Author: Puneeta Prakash

Jharkhand Food Series

Jharkhand Food Series

Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com Jharkhand I never thought that one day I will be sitting and writing down my journey of nostalgic, rustic and might be forgotten food/ recipes of my state. The state which has given me a lot. It has given me 

The Language of Love

The Language of Love

Listening to the radio today, I got to know that the world is observing International Mother Language Day today. Till date I was unaware of any such day of celebration. Isn’t it fascinating to know that such a day exists? A day to cherish and 

The Golden Era Of The Marigold

The Golden Era Of The Marigold

Aren’t some flowers a real messenger of good times ahead? Their occurrence solely can fill the mind with numerous memories and hearts with immense joy. The robust yellowish-orange color marigold flowers are like tiny beams of the sun rays in the dark, foggy, gloomy days. Their bright colors are the symbol of happiness. As if they flash their colors in the sunshine shouting – “Helloo there! Look at me. I am so happy!”

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These lovelies bloom early in the morning unlike us, when most of us are hiding ourselves under those warm, cosy blankets, snoozing the alarm clocks, pulling our feet a bit more closer to our chests. They salute the rising sun with a dance of excitement, each and every day, till they live. Those magnificent golden beauties bring the message that the festivals are coming. The good times are almost here! Are you ready to welcome them?

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Most of the festivals which I can think of had these lovely flowers adorning our house, Puja rooms, courtyards, cattle and sometimes our neck or head too 🙂 Those times had a charm of it’s own. Or probably the times were different then. Simple lifestyles, less complicated relationships, laid back attitude and foremost the zeal to really celebrate and be the part of a festivity! The robotic lifestyle was not in fashion then. People were less tired and had the enthusiasm to do things. Resources were abundant, loving was easy, living in peace and adjustments and a simple and humble life brought joy in our homes. Food, love curiosity and excitement, what else can a kid ask for during these eccentric times?

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Being in a joint family, every festival was celebrated in the most traditional ways. Every action was predetermined and had to be followed how it had been done since generations. In today’s world when we think that most of the traditions which were followed were nuisance and unnecessary, I still believe that it carried an old charm of its own with it. If we think then we can realize that most of the traditional rituals have been changed/ removed/ modified according to people’s need, surrounding and the availability of the resources. My parents always tried to include us in all the chores be it cleaning, buying stuffs for the celebrations, cooking or distributing. It was always fun to be a part of the festivity. As a new mother, I try my best to give my daughter at least a glimpse of what most of the festivals really mean to me and how much I have enjoyed celebrating it. I want her to grow up understanding the value, happiness, love, sharing and care which these festivities bring around.

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Of course, I can’t replicate what my parents and relatives did to make every festival look so alive and memorable. The amount of work and dedication which use to go in it, I really doubt I have it in me. But the good part is, I do try and cook a certain dish related to each festival or decorate or follow the rituals of every festival. If not the original at least the modified version. This year as I always do, I cooked Mutter Ghugni for Durga Puja and Thekua for Diwali. We also made the Diwali rangoli together.

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I try to show her and in the process let her contribute in her own ways. My daughter might or might not follow these rituals in her life. But I surely would know, that I have tried my best to show and make her understand and believe in spreading love, happiness, empathy and contentment in some way or other in whatever she choose. Don’t you in some way try the same?

The Gift Of Each Other

The Gift Of Each Other

Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com It was a warm, cosy, golden evening. The thousand golden beams of the sun was making our dusky skin glow in its presence. In that trance, soaking myself in that magical moment, I heard a faint voice of my mom 

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Photo courtesy: Gulmohar Doodles Bloom, bloom, bloom, where you’re planted, You will find your way. Bloom, bloom, bloom. You will have your day. Look at the flowers, look at them growing They never worry, they never work. Yet look at the way our Father clothes 

My Little Sunflower

My Little Sunflower

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My little sunflower has started to bloom and I fear my greatest fear has loomed
Those tiny fingers which held me tightly most of the time, has left and started to tinkle like a chime
I wonder and can not fathom still, when did you become so big?
Did the time really fly or it passed across me in just a flick?

O my dear little baby, I still remember the day I held you up in my arms for the very first time,
I promised myself to be with you always, singing, dancing, eating, playing or just mime
But everyday is a question, something to worry about, I feel lost, doubt myself and get frustrated,
then I see you looking at me giving that angelic smile, and your those tiny fluffy palms gently caressing me my love, makes me feel appreciated.

Each day in every moment, I have felt alive, moments which I have cherished knowing you are mine,
You are the burning lamp of my life, a soothing flame who keeps me high
My heart tries to hold all the love and aches from those feelings which I can no more hide in my chest,
I flutter with the thought of you my heart, growing so fast and soon leaving me wondering about the times gone by

Everyday I struggle to give you the best, to make you feel loved, cared and to be blessed,
And when the day comes to an end, the day I know which I will never have with you back again,
I take you once more in my arms, hug you tight, blow a kiss on your pretty cheek and wonder
If at all I was able to love you enough today or failed at it doing meagre complain?

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You my tiny firefly, you are turning now into a beautiful butterfly,
And I can’t stop thinking and want the time to just stand by
Could you please pass a bit slow and let me see my princess for a few seconds more?
That angelic face, that mischievous smile, those curly hair, the tiny fingers which I love to adore?

Oh my love, the lamp of my life, thank you for choosing me above any other,
You have made me complete and I can not ask for anything more than being your mother
As long as you are there on my side my baby, I promise you, I will try to give you my best,
Here you are my darling, clinging to me, sleeping soundly trying to hold your tiny nest,
the chaos in this very moment is so real, I wonder how did the day get over or it just passed in a haste?

It had been exhausting, but I know in the end, “How”, “Why”, “When”, these questions won’t matter,
All we will have is laughter, peace, solace, and the aroma of the first rains which will splatter.
In those happy moments, I will once again embrace you in my arms tighter, hold my breath and say,
I love you my butterfly. You did great today!

-Gulomhar Doodles

The Holi Tales

The Holi Tales

Legend says that the holy festival of Holi started with an innocent question of a curious Krishna who was teased by Radha and the other gopis for his dark skin color. Bewildered, he runs to his mother Yashoda and asks why she made him black 

Oh Sunshine!

Oh Sunshine!

Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com I stood in my balcony soaking the soothing, generous, golden beams of the sunlight, Trying to rejoice a moment which has come back to me after many sleepless nights A moment which I can call aloud as my own, a 

Durga Puja Tales

Durga Puja Tales

Like every year, Maa Durga arrived on her special ride, stayed with us for those auspicious ten days and then departed, leaving us craving for yet another year of her homecoming again. Before leaving, she blessed us with health, happiness, food and loads of memories. For me, Durga Puja has always been a reminder that happiness find its way home. The rejuvenating and scintillating feeling of loved ones reuniting and celebrating the festival together has a charm of its’ own. Durga Puja means we are still alive, still together and still bonded.

The blazing LED lights, thousands of people dressed so elegantly in new stiff clothes hovering over the pandals and the different food vendors outside, chit-chatting excitedly and happily like the sparrows; makes me believe that if happiness is somewhere, it is right here, right here in this moment, the moment I am living right now!

Durga Puja is nostalgic. The essence of the festival, the holy atmosphere and all around happy faces brings solace, peace and the calmness to the tired souls. The feeling of being alive and not just breathing is divine. Every happy soul looks beautiful. It makes me believe that beauty still exists in people’s smile, a hearty laughter and in the glistening of tired eyes.

Being raised in a joint family, the arrival of Durga Puja meant new clothes, loads and loads of delicious festive foods, guests swarming over, hot discussions on which block’s (colony’s) pandal is the best, places (vendors) who are serving the best puchkas, chowmins, ghugni-chaats and other street delicacies. Loads of different shape and size balloons made a way in our home. The sheer excitement of holidays, friends, food, pandal visits and Maa Durga! Touching the feet of elders and getting a ten rupees new note along with their blessings. We often wondered seeing that note what all can be bought with that. Might be a whole dreamy world?

One of the other things which I remember and use to get really pepped up seeing was married woman wearing loads of bright red color sindoor on their neatly parted just washed hair, the sankha-pola and dozens of matching glass bangles, the bright colored neatly plated sarees and the alta painted feet. There is something really special about seeing ladies all dressed up like this. This is the only form I can fathom of my Maa whenever I think of her. The serenity, the poise, the calmness and the charming characters which she possesses, I wonder if I can ever be like her?

Every day of the puja is marked with a special food. Like Saptami having ghugni-chaat with lots of aalu chop and beguni. Astmi has to have poori, aalu dum, kheer, tomato-imli chutney, matar pulao and papad. Navmi can’t be complete without plain rice or tehri, mutton curry, thick homemade curd, salads and loads of mithai. Oh! The heavenly food!

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This year, while talking to Maa over phone, she did mention making these at home. She even subtly told me that she can not feel the same old charm, the excitement and the happiness of Puja anymore. I know the rapid downfall of joint families and kids migrating to different cities for different reasons leaving back their old aging parents, play a major role in them feeling lonely. I know that the four old eyes wanted me to be there, badly. I just hope that I will be able to fulfill their wish next year and make their souls blossom like old times again 🙂

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Over the years, things have changed drastically. But I guess, the bottom line is the same. Be happy, celebrate happiness, eat, pray and love. Waiting for the next Durga Puja already. I hope everyone feels as blessed and happy or more as I feel today.

HAPPY DUSSHERA READERS!

Simply JharkhanDish ♥

Simply JharkhanDish ♥

I grew up in a typical Jharkhand household, eating the rustic homecooked authentic dishes. Cooking was solely constrained to Maa, grandma and aunts. I remember the kitchen hustling and bustling from dawn till late night. We had a typical mud stove (of course apart from