Sunday, February 16, 2020

Will Renovation Give Happiness?


The scene at home today.

Jagdish, our carpenter is here to help me refurbish some furniture. He was working in our home when Arvi fell unconcious on that fateful day and had helped me in that moment. I am grateful to him. So I thought I will give him more work now.

We, Arvi and I had planned to renovate the home. Arvi had health issues that started when he was in college right till the end so he had no interest in home improvement. His sister too later wasn't keeping well so this home was in a state of neglect. He would ask me, "Will Renovation Give Happiness?"

Those who know me and my Dad know that we love a spick and span home. So when I met Arvi I was already helping him clean up the home, I used to joke that I am doing it so he has a liveable space and not to consider it as my indication to marry. I was not sure about marriage but I was very sure I would not like to live in that state of the house. It was at the time Arvi promised me that We will renovate the house to make it our home. He visited my Dad's home and decided that we will have the same green colour to make me feel comfortable in our bedroom. The only project Arvi helmed was of painting the home before we got married.

If at that time Arvi hadn't been honest I would have not known things that mattered to be married. It mattered big time for me to have a clean home. However I was confident about making it a good home with that I jumped into marriage because I knew I had a gem in Arvi.

However we struggled so much on health front after marriage too that we did not have energy for a complete renovation. In spurts I got the flooring changed in some parts of the house. Actually at first I gave away a lot of furniture and clothes to make way for the new. I got a wardrobe built because though there were 10 cupboards there was no space for my belongings.

Slowly the helpers started admiring the cleanliness at home. Even the delivery boys started complimenting.

However I don't know what is in the future of this house, I am constrained and it's not for the lack of finances.

This house has seen family loss like none other. However I soldier on as the last survivor.

Time will tell my story.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hagalakayi Gojju

Hagalakayi Gojju or Bitter Gourd Relish

If you are North Indian after reading the title you are in splits, I can see that. To add to that the color isn't working in its favor either. Oh lets get beyond that poop joke and look at the huge lesson this dish stands for.

Life's experiences are bitter just like the bitter gourd but if you know how to live well then you turn those bitter experiences around to mellow and make them palatable. This Hagalakayi gojju is from the Karnataka repertoire. It requires a Gojjina pudi or a special masala that makes it nutty and fragrant. On my YouTube channel TALKATIVE ANJALI I have posted the video for Gojjina pudi go over to watch.

Ingredients

1 cup finely sliced bitter gourd/ Karela
2 tablespoons Gojjina pudi
2 tablespoons jaggery
2 tablespoon tamarind extract
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon oil
few curry leaves optional

First salt the sliced bitter gourd. Let it sit for 30 mins. Squeeze out the water to remove excessive bitter juice. This is your cured bitter gourd.

Heat oil in a small pot. Splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the cured bitter gourd to the seasoned oil. Stir and let it cook for 2-3 mins. Add water to cover the bitter gourd put a lid and cook till soft. Then add the gojjina pudi. Follow in with tamarind extract and jaggery. Add salt as per taste. Let it come to a rolling boil and all flavors meld together. Let it thicken a bit and then put off the heat.

This hagalakayi gojju or relish is a beautiful palate changer in a thali. You can enjoy it with rotis, puris, dosas, etc as well as rice.

You can create different varieties of gojju with the same recipe. The most popular one is the pineapple gojju, check it out on my YouTube.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sukki Batata Bhaji

This picture is from our Dasara 2019 lunch

Just had a lunch of Gondavale aamti, bhaat and sukki batata bhaji. Such a satisfying meal when had in this cold weather. The aamti almost scalding sipped slowly from the vati. Stirring intermittently with the finger to mix the settled Dal into the watery top. 

Today however Dad and me got nostalgic over the potato bhaaji. Actually I got nostalgic because this was part of my vacations in Thal as a child. The sukki batata bhaji was eaten as a snack on its own. You heard me right, those were simpler times. A wee bit of chili but a very fragrant mustard phodni that made you salivate. Tambat, was a kasar/ blacksmith but he had a grocery shop. When we went on an errand the kadhai of bhaji was very tempting. He would keep a bhendi cha paan in a paper sheet and wrap the pudi/ packet. We would run back home deliver the errand and rush back to Mongoorichi Vadi else our animal house and nibble at the super tasty sukki batata bhaji.

It also brought back memories of how our village has changed after the arrival of RCF factory. Once upon a time the economy spun around fishing. The daily market of vegetables sprung up twice a day in the Dukaan aali or shopping lane. Basically existing shops allowed the vegetable sellers to sit on their front porches. They got paid in kind for it. Every vegetable vendor had a designated place and all this was informal. Sometimes the place for sitting got handed down from Mother to daughter and father to son.

The vegetable sellers had farms and orchards to grow and sell. That was the source of honest income. Sometimes they bartered vegetables for fish.

The fish market an open space was closer to my ancestoral home. It was smaller than the vegetable market. Thal bazaar was famous in Alibag region for fresh fish. Sometimes even sellers from near by villages came there. 

Now all Malis (farmers and gardeners), Grocers and shop owners have shut down their businesses. The Dukaan aali is lack lustre with few shops left. They are dusty and barely do any business. The fishing businesses have sized down. All men have been working as labour, technicians, clerks in the RCF factory. Fortunately in well paying jobs because of the occupational hazards they risk. 

The village has become a little bit modern but less vibrant. The economy that dominates now is 'Service' in RCF.

There has been some good though all the children of the RCF employees have got good education and opportunities. Yet I miss that traditional solid economy of Thal and it's culture. Majority of farms were given to RCF project so very few actual farmers left in the village. Everyone buys their requirements from Alibag and supermarkets. That self sufficient village is a thing of the past.

I miss that culture and life in Thal.

Coming back to sukki batata bhaaji the recipe is on my YouTube channel 'Talkative Anjali'. 

Try it out and let me know how it turns out.



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