Moonwalking

Inclusion of a young moon in a pic adds to its sassiness.

Moon and flower…

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Moon and Tree…

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A Storm Over An Earring

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Sometimes trivial problems turn into medical emergencies. An earring, stuck because of a hardened plastic stopper, got me admitted into a Hospital Emergency recently!

A few months ago, I began wearing a pair of gold earrings with an unusual design. They had a very thin gold chain running through each of the studs and the chain remained hanging from the ear. They were my favorite earrings because of their light weight and elegant look. I wore them all the time, since they went well with every dress, both in office and outside.

Last week, I felt an itching sensation on my ear lobes. When I touched them with my finger, I found an accumulation of wax around the studs. So I decided that it was high time I removed the earrings and cleaned my ears thoroughly.  I managed to remove the right earring, but the left one remained stuck. I pushed and pulled several times, but all in vain. Every time I tugged at it, I felt a shooting kind of pain going through my temple. Both my husband and my daughter tried to help, but the pain was simply too much. That was when I decided that I would get this earring removed in a hospital. But before that, I had to go to the office. Several colleagues asked me why I was wearing just one earring. I joked about it and said, “This is my latest style statement!”

Just before I headed for the hospital, an office friend very confidently offered to remove it for me. I said, “‘Alright, let’s make one last try.”

While she tugged and pulled, she muttered, “Waheguru” several times. But the earring remained subbornly intact and my pain was simply too unbearable. My ear also became red and swollen. So she gave up and I decided that that was it.

I stepped out and went straightaway to DDU (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya) Hospital at Hari Nagar, since it’s very close to my office. It’s a government hospital, but its Emergency Department is super efficient. I know this from past experience. That was when my daughter was 3 and got a severe cut on her forehead after slipping from a swing. She bled profusely on our way to the hospital and we were really frightened. We wondered if her eyes were injured too. It was a Sunday evening and no private doctor was available. So we took her to DDUH’s Emergency. Their response was prompt and timely and it was over in just one hour. She got 7 stitches that day.

DDUH staff is quite well-trained and well-experienced. They receive a lot of patients daily from the nearby Tihar Jail too, often in a severely battered condition. Tihar Jail houses some of India’s deadliest criminals.

This time, I was pleasantly surprised to find the hospital looking much cleaner and more orderly than before. The Security staff  was not only present in much bigger numbers, but they were also much smarter, better-looking, more polite, and more helpful. Gone are the days, it seems, of just a few surly ex-servicemen with outdated rifles making feeble attempts to control hundreds of unruly patients and their attendants. The patients who moved around in the corridors that day included a few handcuffed prisoners being herded around by policemen from Tihar.  That’s quite a usual sight here.

Once the entry formalities were done, they reassured me by saying, “Don’t worry. If your ear gets cut or torn during pulling, we will stitch it.”

My heart began beating fast in terror as they got their instruments ready. A minute later, they got me seated on a stool.

The doctor said, “Get me the forceps.”

I kept my eyes shut, prepared for the worst with prayers on my lips.

“Place some cotton wool.”

“There’s no cotton wool.”

“Alright. Put the forceps here and pull gently.”

I felt that shooting pain again, but it was not as intense as it was at home. There was a ‘cut’ sound at that instant and I let out a muffled shriek.

“It’s over now,” the doctor said.

Slowly and gently, she pulled the plastic stopper of the earring over the chain and handed it over to me with a smile.

“There you go. Happy now?”

The doctor’s assistant rubbed some antiseptic on my ear and that was the end of my ordeal. Finally, when I came out of the hospital, I felt extremely happy and relieved. The best part of it was that my only expenditure was on bus fare from office to hospital and back (Rs.10 only!) I didn’t have to pay a single penny for my treatment.

A shop nearby was running a special sale of night wear. I gifted myself a pair of nighties that day.

Here are some more pics. As you can see, Delhi Government seems to be making huge efforts to ensure that the poorest of the poor get basic health care and there seems to be greater transparency these days. A smiling face of Delhi’s Chief Minister Kejriwal gazes reassuringly at the public thronging around from the huge banners hung all over the premises.

Another interesting thing I saw was the rainwater harvesting tank. This is part of the government’s determination to conserve water and ensure water security for Delhiites. It really felt great! For a change, our government seems to be working at the micro level too. Keep it up! That’s all I can say at this juncture.

I noticed this lovely Bougainvillea just before entering the hospital premises.

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New potted plants were arriving that day as part of government’s drive to make the premises look better. A gardener looks curiously at me while I try to click his picture discreetly from my mobile phone!

 

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Take a look at these Government Smileys! These posters are spreading this message in Hindi, “Medicines prescribed by doctors in this hospital are completely free. If you don’t get any medicine, sms on 8745051111. This has been made possible because of honest governance.”

 

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The signboard below indicates that all services are complementary. This has been done to prevent corruption.

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The Hospital Security Staff…

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Isn’t that lovely? This Rain Water Harvesting Tank? It fills me with hope and joy

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DDU Hospital & Tihar Jail Coordination

DDUH houses a little police station which coordinates between Tihar Jail and Hospital to ensure treatment for the Tihar prisoners. The Jail ambulance keeps coming and going.

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Prisoners being taken by policemen from Hospital Police Station to DDU Hospital for treatment and back…

 

And here I am, on my way back to the office, with empty ear lobes, feeling happy and light…

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And here are those flowery dresses that I bought for myself…

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—Jasbir Chatterjee

14 May 2016

 

Experiments with Oats – Part 2

Oats Upma:

 

Inspired by my recent success with Saffola Oats tikkis, I recently tried to make oats poha. Like I do with chirwa, I put the oats in a sieve and put it under running water. Unlike chirwa, however, it became too soft and when I put it on the sauted mixture of boiled potatoes, tomatoes, onions, curry leaves, green chillies, and spices, it turned into an upma! Well, something is always better than nothing,  isn’t it? To my pleasant surprise, not only was it quite edible, it was quite tasty.

Here are the step-by-step pics.

  1. Put oats under running water.
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2. Peel the potatoes.

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3. In a karahi, add some oil. When it gets hot, add turmeric, 1/4 teaspoonful sugar, some dry fruits,  chopped onions, curry leaves, sarson, and some green chillies.

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4. Stir a little bit and then add tomatoes and roughly mashed potatoes. You may also add some jeera powder and coriander powder.

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5. Then add the oats, stir the whole stuff well, and turn off the heat. Voila! Oats upma is ready!

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Oat Poories

A few days later, on a relaxed, leisurely Sunday, I made a second attempt at making oats poha. This time, I put Saffola oats straightaway on the fried mixture without wetting them under running water. My daughter didn’t like it at all. She said it was too “dry” and felt like eating sand mixed with potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. I accepted her judgement gracefully with a smile, but I didn’t have the heart to discard it. So I quietly put it in a utensil and kept it in the fridge. While keeping the bowl there, I noticed that it had good company. It sat right next to a 2-day old black chana curry containing all the rich flavours of tomatoes, onions, and spices. An idea came to my head at that moment and I decided to use it at the earliest.

That night, I mixed the leftovers, oats poha and black chana curry, with some water in a mixie and turned the whole stuff into a paste. I mixed this paste with some atta and kneaded it all into a hard dough for making pooris. I added some salt and ajwain and kept this in the fridge.

Next morning, I made pooris out of this dough and served them hot with dry potato subzi and dahi.

Here are the pics.

The ill-fated Oats poha

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Dough of Oats poha and black chana curry

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Pooris, the end-product. (I took out little balls from the dough, dipped each one a little bit in hot oil in a karahi and flattened it with a rolling pin on a chakla. Then I deep fried each one of these and took them out after they turned brown on both sides).

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Accompaniments (dry potato subzi & curd)

Jarul Flowers In West Delhi, India

Purple Jarul Flowers near Hari Nagar Depot Red light

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Pink Jarul flowers at AG-1, Vikaspuri

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Around mid-April, a huge purple patch of purple Jarul flowers suddenly appeared near the Hari Depot red light. I noticed them while travelling in a bus on my way to work. They looked gorgeous and seemed to add a special touch to their drab surroundings. I tried to click their pictures that day, but I couldn’t; the bus was moving too fast. I tried again during the next few days, but all in vain. Sometimes the bus didn’t stop and when it did, it was too far from the spot. I promised myself that one of these days, I would come here specially to take their pics. But unfortunately, due to work pressure, I just couldn’t find the time.

And then one morning, I observed that the flowers were much fewer in number. Day by day, they kept decreasing and I wondered sadly if I would ever get the chance to take their pics before they disappeared. Compared to Gulmohur and Amaltas, Jarul trees are much fewer in Delhi.  You don’t  find them everywhere.

On 5 May 2016, I read Mayank Austen Soofi’s post on these flowers in his blog theDelhiwalla.com (http://www.thedelhiwalla.com/2016/05/04/city-season-the-jarul-flowers-of-summer-jor-bagh/).  That was sufficient to make me decide that it was now or never! I pushed my work aside as though it was a big emergency and I dashed out from my office that day to grab those shots before the flowers got trampled under the ruthless feet of Death.  While I was on my way to that place, I had the same heady, tingling feeling of excitement that I had when I went out on my first date!

After reaching the spot, I clicked lots of pics of the Jarul flowers to my heart’s content and I plucked a few to keep in my poems diary. While returning, I took some pics of the plucked flowers too. I noticed that these flowers appeared to be of different color in different intensities of light.

And next evening, while walking from the bus stop to my home, I was pleasantly surprised to find another Jarul tree. Its flowers were of magenta color; some of them had fallen off and were lying on the ground just below the tree.

Here are all the pics. They give me a deep sense of fulfilment every time I look at them. Photos are, after all, one way of immortalizing special experiences.

Jarul flowers @ Hari Nagar

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The images below are all of one particular Jarul flower. Amazing, isn’t it?

 

Jarul flowers @ Vikaspuri (AG-1)

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And finally, here they are, those lovely Jarul flowers, resting in peace forever in my poems diary…

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photo-blog with non-fiction content

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