Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Today my Fish Seller Asha got me fresh Sardines----after ages I got this Fish!!!We're lucky to have these women who come to the doorsteps to sell us fresh Fish---the sight of these reminded me of my Jaya---who passed away 7 years ago.
Jaya was a Fish seller---she and I first met in 1975---she was referred to me by Mami,my Aunt(my Bal Mama's wife)who lived nearby.Since I grew up in Chandigarh I was totally ignorant about buying fresh Fish---our daily staple.I therefore needed a person who'd give me good Fish---value for Money!!This lady was the most popular Fish Seller in the area---nobody could match the quality and freshness of her Fish.My Sayali was just 8 months old then---and adored Fish!!As the days,months and years passed Jaya became the mainstay of my household----except Mondays she'd visit daily---both my daughters loved her and gave her star treatment whenever they were around!!!We'd indulge in chat sessions while she cut and cleaned the Fish--- and she'd pass on the latest gossip of the region---she knew everyone and was a beloved visitor to all Fish eating homes in our area!!!
The moment she rang the bell my two cats---Lotta and Sayali would first seat her on a "PAAT" or wooden stool.This would be followed by a glass of Water which would be followed by a cup of Tea or Coffee---and then the serious business of buying Fish would begin.Both the girls would squat down and peer into Jaya's "Paati" or basket----she carried so many varieties on her head---I called her"Iron Neck'!!!Live Crabs,Prawns(Shrimps), Clams, King Fish,Pomfret,Flying Fish,Sword Fish,Baby Sharks---she was like a Super Market--endless choices!!!!Besides this she'd set aside stuff ordered by her regulars in a basket that she carried in her hands---the energy and strength she possessed was great.She was a large fat lady---not very tall--with a very sweet and loving face,demeanor and disposition---I never saw her lose her temper ever in all the years I knew her with anyone--ever!!!
She introduced me to many different species of Fish and also taught me various methods of cooking these----she was a master in various culinary styles!!She gave me lots of Recipes for cooking Fish----Konkani,Goan,Mangalorean---her suggestions were truly fantastic----all these were the styles used by her many customers!!Jaya was an Encyclopedia on Fish---which was good for women after Childbirth,during Preganancy,for an upset stomach---many pieces of valuable information were stored in that wise head!!!
She became one of my very dear friends---I'd miss her if she didn't come.She was so involved in my daughters--specially when Lotta got married she came to bless her at the Wedding!!She was a part of my daily life--someone on whom I had become totally dependant---not just for Fish---we had become very close friends.She had become an indivisible part of my Life.
Then disaster struck---she found out that she was a heavy Diabetic with very High Blood Pressure---she was asked to cut down her activities to the minimum---we were all upset to hear this.Her two daughters--Mangal and Kalpana began accompanying her---till she got an injury on her foot during the Monsoons.That injury worsened---leading to amputation of her foot and finally to her death within a year.
These days her daughter Kalpana sometimes comes with Fish---though extremely good the quality does not match her mother's---nor does she have the variety.I have learnt to buy Fish from the Fish Market---following tips taught to me by Jaya---and have found a young lady so like her that a session with Sujata does me good!!!
Jaya was Jaya---unique in her way that no one can be totally like her---even her own daughters can't match up!!!I miss her tremendously----she is an integral part of my past!!!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The daily Healthy Reflections mail got me thinking----what really does give Happiness???I then decided to list the things I love----things I can't live without---and so here goes guys!!!
The best thing about Sudhir is his beautiful smile---I love the way his deep brown eyes light up when he smiles---he still looks like a young boy and my heart still misses a beat!!!
The memory of the first glimpse of my grand-Daughter and my daughters---it still makes my heart swell with emotion.The warm baby breath,their toothless and later toothy smiles,the warm scent of their bodies---all is hoarded away to view at leisure---and whenever I'm feeling down---these act as instant pick-me-ups for me!!!
A call from my Grand-daughter just to talk to me---just listening to that happy little voice burbling away just makes my day---her late evening is my early morning in India!!!
The call of the Cuckoo in the pre-dawn of early Spring makes my heart miss a beat---it is so beautiful!!!I survived my Chemotherapy with a smile on my face thanks to that melodious companionship---it seemed to me that the bird just called to give me company!!!
Sunrises and Sunsets are so special.Sunsets also change according to weather---Winter Sunsets are different from the Summer ones.The best Sunrises are those when one awakes early and watches the play of Light slowly transforming the darkness on the horizon.
The darkening of the Sky just before the first clap of Thunder,the blinding flash of Lightning and the gusty Winds signalling the onset of the Monsoons----the dust scented cool gusts carry a wonderful magic---it's fun to be there just to experience it!!!
The first drops of Rain falling on the thirsty parched Earth and the awesome scent of the Earth---everything looks rejuvenated---fresh,green and ALIVE!!!The welcome coolness in the Air and the ambience in the clean and green Garden---just lovely!!
I love scents---I'm something of a scent fanatic---my nose is my best companion---I'd love to smell the scented Air of Kshmir Valley again.The beauty of the Valley is legendary no doubt but the first thing that I first noticed was the scented Atmosphere.There was a heady scent of Crocus,Iris,Narcissus,Roses and many types of Jasmine scenting the roads---these grew wild by the roadside.Also the Air in the Himalayan Mountains and Foot Hills feels different and has a smell so unique it cannot be duplicated---ever!!!
Lastly the smell of Food---yuuuuummmm---I live to eat--that's what landed me in this mess in the first place---but I still find Food hard to resist.The smells of Pan-Asian food,Barbecues and Bacon sizzling in the frying pan----I think those are the best smells in the whole wide World!!!!!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
My favourite passtime is watching old movies---both Bollywood and Hollywood---there are some that I can watch any number of times!!!The range is extensive and the best way to connect with the past----watch these old Movies!!!
Musicals like "My Fair Lady","The Sound Of Music" , "Mary Poppins","Singing in the Rain","Fiddler on the Roof" are among those I love---the songs are to die for!!!There are so many more but these are closer to my heart----I have seen these so often that certain dialogues are imprinted on my mind!!I saw these movies again with my children and got a fresh perspective and enjoyed them even more as an adult.Other movies like"Roman Holiday","Cleopatra",Movies based on the Second World War and all of the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers---with the exception of "Psycho"---even today are on my "must see" list!!!
Both my daughters sing very well---they take after their father---I just croak(not that it keeps me quiet!!!).Their repertoire included many beautiful songs but my personal favourites were "Feed the Birds"from "Mary Poppins" and "Maria" from the "Sound of Music"----the way the two of them had blended their voices together was a treat for the ears!!!
"Dr. Zhivago and Lara's Theme"were among the other favourites----I have made so many Audio Cassettes of these to be played at bedtime---great way to drift asleep---the soft strains of the Music act as lullabies!!!I'm now on the lookout for someone to convert these to CDs----maybe I'll teach myself to do it!!!
Bollywood is another thing.I love the old Movies with beautiful Music---all our films are musicals---again have sooooo many Cassettes----to watch I prefer the later films---happy themes and happy endings!!!Serious movies are a bit taxing----big critical acclaim---but Life's a bore anyway---one doesn't need to be reminded just how much!!!Dev Anand,Shammi Kapoor,Shashi Kapoor movies are a blend of Humour,Passion and Music---perfect way to unwind!!!Our film Music is extensive ------in myriad different moods---it can make make you laugh,cry,be pensive or nostalgic---blessed with the great vocals of legendary Singers---I think India is truly blessed!!!Regional films---in my case---Marathi Movies also are rich in their artistic content.Old films made by stalwarts like V.Shantaram and Raja Paranjapey are beautiful to watch.They too were blessed with great Music by Sudhir Phadkey,Srinivaas Khaley,Vasant Desai,Vasant Prabhu,Vasant Pawar,Ram Kadam to name a few and the simple and beautiful poetry of the lyrics---written by G.D.Madgulkar,Shanta Shelkey,Jagdish Khebudkar,Aarti Prabhu to name a handful----are today revered as timeless classics!!!Today we are again acquiring a new edge by the new movies being made---depicting the vagaries of Life as it is---backed by a fantastic new generation of Actors,Directors,Writers and Musical prodigies---Singers and Composers!!One could call this a Renaissance of the Marathi Theatre and Films---with a bang!!
Technology ia a great thing---it preserves our Heritage and our memories---giving our future generation an insight into how the Past progressed into the Present and further into the Future.The service it provides in helping us to de-stress is unmatched by any other method of relaxation.
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