Attraversiamo.

Finally, the time for first house arrived. Forever she had been waiting for this! This was all she had, and whether good or not, she had to make best out of it.  Being eligible to have her own house, the foremost thing she wanted was to color the first wall she becomes closest friends with. And the moment she lay her eyes upon it- she knew she found it.

She gave the best of her mind, heart and dreams to it- filled it with loveliest colours and alluring lights. At the end of everyday, she would be looking forward to stand by the wall and listen, stare and talk to it believing it was replying to her, looking back at her in the same way. She was convinced that she needed none in this world except this wall, so did the wall tell her- or so did she sensed.

Gradually, her needs increased, her wings spread. And the same colours of the wall only cluttered her mind more, washing out any remaining vestige of coherent thought. The same colours of the wall didn’t make any sense to her. The familiarity with the wall would want to bring her back to show how deeply she cared for this wall. She wouldn’t believe it’s the same wall she thought she could live with forever! And then, she had given so much to it, she couldn’t believe the wall wouldn’t reciprocate the same way.

The spell was breaking.

She gazed around the room uncomprehendingly. Wasn’t she just in her bedroom? How did she get downstairs? She felt like she’s in an oven. Why is it so hot, isn’t it winter? The flesh beneath her coat was burning, radiating waves of heat that seem to drift up, slowing baking her muddled thoughts and changing the steady throb in her head into a pincer grip. The uneasiness kicked off an adrenal response, causing her vision to sharpen and her breathing to speed up, sides beginning to heave as her lungs started displacing large amounts of air.

Was she tired? Tired doesn’t begin to describe it. She thought she used to know what tired was, after she got up this morning, or when she would stay up too late reading, or if she was awoken in the middle of the night and had trouble getting back to sleep. This wasn’t tired. This was whatever comes after tired, maybe even whatever came after that. What would come after tired? Dog-tired? Bone-weary? Her thoughts floated languorously, directionless and unconnected, like small boats adrift in a fog. She felt wrung out, weak and watery, like someone replaced her body with a balloon filled with warm liquid.

Then reality struck. There came a time she just couldn’t stand it. She was probably searching for windows of clarity, but the wall was a bit too coloured. She couldn’t undo it, it was all too there stuck on it. Having been too excited about her first house, she probably never noticed the wall naked. Perhaps, if she had noticed it for longer, she wouldn’t have chosen to make it so special.

Meanwhile, in despair when she turned her back to it- in search of another friend wall to be with and talk to, the not-so-special-anymore-wall suddenly felt all the vacuum of her attention, starting to nag at her to look at it, to show how wonderful it is, reminding her of how much she cared for it once upon a time. But there were too many shades on the wall to look through to see the truth of it. Maybe, it was time for her to search for the lock and key.

Her gaze traveled sluggishly along the wall she poured her heart into, coming to rest on the window- following the lines left by the rain drops as they run down the glass in long streaks. It’s raining outside, fat drops that splatter dramatically across the pane. She’s so thirsty, she’s never been so thirsty before. Or so hot, not even when she came down with the flu and had a fever. She needs to cool off, she needs some water. The surge and rush of the wind begins to fill her ears, and she can see the limbs of the trees outside, dancing back and forth to its rhythm. The rain looks so inviting, so cool, the pattering of the drops against the pane a gentle sound that seems almost to be calling out to her.

Staggering, she hobbled across the living room, her legs feeling weak and unfamiliar, coming up short when she reached the front door. She struggled with the knob, her teeth sliding across the polished brass plating before finally gaining purchase. With a muffled grunt of effort, she managed to turn it enough for the latch to disengage, allowing it to swing open on a gust of wind before weakly nosing open the screen door, and crossing the porch.

The rain, driven by the wind and made cold by the low temperature, hits her full on, stinging her eyes and making her close them. She begins to shiver instantly, the involuntary motion flinging little droplets of water off of her coat and away into the storm. The wet and the chill feel wonderful, soothing like a balm. With a shaky laugh, she makes her way out into the downpour.

——
(Let’s cross over. That’s what the Italian phrase, “Attraversiamo” means… Crossing over or passing through.)
Credits: PourMeADrink and Veronica Gautam

Edible Entertainment : Dabeli

Dabeli literally means pressed in Gujarati. It is said to be invented by  Keshavji Gabha Chudasama alias Kesha Malam, resident of Mandavi, Kutch in decades of 1960. He had never imagined that the product would become popular one day. When he started business he sold a Dabeli at one anna or six paisa. His shop is still there in Mandvi and business is now carried by his next generations. Continuing with my obsession with food, I bring you an in-depth look at my favorite Gujarati snack. Compared to the light and healthy Khakra (the “world famous” gujarati snack), this one will have you dashing to a dietitian full of guilt! Dabeli The Dabeli is deceptively simple looking  like an Indian burger with fried-potato sprinkles on top. But one bite is enough to tell you that inside lies a tantalizing combination of complex flavors and textures. The taste explodes in your mouth and brings you to salivation so you just want to take bite after bite after bite. It is sweet yet with a spicy kick. It is smooth but with a surprising crunch or two. It is chewy and buttery and melts in your mouth. Though I love dabeli made at home (the second thing that I eat after reaching home), there is plenty of innovation and creativity out there. For example, at Surat, a couple of years ago, I had a chance of eating cheese-jam dabeli,  an inch-thick layer of butter and jam mounted by a grated giant block of cheese, with its soft curls hanging around. I bit into cheese-jam tentatively but soon realized that  this was probably one of the grossest and yummiest things I had every eaten. I felt like little kid, catching falling bits of cheese with my tongue and smiling between gleefully between gooey mouthfuls of cheese and jam. The last of it’s kind! If you have never ever tested Dabeli, the only possible explanation can be you have never been to Gujarat. If you don’t know where you can get your hands on a Dabeli, try this recipe and share the topping you were daring enough to experiment with! (This post was written after having Dabelis as dinner!)

Credits: fortyredbangles

મળે ન મળે

નદી ની રેત માં રમતું નગર મળે ન મળે,
ફરી આ દ્રશ્ય સ્મૃતિપટ ઉપર મળે ન મળે.

ભરી લો શ્વાસ માં એની સુગંધ નો દરિયો,
પછી આ માટીની ભીની અસર મળે ન મળે.

પરિચિતોને ધરાઈને જોઈ લેવા દો,
આ હસતા ચેહરા; આ મીઠી નજર મળે ન મળે.

ભરી લો આંખ માં રસ્તાઓ, બારીઓ, ભીંતો,
પછી આ શહેર, આ ગલીઓ, આ ઘર મળે ન મળે.

રડી લો આજ સંબંધોને વીંટળાઈ અહીં ,
પછી કોઈને કોઈની કબર મળે ન મળે.

વળવા આવ્યા છે એ ચેહરા ફરશે આંખોમાં,
ભલે સફર માં કોઈ હમસફર મળે ના મળે.

વતનની ધૂળથી માથું ભરી લઉં ‘આદીલ’,
અરે આ ધૂળ પછી ઉમ્રભર મળે ન મળે.

– ‘આદીલ’ મન્સૂરી [‘સતત’ પુસ્તક]

Leaving home for End-Semester exams at IIT Kanpur.