I have never been a BJP supporter and my chances of becoming one in the near future are very remote. Like every other political party, BJP also has its share of extremely aggressive fundamentalists and their tendency to saffronize every burning issue fills me with insecurity as a writer and a citizen of a secular, freethinking country.
But UP’s current Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, to my pleasant surprise, has turned out to be a big exception. A lot of positive changes are already quite visible if you go by the qualitative difference these days in a patch of land near my office. Garbage is being removed very fast, public spaces illegally encroached upon are being freed, and so many developmental projects, both big and small, that were stagnant earlier are being revived and pushed to completion; and all this is happening very efficiently, quietly, silently, peacefully, without any clashes, loss of lives or property.
This is what India needs at this time. Sabka sath, sabka vikas (Hindi phrase meaning “Everyone’s support, everyone’s progress”) seems to be turning into a reality…We need many, many more dedicated politicians like Yogiji in future. If development goes on at this pace for next 5 years at least, UP will probably become India’s best state…
Just take a look at these pics of the area I am talking about, clicked both before and after the elections about 2 months ago. It will help you understand what I mean.
Before elections…Till around Jan.16…
After elections…Can you see the huge difference? This pic was clicked in Apr.17.
Some more construction pics post elections…
Can you spot 2 tiny men working inside this huge framework?
I was not shocked when I read this, to be honest. It simply had to happen. Just look around you in UP. No one seems to be doing anything about pollution. We are either passive spectators or carelessly contributing to it. Garbage is burnt daily all over UP with impunity. Immersions of dead bodies and holy idols into rivers happen daily and all through the year. Every Diwali, in spite of so many campaigns, millions of polluting crackers are burnt.
Governments must remember that without public involvement, anti-pollution measures will have no meaning whatsoever. There seems to be a major disconnect here in UP and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav needs to steer his state out of useless politics and engage his people in more constructive activities.
Since I pass through Ghaziabad and Noida daily on my way to work, I feel concerned and writing this piece is my way of doing my bit for this situation as a writer. Take a close look at the pic above and you will understand what I mean.
Isn’t it sad, the way we vandalize our environment and let poor animals search for food in the ashes we leave behind?
I wonder what our so-called Gau-Rakshaks (bovine protectors) will say when they see this pic…This is at some place in UP (Uttar Pradesh), North India…
Yesterday, on 25 August 2016, apart from the usual headlines on murder, rapes, and suicides, our national dailies (links given below) were all agog with reports of our national highways planning to use mountains of garbage piled up at landfills like the one at Ghazipur. It filled me with hope and optimism. Let’s see how it goes.
If you ever happen to be walking on a dusty street of Delhi, just stop for a moment and look around you. You will most certainly find a couple of culinary heroes. They are generally migrants who have come from far-flung towns and villages in UP, Bihar, Haryana, Darjeeling, Nepal, Mizoram, etc. From morning till night, they cook, toil, and sweat, and sell their stuff to the locals with the hope of earning enough money for themselves and their folks back home. Their grit, courage, and determination are really admirable and that’s what makes them little Gods in their own right. The items they sell may not qualify for Michelin’s 5-star status, but they carry that special touch and feel of the land they have originated from. This is what makes Delhi a melting pot of so many cultures and cuisines.
Let me tell you about 2 such people.
Raju: You will find him at Uttam Nagar Bus Terminal, near Uttam Nagar East Metro Station. He has come from Uttar Pradesh. From morning till night, he fries cocktail samosas in a little karahi and sells them to the passersby. His price is Rs.10 for 4 samosas, that is, Rs.2.50 per piece, which is damn cheap if you compare it with a standard samosa in Delhi which costs Rs.10 per piece. His low pricing is his way of fighting competition.
A few days ago, it was raining when I passed by his shop. I usually avoid street food, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation and I bought these samosas. I was pleasantly surprised to find them very tasty and the spices were very balanced too. During the rainy season, he puts up a tent and carries on because sales are much more when it rains. Considering the amount of plastic that goes inside a packet of Kurkure of the same price (Rs.10), these samosas are, I think, far safer and more nutritious. Try them whenever you are passing through this place and you feel like eating something crunchy and spicy.
Tashi Sherpa: Tashi works for a living at Mini Market, AG-1 Vikaspuri. He has come from Darjeeling and lives in Uttam Nagar at present. He began his business in Vikaspuri about a year ago. His daily routine begins here at 4 PM.
His most significant contribution to this locality has been the introduction of ‘Buglet,’ a recipe which he has brought from Darjeeling, and 2 new varieties of samosa, chowmein samosa and macaroni samosa.
Samosas with fillings other than potatoes were earlier associated with places like Moti Nagar and Paharganj. Thanks to Tashi, we get them now in AG-1, Vikaspuri too! He is doing quite well here, he says with his characteristic smile, especially with his buglets and samosas.
Buglet is a kind of roll made from maida stuffed with chicken or vegetables depending on the preferences of the customers. The roll is fried in a karahi and sliced into two before serving.
Here are the photographs.
Raju @ Uttam Nagar Bus Terminal
Tashi Sherpa, AG-1, Vikaspuri
Buglets being deep-fried…
Before serving/packing, each Buglet is sliced into 2 pieces.
Tashi, busy with his customers…
Here are a few more heroes and Gods. These pics were all clicked near Uttam Nagar Red Light…
Seller of luscious and colorful fruits
Guptaji’s Faluda Kulfi…
Pawan Tikki Burger
Selling Shikanji (drink made with lemon juice, water, sugar, ice, and spices)