Friday, January 29, 2016

Tring Tring…Hellooo its Me!

Ya all it takes sometimes is a single call to a old dear friend to travel past in time and reconnect. We all are so well connected that we do not feel the need to “connect”. Yes, we whats app, post pics on Insta, hashtag our experiences, share memories and do much more on fb, but somehow the real kind of connection is absent in all of those interactions. The old fashioned phone call is all you need to bring a huge smile on your face, take a trip down memory lane and infact create new memories and re-connect at a whole new level. This is exactly what happened when I recently called an old friend from another life I was so called “in touch” with on fb. It was such an instant perk me up, and guess what though we were speaking to each other after a gap of 19 years it was amazing how much we remembered about each other, our quirks and families. She called me by my maiden name, remembered menus from the birthday parties and we chatted about old times we spent together, new lives and everything that had past in between. And trust me all it really took was courage to make “that” call and conversations flew. Ofcourse we promised to keep calling and stay in touch, doesn’t matter if we fall back on whats app-ing again; we did renew our friendship and really do know what stage the other is in now. Maybe one day we will make the 2nd call and then the 3rd and then meet up for a coffee and rediscover each other.

I think I will now call my cousin and ask him how is he doing !

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Journey of a Wannabe Potter

So well, I have been a closet potter for close to three years. Not many know my love affair with clay and it is only now that I have been feeling a bit more confident of shaping it. Like I have confessed many a times I love to dabble in various things and though my father has always been confused as to my most recent shenanigans and wonders why I cant focus, my hubs and mum are ever encouraging me.
To let you in a secret, before I started my journey with clay I hadn’t had any experience nor a friend doing pottery, my reference point was the movie Ghost and that very erotic and romantic scene by Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze the teenage me’s heartthrob (sorry SRK you weren’t around then). So with stars in my eyes I walked into Delhi Blue Pottery studio at Safdurjung and got enrolled.

Thankfully between my enrolling and joining they had switched to electric wheels else my romance would have ended before it began. Since I was recovering from that dreadful Chikungunya (no it doesn’t happen cause I feel “harr bhook ka ilaaj chicken..”). I am very filmy ji.
Anyways, my first session was about wedging the clay and well it didn’t look anywhere close to what I had imagined. Post this came centering a 500 gm lump of clay and if I say it was a struggle I would be down playing it. The studio full of veteran potters at the time centering 5 kgs of clay made me feel pottery challenged. On the flip side the elation that came with a perfect centering was no less than having done fateh on Mars. Just when I used to think now the toughest deal of the process is over; and would be beaming at the tea break came another challenge. From centering to pulling a cylinder 7 inches for 700 grams was back breaking and took me more than 6 months. Well I definitely was a slow learner where pottery was concerned and the frustration levels would mount with each disappointment, the teachers at the class kept my morale going with their wit and encouragement. I kept at it and slowly learnt how to throw a decent piece. My first piece was still a tedha medha vase but what the heck tedha hai pur mera hai.
Sometimes even I am surprised at myself, no hobby has lasted me this long and the passion and thrill grows with each well crafted piece. The thrill of putting your hand in a sack of clay, wedging, pulling, trimming and decorating each piece has a story to tell and is born out of love. Heart rates increase with each firing bisque and glaze and prayers are fervently offered to kiln gods that the piece comes out unscathed and unbroken. The joy at the end of it all is unmatched and proudly displayed at home with lengthy instructions to the maid to not touch it. Hahah an interesting anecdote, when I proudly showed off my first piece to the maid at home, she was astounded acha bhabhi aap mitti ka kaam karte ho, chalo iss baar mere liye karwa chauth ke liye karwa aap banana…I faint.
So now when I participate in a fair and someone buys my piece, there is elation of selling and a lot of satisfaction knowing someone actually shelled out money –ultimate compliment but also a bit of weird inexplicable sadness too at times. However, the best part of selling them is that it gives you an opportunity to create more and still yet more. I leave you with this:

(both the pics are taken from the internet and used here) 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Musings of a Disoriented Punju in Chitto Park

Ok so lets begin at the beginning, which is that I love my meat, chicken, fish and prawns; all tandoori or grilled or in artery choking butter gravy. However, the challenge lies in buying the fish that needs as much discretion as the art of cooking it to perfection. Ab chicken toh chicken hota hai ji, bus tangri ya poora….yeh fish toh ranges from surmai to betkhi to pomfret to singhara and so many more.
Till now I have been relying on the good old Green Chik Chop to deliver fish and to be frank getting freezing stares (all puns intended) at my choice of frozen fish by the Calcutta born and bred mother-in-law. Also not to mention the comments about taste, texture and pricing. So when a Bengali friend volunteered to go “machi” shopping with me I was elated and we headed to Chitto Park. Another friend joined in and to be very frank we felt like virgins in the market that knew its fish and prawns well. Guided suitably we chose to pick up Surmai and Betkhi fillets for a cook off. For obvious reasons we chose fish with “no kaantaa bhaiyaji” oops dada ! We gaped at the rows of fish, fish heads and traversed our way around it. By the way we went to Market No.2 cause our Bengali insider told us that Market No. 1 has snob value and hence the prices are higher.
From the shop next door we also picked up the ready made mustard powder to be able to dish out a perfectly turned in mustard fish. Yum yum. Well if any one of you know a no fail recipe for the same please pass on before the mustard powder expires.
On our way back home a doubt niggled at us, did we buy right? Did we really check the gills? Did we get a good deal? So we called up Green Chik Chop and asked them the price for Surmai which we were told was Rs900 a kilo. Ha ! Ha! And we had managed it at around 560 a kilo. Good deal isn’t it? This sounds almost like a “coming of age” story, but trust me IT IS. Next time, believe it or faint, it will be prawns.
PS:For the equally disoriented Chitto Park is Chitranjan Park in Delhi !