All Posts By

indrani robbins

Now Brewing

punggol peripatetics

punggol apparently means “hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring them down to the ground” in malay. it also may refer to a wholesale market for fruits and vegetables. i had never heard of this area in the northeast of singapore till one day someone spoke of the wonderful seafood you get out there. a couple of years later, i heard punggol mentioned in the prime minister’s national day speech, seemed it was going to be developed…

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Now Brewing

a meeting in mandai

mandai has such a pretty sound and it usually means the zoo to me. but we were not going to go there, we decided, we’d just start out at some point on mandai road and walk around upper seletar reservoir, singapore’s oldest freshwater lake (i don’t like the word catchment) and then follow the road, see where we land up. aj, my really understanding personal trainer to whom i can happily say i hate the word gym unless he means…

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Now Brewing

two walks in katong

once, the sea used to come right up to katong, and wealthy merchants and traders had their mansions along the coast. there are several big houses here still, but the sea has been pushed back, by almost a mile i think. i first came to katong – a suburb in the east – with a colleague, to buy cheap perfumes at katong shopping centre. everything changes in singapore, all the time, but happily, the shopping centre with its deep blue…

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Poetry

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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Reviews

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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sarees tell stories

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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Poetry

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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food

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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