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Espresso Shots

the red oxide floor

it looked like it was going to rain. flashes of lightning lit up the frosted window pane every now and then. the quiet but ominous rumbling of thunder could be heard, approaching. deepa typed away, her mind suffused with a world she had been trying to find words for the entire day. her fingers moved swiftly over the keypad, then halted as the letters began to form a word. no, it wasn’t right, it didn’t say what she was trying…

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road not taken

Choki Dhani – A Rajasthani place, closer home

Recently, we visited a place called Choki Dhani, situated on the outskirts of Chennai. It was an unforgettable experience. Choki Dhani, meaning ‘Excellent Village’, is a unique concept of dining and having fun, completely in Rajasthani flavour. Basically starting out as a Rajasthani cuisine eatery, it expanded to creating a complete village fair filled with rides, dances, snacks, acrobatics, puppet shows and even palm readers. This themed village fair can be found near several towns in the country. As we…

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Arshi OS/SS : Short and sweet Now Brewing

To Verse or Not to Verse – An Arshi OS

Arnav dialed Khushi’s number for the umpteenth time and yet again Khushi disconnected after a few rings. “What the … ” exclaimed Arnav and threw the phone on his bed. He was getting more angry and restless every time Khushi cut his call. “What’s the matter, Nannav?”, the voice of NK accompanied by sound of crunching potato chips fuelled Arnav’s irritation further. NK walked into Arnav’s room munching chips, just as Arnav was throwing the phone on the bed. “Tum…

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Espresso Shots

five feet of the snake

  “unpalatable to the lord of death! first among the monkeys!! you’ve seen five feet of the snake?? burnt face, extract of low stock!!” jomer oroochi! bandorer ogrogonno!! shaaper paanch pa dekhecho?? mukh pora, bodjaat!! the swear words flew fast, interrupted only by indignant breaths, equally rapid. the frail old lady’s voice got more stentorian with each word, the affront in it resounding. “return them this moment! return them now, i say!” she bellowed, her small frame shaking, her chest…

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road to singapore

punggol peripatetics

one of our early road to singapore walks, in march 2015. wrote this soon after the walk. 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…

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road to singapore

a meeting in mandai

this was one of our earliest road to singapore walks, the second or third, back in 2015. i wrote this at the time. 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…

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road to singapore

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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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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food

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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