Tag Archives: Indian

An Unhealthy Side Of Indian Cricket 

At the outset, I must hasten to mention that I am not a sports buff. So if you find anything offensive or inappropriate in this article, please accept my apologies in advance.

If given a choice, I would prefer to curl up with a book than watch a cricket match. But there are certain aspects of Indian cricket that are glaringly obvious in their murkiness. Even disinterested people like me can’t ignore them.

On Sunday, 18 June 2017, India and Pakistan cricket teams locked horns with each other for the second time in the ICC world cricket tournament in UK.  This time it was the final round. The Indian team’s entry into the final was very much expected as they had played consistently well throughout the tournament. But the manner in which the Pakistani team rose up from the bottom position to the topmost was really amazing and to a certain extent unbelievable. Was the final match also fixed? It is quite possible, considering the huge amount of money that is being pumped into cricket in this region currently by corporate groups, film personalities, and underworld organizations. The media these days only toes the official line, so this matter was a topic of hot discussions in whatsapp and secret Facebook groups.

In the backdrop of internal politics within cricket organizations in India, cross-border terrorism, and our soldiers losing their lives daily at the Indo-Pak border, one can easily understand the mental state of players of the Indian team in a highly emotional, supercharged, jam-packed stadium with abusive boos and catcalls from the audience constantly falling on their ears.  In spite of everyone’s best efforts to remain normal, the venom of political hostility invariably suffuses itself through a India-Pakistan match and the game no longer remains just a game.  It takes on sinister dimensions.

An Indian Army officer reported recently that a defeat of the Pakistani national cricket team at the hands of their Indian counterparts generally leads to a violation of ceasefire by Pakistani forces at the border, so the Indian security needs to be extra vigilant in such situations. Was it perhaps to avoid this kind of confrontation that the Indian team ultimately lost so badly to the Pakistan team on 18 June 2017? Was the Indian team threatened or bribed to literally give up on the match and appear as a happy loser? There’s no proof. So you can only keep guessing and speculating.

When playing professional cricket turns into just another ordinary job and day in and day out, that’s the only thing you do, it is perhaps natural to set aside patriotic feelings and blindly follow your superiors’ orders without considering whether they are ethical or not.

Just a few hours before the match began on 18 June 2017, the Indian team captain Virat was asked on TV how his team felt now that they were in the final. He said very diplomatically with a straight face that he has instructed his team to stay calm and composed, since it is easy to make mistakes when you are worried and tense. Winning and losing is all part of the game. You just need to accept the outcome and move on to the next match. Well, nothing wrong with this; it was quite a sensible thing to say. But the manner in which he said what he said introduced an element of doubt and gave me a premonition that the victory crackers being burst outside by my neighbors well in advance were probably all in vain.

As the match progressed from 3 PM onwards, my husband and daughter remained glued to the TV while I carried on with my Sunday chores as usual, washing, cleaning, and cooking. By the time I woke up from my Sunday afternoon siesta, Pakistan had already made a sizeable score of runs and it was clear that India was going to have a tough time catching up.

During the running commentary and panel discussions by Kapil Dev, Virendra Sehwag, and Sunil Gavaskar, a female reporter also participated. Her provocative bearing and physical appearance were in stark contrast to that of the fully suited-and-booted male commentators and gave the impression that her sole purpose of being there was to provide the much-needed eye candy during those boring moments and to grab eye balls for the advertisers and sponsors of the tournament.  Why can’t female sports commentators come in as individuals, as experts in their chosen field, just like the men, on their own terms and conditions? Why must they dress to please anyone? Isn’t it enough to sound knowledgeable and look nice and presentable? These were some of the questions that I asked myself that day. Things will perhaps improve in future when women’s cricket also becomes popular and more and more women get the chance to call the shots.

When the match ended, Virat was asked how he felt as the captain of the runnerup team. He declared with a beaming smile on his face that he didn’t feel any shame in losing to the best team and Pakistan team really played well. India also had a great tournament with several wins and that’s fine! Not a single iota of regret or remorse there. Compare this with the scene at the end of a world Soccer final match where the intensity of display of emotions of both the losing and the winning side is always on the extreme corners of the pendulum.

It was for the first time in my life that I saw a losing captain in an international tournament looking so cheerful. It looked very unnatural. That’s why the needle of suspicion points to our Indian team. They have all probably made the kind of money they wouldn’t be able to make in a lifetime of cricket. The only player who displayed some sign of disappointment on the field was Hiren Pandya when he was run out at a time when Indian hopes had just started building up.

A few days after the match, Times of India newspapers reported that the Indian team’s Head Coach Anil Kumble gave his team a sound scolding for their dismal performance and added that he was unpopular with the team because of his ‘high-handedness.’ Some of the players’ injuries during were not ‘cricket-related.’ Kumble subsequently handed in his resignation because of serious differences with Virat Kohli. Kumble had kept a low profile throughout the tournament and had not spoken to any media person whereas Virat did not mention anything about Kumble in any of his press conferences. Kumble and Virat hadn’t been on speaking terms for as many as 6 months! What can be worse than this?

The organizers, we have been made to understand, allowed Kumble to leave because they can’t afford to lose the captain, Thats’s very tragic indeed. A trend has now been set, it seems, for future coaches of the Indian team to be spineless people who would always be scared of taking new initiatives to improve team performance.

God save Indian cricket! Mera Bharat mahaan…

Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee

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The Great Indian Jugaad

If you can’t afford a BMW car, you can always use a DMW!

For those of you unfamiliar with the meaning of the word, ‘Jugaad,’ it means an innovative use of existing resources in a creative manner, as you can see here in this pic clicked at a bus/auto stand…

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Radhabollobi


My country India has a rich heritage and a huge variety of cuisines; so vast that an entire lifetime spent in trying to discover them may not be enough. This problem is further compounded by the fact that interregional marriages are still not very common and whenever any couple tries to take this bold step, it is often met with great opposition by both their families and their societies.

Being a Punjabi married to a Bengali, my discovery of Bengali cuisine began only after my marriage in December 1992. I consider it my great fortune to have had an affectionate mother-in-law who was also a very good cook. It was from her that I came to know about lots of tasty Bengali dishes with very interesting names. I think I must also mention that she often gave me pleasant surprises by making lots of Punjabi dishes for me, such as sarson ka saag, gobhi-aloo sabji, and sabut urad dal & rajma combination and they tasted better than my own Mom’s versions! That’s how she won my heart and helped me cross the barrier of language, customs, and traditions… 

My mother-in-law died in October 2009, but her spirit lives on in our house and our kitchen in particular.The utensils that I have inherited from her always remind me of her, her silent and patient way of doing things.

Apart from mishthi doi, my alltime favorite, another item that has a special place in my heart is Radhaballabhi, pronounced as ‘Radhabollobi.’ It means Radha’s beloved; a very romantic name, don’t you think? Whenever I make Radhabollobies for my husband, I imagine that I am Radha cooking for my Krishna and that’s what adds to the romance and allure of this dish.

As you must have guessed already from the introductory pic, Radhaballabhi is a poori stuffed with a spicy filling containing coarsely ground peas. I always use a healthier combination of wheat flour and maida (white flour) instead of just maida and I prefer to serve it with curd or a chutney instead of dum aloo aloo as the delicate taste and flavor of the fantastic filling tend to lose themselves in the dum aloo.

My Mom-in-law was very particular about following traditions; she called them ‘niyoms.’ She always made Radhabollobi only once or twice in a year, towards end of January. That’s when the peas are abundantly available in the market and are reasonably priced too. I also follow the same tradition.

Given below is the recipe along with pics.

1. Roast whole spices (a teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, corriander and cummin seeds, black pepper seeds in a karahi and grind these in the grinding jar of the mixie.

2. Coarsely grind the green peas (200 g) in the mixie.  In a karahi, add two tablespoons of oil and fry the ground spices and peas together till all the water dries up.

3. The filling is now ready. Put it in a bowl.

4. Prepare a hard dough with a mixture of maida and wheat flour in equal proportions and some salt as per taste.

 5. Fill the karahi with refined oil till it is about half full and switch on the gas.

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6. Take out little balls from this dough. Start off by rolling each one of them on the chakla with the rolling pin.  Dip the rolled dough ball in the hot oil a little bit to prevent it from sticking. Roll further to spread it more and put 2 teaspoons of the filling into it. Again turn it into a ball and spread it. Don’t make it too thin otherwise the filling will spill out into the hot oil while deep frying.

 

7. Once the oil becomes hot, deep fry the pooris on both sides and keep them in a plate. Serve them hot with a dip of your choice. 

Happy cooking!

Culinary Experiments

Starting point…

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This week I tried out something new in the kitchen. It was a great success and  filled me with immense joy and satisfaction. Before you jump to conclusions, let me make it clear that I am not a cooking expert and my knowledge of cooking has more to do with experience than any real interest. I cook because I have to and cooking day in and day out as a daily routine is such a mundane affair, isn’t it?

Appreciation from my family did, of course, contribute to my happiness. But more important to me was the fact that I managed to save a food item from being wasted and turn it into something that everyone found tasty. Isn’t that such a wonderful thing and environment-friendly too?

Alright, let me clear up the suspense. I am talking about the trivial, lowly murmure that gets left over from pujas at home or when we bring it home as Prasad after visiting big temples. Most of it catches fungus in the end and that’s when it is discarded. To avoid this situation, I started giving it all to my maid servant. But every time I did so, the expression on her face indicated that she did not feel very obliged. It was obvious that even she did not know what to do with it and probably just threw it away into the garbage.

What I made was the aloo tikki with a difference. Instead of using bread as the binding agent, I used the left-over murmure. First, I dried the murmure in the microwave oven and let it cool outside for about 15 minutes. Once they became crisp, I ground them in the mixie. I then mixed this powder with the boiled and peeled potatoes and rest of the procedure was as usual for tikkis, that is, adding all those ingredients (salt, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, sliced onion, green coriander, jeera powder, dhania powder, garam masala powder, and amchur) and kneading the whole stuff into tight dough. From this dough, I took out average sized balls which I rolled into tikkis.

Next step was the frying part. I used the deep frying method as it’s faster. I read somewhere that deep frying isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be vis-a-vis shallow frying. But you don’t necessarily have to accept this; it’s a democratic, free country, thank God; shallow fry your tikkis on a non-stick tawa, if that’s how you like them…

Here are the lovely tikkis, shedding their excess oil on tissue paper.

The End-products

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I would also like to add that 2 days ago, my husband brought home a fresh stock of murmure, some dry fruit, batashe, and mishri from his visit to Vaishno Devi. I mixed up some of this stuff into a bowl and had it distributed as Prasad in my office. My latest best friend in my office, a new joinee, loved it so much that she asked me to bring all the remaining once again to office especially for her. And she loved the tikkis too.

Well, that’s how I finished up my murmure this time, spreading joy and happiness all the way through…

6 April 2016