Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Laughed A While Today!

I was looking for Continental breakfast recipes, then I went on searching fatless recipes and came up with something wonderful (not the recipe but the title)- "Fatless Ma ki dal" recipe by Tarla Dalal.
I read it this way—Fatless Ma-ki- dal

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are We Still Humans?

Every one of us has once in our life read stories of speaking and walking animals, like that from Panchatantra, Folk Tales, Aesop’s Fables, & C.  These simple stories, even today transcend us in to the make-believe world where animals and birds are as animated as we are. They being referred to as ‘he’/ ‘she’ not as ‘it.’

Do you still remember how as a child we used to be concerned about little creatures; we had a strong belief that these mute creatures do talk. As we grow older, innocence forsakes us and a cloak of maturity calling itself as ‘civilization’ covers us from head to toe.

I have observed that this so-called ‘civilization’ is in fact a slow and steady process of dehumanizing us, making us immune to the cries of these innocent animals that are far better as companions in comparison to fellow humans.

A few months back, while my car was waiting for Green signal at ITO, I noticed a pair of bull hooked at the roadside blinking their eyes to the flashing lights from all over.  I still cannot forget those eyes, those  perfect serene eyes, looking around, people walking, standing, waiting, running, stuck  up in traffic, yet free unlike them who were tied in a corner, insecure if some vehicle steps on their hooves.

I just couldn’t desist myself from wondering what those bulls might be thinking about. Might be wondering, what kind of preposterous animals we human are, who when gifted with such power of reason, yet are insensible and insensitive towards poor creatures who walk on ‘all fours’ and have no ‘free-will’ of theirs to exercise.

Agreed, animals and birds have no speech to communicate like us, but they have language of their won which is more of an understanding, sympathetic, and concerned. Those bulls with a rope tight around their neck made such a tragic site- swaying their heads as any car or truck or some bike rushed past them.

What, if instead of bulls, two men would have been tied the way same as those bulls were?  How myopic our vision is. We have so soon forgotten those days when a man used to pull the rickshaw cart in post independence era.

Bullock carts carrying cement, bricks, iron rods, with a man sitting with a whip in his hands, hitting the buffalo or the ox so harsh making it jump and run with speed. Is this what we call being human? Humans have become oblivion of what it is to be humane. We need sympathy, kindness, gratitude but we are too poor to endow same to the fellow living beings.

We have a hierarchy to living world where humans are allotted the top most level, but do we really deserve this. It’s shameful for us to behave so inhumanly with poor animals who have no human language to complain of the pain they endure in the name of service.

My recent visit to Vaishno Devi shocked me all the more. We are so religious and I believe almost every one of us wish to pay visit to Ma Vaishno Devi Darbar once in our life time. But, seems, people have made it a fashion too. Youngsters who are strong and healthy enough to carry  burden of small kids on their back themselves climb on the back of poor ponies to cover the distance of 12 kms high up in the mountains to reach Darbar. And, to my shock they justify it by saying, this is how we give employment to poor people (owners of pony) and help them in eking their life. Is this the only way to provide means of employment?

I am strictly against use of animals for travelling, fashion products, and in food.

To climb those high mountains leading to Vaishno Devi (J & K), people using horses/pony is a commonplace thing. It was so horrible to see men whipping ponies to climb faster on hills.

On the way back we (me & my husband, Deepak) found a pony injured and lying in the corner. We were approximately 10 kms above the land. I tried giving him water, but the poor soul was dying and nobody cared to stop and report the officials there. We somehow found the helpline number and called security to come to aid. To my husband’ call they replied, “Why are you bothering Sir, let it be. Somebody, later in night will throw it in nearby pit." And, the line got disconnected.

I was so shocked at the response we got. Why we humans are so barbarous. Don’t we have heart? We cry sitting in front of TV watching an emotional scene. Where this sense of feelings and emotions does goes when we inflict cruelty on poor creatures?

Warding off this issue saying, “It’s Kalyug, nothing can be done!” is just rubbish which we keep brewing in our mind.

I would like to appeal to Vaishno Devi Management Committee to please put stop to such cruelties. It is heinous to bully a living being just so as to meet our needs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

An Atlas of Impossible Longing-A Review!

It seems I’m pregnant since ages; carrying baby in my womb from times unknown.  Reading and writing has been stalled since third month of my pregnancy.  Forget about reading even picking a book seems such a tiresome activity to me. But, now from past few days, I am inclined towards my book shelf once again. Want to read some engrossing ones.

For a start I picked ‘An Atlas of Impossible Longingby Anuradha Roy. I read it, though it took almost 3 days to complete this novel but worth it. I bought a year back when I was still an unmarried careless girl who loved picking & buying books of all kinds on every outing.

Haa! Loved it! It’s an absorbing saga of a family, characters, land, and above all river where attachment and detachment both followed a painful music.

Retrospective look of the protagonist Mukunda leads us to a poignant tale of love, separation, breach of trust, and love of land. Beautifully woven is the archeological concept of digging earth and finding out the remains of past that’s deadened long time back. Similar is the life of characters of the novel, they keep shuttling in& out of each other’s memory strands, pulling and dragging their destinies together.

It’s the story of:

Mukunda is casteless, orphan, with no religion and so, is Bakul, motherless, nearly orphan, and the heiress of an ancestral mansion which is reclaimed by the river that flooded it almost.

Mrs. Barnum, an Anglo Indian widow of a British man, living with a blame of her husband’s murder on her head.  Her eccentricities, lemon sherbet, cakes, and sandwiches form the secluded but momentarily pleasant world of her, Bakul, and Mukunda. 

Kananbala- grandmother to Bakul, matriarch of 3 Dulganj Road, becomes a nasty swearing old woman who doesn't even realize the impact of words she is hurling at other people. Her friendship with Mrs. Barnum is one another oath of secrecy similar to that of Mukunda & Bakul

Nirmal Babu- is the younger son of Amulya and Kananbala, father to Bakul, and takes over the responsibility of rearing up orphan boy Mukunda after his father’s death who kept the boy in an orphanage on his expense.  Self-centered, absorbed in the meticulous details of ancient edifices and architecture, the stories behinds them- this is how he has been with his daughter as well. Left wreathed in pain of separation after his wife’s death he abandons the home, daughter who was his responsibility, and the society.  Life and home reclaims his presence back.

Eccentricity, abandonment, self-destruction, intensified silence, emotional drama with a feeling of detachment is all pervasive in the intricately woven narrative of this poignant novel.

I don’t know whether I did justice with the novel in reviewing it thus or not. But, I loved it. Read it & own it!