Category Archives: travel

One Musical Afternoon…Remembering Uttara Di…

On 26 January 2020, while the whole country basked in the glory of India’s 71st Republic Day, my husband Sukhangshu and I participated in another memorable event in our lives; he as a performing artist and I as part of the audience at Mrs. Uttara Dutt’s Memorial function organized by her family at their picturesque mansion in DLF phase I, Gurgaon.

Sukhangshu did a monologue on Tagore. He received a big applause when he ended. The other artists who performed before Sukhangshu and after him also got similar appreciation.

It was amazing to see even the young children perform so confidently without feeling an iota of stage fright.

It could be because the stage had the aura of a wonderful personality who continues to shower her love and blessings on artists even after passing away.

The kind of barriers normally associated with a formal stage did not exist here. Both the artists and the audience were completely relaxed.

Uttara Di’s daughter Sanjukta Dutta and daughter-in-law Debjani kept coming in with trays of snacks for the guests. Some had green tea, while non-experimental people like me had dudh-cha (tea with milk and sugar), which was excellent.

The stage was set inside a large room at ground level with a backdrop of a lot of greenery behind a huge glass window, a room full of guitars, and a huge, heavily garlanded photo in one corner of a youthful Uttara Di playing sitar. The audience sat on sofas, chairs, and on little cushions on the floor.

While the benevolent winter Sun smiled in the clear blue sky outside, the green shrubs and leaves peeped through the window and created shadows on the surrounding walls.

Being far away from the noisy traffic of Gurugram, the place had a quiet and soothing ambience and contributed in keeping the discerning audience engaged with every performance.

During lunch time, we were all treated to delicious home made food cooked in Bengali style.

Being a vegetarian, I loaded my plate with my favorites, shukhto, rice, salad, luchi, aloo dum, chana dal, chutney, and payesh. They all tasted heavenly.

At the end of the program, Uttara Di’s husband Kalidas Da, an accomplished Architect, discreetly gave each artist an envelope as a token of appreciation. I came to know about this from Sukhangshu. This is meant to be a secret, so I will keep its sanctity intact by not revealing anything else.

Sukhangshu told me that this practice was begun by Uttara Di and Kalidas Da to nurture musical talent and their family organizes this kind of a get-together every year.

Being a singer, Uttara Di was well aware of the struggles young Indian singers and musicians go through in keeping their art alive and this was her way of quietly doing whatever she could to help, no matter how small. Kalidas Da ensures that this family tradition continues. Which only proves that Love is stronger than Death.

Here are some more pics that I clicked during the program.

My husband Sukhangshu. See him below.

Now the kids…

Flutist’s flutes…

This young man performed here earlier when he was a small child.

Kalidas Da, wearing grey sleevless jacket, busy, supervising…

Debjani (standing, in blue sari) and Sanjukta (seated on sofa, in magenta-colored sari), taking care of guests, offering them snacks…

Here I am with my Aunt-in-law, Maima, Mrs.Maya Bannerjee (Kalidas Da’s sister)…

With my Uncle-in-law, Bhola Mama (Mr.Bhola Bannerjee)…

Angels and Demons

blue sky

Demons of December
And January
Have gone.
Gone
with them are pollution,
Smog, chills, mist, and fog
Angels of February
Are coming in
with their clear blue skies,
Bobbing flowers and soothing breezes…

Come,
Let’s celebrate,
My dear Friends.
Enjoy being alive,
Even if
It is only
For a little while
For this too
Shall pass
And Harsh Summer
will be in…

One Sunny Day

A few days ago, I had written about a few puppies whom I hoped to see again in better circumstances. See link below.

https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/31/beware-dogs-live-here/

Well, yesterday, on 19 January 2020, I finally got the chance to see them again. Their puzzled Dad, a stray dog, watched as I clicked their pics. See them below.

This only proves that like humans, some dogs are luckier and get all those things in life that one can only dream about.

Mooli Bhurji – A Simple Radish Recipe

It’s winter time in Delhi now and white radish is easily available. It is fresh, soft, juicy, and not very bitter. Try out this easy and simple recipe of white radish bhurji. It will take you just 5 minutes and this includes peeling and grating of radish as well.

Ingredients : 3 white radish (grated), 2 tablespoons of green peas, 2 tablespoons of oil, one whole red chilly, a teaspoonful of whole mustard seeds, some green coriander for garnishing. A pinch of turmeric, hing, red chilli powder, and salt as per taste.

Method: Take a karahi and add oil. When it becomes hot, add mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Then add turmeric, hing and grated radish. Stir for a minute or two. Then add chilli powder and salt. Stir again for a few seconds.Your bhurji should be ready now and you can test this by pressing some grated radish between your fingers. If it is still not soft enough, let it cook some more till it is done. Garnish with green coriander. See below. Enjoy. Have it with chapati or parantha.

1. In the karahi

Garnish with green coriander

Managing Immigrants

Africans

Ever since CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) turned into CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), India has erupted into waves of protests followed by brutal police action. A lot of innocent lives have been lost and public property worth several crores of Rupees has got damaged, which is very tragic and unfortunate. God knows when and how it will end.

There is nothing wrong with having a national population register, as in US, and deporting outsiders living illegally in the country. But making a national policy of granting citizenship to only non-muslims is as good as promoting Hindutva and goes against the basic character of our constitution.

And while the police remains preoccupied with controlling thousands of vociferous protesters, another set of population, the Africans, appears to be quietly increasing in numbers in every nook and corner of Delhi and other cities. Unlike people from neighbouring countries such as Pakistanis, Afghans, Bangladeshis, Srilankans, and Nepalis, many of whom have been smuggled in by local politicians to create vote banks, Africans look conspicuously different from the local population, so they are easily identifiable. See the photo on the top and you will understand.

Again, unlike other Asian immigrants who integrate easily with the locals, Africans keep to themselves and are not engaged, generally speaking, in legitimate jobs. So you wonder where their money for daily existence comes from.

Each time a major drugs or human traffickingcase comes to light, you invariably hear about involvement of some of them. I don’t mean to sound racist, but this is our bitter reality.

Instead of catching the real culprits, the outsiders disturbing our peace and stability, the police is compelled to train their guns and lathis on the innocent, well-meaning citizens of the country.

USA has a strict policy on illegal residents and preventing them from creating law and order problems. They do not discriminate on the basis of cast, creed, and religion and they enforce their immigration laws with great efficiency.

Let’s hope our political parties offer better options in the next lok sabha elections.