Saturday, January 30, 2010

Adrak ki Chai

Yes. The delhi winter is almost over. Today the sun is shining nice and bright. It still feels cold inside the house. But today’s blog is all about the winter just gone by. The nip in the air began in December. Gradually it got colder and colder till in January it became quite shocking for me.
The alarm jolts me awake at 7!! This is a far cry from Bangalore where I could jump out of bed before 6 without an alarm. I shut it briskly and go back into the warmth of my razai. Finally I am up at 7-30.
I look for my slippers. Where? O! No! I have again left them neatly by the door. Aaah! a painful trudge barefoot on the cold cement floor till I reach the comfort of plastic.

As the first water gushes out of the tap its freezing cold and suddenly without warning the water is steaming hot! I have again messed up with the mixing … I never get that right at the first go.

I leave the room heater on. It’s a sad thing with two red rods bravely combating the cold that constantly enters the room through gaps in the doors and windows.

Later in the day I am sitting all huddled up in a razai. I am reading a book, conveniently delivered to me by an online library system called bookmeabook!! My hands that peep out to hold the book are cold and surprisingly my feet are cold too. And I can almost not feel my nose at all!

Suddenly a dear one (my daughter achu) brings me a hot cup of adrak ki chai. You must have adrak ki chai in a cold delhi winter morning to really enjoy bliss. Aaah! In kannada we say .. swargakke eradey mettalu !! Just two steps to heavenly joy!

Here is a rustic recipe for adrak ki chai that I learnt at a dhaba in mussoorie.
1 cup of water
1 ½ spoons of sugar
1 spoon tea leaves
½ inch fresh ginger
¼ cup of hot milk
Boil water and milk together. Add the sugar. Bring the mix to boil. Add tea leaves and just when it begins to boil switch off the flame. Add crushed ginger and cover with a lid. Allow it to stand for 3 minutes before you serve. It is important that you use fresh ginger and that you crush it with a rolling pin or in a traditional kutni.
Enjoy the soothing aroma of fresh ginger and the heady aroma of strong tea.

Today’s painting is for the quilt the book and the ginger tea that helped me through the delhi winter.
I suppose I am being selfish complaining about the cold while wrapped in the luxury of a warm house and warm family while the delhi homeless suffer on the streets. Tell me how much would it cost to build a night halt place…like we see Will Smith using in Pursuit Of Happyness??

Would you like an insight into Delhi summer soothers? Bubbles that Cheer
Read on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Pink Tree

A walk in the Lodhi garden in November brought me to a halt near a tree with pink flowers. It brought back a flood of memories.
Bangalore has these lines of trees that at certain months of the year shed all green leaves and turn into a splash of a single colour.
The Pink Tabebuia trees turn pink (of course!!) with abundant pink coloured blossoms in December. And in celebration of 2 birthdays (nandu, ammandu!!) the Jacaranda trees sprout fragile purple flowers in February. The flowers fall lazily to the ground in the gentle breeze and making a Persian carpet on the floor!
But I am fascinated by the Yellow Tabebuia trees, which have an especially thick cover of breathtaking yellow blossoms. The yellow is so vibrant that it never fails to arrest my attention and hold it. It’s like the glorious sun come down to visit us.
Near our apartment in Jayanagar we had a yellow flowered tree commonly called the copper pod …I think!
We had a lovely pink tree in SAMS (Sri Aurobindo Memorial School) and it was always a treat to watch it in full bloom.

Lodhi Garden

The lodhi garden is the pride of Delhi. A lovers’ hotspot, a joggers’ paradise, it offers verdant lung space …much required in the teeming madness of the capital city.
Spread across 90 acres, the lodhi garden is virtually a treat.
I was walking along quietly on the cement pathway. Quite predictably my mind skips to various ‘sites’, kind of window shopping a gallery of thoughts till I feel like looking closer at one of them. Aaah! That’s worth more time ….. and I am forming a story or an opinion …
It’s easy to have opinions. We Indians have opinions about everything and feel no qualms at expressing them at the drop of a hat! That’s a stupid expression in India. No one wears hats here. So let’s say we express opinions at the honk of a car!! Naaa that is way tooo frequent. Ok. How’s this ... at sound of a sneeze? At the tweet of a mynah? Or at the tinkle of a cell-phone?
Anyway. I am digressing. What I wanted to say is that, I am walking along the cement pathway, there are trimmed green hedges, soothing patches of grass, sturdy trees with gnarled trunks and wham, suddenly you see an amazing architectural beauty ….. standing there … just dwarfing everything around it. It’s a magnificent tomb, built in the 15th or 16th century. A student of history would perhaps identify whether it was the tomb of Mohammad Shah built in 1444 or maybe the tomb of Sikandar Lodi built in 1517 or even the much younger Sheesh Gumbad. For me they all looked the same. But they have a strange mesmerising quality and as I gazed at the tomb I could imagine the grandeur of their lives…. Well the life of the man for whom the tomb was made … and the man who got it made.
Suddenly a large cluster of pigeons swooped around and flew over the dome ……. whew the sight was breathtaking.
The lodhi garden is doctor’s prescription for fitness of body and soul.