Saturday, 16 June 2012

North Bengal Tour '12 - Flora

If all Riots were of Colours
 Tour to Lava, Loleygaon, Rishyap, Kalimpong in North Bengal. Images of flowers and a few trees. Very few though! Enjoy.
Cactus Flower

More Cactus Flower
Even More Cactus Flower

Not again Cactus Flower? Yes again.

Hydrangea Hill

The Half Bloom

Baby Strawberry. Nah, Raspberry

Wild Rose


Tree Light

Friday, 15 June 2012

North Bengal Tour '12 - Beasts

All creatures great and small.....
Some animals and birds I captured during my recent tour to Lava, Loleygaon, Rishyap, Kalimpong in North Bengal. Enjoy, there is more to come :-)

Shera @ Kalimpong

Dragon-fly (wish I could remove the fly from the name)

Head first

Moth Tales

Hello Sparrow

Bow-Wow Cloud

Beetle Mania

Honey Assignment


More bugs!

Monday, 4 June 2012


This one's by Robert Fulghum, from his book "All I really need to know  I learned in kindergarten." I personal favourite.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don't hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

[Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum.  See his web site at  ]

Friday, 1 June 2012

Calcutta Foodie - I

Yes, I'm a Bong. Yes, I'm a foodie. Yes, I'm a Calcuttan. And yes, I don't stay in the city any more.

I come back, sometimes. As I was stepping out of the aero-bridge, I noticed one of the officials speaking urgently into his walkie-talkie, with a few others huddled around him. The question being asked with so much intent? "Score koto holo?" (What's the score?) I grinned. I was back in Cal.

A friend suggested I do a few posts on my favourite Bong food. Since the blog is a medley of so much, I thought, why not, maybe I can go beyond the typical phuchhka-rasgulla-illish line.

I propose to start with one of the humblest : the churmur. It's a byproduct of its more illustrious cousin, the phuchhka. You get it at any phuchhka-walas any where in the city. In fact, the previous statement was such a gospel truth for a thorough-bred Calcutta girl like me, that I made the mistake of asking for churmur from a panipuri seller even when I moved 3000kms away. He had never heard of it. D-oh! But then, there was also the moment of glory when I did find someone who not only knew what it was, but even proceeded to make it for me, the same 3000kms away. There is a God.

The name “churmur” is probably derived from the crunching sound made while eating it. Simply put, it's a generous helping of boiled potatoes (generous being defined by the generosity of your phuchhka-wala), some dry gol-gappas, chopped chillies, onions, boiled white peas all mashed together with chaat masala and the strongest tamarind juice you can find. 
So, the ingredients, listed out, would be :

  • 2 medium size potatoes, boiled 
  • Quarter cup white peas, soaked overnight and boiled 
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped 
  • Handful of coriander, finely chopped 
  • 4-5 green chilies, finely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp 
  • 2 teaspoons dry roasted cumin and coriander seeds, roughly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder 
  • 1 teaspoon Chaat masala 
  • Half teaspoon black salt 
  • 8-10 readymade gol gappas 

There's a recipe coming up, but later.

I think, and my friends would agree, that this churmur probably made for at least half of our nutrition throughout our school days. It had definitely more matter in it , compared to the teeny amount of potato stuffing one could get for the same money's worth of anything else, including our beloved phuchhkas. Fancy stuff, which we gorge upon now, was way beyond the budget, with 20 rupees amounting to a veritable feast.  I remember we had Maths classes after school, 5-7pm again 7:30-9:30pm. It was an ordeal for the most dedicated. But we survived on that measly half an hour break, when we used to run two blocks away for a helping of churmur, laughing over our mad dash, eyes and ears streaming from the heat of the chillies, getting lock-jawed from the unbearably sour tamarind. 

There isn't really a very complex way of preparing the thing, anyway. Put all the dry things together, including the potatoes, but not the gol gappa-s, and mash it up. Squeeze out the juice from the tamarind pulp, adding water if you need to dilute it. Add to the mix, just so the whole thing keeps together, but is not runny. Crush the dry gol gappas, and toss the whole thing together. Top off with the coriander, and have before it gets soggy (remember the origins of the name!).

I got the singular soul who is enlightened in the way of churmur-making  in my university-town, to prepare it for one of my friends. My friend isn't one the most lily-livered ones when it comes to food, but the face he made on putting the first spoonful into his mouth, had me laughing at the fact that the heady mixture of tangy-and-spicy was probably a bit too much on the first go. Maybe it's an acquired taste. Oh well, maybe I can convert them all. After all, I am a Bong, a Calcuttan and a Foodie. And that is one heady mixture, I've been told!

photos :
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