Thursday, 21 May 2015

Al dente : Part 3

“Yes.” she said.
“I ordered a plate of scrambled eggs. And you gave me a plate of eggs with tomatoes and some weird looking green things and…”
He cut her midways, before she could complete her sentence.
“They are called kale, dear, and they are healthy for you.” He flashed a grim expression.
“Okay! But why is my plate full of cheese?” she asked in an angry tone.

“Because that’s the way we Italians like to have our scrambled eggs. What’s the point of eating a plate of plain and boring eggs when you can have it in a delicious way! That’s up on the front board. We serve only delicious food here.” He stated.
“And this…” pointing towards the melting cheese he said, “This is happiness. Haven’t you heard what a photographer says when he clicks a portrait? He says, ‘cheese’. Cheese means happiness, cheese means laughter. Have you seen anyone eat, or even say, cheese with a sad face? No! ” He shrugged.

His imbecile explanation somehow made sense to Shivani. A smile lingered over her face as she heard him talking more about how much he loves his cheeses.

“You haven’t even tried it yet. Did you?” he asked.
Shivani realized, she has been so distracted by the tomatoes and kales that she didn’t even had a single bite. She picked up the spoon, which was lying idle on her table since the moment she walked in, and dig into the platter. She tried to heap on all the elements on one tea spoon, making it overflow with the melting cheese and shove it into her mind. That taste! That perfect combination of sweet, savoury, citric flavour from the lime juice and that cheese, it really brings the dish together. It would be an understatement if she didn’t say that this was the best scrambled eggs she'd ever had.

She looked up to the chef. He was eagerly tring to analyse her expression, crossing his arms over his chest.
“It’s delicious.” She said, with hesitation.
His face lit up with pride, as he looked at her with an ‘I-told-you-so’ expression, but kept mum.

“I’m sorry. I’m just having a rough week. I shouldn’t have disturbed you.” She said, making a sad face.
“Ahh! Don’t worry about me. My shift is over anyway.” He said, stripping away his apron.
“And moreover I’ve been working here for the past three years and you are the first customer who summoned me to criticise my food. Usually, people do that to say how delicious it is. You intrigue me!” He chuckled, making gestures in the air.

She loved this about Italian people. They talk with their body. As if their body is in sync with their mouth. And that makes them more convincing. They speak their minds, and it shows.
Same goes with the chef, when he was angry, it showed. And now he was pleasantly surprised, and it was showing.

“So what’s your story?” He asked, neatly folding his apron and placing it on the table.
“My story?” Shivani asked, confused.
“Yes! Signora. Your story. I mean on a beautiful sunny morning like this, you are sitting alone with a notebook and a pencil box. What are you, an artist?” He asked, pulling the chair next to her and making himself comfortable.

His eyes sparkled as he spoke. And that spark was telling Shivani that there was something very engaging about him, something very alluring. And that mystery was attracting her to have this conversation even if she didn’t want to.

“No. I’m an author. I’m just trying to write a story. But nothing inspires me enough to write about.” Shivani explained her misery.
“Maybe I can help with that. But only if you tell me your name.” The chef grinned charmingly. Flashing a smile so enchanting that no one can ever say no to.

To be continued...

Source: here.

P.S.You can read the previous parts of the story :

  • "Al dente : Part 1" from here.
  • "Al dente : Part 2" from here.

Author's Note :  I am overjoyed to see the responses to my posts. So here's something new and exciting for the readers. 'Al Dente' is a series. I'll be posting it part by part. Drop in your comments to encourage this new endeavour. Thanks in advance. Keep supporting. :) 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Al dente : Part 2

One fine morning, she decided to take a break from the job. She took out a month just to embrace the city and to write. She knew that her this decision will hamper her career as a fashion designer, but she was ready to make that sacrifice, to write.

Ever since she came there, Shivani didn’t have the chance to roam around Rome. In the first week, all she did was to explore the city. She went to  the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, Santa Maria and all the places she wanted to see but couldn’t because of her tight schedule.

She wandered through the narrow, winding streets to the vast lonely roads, just in search of muse. She went to the countryside, tasted some wine; she even went to the busiest corners of the city in search of inspiration. Stories, which were crippling around her head, were nowhere to be found. That is one thing about art; it comes naturally. If you don’t execute an idea when it is blooming, you’ll lose it for sure. And you can’t force an idea into execution. To be able to execute an art, is an art itself.

And with the first week gone, she was nowhere near around starting to pen down a story. Panic found its way through her ambition. She had only three weeks left of her deadline, and she was yet to write a single word.

No matter how beautiful Roman mornings are, when you’re stuck in a condition such as Shivani, instead of embracing the beauty, you’d start hating it. How can a city filled with multicultural people, with their own sets of problems, be so calm? It feels like Yoga when you wake up in the early morning and have a look around. People are in rush, but they are not chaotic. Everything seems so serene, so romantic!

‘Urg!’ frustration was getting the better of her. ‘I need to start writing. And I need to start writing today.’ she thought. After a quick fresh up, she grabbed her notebook, her box full of pens, and the keys to her bicycle, and left for an unknown destination. She crossed some roads, riding past some parks, and finally reached to a weary but opulent white building. There was something sumptuous about the simplicity of that place. Something was scribbled in Italian, which, if roughly translated be said as ‘Delicious food’.

Shivani parked her bike, and went inside the building. She had heard of this place. People say the ambience is so calm here, that you can almost hear the chirping noises of the birds outside. And the food here, is literally ‘Delicious’.

A waiter, dressed in vibrant white welcomed her with a typical "Ciao" and escorted her to a table of two. The place was almost full. Though morning was getting over and sun was scorching high above, but inside, she felt a decent morning breeze. Two minutes inside, and she could feel the place charming its charisma. “One plate of scrambled eggs. And one cup of Cioccolata Calda” she ordered, trying hard to pronounce ‘cioccolata’ as the Italians do. ‘Why can’t they just call it hot chocolate? After all that is what cioccolata calda is!' she chuckled.

As soon as the waiter left, she took out her notebook and started gazing outside. All she could think about was her home in Kolkata. Life there is so different. There was this closeness to earth that she used to feel when she was in India. Everything was not for a reason. She could do anything she wanted, anytime she wanted. But here in Rome, when she’s finally facing the world, she always feels like she is chained. Unknown shackles of responsibility and pressure were somehow extracting the closeness from her. She felt detached.

“Your scrambled eggs and Cicolata calda, signora.” the waiter said.

She withdrew her graze from nowhere, and looked at the plate.

“Why are there tomatoes in my scramble?”  She asked softly, still lost in thoughts of home.

“Pardon me signora, I can’t understand you.” The waiter replied.

“I ordered scrambled eggs! And this is something with tomatoes and some green things. What is this thing?” Shivani said, flustered.

“I apologise, madam. Do you want me to call the chef for you?” the waiter said. He didn’t have a clue.

“Yes. Please call him.” She ordered.

The waiter went inside the kitchen, and Shivani heard as he and the chef yelled something in Italian. And a gentleman emerged through the gate and approached towards Shivani. He was dressed in a black full sleeved tee-shirt and denim blue jeans. And a white apron was kissing his body like a wrapper wrapped neatly onto a gift.He had long hair that was tied into a not-so-long ponytail. By the looks of him, she figured he was about her age: somewhere between late twenties and early thirties. He folded his sleeves up to his elbow as he came forward. He rested his arms on her table, and leaned towards her. "So you have a problem with my food?" he asked in a typical Italian accent.

To be continued... 

Source: here.

P.S.- You can read the previous part of the story : "Al dente : Part 1" from here.
         You can read the next part of the story : "Al dente : Part 3" from here.

Author's Note :  I am overjoyed to see the responses to my posts. So here's something new and exciting for the readers. 'Al Dente' is a series. I'll be posting it part by part. Drop in your comments to encourage this new endeavour. Thanks in advance. Keep supporting. :) 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Al Dente : Part 1

The mornings in Rome are just divine. It is said that Rome is the eternal city, and a sunny morning like that is just another evidence. It has withstood over 2700 years and like an old, wise grandparent. Despite of its wrinkly frontispiece, Rome still blooms with pride. But with every passing day, new buildings and skyscrapers that withheld themselves, maybe out of intimidation of the history and culture of Rome, is making their way through. Like sun-rays creep through holes on the wooden wall and brightens any dark room, these multiplexes lift the heritage of Rome and with care and love, sand was slowly incorporating modernity.

Shivani was elated when she got to know that she had to shift to Rome for her new job in fashion designing. Though she had never been away from her parents, but this was an offer that she just could not turn down. She admired everything about Italy, and more precisely, Rome. Renaissance, Michelangelo and Italian cuisine. What’s there to not love? And being an author of three romantic novels, Rome was highlighted on her wish-list.

But things look prettier in the head, than they are in reality. A vacation in Rome was she always dreamt of. But to work, to dwell in the daily life of a foreign country that is thousands of miles away from her home, was not as serene as she thought it would be. And to add to her misery, her publisher was pushing her constantly to write another chick-lit, for her fan-base was dying to read from her again. It has been two years since she had penned down a book. And if she doesn’t write now, she may lose her fan following. She’ll be just another author who was lost in the crowd. But her dreams were to stand aside from the crowd. Not just aside, but above. She wants to touch the sky. Feel the furious breeze and to see water droplets evaporating and then making love on the cloud. She wanted to see the whole world drenching in rain from up above her cloud. And she was succeeding. She had already written a trilogy before finishing graduate school, and was nominated for various awards. She loved writing so much that writing loved her back.

Everything was going as planned, until she moved to Rome. Now she was regretting her decision to some extent. Her routine was exploited during the process, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t take out time to write. Stories were crawling inside her mind like worms, but she couldn’t get them out on a piece of paper. Not because she lacked the expertise, but because time was becoming her worst enemy.

To be continued... 

Source: here.

Author's NoteI am overjoyed to see the responses to my posts. So here's something new and exciting for the readers. 'Al Dente' is a series. I'll be posting it part by part. Drop in your comments to encourage this new endeavour. Thanks in advance. Keep supporting. :) 

P.S.- You can read the next part of the story : "Al dente : Part 2" from here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Treat or fiasco.

I remember that day precisely. It was a Sunday evening. And it was our anniversary. Our relationship had just completed one year. It was a bitter-sweet experience, though slightly inclined to the sweet part. The journey was a roller-coaster, each peak was enjoyable.
I had promised her a beautiful evening. I had it all planned out. We'd watch a movie together, and then a romantic dinner, and then a long walk back to home. That evening was supposed to be a perfect one. I knew how happy she would be. And I could do anything to see that smile one her face to linger just a little longer.
It would have been a perfect date, but I forgot something. I forgot that some political party called for a strike that very day. And everything including movie theatres to restaurants was closed that day. I tried to find just a single diner which was open. But couldn't find one.
So I called my mother, telling her everything. And the question she asked after hearing the whole story was - "What's in your fridge?"
"What?" I stuttered.
"Tell me what do you have in your fridge. Hurry!" She ordered.
So like an obedient son, that I was, I went to the fridge and opened it up.
"There's some Chicken, some yogurt, and some vegetables." I replied.
"Great" she sounded ecstatic.
"Now you'll cook a perfect dinner for your girlfriend." She said.
"Have you lost your mind, ma? You know I can't cook." I said, helplessly.
"Don't worry. I'll be cooking." She said giggling.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"See, I will not disconnect the call until you finish cooking. You just do whatever I ask you to do, and you'll have the best dinner." She replied.
"But ma, I don't know that I can pull this off or not. It could end up being a treat or a fiasco" I said with a shaky voice.
"Don't worry! Just listen to your mother and you'll have such delicious food that she'll remember forver." She said in a calm and composed tone.
"Okay." I gave up. And besides, I did not have much choice, I could try and make her a meal myself, or I can send her home with an empty stomach.
"What do you want me to do first?" I asked my mother over the phone.
"Wash the chiken and marrinate it in..." she contineued.
That day, within two hours I had prepare a stunning tandoori chiken, a side of veg salad, a mint chutney, and perfect paratha to eat.
I would rember that day for the rest of my life. I, who had never made a cup of copy himself, made a beautiful and dinner. I lid candels all over my place, and we watched a movie on the DVD player, and then this charming dinner. She was wooed. And there was just one person to thank for, my first expert, my mother.

"I am writiing this post for Godrej #MyFirstExpert contest ( hosted by Indiblogger.

That Tandoori Chiken with Salad, and Mint chutney.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A letter to maa.

Dear maa,

Like any other adult, I don't remember much of my childhood. Just bits and pieces. Scratches of memories, both bitter and sweet. But among all those experiences, I can't remember a time when you weren't around. You were always there with me. You pushed me when I needed that extra motivation. You were my anchor at times when I couldn't control myself. Teenage is a very crucial and critical time for any individual, but with you by my side, it seemed like a cakewalk. You were a friend to me, a supporter and a guide, when needed. And with these little moments of happiness, and tiny tokens of love, I grew up with a lot of morals and values. And to be very frank, you are one of the most honest human being, I  have ever come across.
There were several moments and incidents when you proved your impeccable honesty. And especially, I remember that one time. I was little, studying in class four or five. I had just come back from school. It was a holiday season, and our distant aunt, from Delhi, had come to visit us with her family, unannounced. The house was a mess. You were running around from one corner of the kitchen to the other. Though the maid was helping you, but preparing a sudden meal, for an entire family at such an ungodly hour is not an easy task. But you still manage to hang a smile on your face. You fixed me a quick meal, and I was busy with the TV.
Just then, I heard a beeping sound. It was the fire alarm! The kitchen was on fire. And you were stuck. I came running, only to find out that flames had devoured the entrance of the kitchen. I was frightened, and helpless.
Though you were saved, but you had suffered second-degree burns. And upon asking, you could have easily put the blame on the maid. But what did you do?
You accepted and took all the responsibility. The embarrassment and the defamation came with it was uncalled for. You could have easily avoided the condemnation, but no, you faced everything with an apologetic face.
That day, I learnt a very important lesson of life. You taught me the value of honesty. Without honestly a human cannot live with dignity and pride. You inspire me maa. You always have been, and you always will be.

                                                                                                          With love,
                                                                                                                 Your son.

I am writing a letter about how a mother teaches honesty to her child with the Max Life Insurance i-genius #YoursHonestly activity in association with BlogAdda.”

Image Source: here.

A Poem For Maa

Whenever I was lost,
You gave me light.
Whenever I felt defeated,
You gave me the strength to fight.
You are the reason of my existence,
You are the reason of my love,
You are my guide, my friend,
An angel sent from above.

Though our bodies are miles far,
Our souls will remain near.
You are the reason of my happiness,
And the comfort when I am in fear.

I can't even say 'Thank You',
It would be so lame,
Thanking a mother for her love,
Will always be a shame.
And all I want to pray is,
May you live long
May all the happiness be yours..
May you always be as strong.
And always remember,
You have a son who cares for you,
No matter what happens next,
He will always love you.

Image source: here.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Rabindranath and our generation.

Yesterday, my roommate asked me, "Do you know what day is tomorrow?"
"Saturday", I replied, without even looking at him.
"And why is it special?" He asked, with a grin on his face.
I looked up at him, and tried to remember. No, I didn't remember anything as such. What could it be? Mother's day? But isn't that supposed to be the second Sunday of May?
"Mother's day. But that's not tomorrow. That's the day after that." I said.
"No. Tommorow is a special day. You should know. Try to remember" He stated.
"I can't think of anything." I replied.
He went to the next room, and through the thin wall, I heard him asking the same question to others. At first, no one could answer, but then, someone replied, "Isn't tomorrow 25 se baishak?"
As soon as that penetrated through my ears, I was left with an utter disappointment with myself. How can I forget? I claim to have a knack for writing, and the man who won the first Nobel prize for literature in India, the legend who wrote our national anthem I forgot his birthday! I forgot Rabindra Jayanti?
So the natural question arises, is it only my ignorance, or the impact of Rabindranath is fading away day by day? Will the coming generations ever know of his great works, or will he just be a legend just present in textbooks, but not in their hearts?

source: here.

Source: here.

The answers for all these questions are as complicated as the questions themselves.  The only answerable part is what are the views of our generation on Rabindranthith. Is he only trending on twitter and facebook on this very day? Or is he a trending topic on our everyday life?
And to answer that we have to dig deeper into his works, and find out exactly what is left of it. Are people interested to read his poems, and stories even now? Are they listening to his songs till now? Are they enjoying his dramas?

Source: here.

Source: here.

And ironically, the answer is noticeably short. Yes! People are still reading Rabindranath. His books are still ruling the market. And not only in a commercial sense, Sanchayita and Geetanjali are the absolute favorites for many till present. People are reading and rediscovering Rabindranath each and every day. He is someone who is still alive even after seventy-four years of his death, through his works. But Reinterpretation and rediscovery! How? One can ask.
Let's talk about Rabindra Sangeet, the songs written and composed by Tagore. The beauty of the verses are incomparable. Even today, they are as popular as contemporary songs, if not more. And alterations, and arrangements are made to rediscover the beauty of these. The use of technology and more precise electronic and acoustic instruments helps to built an arrangement with is loved by the youth. And in this way the Rabindra Sangeets are being rediscovered,
Let's talk about Tagore's proses, novels, and dramas. They are a major influence for many regional and  national skits, soaps, and movies. As for example, Chokher Bali was influenced by a story of the same name by Tagore,  And apart for Chokher bali, there is Kabuliwala, Elar char Adhyay, The last poem, Dekha na-dekha, and many more for that example. And it is heard that a bengali movies based on the personal life of him is to be released this year. That is how our generation is rediscovering Tagore.

source: here.

source: here.

So yes! Rabindranath is still as influencing as he was years ago. And as the poet said himself -
"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."
So, no matter how advanced we get, we will always be indebt to him, for offering us better understanding of life and ourselves. And he might be dead for nearly a century, but he will always be alive in our hearts, and in our thoughts.

source: here

Friday, 8 May 2015


I usually avoid travelling in local trains. The overcrowded compartment scares me. I would spend double the money and book a cab than boarding a local train. So, naturally where other people take the train from garia to jadavpur, I try my best to avoid it. 
It was such a day, I had to visit my cousin, who lives in jadavpur, so I chose to take an auto-rickshaw. But if you use public transport, overcrowding is inescapable in kolkata. In a seat of four, they will squeeze in six people promptly. And then the altercation about the 'khuchro' (change) is inevitable. 
When I reached the auto-station, I had thirteen rupees ready, which was the fare. Surprisingly there was no line, and I sat in an empty auto. Minutes later, two other gentlemen came and sat beside me. The back-seat, which was capable of accommodating three people, was now full. And we were waiting for two more passengers to board the auto-rickshaw, then only the driver will ignite the engine. Another gentleman came, and sat beside the driver. 
I was already getting late, my cousin was constantly nagging me by calling repeatedly in every second minute. I was getting restless too.
Just then, a woman came near the rickshaw. Folding her umbrella, she leaned forward. "Jadavpur?" asked the girl. The auto-driver nodded. Dressed a black tee-shirt and a denim blue jeans, she looked liked that she was in her late twenties.   
I couldn't help but notice how little space was there in the vacant seat. With the driver and one passenger seating beside him, the space left was scarce. 
"Excuse me, ma'am, you can sit in the back I will manage to hang in the front seat.” I said, flashing a gentle smile. I did what any man with dignity would do.
She looked at me with a blank expression. Just when I expected to hear a token of appreciation and gratitude what I heard was unforeseen. Squeezing her eyebrows, she stared me back and said -
"What did you just say?"
"I offered you my seat." I replied, stuttering 
"Did I ask for your seat?" She stroke again.
"No! But I saw how little space was there in the front seat. And I thought I can't let you sit uncomfortably while I enjoy my cozy seat.  So I thought the polite thing to do is to offer you my seat." I replied, being as courteous as I could, 
"I know guys like you, you just can't stand the fact that women are equally capable as men." she said, waving her hands ragingly in the air.
I was baffled. "What are you saying?" I asked.
"Yes. I'm right. You belong to the category of men, who think men are superior to women. You think you can boss us around, tell us what to do. You discriminate people by their gender. You think the place of a woman is under the feet of a man!" she said, reflecting rage in her voice.
"What are you talking about? I just offered you my seat, and you are saying that I think men are superior to women? You must have lost it." I was irritated. 
"Yes, you are an anti-feminist, I know, you don't believe in woman empowerment, you believe the only place a woman can excel is in the kitchen, and you are the type of man who doesn't want girls to go to schools." She said. Her face was turned red in anguish. 
"Yes. You are right, I'm an anti-feminist. I am sorry to offer you my seat. You sit in the front, and I am going back to the rear-seat, I apologise." I stated.
She looked at me with the same disgust and squeezed herself in the front seat, only to find that it could only fit half of her body. But she sat there nevertheless.  
I didn't say a word after that. The whole auto-ride, I kept mum. Because I knew, that a woman, who misinterprets chivalry as anti-feminism, isn't worth wasting my breath on. And she, who understands feminism as to act repulsive to any courtesy, can bring nothing but disgrace to the world 'feminist', and I don't mind being an anti-feminist in her judgement.

Author's note: This post was selected as one of the Tangy Tuesday Picks, by BlogAdda


                                                         Image source : here.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

She will strike again

Mother nature is tolerant,
She waits, and watches
As you draw scars on her well-nourished chest.
She condones us,
As we try and manipulate with her body,
Rip her soul apart, 
Rearrange her carcass.
As we spill concrete and steel,
As we fill the ocean with poison.
As we pollute the air we breathe in.
She forgives, but never forgets.


She witnesses us taking her tolerance as her weakness.
But a day will come,
When her blood will boil.
Volcanoes that has been dormant for years, 
Will start oozing magma.
Icebergs, that has been just a muse for poets,
Will start to melt,
And like a snake rise in rage, 
Flaunting its ferocious chest,
Mother earth will rise in a tsunami.
She will punish us. 
One day or the other.
She will test our limits.
She will inspect the worth of our existence.
And when she'll find no reason to bear our effrontery,
She will shake us off, like tiny insects.
And her chest will start beating again,
She will shiver in pain, in agony.
That day, our lives will be endangered,
Millions will die,
Thousands will get injured.
Everywhere you see, 
There will be blood and suffering.


So stop! While you can.
Stop the audacity of hurting her,
Stop testing her limits.
And start respecting.
Start appreciating what you have,
What she's willing to give you.
Be thankful.
Because if she can erase up-to the last trace
Of the most powerful species,
We are mere humans, 
There will be nothing we can do,
But to pray for an easy death.
Because, she will strike again.