডিপ হিসেবে চীজ বা ধনেপাতা ও পুদিনার চাটনি ও আছে। আছে চিপস, কুকিস বা ঠাণ্ডা পানীয়ও, তবে মনে হয়না ওগুলোর দরকার আছে। তা যদি আপনার চোখের সামনে সুস্বাদু, স্বাস্থ্যকর, চটজলদি তৈরি হয় এমন দারুণ খাবার, আর তা খেতে গিয়ে পকেটেও যদি নামমাত্রই ছাপ পরে, তাহলে কেনই বা আপনি প্যাকেটে ভরা ক্যালরি পূর্ণ খাবারের পথে হাঁটবেন? তার চেয়ে বরং পথ বদলে এই কিউপিস এ চলে আসুন। কোন অনুশোচনা নেই, আছে বরং সুস্বাদু ও স্বাস্থকর খাবারের নির্মল আনন্দ এই কিউপিস এ।
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Poornota pawa ki manushyo jiboner ekmatro lokhyo? Jodi tai hoy tahole keu amay define kore debe poornota ki? Eta ki ekta relative concept naki kono fixed dimensions achhe jeta diye etake mapa jay? How does it vary? Across people? Across places? Across ages? Across genders? Across situations? Poornota pele ki hoy?s shei manush ta khushi hoy? Naki tar ashe pasher manushjon, tar priyo jonera khushi hoy? Naki shob kichhu thik thak hoye jay? Everything falls into place? Achha, poornota kishe pawa jay sheta k determine kore daey? Kibhabe? There must be some logic behind it, but how is that logic formulated? On what basis? On whose opinions or understanding? Achha shobai ki tothakothito poornota pay? Naki sobai nijer nijer moto poornota khuje naey? Nijer nijer moto poorno hoy? Keu bolbe jobabgulo???????????
Thursday, December 15, 2011
In the last few days I have come across death directly or indirectly, not once, not twice but thrice. Whether it really is significant or just a figment of my imagination, I rather will not dwell on that. Anyway, let me elaborate on the cases. My brother, Babu had to perform certain experiments for his project in his M.Tech course for which he needed some rats. He described them to me, small white bundles, the younger ones highly energetic, some so naughty (or should I say dangerous) that they would even bite the experimenter, most so scared when experimented upon that they would bless the experimenter's hands with their excreta. I noticed my brother develop some kind of a bond with them (or is it my imagination!), he would ensure that they are fed regularly and even kept in the sunshine for some time of the day. He even took the responsibility of opening the huge lab by himself and perform these duties on the off days and then close the lab properly. It is quite possible that these are duties performed by my brother's fellow students as well and this bond thing is an extension of my mind's idiosyncrasy. However, on completion of the experiment, he had to "SACRIFICE" them. The process was simple, give an overdose of anesthesia and the job is done. Babu's guide showed him the way, but he couldn't do it at first. The process needed to twist the neck of the rat both ways afterward so that even if one does not die of the anesthesia, this would ensure their painless death. Funny, but actually it would be painless even though pathetic and brutal. So he made some else do it. But of the 4 rats, the anesthesia wasn't adequate for one and my brother ultimately had to do it himself. He shared with me his doubts, I instructed him to give them a proper burial ( he hadn't been able to, in this case) and pray for their souls. Someone later told him that when we kill the pests at our house, do we entertain such doubts? I was thinking about this. Babu had no choice but to relieve them, but is it allowed? Or rather, do they deserve it? The question of deserving probably sways this to another ground but I couldn't help asking it as well. But this choice is a difficult one to make, more so because one knows that the choice is made, you have to "SACRIFICE" them, for their good, for the environments' good. But still one has to pacify oneself before doing it. Do we forcefully put ourselves in this dilemma? If so, why? Secondly, during my father's TMT test, I had to sign a paper which said I would be okay if anything happens to him during the duration of the test. I hesitated for a moment, forced my mind shut and signed it. Why did I sign it? Did I have any understanding of the significance of such a declaration? Or did I chose to avoid it? At that moment, I felt that Baba has to undertake the test so no point delaying it. But its very scary, so much that I can't directly write about the other consequence even in this blog, my mind shudders to even think of it. No, I can't imagine that scenario and don't want to before it is due. But that day, did I sign on my father's death warrant ( Oh I hate to even read it in my mind as I type it)? Or is it a choice I made, a correct choice? Who am I to decide on that? Just because I am the daughter doesn't give me this right. But still I decided for my father's life that day. Life puts you in such situations where you are so perplexed that you doubt yourself, whatever be your choice and its consequences (even if positive). Thirdly, today morning I got to know that my friendly (Oh but he wasn't friendly or generous but helpful) neighborhood chemist committed suicide two days back. I have been in this para for quite some time now and have seen him since childhood. In last few years I suddenly noticed his salt and pepper hair suddenly turn to a shade of pure silver, so did his mustache. He hardly spoke but if somebody needed any suggestion about any medicine he would oblige, however in very few words. But I noticed he had stopped / reduced it, on inquiring I got to know that one of his suggested medicines probably didn't have the desired effects and the consequences haven't been very nice. Thankfully, he later again turned to the good medicine suggester. Well, this is not about him though, its about his death. I sat dumbfounded for almost 30mins as I could not come to terms with the fact that I won't see him any more. It crossed my mind that Babu would also never see him, he last saw him sometime probably during last Pujas in case he had gone to get some medicine from that shop. But I saw him even last week, I even asked back Rs.5 which by mistake his son had forgotten to return me in my change. I wondered what happened that he took such a drastic step? Was it competition? But it can't be so. The competition has been in this area for quite some time now. But there was a point that this shop was the most visited one, even though the adjacent chemist shop would eagerly look out for some new customers. All of them would flock to this shop. Did history repeat itself and all customers of this shop now preferred the third shop, the competition? In that case, is it so that the chemist could not bear this pressure and commit suicide? Or am I just imagining this? I came back home using the same route and didn't even look up once at this chemist shop for once. And I just realised why so, I did not feel the need to take a special look at the closed shutters of the chemist shop I have grown up with because I have not yet internalised the fact that I would never see this chemist of my childhood ever again. Surprisingly, my mother informed me a few days back that the chemist at the first shop, whom my chemist shop had engulfed, died a few days back and my mother was very upset with that. She also possibly has seen this first shop for long and often gotten her medical supplies from that, so it was difficult for her to come to terms with the fact that she won't see her childhood chemist again, just like me. I know this is an extremely long post, but I don't regret writing this one