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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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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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indi

a sliver of sky

the sky is always there, beyond my computer. some instinct of mine, first thing in the morning straight after i wake up and make my way to the day, i come here to my corner and lift the latch of the window, push the frosted glass pane slightly, it swings back. and the sky is there. a narrow triangle of it, lacework of leaves and branches across, but still. along with the sounds of cars from the road and flyover…

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indi

sunday at the keyboard

i haven’t walked on grass in years. why do my toes wiggle and crush up as i type this? as though anticipating something delightful? memory of dew-wet bright green blades between my toes; something pokes, a bed of green and earth yields, my foot sinks into its springy comfort; and lets go, lifts up. the next step. but before that, a rush of breeze on the wet sole of my foot where a few strands of grass and little specks…

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indi

don’t drag me down to your controversy

don’t drag me down to your controversy lift your eyes toward the sky within you from here, stand by me and sense your dream your paradise, your most exalted soul what’s beauty if it won’t even take you there   do you see the evening light on the ripples? there, before you beyond the fastidiously carved quiet balustrade of noontime sun white i know, its brightness is somewhat dimmed, tinged with ochre and time, and conversations   with the river…

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indi

taj snapshot

  i must have been four when i saw the taj mahal. been back many times since then. i love the gardens, the fountains, the humongous entrance, the grace, the people looking expectant, taking funny pictures, the sange marmar… the white marble; finding out mumtaz mahal and shah jahan wasn’t exactly a fairytale romance didn’t spoil the fun (c’mon, he threw pearl necklaces at her in the meena bazaar, didn’t he… and if he didn’t, too bad for him). the…

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Festive Specials indi

yes, deep fried, of course.

it’s not possible to think of history while thinking of chops. especially mutton chops. and yet, i tried. one may not think that’s an achievement… and this would only be because one hadn’t had a mutton chop, the way bengalis make it. chop, to a bengali, is not a cut of meat. it’s a beatific smile inducing joyful experience that involves getting lost in another world while recalling exactly how mother or grandmother or boro ma or younger kakima, or…

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indi

the parrot green umbrella

i won’t start singing but hoisting that umbrella over my head and dashing out onto the glittering rain lashed zebra crossing i did feel like mary poppins the other day. remember ms poppins? she who sits on a cloud and pulls lamp stands out of her carpetbag? and sings a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine…? and flies off with you to who knows where? whenever i think umbrella, i see her sitting on a cloud, powdering her nose, then…

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indi

remember the code?

this morning, twitter took me to an article in the washington post, which in turn hauled me straight back to school. 1976… or was it ’77? grade ten or eleven. we all had to do a national cadet corps (ncc) certificate course. tt was compulsory. that’s when we heard “dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit” for the first time. our instructor was teaching us morse code. the dit was a short sound, the dah a long one,…

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