The Chronicles of Miss Shola

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

Archive for the ‘Shots’ Category

Life should be a Sunday

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#1 Some days just turn around, look you straight in the eye, and with a dead pan expression say to you “who told you it’s going to be easy”. I met six such last week, and tried to run away from them as fast as I could. I didn’t get too far and can still hear the collective echoes of their wicked laughter.

And no, the poem below doesn’t offer hope. It doesn’t tell you that you will be able to escape from that laughter and that it’s all going to be fine just-watch. It tells you that this is how it is and will be, so be happy when that rare day comes along that smiles at you because her brothers and sisters may not be as well-mannered.

The poem also took me to Stephen Fry and I am looking forward to reading more of him, especially his collection of poems The Ode Less Travelled (such a cool title!) that this is a part of.

Kitchen Villanelle

How rare it is when things go right
When days go by without a slip
And don’t go wrong, as well they might

The smallest triumphs cause delight –
The kitchen’s clean, the taps don’t drip,
How rare it is when things go right.

Your ice cream freezes overnight,
Your jellies set, your pancakes flip
And don’t go wrong, as well they might

When life’s against you, and you fight
To keep a stiffer upper lip.
How rare it is when things go right,

The oven works, the gas rings light,
Gravies thicken, potatoes chip
And don’t go wrong, as well they might.

Such pleasures don’t endure, so bite
The grape of fortune to the pip.
How rare it is when things go right
And don’t go wrong, as well they might

*By the way, a villanelle is a lyrical poem of nineteen lines, with only two rhymes throughout, and some lines repeated. I don’t know if the poem preceded this definition or vice-versa verse.

# 2 Talking of getting to know people better, I am discovering so many acclaimed writers that I should have got my hands on so far but was too shy, through the fiction archives of The New Yorker. It’s such a pleasure to read short stories by the ilk of Paul Theroux and Nina Gardiner and see a flash of their brilliance. Best thing to happen after speed dating.

I just completed Apple Cake by Allegra Goodman (another celebrated American author I didn’t know about) who shows that dialogue can be the hero of the story. But the clincher of a line was: She died because she couldn’t breathe. Which seems silly when you read it just as is, but is characterisation at its briefest best.

# 3 The only good thing I have done while I was away from this page was to bring Sunday Loaves to life. I am admittedly not the best baker in town or even in the suburb I live in, or east of it, but it’s brought me the joy of creation. So here’s in celebration of those “smallest triumphs that cause delight”.

glass-empty

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Written by Miss Shola

August 10, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Poetry, Ramblings, Shots

Dolce Vita

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In which I indulge in the littleness of life.

#1 Old music revives memories and new music makes memories. I made one with Raat Raazi. I’ve been tripping over it for a month now after I came across it quite accidentally. Which is not surprising for when I crossed over to the millennium I took my music with me, unsure of how things would sound on the other side. I have since remained a resolute ‘the best of the 90s’ girl and not bothered catching up (someone corrected me recently when I called EDM electronic data music). But when I heard this I realised I’ve been missing out on tagging a passed moment, a familiar feeling, a keepsake memory with a tune. A new tune that is nursed in the cradles of your head until it grows up, bows out and leaves behind footsteps.

So here is to a memory of a particularly difficult summer that heat-trapped my mind till it banged its doors but got no answers. It came back home everyday to the same soothing melody which silenced the noise inside until another day.

 

# 2 And then this from nowhere caught my attention and made me smile. My mother, a kitchen-window bird watcher, has a penchant for feeding crows. She often looks up from that simmering alu gobi (I’ve relished so often) or midway of rolling a chappati to say hello to those men in black and chat about the weather. She knows when they’re hungry and what they’re hungry for, and is just short of naming them after her children. The flavour of the season seems to be Parle-G, for that extra flapping energy, broken into three perfect beak-sized pieces.

image

 

# 3 I came across this piece of dialogue in the movie Lost in Translation. It is simple and depthless but offered me a strange kind of solace.

Charlotte: I just don’t know what I am supposed to be. I thought maybe I wanted to be a writer…but I hate what I write. And I tried taking pictures, but John is so good at that, and mine are so mediocre…and every girl goes through this photography phase, like horses, you know dumb pictures of your feet…

Bob: You’ll figure it out. I’m not worried about you. Keep writing.

Written by Miss Shola

August 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Quotes, Ramblings, Shots

60th in pictures

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All set for a trip down memory lane

At home finally

 

60 year old schoolgirl

The eagles that stole her bread pakoda

That girl with the yellow umbrella

Happy Birthday Mom!

Written by Miss Shola

October 5, 2011 at 12:57 am

Posted in Shots

Jottings of a July

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July is a pretty significant month that way. It’s that part of the pie when my world gets its share of the sky, quite literally. Clouds go in for a scheduled breakdown and pour their hearts out on a crore of a city, with really no care for whether they are huddled in shanties holding buckets or lounging in high-rise apartments with a glass of bubbly. It’s an operasque performance and everyone has to tune in.

The seventh incongruous month has also been ill-fated in the recent past. Not only has it been soaked with water but the blood and tears of many that have been targets of terror. But eventually life takes over and trudges ahead in a million different instances until another chaotic evening of July brings people together in death.

Then again, under a heavy bough of July is when my parents got married and the appearance of a little Miss Shola became just a matter of time; albeit a good eight years later.

This July was busy in an ordinary sort of way; busy enough to keep me away from this space and ordinary enough to not inspire me to write. Nevertheless it had its moments that left behind a thought, a memory, a jotting for posterity.

—————–

For the moments that tested and went away sulking:

Again and Again

Again and again, however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was a Bohemian-Austrian poet

—————–

For the moment I fell in love with yellow!

—————–

For the moments when my inner eyes blinked open momentarily and then shut just as quickly:

Muqaddar Mera

Har Ghadi Khud Se Ulajhna Hai Muqaddar Mera
Main Hi Kashti Hoon Mujhi Mein Hai Samander Mera

Kis Se Puchun Ki Kahan Gum Hoon Kai Barson Se
Har Jagah Dhoondhta Firta Hai Mujhe Ghar Mera

Ek Se Ho Gaye Mausamo Ke Chehre Saare
Meri Aankhon Se Kahi Kho Gaya Manzar Mera

Muddatein Beet Gayi Khwab Suhana Dekhe
Jaagta Rehta Hai Har Neend Mein Bistar Mera

Aaina Dekh Ke Nikla Tha Main Ghar Ke Baahar
Aaj Tak Haath Mein Mehfooz Hai Pathar Mera

~ Nida Fazli is an Indian Urdu poet

—————–

For the many moments spent in the kitchen:

Palak Paneer

Wash one bundle of palak thoroughly. Transfer into cooker and sprinkle a pinch of baking soda (so that it retains its green-ness). Pressure cook until whistle and then remove from flame. Puree one tomato and leave it in the mixer. To it add cooked palak, one green chilly and a pod of garlic and mix again for just 10 seconds (enough to make the entire thing smooth). Heat 1 tsp of oil and put 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder. Put the palak mixture in it along with 1 tsp wheat flour (again for smooth-ness), and salt to taste. Keep mixing for 2-3 mins. Heat 5 tsps of oil/ghee and put 1-2 tsps of red chilly powder in it. Put this tadka in the palak and mix again until the oil/ghee is fully incorporated. Lastly, cut up about 150 g of paneer and add to the palak (can shallow fry paneer before adding).

Potato cheese croquettes

Grate 3 cubes of cheddar/mozzarella cheese and keep aside. Boil 3 large potatoes, peel, and mash along with 3-4 slices of softened bread. Add 1 tbsp of coriander leaves, 2 tsps of pepper, salt and 1 cube of grated cheese in the potatoes and mix again until homogenous (can also beat up and add one egg). Next roll the potato mixture into balls (about 10-12), flatten, put 1 tsp of cheese in the center and fold up again into a log like structure. Roll up the balls in semolina (rawa) or bread crumbs and fry. The cheese should ooze out when you bite into them.

—————–

For the moment I heard this and thanked God for everything:

Written by Miss Shola

July 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Chow, Poetry, Ramblings, Shots

Happy feet

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Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Written by Miss Shola

June 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Quotes, Shots

Martyrdom

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“Look Ma, so many of them! Smooth, round and shiny, scattered all around. Lighter than the ones I had played with. Do you remember I was playing with them that morning too? Before you took us away, forever? And now there are only coins in the well to show I existed. To salute our martyrdom.”

~ Jalianwala Bagh, 2011

Written by Miss Shola

May 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Shots

A rare coming-by

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~ While walking through Rani Bagh on a Sunday morning to spot rare trees

Written by Miss Shola

April 25, 2011 at 12:53 am

Posted in Shots