The Chronicles of Miss Shola

The blog's epitaph: Miss Shola came and went as she pleased

Archive for March 2011

Strange ways

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Written by Miss Shola

March 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Shots

Dahiwale Alu

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 Lifted right out of Mom’s kitchen, almost dum-alu but simpler to make and possibly tastier.

Ingredients (for 4 persons) 

  • 12 nos. small potatoes (boiled, peeled and refrigerated overnight)
  • 1 tsp. pepper and salt for the potatoes
  • 1 cup of curd (not very sour)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp. of oil (excludes oil used for frying potatoes)
  • Pinch of hing (asafoetida)*
  • 1 tsp. jeera (cumin) powder*
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste*
  • 1 tsp. whole wheat flour*
  • 2 tsps. coriander powder*
  • 2 tsps. red chilly powder*
  • 2 green chillies (cut long and split in the center)*
  • 1 tsp. salt*
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped coriander leaves

Procedure

Cut each potato into two pieces. Pierce each piece lightly with a knife, rub salt and pepper over them and shallow fry.

Collect all the dry ingredients (marked with asterix above) in one bowl. Heat the oil and put all the dry ingredients into it. Let it cook for 20 seconds on low flame and then quickly add the curd and water and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps. Put the potatoes into the gravy so formed and garnish with coriander leaves. Better to let it stay for half an hour before serving so that the potatoes can absorb the juices (adjust water content later if you wish).

Written by Miss Shola

March 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Chow

Degas’ L’Absinthe

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Edgar Degas (1834 –1917) was a French artist regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. He is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and depiction of human isolation.

In the painting, L’Absinthe, the man and woman are both seated in a French café; the man looks right off the canvas while the woman stares vacantly downward. A glass filled with the eponymous greenish liquid sits before her. The painting is a representation of the increasing social isolation in Paris during its stage of rapid growth.

Written by Miss Shola

March 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Art

100 Posts. 1 Story.

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Once upon a time there was a little girl,

Quiet as can be she lived in her own quaint world.

 

She loved the company of her tubby doll and bear,

And played with them till they went threadbare.

 

But most of all she loved her red telephone,

That she would wind and wind till it let off a drone.

 

And then as if a lady, she would pick up the receiver,

And say with a flourish “Miss Shola here”.

 

It never occurred why she gave herself that name,

But it seemed natural and made her feel like a dame.

 

A lot has changed if we look back,

For one, Miss Shola now goes yak-yak-yak!

 

Written by Miss Shola

March 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

Posted in Poetry

Gulzar’s ‘Yaar Julahe’

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मुझको भी तरकीब सिखा यार जुलाहे

अकसर तुझको देखा है कि ताना बुनते
जब कोइ तागा टुट गया या खत्म हुआ
फिर से बांध के
और सिरा कोई जोड़ के उसमे
आगे बुनने लगते हो
तेरे इस ताने में लेकिन
इक भी गांठ गिराह बुन्तर की
देख नहीं सकता कोई

मैनें तो ईक बार बुना था एक ही रिश्ता
लेकिन उसकी सारी गिराहे
साफ नजर आती हैं मेरे यार जुलाहे

~ Sampooran Singh Kalra better known by his pen name Gulzar was born in Dina, Jhelum District (now in Pakistan). Before becoming an established writer, he worked as a car mechanic in a garage. Gulzar’s poetry is published in 2 compilations, namely, ‘Raat Pashmine Ki’ and ‘Pukhraaj’. His short stories are published in a book named ‘Raavi-Paar’. He is also an acclaimed lyricist and started his career with the song ‘Mora gora ang layle’, picturised on Nutan in the movie Bandini (1963) with the music director Sachin Dev Burman.

Written by Miss Shola

March 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

Posted in Poetry

The homemaker

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And this is what I wrote now…

Jassi Kaur put her socked feet into her red and white Reebok shoes and took a quick breath before diving down to tie the shoelaces. Putting on her shoes always required the most effort in the entire process of going for an evening walk. She always felt like a clumsy fat woman while doing it; only until she had collected herself, straightened her crisply ironed salwar suit and put her dupatta around her neck (tying up the corners in a knot so it stays in place) did she feel like a woman on a mission. The doctor had ordered a strict one hour of brisk walking for his diabetic patient, who would begin to huff and puff after climbing down from her first floor apartment. She had argued that an hour was a lot for a beginner and making time for it in her busy schedule would be difficult, but the doctor silenced her by making her stand on the weighing machine – 82.5 kgs. it read! Almost 30 kgs more than she had last weighed herself on parjaiji’s new imported weighing machine the summer before her wedding.

The doctor’s visit was a good six months ago; the tune Jassi sang now was quite different and melodious to her own ears. The one hour was hers and nobody could stop her from claiming what she rightfully and physically deserved. Not Mummyji, her octogenarian mother-in-law, Sweeny, her pubescent daughter and not even Sardar Dilip Singh, her lawfully wedded husband. She didn’t allow them to accompany her, nor did she fall into the trap of tagging along with the other unfit women in the building for their leisurely strolls that were mere alibis to exchange colony gossip. The one hour of walking every day, except Sundays, was the ‘me-time’ she had read about in newspapers, when she let herself and her mind wander to places that she had not gone to in the 17 years of her busy married life.

What she liked best about her routine were the impulsive alterations she made to it. Some days she walked in the local park for 20 mins and then sat on the wooden bench for the rest of the time, observing little girls in frocks in the play-area alongside. She recalled her own days of being the pig-tailed little Jaswinder playing outside her house in the village with her little brothers and sisters. She was the oldest and dominated the rest of the kiddy gang ordering what to play and when until daiji called them all in for a glass of freshly churned lassi. At such reminiscent times she longed for the smell of her village; she missed it the most of all and couldn’t find it in the kaali dal she had learnt from her mother nor the sarson ka saag she ate at Mini Punjab, the authentic restaurant that Dilip Singh liked, and not even in the kana prasad in the gurudwara.

She walked it down to the gurudwara too on some days, and spent her hour listening to the soulful strains of the evening kirtan. These were days when her mind was at unrest, possibly after an argument with Sweeny on her wayward habits (she suspected that Sweeny was seeing the vile Maharastrian boy in the next building) or with Dilip Singh when he slipped in quickly that he wouldn’t be able to give her enough money to run the household that month, due to inadequate sales in his once thriving automobile business.

And then there were days when she wanted to treat herself to a pani-puri or a bhelpuri from the thelewala under the tree on her way back (she avoided the bigger one outside the Quality’s grocery store on purpose, because it attracted several women and children from her colony). The reason for celebration would be different each time; some big, some small. Last time around it was because she had lost one kg that month, and the time before that it was a pat-on-the-back for successfully retaining her bai – she  had tempted her with an old crockery set when she was bickering too much for an increment.

Once she was courageous enough take a rickshaw to the beach, when Sweeny and Dilip were both expected to come in late from college and office respectively. The beach was a good twenty minutes away from home but she had felt like hearing the sound of the waves since morning. Though she managed to do what she had set out to, she had not anticipated a traffic jam on the way home which delayed her by over half an hour. That was the day it was decided to hand her Sweeny’s old mobile phone. A prepaid number was applied for and in a matter of days from that fated visit to the beach, despite strong protests, she was made to carry a small sling bag across her shoulder housing a device that made her accountable for her one hour of self-gratification. Ofcourse she decided never to answer it even if it was embarrassingly loud, but also ensured she didn’t stray and got back home at the expected time.

A couple of times she had also walked down 2 kms into the bazaar. Never did she buy anything for herself or for the house (Mummyji kept a tab on what came into the house and what went out to this day); she just admired the colours of the fresh fruits and vegetables spread out on the footpath and the patterns of the fabrics hung outside the garment shops, all amalgamating into a happy vibrant atmosphere piqued by the incoherent sounds of the traffic snarls, crowds of people and shouts of vendors. Somehow the mayhem gave her peace of mind and a sense of joy and belonging.

She also tried various combinations – so it would be sitting on the gurudwara bench for half an hour and then peeking into a children’s dance class for ten minutes on the way back, or a walk through the bazaar with a nariyal pani thrown in, and when she was guilty enough she simply walked in the park. Whatever be the route, she trudged back home every evening with a light mind and feeling of contentment. The one hour of supposed brisk walking gave her strength to don back the various hats she had left behind, that of cook, cleaner and care-taker, now that she had made the time to live for herself.

Written by Miss Shola

March 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Shorts

Scary Story

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This one is among the ten I had written about a decade back and was hoping to get published!

It was pitch dark everywhere. They were like five blind men walking in a row. No one knew who was in front or behind. Inspite of the eerie tension in the air and beastly roars at a distance, they remained alert and never lost a step. They could not afford to. All five were in perfect synchronization. They did not dare to indulge in meaningless talk. It could cost them their lives. Any essential talk was restricted to whispers lest it should attract those human devouring beasts. Still there was no guarantee. They could leap at them anytime, anyhow and from anywhere without an inkling.

They had been walking for hours surely. No one had checked the time. They could not even if they wanted to. They had left the jeep far behind in the thick of the woods. It had given way but still transported them to no man’s land. The approaching tigers had not given them enough time to even grab a torch from their jeep. But their narrow escape was worth it. They had no option but to keep walking through the thick of the jungle, trampling the dried leaves under them, taking support of the massive barks as they climbed, and hoping that their next step would be as safe as the previous one.

The leader of the group at the head of the row had to be doubly careful. Once in a while he would bump into a rock but would quickly recover to provide a timely signal to his friends. It seemed to them that they were too, some strange species like the thousand others inhabiting the jungle. But that was not for long – to their amazement they spotted a campfire at a distance.

Philip the group leader was naturally the first one to spot it. He said under his breath “100 meters away I spot a fire”. There was suddenly a hushed chatter of excitement among them. “Hope, its not a mirage” said Amit. “Ssshhhh…I hear human-like voices” replied Navin. They crept closer and closer walking faster than before. Now close they could see a small clearing.

DUM DUM DUM DUM

“Looks like they are GnR fans”, giggled Arpan. His chuckle was caught in his throat as he was suddenly swept off his feet and landed with a thud on the coarse stony ground. The silence was suddenly pierced with not one but several screams. They had been attacked.

 A hoarse voice overpowered all the screaming, “BYDUNGA DONGU KARIPYA”. This was followed by several war cries of—“DONGU MALI DONGUMALI….DONGUMALI”

“MANALI”

“Yes Ma!”

“Where are you? Come quick”

“Coming Ma, just last page remaining”

“No come now. Lunch is getting cold”

“Please Ma…It has reached a climax”

“Nothing doing—COME NOW!”

“Okay!”

Written by Miss Shola

March 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Shorts