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indrani robbins

Now Brewing

i am grateful for the silence in the night

  i am grateful for the silence in the night as a i sleep there are no gunshots from near or far, intermittent, startling, i walk on the streets, the sky is blue above, a helicopter’s whir i feel no fear, no thought of chemical weapons, no not one, no none my child goes to school, sometimes i forget how not everyday is that   the child soldier, the child kidnapped and raped, the child running down the street naked…

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Now Brewing

mother of 1084

her son is dead, she is alive. the endless agony of this careens through an entire day: morning, afternoon, late afternoon, evening. now keening, now wretched, now rending, always there, almost a central player. on a day like none other, a day perhaps of reckoning. hajar churashir ma, the mother of 1084, mahasweta devi’s stunning indictment ultimately of a whole way of life even as she grieves with sujata, the protagonist, and senses, elicits, and enunciates her every thought and…

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Now Brewing

a lament for a saree

it’s a favourite saree of mine, and now it’s fraying. a strange kind of pain at this weakening of closely entwined threads, at this clear signal of mortality, at passing. it’s a saree from orissa, now the spelling has been changed to odisha; we spend a lot of time changing spellings for some reason. my mother and i bought it, around thirty five years ago, from one of the saree shops along triangular park in kolkata (we changed that spelling…

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Espresso Shots

revolution

the tiny dark man in spotless white dhoti and panjabi – in bengal the kurta has been called that for a very long time – had just reached the palm tree at the end of the unpaved gravel strewn path leading up to the house. rimi peered out of the window, her eyes getting brighter with each step the man took, as she unconsciously closed the book lying on the desk. she’d study later. now, it was time for bismil…

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indi

sand through my fingers

the desert has romance in it you can feel it in the silence catch in in your hands and watch it dance on the edge of the sunset where the dune meets the sky   the sand won’t be caught though it will fly through your fingers as you keep on trying for you don’t know better the sand will fly for i didn’t know better and the sand will soothe and the sand will play and in its happy…

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indi

the baghdadi jewish dish that was created in mumbai and kolkata

the taste was sour and sweet, a smooth, compelling aroma filled my mouth and nose, the texture was silky, a depth in it. i’d never tasted a chicken dish like this before. i’d never tasted anything like this before. the first time i had chicken chitannee, i certainly didn’t think of aurangzeb, or the british, or dawud pasha, the last mamluk ruler of baghdad. the dense gravy, mixed with fluffy white gobindobhog rice wouldn’t brook any thinking. the tender yet…

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Rambles, Rhymes and Tales

wednesday doodles

i’m zooming through space. social media space. social, that’s what it’s being referred to as these days i think. i’m rushing about on two separate machines, my desktop and my handphone. there’s no time to breathe or pause as i flit from facebook to twitter to instagram to my forum, my blog, you know how it is. they keep saying older people stay away from such things. why don’t i listen to them? i am old people; i’ve seen thirty…

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indi

if winter comes, can motorer kochuri be far behind

food is so much about memory, isn’t it? i can’t even hear the words “motorer kochuri” without thinking of my mother. my mother was not a great cook, in fact she was never too keen to visit the kitchen. she had, however, the most discerning sense of taste and understanding of the various stages of cooking. she was particular about the spices and condiments she believed a dish called for. the balance of ingredients was important, getting the right inflection…

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Rambles, Rhymes and Tales

i want to pack up the night and

i want to pack up the night and take it with me… wrapped in its folds are stars and stories from afar afar and farther away, even farther than that, where where something of me lives, i’ve known of it long known? no, perhaps not that. knowing is so reduced lit with shining bright light, harsh and stentorian insistent, unrelenting, blinded by its own glory there’s the night, dark and darker still, calling me to those stars, those stories, and…

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Mythology and More

why the hanukkah story reminds me of madhusudan’s magic pot

actually, there’s no magic involved. both are stories of faith. perhaps the sort of faith that brings miracle. i heard one when i was a child, the other after i got married. as my husband, who is jewish, finished telling me why eight oil lamps are lit on hanukkah, i thought of a tiny pot of yogurt and the tale of madhusudan’s bhar. “bhar” means earthenware pot in bengali, and the sound of “r” at the end is more like…

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