Tuesday, 20 December 2016

In Search of Light

A couple of years after we got married, Anjali went to Pune to pursue a post-graduation course. She was there for one complete year. I had to stay alone at home. I experienced this for the first time in life. Be it hostel or home, I never stayed all alone. It was boring. Not only boring, but to be honest it was scary as well. I couldn’t sleep properly at night. That particular year I visited Pune quite a few times. Initially I travelled by Volvo bus. It took 15 hours, but the journey was comfortable. Then with “Air Deccan” the game changed entirely. I was able to reach Pune in less than couple of hours, that too at matching Bangalore-Pune Volvo Bus price. 

I stayed alone in Bangalore for almost a month. I visited my buddies on weekends, sometimes during weekdays as well. One day I came in contact with my college hostel buddies, Ram and Mriganka. They both recently moved to Bangalore and were searching for a place of shelter. I offered them our rented house. They agreed. They also shared the rent. I was happy to stay with my old buddies once again. Ram had always been as good as his name. He slept early, woke up very early, cleaned the house, took shower, finished with his Puja, prepared breakfast and tea, tried to wake us up before he left for office. On the other hand I and Mriganka maintained the same old hostel life style. But we both were chefs in the house.

It was 11:15 pm.  Ram was already dead in bed. I and Mriganka were watching TV. Mriganka had a cigarette with him. He went to the Kitchen to look for a matchbox. 
“Oh shit,” We both realized we already used the last piece of the matchstick just couple of hours back to cook dinner. The gas lighter was not in working condition. We scanned the entire kitchen but couldn’t find a matchstick. We then looked at the place where Ram used to do his Puja, but no luck. 

"The nearby shop must be closed by now," said Mriganka. 

"We can find some light in the main road. There’s a wine shop there. If we’re going that far we can bring a quarter as well," I suggested, and Mriganka instantly liked the idea. 

It was 11:30 pm. We didn’t bother to wake up Ram. We locked the main door from outside. We started to walk. None of us had any vehicle that time. We reached our destination. The place was about half a km from our house. The cigarette shop was closed. The wine shop was also half closed. The shutter was down, not completely though. There was still some room for desperate buyers to place their order. We tried our part. We also made special request for a matchbox. Suddenly, a police jeep stopped in front of the shop with a screeching sound, applying brakes. Immediately the shutter was completely down. Few policemen approached us. Without saying anything they took us inside the vehicle. I and Mriganka kept pleading our innocence. But it seemed the policemen didn’t have ears. There was a handcuffed person sitting together with us at the back of the jeep. 

"Where are they taking us?" I asked the buddy.

He made a weird expression. We could make out that the guy was least bothered with our situation. I and Mriganka were terribly tensed. It had already been 15 minutes. We had no idea where the police were taking us to. I thought of calling some of my friends, but didn’t. 

"Are we going to stay in prison?"

"What about going to office tomorrow morning?"

Several disturbing thoughts were swimming around my head.  Suddenly the jeep slowed down. A signboard grabbed my attention. "JP Nagar 2nd phase Police Station". The jeep stopped. I was pretty relaxed. We were actually at a walking distance from our house. 

"But why it took so long? Must be police patrolling," my mind talked to me.

The policemen took us at the reception. They spoke something in Kannada which we couldn’t make out anything. The person at the reception seemed to be gentleman. He offered us seats. It was 12:30 in the night. The merciless policemen who picked us up already left. We had a chat with the gentleman in charge. Few constables also joined. One of them was very young. It seemed he joined the force recently. All were friendly to us. We got to know from them that we had violated some IPC section, but I couldn’t recall which one. I do remember the fine amount though. We were asked to pay Rs 250 each. We tried to argue, asked explanation.

"I’m living in Bangalore for the last three years. It’s such a nice and cool city. This is for the first time I’m having such a bad experience," I actually tried to reduce the fine amount.

"Bangalore has changed sir. It’s for your own safety. You have no idea what all late night crimes happen on the streets of Bangalore. People cut the ears and take away earrings. They hit on the head, take all the belongings," the good policeman explained.

We didn’t have 500 cash with us. They said we can pay the amount the next morning, and asked us to go home.

"But how could we walk home now. It’s so late. And you only mentioned about the ongoing criminal activities. Please escort us to home. We can pay the money now itself."

The policemen smiled, but they dropped us home. We went upstairs, unlocked the main door. Ram was still totally dead, snoring. We looked for the money. All total we had 450. 

"You guys are staying in such a big house and you don’t have even 500 Rs to pay the Karnataka Government," one of the constable commented.

"Sir, the house only looks big from outside, inside it is very small. And then it’s just a rented house," we clarified.

They were about to go. 

"Sir, one small help. If you don’t mind could you please give us a matchstick?"

"Sorry we don’t smoke," was the answer.

"Hopeless policemen," I wondered.

I and Mriganka went inside. We both had a good laugh. We didn’t give up so easily yet. We again searched for one precious matchstick. It was 1:30 am. Finally we went to sleep. Lucky cigarette. It actually survived the entire night.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Tum Bin

Watching movies during our Engineering hostel days was fun. Those were the days when laptops we made only for the CEO kind of people, and mobile phone users felt proud to carry one. Quite rarely though, but when any handset started to ring in any public place, owners didn’t accept the call immediately. They would take the phone in hand, had a closer look at the B&W screen, still ringing. Only after nearby people got to know that the particular person is having a mobile phone, the call was answered.

Our college was located at the outskirts of Guwahati city, and our hostel was at the extreme end of the campus, surrounded by hills. There was a time when only a single computer was there in the entire hostel, and unfortunately it was in my room. Initially, we used to bring movie CD's on rent from some of the video parlors in the city. They charged heavily for 24 hours, and any delay in returning was again a pain in the ass. Almost everyone loved to watch movies, but there were only a few who usually took initiative to bring the CD's, counted how many guys watched the movie, calculated the share accordingly, collected the money from everyone, and returned the stuffs.

The following semester many more desktops arrived in the hostel, similarly in all the other hostels of our college. Soon, latest Bollywood/Hollywood movies, along with the other category of movies which were on high demand, were available in the campus itself. Watching movies became easier and cheaper. But there were also issues with those pirated CD's. Apart from the low picture quality, there was also a much bigger problem. While watching, all of a sudden the computer got hung. We tried many options, but most of the time a restart was the only solution. Sometimes in a single movie session we had to restart multiple times. Guys usually avoided CD's with scratches on it, but sometimes even handsome looking CD/DVD was also capable enough in hanging the computer. 

'Would you like to watch “Tum Bin” movie?  My friend Rajat asked.

'Tum Bin? Is it a new movie? Never heard of it,' I answered.

'It’s a latest one. I’ve heard it’s a very good movie. If you want I can bring it, we can watch on your computer,' Rajat suggested.

I was a bit confused. Even though Rajat watched many movies with us, but it was for the first time he was taking an initiative. I said, ‘okay, let’s inform our buddies, we will watch together.'

Unlike him, he was a bit reluctant to watch it together with other friends. 'Too much crowd also spoils the fun. Everyone keep talking, we cannot concentrate properly.'

'But then our individual contribution would be pretty high in that case.'

Rajat smiled, 'That’s okay. You need not pay. Anyway, we will watch on your PC only.'

My confusion started to create ripples of suspicion in my mind. "How come Rajat is so much interested in the movie. He’s willing to bring the CD and also want to pay for it, alone."

So, in the same afternoon Rajat brought the CD. We watched "Tum Bin" together, only two of us. Even my room-mate, Nair, wasn’t present, he was not in room that afternoon. 

'It’s an okay kind of movie, not that great. What’s so special about it that you were so much interested?' I asked out of suspicion. 

Rajat smiled. 'I don’t know, but some of my friends said it’s a very good movie.'

Later in the night, I shared the experience with Nair. Both Rajat and Nair were from Mechanical branch. After listening to my words, Nair couldn’t stop laughing. He then told me the real reason behind Rajat’s interest in "Tum Bin".

"Tum Bin movie starred Priyanshu Chatterjee. He’s the main hero in the movie. Priyanshu made his Bollywood debut with Tum Bin in 2001. Some guys from the Mechanical batch already watched the movie. They said the new actor looked very similar to Rajat. The entire classroom started to tease him, called him Priyanshu. Rajat was very happy, particularly when few girls also joined the party."

We then went to Rajat's room with few more guys, pulled his legs for the next two-three hours.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Asia's Cleanest Village

No, it’s not in China or Japan. Neither it’s in the Middle East nor in Indonesia or Philippines. It is in India. Asia's Cleanest Village is "Mawlynnong", located amidst of lush green forest of East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, a state in the North East part of India. It is a tiny village, 600-odd person, 100 percent literacy, well-known for its cleanliness and natural attraction. Mawlynnong was awarded the prestigious tag of 'Cleanest Village in Asia' in 2003 by Discover India Magazine.

Meghalaya in itself is very beautiful. All the villages in Meghalaya are quite clean as compared to other parts of India. But Mawlynnong is a completely different story altogether. This is for the first time I visited such a village, so well maintained, such clean road. I was very curious how the villagers manage such cleanliness. Because of this curiosity Mawlynnong attracts so many tourists. I was simply mesmerized with the surrounding, colorful tress, hanging fruits and vegetables. I had the sweetest pineapples there that are grown abundantly in this region. 

I observed that the cleanliness is deep-rooted in their culture. I noticed many villagers with brooms in hand, the children cleaning the streets, sweeping up dead leaves and garbage. The locals are so humble and well-mannered. Whenever a visitor dropped something on the ground, they wouldn’t say anything to the visitor directly. But they would pick it up and throw it in the rubbish bins. Well, the garbage bins are also so beautiful, hand-made with bamboo, cone-shaped baskets. The traditional bamboo waste baskets are scattered all over the village, on the streets, outside each and every house.

The houses are mostly traditional thatched hut. The villagers plan to keep it that way, they simply want to keep their traditions alive. I had a talk with few of the locals. There were many tourists, both Indian and foreigners. I got to know from the villagers that cleanliness has been a practice from the time of their forefathers. Right from the beginning the kids are taught in schools about the importance of cleanliness in living a good life. As soon as the kids reach Grade 1 or Grade 2 they are given the task of keeping the area around the house clean. I was highly impressed with the system.

Another satisfying thing in Mawlynnong was the food. We enjoyed such a delightful lunch out there. The chicken curry, rice, vegetables, everything was delicious. And yes, the chutneys were so refreshing. The little eatery place was also magnificently clean. My tummy was full, but not my heart. After lunch, we just lazed there for a while. There were smoking areas. I was over cautious to flick the ash out of my hand. We had tea in a small stall. I looked at the kettle while the tea boiled. It was actually shining, so clean. I had a chat with some tourists, a group who were on a road trip all the way from Maharashtra. They liked the village so much that they stayed there for 10 days. Even though there’s a guest house at Mawlynnong, but some families also offer home-stay facilities to the visitors who want to stay long. Such decisions are not taken individually though, but the entire village collectively decide on that.

It was time to experience the Living Root Bridges. We enjoyed a wonderful trek, about 1 or 2 km to a neighboring village, Riwai. We reached the spectacular natural bridge that makes a pathway across a stream, making it easy for villagers to commute. 

Living root bridges are unique to Meghalaya. There are many such bridges all around Cherrapunji. This is an age old method used by villagers to cross the numerous streams in the area. According to Wikipedia the local Khasi people do not know when or how the tradition of living root bridges started. The earliest written record of Cherrapunji's living root bridges is by Lieutenant H Yule, who expressed astonishment about them in the 1844 Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

Mawlynnong is a lovely experience, something to cherish forever.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 13 August 2016


Those days, watching movies was not less than any festival. I remember the Sunday evening movies aired on Doordarshan. After waiting for the entire week everyone just loved to watch the Sunday evening movie together along with friends and neighbors. On New Year’s Eve, during family and friend get-together, when lot of relatives used to visit home, and on few more similar gatherings people used to rent VCR and movie video cassettes. Even though after the introduction of cable TV things got changed, but the tradition of watching movies together like a festival continued for few more years. 

I remember "Titanic" movie was released during those days, in the late Nineties, the time when I passed out of school and was about to join Engineering college. Titanic was one of the biggest blockbuster till date. It's an epic romance-disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. The movie won hearts across the globe. Everything is so perfect about the movie, the emotions, romance, cinematography, special effects. It was the most expensive film made at that time. Titanic was nominated for, and won several Academy Awards, including the awards for Best Picture.

Most of my friends already watched Titanic by then, but I wanted to watch it on a bigger screen. Finally, I had the opportunity to experience the magic of James Cameron during a short Guwahati trip. Months later, I don’t exactly remember the occasion but our house was full with guests. Many relatives visited at the same time, cousins uncles, aunties, some elderly relatives as well. The situation was perfect for a movie festival. Some of us went to to rent VCR and movie cassettes. The majority, particularly my mother demanded to watch Titanic. It was a lovely afternoon. I remember an international cricket test match was going on between India vs West Indies. In between the movies, sometimes I paused for a while just to look at the score, and every time my mother and few other relatives shouted at me for the disturbance. 

So, we were watching Titanic. The TV room was completely packed, not enough space was left to accommodate another person. My father was also enjoying the movie. At a particular moment, when Kate requests Leonardo to sketch her picture, I was getting a bit uncomfortable. But I was quite grown-up then, I thought it wouldn’t be nice to step out of the room. I simply played a trick, I wanted to switch to the cricket match without pausing the movie for a while. Unlike other times, even after having a look at the score I didn’t switch back to the movie. The audience were getting impatient, and my mother turned furious.

"You don't let us watch even a single movie in peace," she screamed and then Kate Winslet reappeared on the TV screen, but this time without any clothing. Before my mother could realize she already returned to her seat. The room turned more silent as Kate and Leonardo got more closer. I tried to be cool as if nothing happened, tried to sustain the illusion that I was concentrating on the movie. With my third eye I wanted to have a look at everyone’s expression that moment. And then one elderly uncle suggested, "We can watch cricket for a while." But I remained a statue. Finally, after the painting session was over, everyone had a big sigh of relief.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Love Sex And Bollywood

I grew up in the Eighties-Nineties, watching Bollywood movies like every other kids.  In those days Love-Sex-Bollywood was quite an amusing combination. Romance has always been an integral part of Bollywood, and sex and romance is something that can’t remain in isolation for long. But there’s a problem. Bollywood firmly believed that a woman, particularly the heroine must be a virgin till she gets married.  The romance between hero-heroine usually happened during songs at beautiful locations in the midst of greenery, hills, surrounding a lake or in a heavenly garden with flowers all around. But just when people expect their lips to meet the camera turns either focusing some beautiful flowers or the top of trees, and sometimes also at beautiful pair of birds doing similar act which our hero-heroine were expected to do.

I’m not a big fan of romantic movies to be very honest, but I’ve watched quite a few of them, and noticed the changes over the last few decades. Rajesh Khanna is considered as the initial king of romance. Rajesh Khanna had given many blockbusters including movies like Aradhana(1969) and Amar Prem(1972). I think romance those days were highly dramatized, far from reality. To cover up the lack of substance the director tried to put more sentiments and emotions in movies. In the seventies, rape scenes were in fact depicted more elaborately. I have no idea why rapes scenes were so common those days. Might be the director simply followed the pattern. Heroine getting raped by goons and hero saves her.  Heroine falls in love with the hero, they both sing and dance. The particular pattern dominated Bollywood for a long time. 

One thing that I found really funny those days was the depiction of sex in the Bollywood movies. Things were just fine as far as romance was concerned, Bollywood elegantly took care by showing flowers and birds.  But there are stories where sex is inevitable. There are stories based on premarital/extramarital sex, and portraying those on screen was a challenge. Hero-heroines those days were ideal, they couldn’t do anything wrong. Particularly our heroines, who were very cultured, always wore traditional cloths, could never indulge in such activities. But there are stories, serious and emotional scripts and presenting the same to the audience was always a challenge. Things turn extremely difficult when Bollywood had to portray love making in the ultimate form, the act that was capable enough to produce babies. Well, illegitimate child was required to give an emotional angle to the story. But then Bollywood wasn’t prepared enough to depict our hero-heroines involving in such illegitimate acts. Now, there came the innovation. There were many tricks that Bollywood adopted to tackle such sensitive situations. I remember one such movie and the concept applied puzzled me for quite sometime.

There’s a classic movie named ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’, staring  Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore.  On a holiday to Simla, Sharmila Tagore meets Shashi Kapoor, an amateur skater. He immediately starts to tease her, flirt with her. It seems Sharmila Tagore is a medical student. Taking advantage of the situation she and her friends make Shashi Kapoor to volunteer for a medical experiment the next day.

Shashi Kapoor lay on ice, shivering with only one piece towel on his body. A senior doctor is giving a live demonstration, and some pretty looking doctors in their uniform are attentively listening to him. 

"Today's experiment is about freezing cold vs human body. If the patient is suffering from freezing cold and no medicine is available, then we can apply body head. Take the patient in your arm and transfer your body heat to the patient. This is the ultimate treatment by which patient can be saved without any medicine."  the doctor explained.

In their next encounter, Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore sing and dance together in the Shimla snow. Suddenly she falls, rolls down the mountain and falls into a stream. Shashi Kapoor saves her, and takes her to a nearby place of shelter. Sharmila shivering, freezing, senseless, high fever. Without any medicine Shashi Kapoor seems to be quite helpless. He’s desperate to save her life. But how? He remembers the body heat experiment. He starts to undress her, but without looking at her. He feels very guilty doing the act, but he needs to save her. He only plays the role of a doctor. 

Next scene, early morning. Shashi Kapoor says sorry to Sharmila Tagore for whatever happened. She understands the situation, falls in love and they both agree to marry each other.  The amazing part is, soon Sharmila Tagore becomes pregnant. I found the concept very innovative. Without any controversy, without getting  involved in any kind of sexual activity, the idea successfully able to produce an illegitimate child, which is the central point of the story.

During our schooldays Bollywood released two moves that changed the idea of romance as far as Bollywood is concerned. First "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" was released (1988), followed by "Maine Pyar Kiya" (1989). Both the movies successfully created a pattern in Bollywood that continued for more than a decade. Hero-heroine fall in love,  but both the families are enemies to each other. Lovers elope, struggles to make a living, but they are very happy. Even though Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is a good movie as a whole, but somehow the romance is very dramatized. Well, I’m a big fan of realistic movies, be it romance or in general. 

Then came the era of SRK. Movies like "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge"(1995) and "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" (1998) again changed the idea of romance. This time it is more of friendship and fun oriented. The art of cinema making had changed over the years along with the changing technology. One good thing is, rape scene in Bollywood movies had drastically reduced in the nineties, and by now it has almost become extinct. The societal mindset has changed now, particularly in the cities. Pre-marital sex is not considered evil these days. Couples openly engage into casual or a live-in relationship. With changing mindset, Bollywood’s depiction of romance has also changed. But right from the seventies till now, one thing remained the same in Bollywood, romantic movies can’t be a blockbuster with good music and dance. Directors still give much importance to songs and dance rather than the content. Depiction of romance still remains unrealistic. 

But in recent times there are some out of the box movies in the romance genre which I really liked. One such movie is “Inkaar” (2013). The movie revolves around the corporate world. Somehow I felt the depiction of love was kind of realistic. Then there’s “The Lunchbox”. My goodness, what an outstanding movie. Nice to see Bollywood maturing enough to make such realistic movie in the genre of romance. 

Well, as far as sex is concerned Bollywood matured from the seventies. Even though it cannot reach far enough like Hollywood in the depiction of love making, particularly for General Category movies, but still Bollywood has changed over the years. Kissing scenes have become pretty common, they openly talk about sex and condoms in the movies. Homosexuality is also being talked openly in Bollywood these days. Recently I’ve watched “Aligarh”, totally out of the box movie. It stars Manoj Bajpai and Rajkummar Rao in the lead roles. The movie is based on true events. Aligarh has broken the stereotype by depicting homosexuality so realistically, without being vulgar. One more movie which had broken the stereotype of depicting sex is ‘Vicky Donor’. Even though it’s a commercial movie but it was bold enough. The movie is about a fertility clinic, a sperm bank and a healthy sperm donor. The good thing about the movie is that it has depicted such a sensitive issue which people usually find embarrassing, in such a elegant and artistic way with good sense of humor. 

Recently the article got published in Uruli 2nd edition, in its Perspective section. Uruli is a biannual multilingual magazine published by Assam Association Bangalore. Actually, it is the uncut version, in the magazine some parts got eliminated by the editor.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Yummy Spicy Quick Oil-Less Chicken Recipe

More than the age factor it's the finance that  influences people to follow healthy diet. There are people in the age group of, say 25-30, who are very cautious of eating healthy food, whereas there are also people  above 50 years who are not at all concerned about cholesterol, overweight, and similar stuffs. The only thing they are concerned about food is the taste. Well, they have many other things to worry, and health is the least priority. 

Some  health conscious people believe that eating meat, that too occasionally, let’s say once a week is not that harmful. It actually depends how we consume the flesh. Deep fried stuffs are obviously not the preferred ones by such community. Actually, too much oil is not considered healthy. People try out many recipes where they use less oil. But it is widely believed that preparing chicken or other meat with less oil can not taste good. Well, I know a style of cooking where we can make yummy chicken without using a single drop of oil. Actually, the approach is perfect for preparing pork, but it’s a delight with chicken as well. Also, the porky affair is kind of controversial, better to stick to chicken.

Chef : Jahid Akhtar

Recipe Servings : 4
Recipe Cook Time : 10-15 minutes

1/2 kg chicken
1 large onion
2 big potatoes
2 tomatoes
Some Garlic
Few pieces of Ginger
Chopped green chilies
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander for garnish

Prepare Ginger-Garlic-Green Chili paste.  
Peel the ginger and garlic. Add them to grinder or blender together with the chopped green chilies. Grind it into a paste. When grinding process is almost done add water to it. 

Put few pieces of chicken in a small pressure cooker and let it be there for a couple of minutes in very low heat. The chicken pieces are capable enough to produce some kind of oil by itself. Put the chopped onions and saute it till it turns slightly golden brown. Then put the chopped tomatoes and mix it well. Put the remaining chicken and potato pieces. Lets the stuffs burn in lower heat. Add salt to it, and not other spices. I prefer a small amount of cumin powder though. Mix it well. The recipe would already produce a thick gravy by now. Let it burn for a couple of more minutes in low heat. Once it becomes really dry, put the ginger-garlic-chili paste water in it. Mix it well. Close the pressure cooker lid. After 3 or 4 whistles, turn the gas off. Wait for sometime till the pressure cooker settles by itself. Open the lead and put chopped coriander for garnish. It’s done. Yummy, hot and spicy, oil-less thick chicken gravy is ready to serve. It is just heavenly with rice. Don’t feel embarrassed if you overeat extra amount of rice with this extremely appetizing recipe.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Revisiting Those Childhood Sundays

Unlike these days, Sundays in the early Nineties  were kind of different. It was fun day for us, we played lot of cricket at the nearby playground. Sundays were comparatively relaxing for my mother. The other days must had been tough for her as far as mornings were concerned, breakfast, lunch boxes for three kids and also for my father. On Sundays it was my father who used to wake up first in the house. He never missed Rangoli, an Indian music television series aired on DD National every Sunday morning.  The Bollywood songs played during Rangoli those days had a typical pattern. It usually started with a classic song from a Black & White movie.  My father was crazy for such songs and sometimes even loved to repeat the words after the singer, usually when there’s no one around. Every Rangoli episode included couple of Kishore Kumar melodies, and the program usually ended with a latest Bollywood super hit song. Well, I always tried not to miss the last one.

After Rangoli we had a few minutes of privacy for breakfast. Soon, our TV room started to get filled one by one, mostly by strangers and some known faces. This was the kind of situation which people who grew up in the early Nineties in small towns might have experienced. TV was still considered a luxury those days. Those were Pre Cable TV days and Doordarshan (DD) dominated the way people were entertained. Everyone just eagerly waited to watch Mahabharat  which was aired in the Sunday morning time slot. Mahabharat  is considered to be one of the longest work of its kind in the world. The epic contain about 110,000 couplets in eighteen sections. There is also a 19th section named Harivamsha. The Bhagavadgita, a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, is a part of the Mahabharata. It’s a very interesting mythological story with lot of action and thrill. Each episode ran for approximately 45 minutes and began with a title song that consisted of lyrical content and two verses from the Bhagavad Gita. The title song was sung by singer Mahendra Kapoor. The title song was followed by a narration by Indian voice artist Harish Bhimani of a personification of Time, detailing the current circumstances and highlighting the spiritual significance of the content of the episode.

As soon as Mahabharat ended we rushed to the playground. Within minutes everyone would be on the ground. We played cricket for the next three to four hours, and then returned home. After bath we used to enjoy the Sunday special sumptuous meal, and  immediately after lunch I would enter the TV room. I could remember few glimpses of the 'News for Hearing Impaired' on TV.  Immediately after the News they would telecast a regional movie with English subtitles.  I remember watching regional movies, particularly Assamese,  Bengali, Oriya, Punjabi on Sunday afternoons. Some of those were award-winning movies.  But after watching for an hour we again used to go to the playground and played cricket for another couple of hours.

When we returned home in the early hours of evening we would watch the last part of ‘The World of Sport’. It was a sports program that was aired every Sunday afternoon anchored by the legends like Anupam Gulati and Dr Narottam Puri. I had very little time to get fresh, followed by evening snacks. I had to finish my food in a hurry as I could hear the title song of ‘Vikram Aur Betaal’. It was the serial I never missed. The series contained stories from Indian mythology which were presented in an entertaining way. The concept of the program was based on Baital Pachisi, a collection of tales about the legendary King Vikramāditya and the Vaitaala, a ghost.

After ‘Vikram Aur Betaal’, just like morning once again our TV room got occupied by strangers and known faces. Everyone just waited for the Sunday evening movie. DD used to broadcast only one movie per week. Usually they used to telecast old movies but on some occasions they showed recent ones as well. Sunday evenings were like festival, celebration time, and friends and neighbors used to participate together. But as far as I remember there were very few Sunday movies which we watched from start to end. Every time the power would go off and we all went out for a gossip session. As soon as the power came back everyone rushed to the TV room once again. 

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Monday, 29 February 2016

What an Amazing Click

I was born in Bongaigaon, grew up and lived my entire childhood there. Bongaigaon is situated at a distance of 200 km west from Guwahati. It is an important place as the New Bongaigaon railway station is a major junction connecting the north east with the rest of India. The town is also well known for the Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited(BRPL), which is the eighth largest refinery of Indian Oil. Like rest of Assam Bongaigaon aso, particularly the town suburbs is refreshingly green, surrounded by hills, rivers and streams. The town is also blessed with beautiful tea gardens at the outskirts. Our neighboring country Bhutan is pretty close to Bongaigaon. Every day, plenty of local buses run from Bongaigaon to Gelephu, a town in Bhutan. The places in and around Gekephu are very exotic and are favorite picnic destinations. It's also famous for oranges, and there are orange plantations all over. 

Few days back, when I came across the below photograph I was totally amazed. Such an incredible location, such an amazing click. The picture is taken by Joy Deep at Oudubi village of Bongaigaon district. Joy had to climb a tall tree to capture the outstanding view at a spot where river Champa meets the mighty Brahmaputra.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Cofie Me

Over the last few years the world has gone crazy both with the perception as well as implementing the ‘Selfie’ idea. Based on the tremendous popularity it had won, Oxford Dictionary declared ‘selfie’ their word of the year for 2013. Their definition of selfie is, 'A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.’  So, social media plays a major role here. Even if someone clicks his/her own picture many times, they aren't officially selfie until and unless they are posted in social media. The term is a bit confusing though, as selfie is not just a photograph that one has taken of oneself. The term is used collectively as well, like ‘group selfie with colleagues/friends, selfie with daughter, or selfie with parents.’ So, the scope of selfie is actually much broader, any kind of photograph where the culprit who dared to click the camera is also featured in it.

Apart from the usual ways of taking selfies, with smiling face covering well known monuments/buildings or institutes or with amazing Mother Nature, these days people also come up with many dare-devil, innovative and out-of-the-box ideas and take breath-taking selfies with wild animals, at higher altitudes or at challenging geographical locations. Together with the growing popularity of the selfie culture, many are also not very comfortable with it. As an example, The American Psychiatric Association has officially confirmed taking 'selfies' is a mental disorder. But that’s okay, such theories shouldn’t dishearten the regular Selfie-Folks. After all, aren’t everyone a little bit psycho in his or her own way?

" So, your Mamma received the beautiful gift you sent on her 60th Birthday. She looks real pretty in her new dress. You want to take a selfie with her, but she is thousand mils away.  

You missed your best friend’s wedding. The couple looking beautiful in their wedding costumes. You simply wish to be there to feel the moment, take a selfie with the wonderful couple. 

Your childhood buddies are having fun in Bangkok. They are taking group pictures and uploading frequently on social media. Oh! Dear, you must be wondering how lovely it would be if you are also with your friends, taking selfies together. 

So, you are a big fan of Katrina Kaif, you are already added in her fan list. How about taking a selfie with her? "

Well, it's no longer a dream. Such imaginations have actually turned into reality. Now, no distance, no barrier, no boundary, literally nothing can stop you from clicking selfies with your near and dear ones, with your favorite celebrities, with your fans. Actually it's not selfie, it is Cofie. Confused?

Recently, I came across this interesting App, it’s called Cofie. This App this is going to give a completely new dimension to the selfie thing, and will take it to the next level. You can take selfies with anyone, anywhere in the world.

Website : www.cofie.me

Recently I took a cofie with my dear old friend Ravi Pratap Singh. He is one of the initial core Cofie team members.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Hindu - Pursuit of Happiness

Chris Gardner makes a living by selling some kind of medical scanner machine to doctors. The going it tough, somehow Chris manages the rent and groceries. He also has a kid to take care of. The kid child is simply amazing. The bonding among father and son is wonderfully presented in the movie. Gradually things get difficult, they struggle for survival. Later Chris joins a six months internship program without pay, in an investment firm. Initially he's in a double mind, to join or not to join? Chris was good with Maths in his schooldays. He likes solving the Rubik's cube, and gains a mastery in it. He attends his first day of internship in a very casual manner, without wearing a proper shirt. Day by day he stats working hard.

On the last day of his internship Chris is called into the same room he had his interview in. He faces the same guys he did then, when he was in his homely clothing covered in paint. Someone asks why he dressed so properly and formal, today?

Chris smiles and says "I decided to wear a shirt today since it's the last day and all."

One of the guys smiles at him and tells to wear a shirt tomorrow to, since they would love to see him like that on the first day of his job.

I've watched "The Pursuit of Happiness" many times, such an inspiring movie. On the last day thing, my thinking is pretty similar like Chris, typical "All's Well That Ends Well" kind of mindset. 31st Dec 2015, being the last day of the year I wanted it to be perfect. I went to office in time, everyone seemed to be in party mood. Also, the last day was something special. The Hindu Newspaper, New Delhi edition, published about my debut fiction novel 'Story of Tublu'.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Friday, 1 January 2016

The Arrival

Recently our little princess, Jia turned four. I frequently write about her on Facebook, usually some funny incidents. I love to post her pictures. It's simply amazing getting older with her. Last night I created a little space of her on this blog. Now, I will also be posting about her here as well. You can read more by clicking the link 'Jia' at the top. I think once Jia grows up she would love to read about her in the internet.

The night of 11 December 2011 was different. After dinner my wife Anjali did a little bit of packing. I felt like we were going for some outing. I also had a week off starting from the next day. Anjali and my mother were standing outside the main door. I was just going around the house, double checked the lights/fans/windows and also the taps, ensuring that they are off and not running. I then locked the door and we walked down the stairs together. We got into the car. I turned the key in the ignition and drove off.

Soon we arrived at a familiar place. It was the Apollo Hospital. Anjali used to work there for the last couple of years. I also had been visiting the place for the last several months. Anjali knew almost every employee out there, the doctors, nurses, admin and the operation guys. We went to a room which was booked for us. One senior lady doctor visited us. She had a charming smile on her face. She told us that they would take Anjali inside the operation theater at 2 in the night. It seemed the doctors were going to inject her some medicines to induce pain, as according to them the expected due date has already passed three days. The pain inducing thought gave me goose bumps of fear. In the meanwhile Anjali took me to their security department. She arranged for an employee parking sticker.

Once they took Anjali inside, it was full tension for the next 6-7 hours. And then in the morning the doctor called me in. They said I can watch it live. It was frightening to see blood and all. But it was also wonderful at the same time to witness our little angel,  experience her entrance into the world, live. A little later, the doctor asked me to hold her. She was so tiny and beautiful. I was speechless. I was simply looking at her. Such happiness cannot be expressed in words. I then looked at my wife. She seemed to be fine, happy and smiling.

                        Wish You All a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

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